A guest post by Tripewryter:
Back in the 1990s my children and I lived in a state house.
Thirty years later they and I still feel gratitude for what we were provided.
My private sector landlord had jacked up the rent by a fifth. It was beyond my means to pay.
I went to the-then Housing Corporation. A nice woman offered me a three bedroom house on a large section. The rent was way lower than what I was paying and would be paying.
The neighbourhood was private housing. It was quiet and safe. On one side my neighbour was a retired air force officer and his wife and teenage children. On the other were an ancient couple in their 80s and 90s.
Along the road was an official who worked for the governor-general. Across the road was a senior manager in the city council.
It was a beautiful neighbourhood. I could not believe my luck. My kids were not going to be living in a solo parent ghetto.
I had to furnish the house myself and buy the curtains and the carpets. I was able to do that because my share of my mother’s bequest had arrived at the right time.
The house was a 1940s-era structure. It was basic, uninsulated but otherwise dry and solid and safe.
We lived in it for six years.
I’ve been thinking about that house in recent days because of the furore with Kainga Ora and some of its violent, anti-social tenants, whom it appears not to know how to deal with.
The government is trying to cast these tenants as ‘vulnerable (mispronounced as ‘vunribbul’) people with complex needs’.
Maybe they are. But what about their neighbours whom they terrify?
It is misplaced compassion to allow bullies to continue with their behaviour because they have children and if they are evicted they will go back to living in cars.
No-one else is responsible for the children but the parents. If the parents behave anti-socially and that results in the family being made to live in cars then that is on the parents. Their behaviour got them into this. No-one else.
This problem is not going to be molly-coddled away. Kainga Ora has to make the neighbourhood bullies in their tenancies responsible for their behaviour. They owe it to the terrified and exasperated neighbours, to the taxpayers who pay for the houses – and to the tenants who are grateful for the digs they live in and call home and respect that.