Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

ANZASW press release on Housing stocktake report

The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers is concerned by many of the observations made in the government’s new housing stock take report, which was released this week.

The paper throws a series of urgent issues into sharp relief, chief among them the long-running problem of affordable housing, particularly for elder persons and low income families.

The International Monetary Fund has noted that Aotearoa New Zealand has the most unaffordable housing in the developed world, a state of affairs rooted in the fact that property speculation has driven up the cost of housing.

Social workers do their best to help the most vulnerable in society to find adequate housing, often struggling to be able to find emergency accommodation with limited availability; in other cases, social workers seek to place people in housing within a market that is geared more toward the interests of property owners than renters.

The sheer scale of the affordability crisis is spelled out by the difference between average incomes, including those for beneficiaries and elder persons, and the cost of rent. Between 2012 and last year rents for a three bedroom house rose 25 per cent while wages rose just 14 per cent.

According to TradeMe Property, the national median rent outside Auckland is $395, rising to $550 within the city. The median wage for a New Zealander in 2016 was $48800 per annum or roughly $938 a week, meaning that around 42% of a typical income outside of Auckland was spent on housing, rising to nearly 60% within Auckland.

When it comes to beneficiaries and those on superannuation things look even more difficult. A beneficiary over 25 relying on Jobseeker Allowance receives a maximum income of $357.45, which fails to even meet the average cost of a property in the private market. A family with three children will receive a little over six hundred dollars after tax, subtracting childcare subsidies which are typically spent on schooling.

A single person living alone on the pension will receive $780.40 after tax, while couples receive around $600 each. The average rent costs more than half of the single person’s income outside of Auckland and over seventy percent inside.

Previous assumptions had held that more people over 65 would own their homes mortgage free, whereas the report demonstrates that many people on Superannuation are still having to rent, and struggling to afford the costs of living.

In such circumstances, it is not surprising that nearly 30% of households are finding it hard to afford power bills and other essential items such as doctors visits, as the report notes.

Phil Twyford, housing minister, notes in the foreword to the report that in addition to such problems that “an unknown number of children are living in cars and thousands more are admitted to hospital every year with preventable illnesses caused by poor housing,” a trend he says highlights failures within the housing system itself.

For the homeless the situation is even more dire, with the report highlighting that
up to nine in ten homeless persons who seek community housing are being turned away.

The crisis calls for more action by the government to support all New Zealanders, especially vulnerable persons, to achieve housing security.

“We call on the government to look at increasing the accommodation supplement for elder persons and those on a low income,” Lucy Sandford-Reed, Chief Executive of ANZASW said.

“There also need to be more efforts to increase the stock of housing, especially affordable housing, for the growing population,” she added.

“This can reduce the pattern of families living in appalling conditions in emergency accommodation, or people being forced to live in cars, sheds or unhealthily overcrowded houses in order to have a roof over their heads,” she continued.

“Children cannot get the best start in life if they are forced to live in cars or in housing where their health is put at risk,” she observed. “The housing system as a whole needs to be reviewed, with an emphasis on long-term solutions for children / tamariki and family / whanau.”

The report also found that a drop in state housing was increasing the level and risk of homelessness, particularly in Maori and Pasifika communities. This is due to policies designed to shift more renters away from state accommodation toward an unaffordable private market, as well as a decline in the availability of state housing.

"Terminating a state tenancy can have serious consequences and these former tenants are at risk of becoming homeless because they are likely to find it difficult to rent in the private sector," the report said.

ANZASW looks forward to a proactive, bipartisan response to the findings of the report which addresses the urgent issues of homelessness and housing affordability.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: On Why the News Crisis Gives Us Hope

The News Is Dead, Long Live The News!

Scoop has exciting plans ahead for 2018 and beyond. The news media industry is coming to a critical juncture point. The increasing dominance of the digital platform monopoly giants and new developments such as Artificial Intelligence are contributing to disrupt the industry, render old ad-based models unviable and reshape the way we consume news. However, in all this crisis we see opportunity to create a new, more resilient and more decentralised future for independent news media.

There are encouraging signs globally that the crisis in trust facing the media is breathing new life and impetus into the challenge of ensuring a future with serious independent news coverage - i.e. news of real ‘public interest’ and quality investigative journalism in support of robust debate and a thriving democracy. More>>

 

DHB Offer Rejected: NZNO Seeking Urgent Mediation

The latest revised DHB MECA offer has been strongly rejected by NZNO members. However, Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says that as nursing and midwifery is an essential service, mediation or facilitation will begin with urgency. More>>

ALSO:

Building Bridges: National's Climate Commission Support Welcomed

Generation Zero welcomes the recent announcement by Opposition Leader Simon Bridges that he wants to take the politics out of climate change and work with other Parties to create an Independent Climate Change Commission. More>>

ALSO:

PSA Win: Living Wage For Core Public Service Employees

PSA members in the public service have secured a big victory - with all employees winning the right to be paid at least a Living Wage. State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says there will be a one-off adjustment in pay from 1 September, with all employees receiving an hourly rate of $20.55 ($42,744 per annum). More>>

ALSO:

Tourist Tax: International Visitor Levy Consultation Opens

Plans to ease the cost burden on communities and ratepayers for tourism-related infrastructure through a proposed a levy on international visitors have been announced by Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Waikeria Prison Decision

The hard part is yet to come. When and how does the government propose to change the laws and regulations to do with bail and parole, both of which remain key drivers of New Zealand’s bizarrely high – and economically unaffordable – rates of imprisonment? More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages