Report issues advice on addressing housing crisis

“The housing crisis is neither inevitable nor escapable”

Report issues advice on addressing housing crisis

A report at the University of Auckland is calling for a complete paradigm shift to address issues in the housing market, such as unaffordable homes, struggling renters, and widespread homelessness.

The latest report by the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland suggests a bold shift from housing as a “form of commodified intergenerational wealth creation to a form of wellbeing creation.”

The report said the current situation had been driven by several factors, such as 19th-century colonisers' land grabbing that left only 5% of Māori land remaining under Māori custodianship, the imposition of Pākeha ideas about land and resource ownership on Māori, a significant shift away from the state taking responsibility for providing housing, the radical deregulation of the financial and banking sectors in the 1990s, and the centrality of real estate to the NZ economy.

“The housing crisis is neither inevitable nor escapable, and allowing it to continue unabated will do lasting damage to health, exacerbate inequality and levels of debt and shatter the hopes of a generation,” said University of Auckland sociology PhD candidate Jordan King, one of the authors of the paper.

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The authors recommend establishing a Ministry of Public Works, a Green Investment Bank, a state lending agency, more substantial support for Tino Rangatiratanga over housing policy, fair taxation, and expanding state and community housing.

“These are practical policies that have emerged out of the tireless advocacy of housing campaigners in New Zealand and ideas that have proven to be effective elsewhere,” King said.

“A properly coordinated housing system – integrated with the rest of the country's public policy – will be embedded in tikanga, prioritise kāinga and whanau, and focus on ‘decolonising’ existing housing policies.”

“We argue that there is no excuse for political parties to be timid or inactive any longer; the challenges are too great to be neglected, and a bold new approach is needed for the greater wellbeing of us all.”