Tenants of state houses will shortly be given an opportunity to buy them. Housing Minister Phil Heatley has announced that houses will be offered to tenants at market valuations from September and Housing New Zealand will use the money to build new houses.
This news has been greeted with predictable disapproval from Labour, the Green Party and various advocacy groups who claim to be concerned for people in urgent need of a state house. Their preferred solution seems to be to spend whatever it takes to house everyone who cannot afford to buy a home. But since that would be an open-ended liability it is plainly impractical. So what else would the opponents of state house sales suggest?
We find it interesting that Labour opposes this policy. "Why?" you ask. Well, there's the small matter that this is exactly what Phil Goff advocated a number of years ago when he was Labour's Housing spokesperson! Which makes Moana Mackey's opposition as witnessed in the video that follows somewhat hollow we reckon. Watch this:
Meanwhile, we'll leave the last word to the Herald:
The sale of state houses could be a form of pepperpotting for older, public rental estates. Ownership makes all the difference to the care of property and if a critical mass of established tenants can be encouraged to buy, the care they take can be contagious.
The policy looks to be good for the tenants, good for their neighbourhood, good for those waiting for a state house, good for the taxpayer, the building industry and the economy. Good for everyone, in fact, except those who live on constituencies of state dependence.