Media Statement for Immediate Release
Tuesday 29 August 2017
NZ Housing Crisis: Government tinkers while families suffer
It’s still winter, it’s still cold and there’s still too little action on housing, Peter Malcolm, spokesperson for the income equality project Closing the Gap, said today.
Recently the Anglican Church joined what has become an almost deafening chorus of anger and desperation over the government’s unwillingness to address New Zealand’s appalling levels of homelessness. The church organised “services of lament” on empty Housing New Zealand plots “to mourn the government’s failure to adequately house struggling New Zealanders”.
Meanwhile, as the PSA says in its just-released “Ten Perspectives on Housing”, the human cost of this crisis is devastating, and tinkering around the edges won’t turn things around — bold visionary change is needed. Surveys of PSA members show majorities spending more than half their income on housing, adding to families’ stress, anxiety and depression.
“Like so many other reports, this one shows that the State must be much more active in ensuring all New Zealanders have good housing, from providing state-funded homes to some form of wealth tax to a much more progressive income tax regime,” Mr. Malcolm said.
“Is spending $8 million on 4 motels the answer?—no! It is simply a cover-up for failed actions in the past”
A third report out in recent months, Action Station’s recent “People’s Review of Renting” highlights problems renters face, including tending to live in the poorest quality homes – cold, damp, sometimes unsafe, unfit housing.
Closing the Gap is strongly supportive of efforts like those of the Anglican Church, PSA, Action Station and others to demand more social housing and impose some form of rental ‘Warrant of Fitness’ programme.
“But as reports of the housing crisis in all its forms continue to pile up, too many politicians, particularly in the current Government, are continuing with the ‘tinkering around the edges’ approach, and are failing to treat this issue as the crisis that it is,” he said.
“We urge everyone who’s concerned about housing and income inequality to keep the pressure on in the last few weeks of the election campaign by letting candidates and parties know that we need to act now and act boldly,” he said.
Anglican Church statement:
People’s Review of Renting: Action Station
Closing the Gap is part of the Equality Network (EN), a non-partisan organisation of 37 members united by the vision of a more equal Aotearoa New Zealand.