Poverty and Homelessness in New Zealand
On the eve of the National government’s budget, I saw today the demolishing of state houses in Takapuna. This is a terribly sad affair. State houses are being demolished all over the country, as the government implements its plans to sell off the land. Hundreds of houses in Glen Innes have already been destroyed, and many more are in the process of being demolished in Auckland, Wellington and other places. Thousands of people have been dislocated from their communities. Many people will be suffering from these forced moves, at a time when every penny is needed for survival.
The National government has promised to build more, ‘better’ houses, but really, there was nothing better than these solid, wooden-floored, sturdy, earthquake-resilient little bungalows which were built in the Labour government’s Savage era. And the question remains as to whether they will fulfill their promises to build more houses. They have not kept any promises except for the deplorable one of selling our state-owned assets.
Some of the homeless in Christchurch, victims of the devastating earthquakes there, could have been brought up Auckland, Wellington, and other places, to live in some of these houses, rather than have them demolished. It is better not to disrupt communities, but I am sure that some of the families currently living in caravan parks in Christchurch would have gratefully accepted one of these beautiful state houses which are now under demolition across New Zealand.
This is a social disaster. The families who lived in these houses beforehand, who never wanted to leave them anyway, have been forced out of their own communities. And now we have far fewer state houses than what we had before, when there is a dire need for affordable housing. The capitalistic system is breaking down communities all over the world, with rents being so very high, and the profit going into the pockets of absentee-landlords.
Even if the NZ National government honours its faint promise to build more state houses, these houses will not appear on the scene for quite a while. Meanwhile, there are thousands of homeless in New Zealand.
The most urgent needs should have been addressed first – to house the homeless in Christchurch. These homeless families could have been offered the many empty state houses in Wellington and other places, houses which have been deliberately left empty in wait of the government mobilizing its plan to destroy state houses in New Zealand. They could have been offered any of the currently-being-destroyed houses around Auckland.
This government seems to have no moral conscience at all. It is only interested in keeping the rich rich, and the poor made poorer, or disempowered in any way with any method that this government can devise.