Herald on Housing

The Herald editorial:

The membership of a taskforce will always play a central role in determining the credibility of its recommendations. If a group is stacked with people of a particular bias, its findings will probably be of limited value. When, however, Diane Robertson of the Auckland City Mission and Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army were appointed members of the Shareholders Advisory Group, it could safely be assumed that the whole range of options for improving social housing would be canvassed.

Duly, the group has delivered a report rooted in practicality. …

Some on the left have already started to condemn the two named above for the crime of being practical, and wanting solutions that work and are affordable.

Commendably, the advisory group looks critically at what has become the “house for life” expectation of many Housing NZ tenants. A state house has come to be regarded as a right, not a privilege. Some 22,000 tenants, or a third of the Housing NZ portfolio, have been in the same state house for at least a decade. In that time, many would have had children leave home or other changes in their circumstances. This means the Housing NZ stock is under-used. Many of these tenants could quite easily move to private housing, freeing up their houses for those in greater need.

If one has state house rentals greatly lower than non state house rentals, then it is essential that limited stock of state houses be directed towards those most in need. And that will not always be the current occupants.

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