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Scoop Satire: The Courage of your Evictions

The Courage of your Evictions

Satire by Lyndon Hood

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett confirmed last night that the Government wants prospective tenants to consider moving to regions where dozens of state houses are vacant - and in some cases could be offered thousands of dollars in taxpayer sweeteners.
Pacific Island tenants could be prime candidates for such a move, she thought.
— NZ Herald


***

Scoop did not talk to Paula Bennett about Auckland housing, being too busy with Wellington beer. But when Scoop woke up it found this transcript. So here you go.

***

Scoop: About this housing proposal…

Bennett: It's not really a proposal as such, more a thing we're suggesting.

Scoop: You're floating it in advance?

Bennett: Yes. Like a, like a…

Scoop: … a naval mine?

Bennett: … a preview screening of a blockbuster movie. When we actually release the final cut, it will just be awful rather than apocalyptically bad. And people will be tired of complaining about the things they don't like.

Scoop: Who who's the winner from this?

Bennett: Well if you think of housing costs, there are a whole lot of buildings in Auckland occupied by people who are, you know, spare – so getting them out of the way should ease things up. And it helps the impoverished regions by forcing poor people to move there. To places where we can be bothered to supply enough state houses.

Most importantly, we get to make noises like we're doing something about employment and housing and so on. At the same time as looking like we're cracking down on beneficiaries while maintaining we're helping. All for little or no effort – maybe none if we can't convince anyone to move. It has win/win/win/win benefits across the board. I call it 'Operation Whiteify'.

Scoop: If you wanted to use Housing NZ to help with the Auckland housing crisis, could you not just build more houses?

Bennett: You might as well say would could help with poverty by giving people more money.

Scoop: Yes.

Bennett: Ha ha ha ha ha.

Scoop: I mean, if you look at the evidence.

Bennett: Ahaha. Good one. Anyway.

Scoop: Offering people money – maybe with some vague threats – that trying to make them go somewhere they don't really want to go, away from their support networks and with more limited job prospects… is that really a good idea?

Bennett: Well perhaps this money is the only thing stopping them moving to Oamaru, did you think of that? I mean God I wouldn't but perhaps they really, really like steampunk or something. Do you want to deprive someone who really likes steampunk of their freedom of movement just because they're on a low income?

Scoop: It's just an offer to help?

Bennett: Yes.

Scoop: You don't think the obvious potential for coercion the welfare system has might come into play?

Bennett: No. I mean there's a place for that…

Scoop: Like encouraging people to move to Auckland, where the jobs are?

Bennett: Exactly, but this is just us being nice and helpful. And if you say any different, I'll release your benefit records

Scoop: Yet somehow people might end up on the bottom of the waiting list?

Bennett: But we won't be forcing people to move.

Scoop: Um. Can you tell me in your own words what would be 'force'?

Bennett: Well obviously when I say 'force', I mean an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together. What we're proposing is just to punish people if they don't do what we want.

Scoop: It's very easy to kick people while they're down…

Bennett: Isn't it? It's actually really, really easy. Look, I've bought a prostrate person with me just to show you. There, see? Kick kick kick. Really the only thing that stops you is your leg getting tired. Have a go.

Scoop: Um.

Bennett: You know you want to. No? All the more for me, then.

Scoop: Is this legal?

Bennett: Well I'm not forcing them to stay there.

Scoop: Should I call the cops?

Bennett: These aren't the droids you're looking for… Move along!

Scoop: You… poked me in the eye, waving your hand like that.

Bennett: Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

********

Got feedback? Leave a comment on Lyndon's blog.

You can follow @lyndonhood on Twitter.

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