This is a repost of this article. Timely as in HNZ has just announced they’ll be shortly out of funds. No surprizes! Why if these people have degrees in accountancy are they running us into the ground peeps? Do check out the links recommended in the older article here (Agenda 21 and Banking), and read about the new debacle here.
The Prime Minister John Key announced earlier this year that he intended to sell off 1000 to 2000 of NZ’s state houses. Large numbers of these homes were built by the first Labour government in 1935 and as of 2013 the stock numbered 69,000. That era had marked the birth of our welfare state and the tenants of the first house that was finished and let in 1937, paid just one third of their income in rent. Fifty years later we had the Labour government promising to remain involved in NZ’s housing market, then with the event of Rogernomics and Roger Douglas’s neo liberal economic policies (the new economic ‘experiment’ that benefited those at the top of the capitalist pyramid and launched the ever increasing gap between rich and poor) rents were raised to market rates. Tenants could then apply for a government subsidy called an accommodation benefit, effectively subsidizing the landlords. By 1997, 60 years later, tenants were paying three quarters of their income in rent. The welfare state in NZ, having officially begun with the Social Security Act in 1938 and the state ensuring every New Zealand family had at least a minimum standard of living, was now descending rapidly into an abyss of debt and for many, poverty. We’ve effectively gone from free milk in schools to kids with no lunch at all.
In a recent article by Bryan Bruce, advocate for NZ’s children in poverty, and maker of the documentaries ‘Mind the Gap’ and ‘Inside Child Poverty‘, some interesting questions are raised, questions many New Zealanders have also been asking. Questions like why is the Key government selling off our state housing stock, especially when thousands of families have nowhere to live? NZ is in fact experiencing a housing crisis, described by the Salvation Army as an ‘unfolding social disaster’. On the one hand we have soaring house prices in Auckland that have so inflated the market few can afford them, and on the other, according to Auckland’s City Mission estimates, the numbers of people sleeping rough in Auckland for the year 2013-2014 virtually doubled.
The NZ Parliament website states that a “2013 University of Otago study using 2001 and 2006 Census figures and emergency housing data estimated that 12,900-21,100 dwellings would be needed to house the 2006 severely housing deprived population. These were in addition to housing required to address other forms of need, and underlying demand”.
In total, “An estimated 34,000 people, or about one in every 120 New Zealanders, were unable to access housing” in that year (University of Otago Monday, 23 September 2013).
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
~ Mahatma Ghandi
Now it gets interesting. The usual rationale proffered for asset sales since they began with Rogernomics, have been ‘to get us out of debt’ or ‘save us money’, giving the impression they are no longer breaking even let alone making a profit. Bruce however reveals that the HNZ corporation has in fact been making a very healthy profit (links in his article). Clearly it would be more prudent to keep this asset.
Further facts Bruce highlights are:
- the housing stock is worth $18 billion
- the operating surplus for 2013 was $121 million
- the same year it returned a $90 million profit
- the previous two years’ profit were $76 and $68 million
- profits have increased significantly under the National government
Bruce raises questions like, where did those profits go? Why have they not reinvested the profits into the housing stock? Why sell housing stock in the regions when they are presumably encouraging folks to move to the regions? (Agenda 21 maybe? … the real plan for UN’s Agenda 21 aka Sustainable Development is to have populations relocated out of rural and into urban areas).
You may not be aware of this, but NZ is a corporation. Our country is listed on the Securities and Exchange Commission website as a corporation under the name of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Most will be aware that corporations are required to turn a profit … to maximize profits is their legal mandate. They are not about, nor are they required to be about the welfare of people. (Watch two minute movie trailer for ‘The Corporation’ below).
So as our corporation steams along at full speed, rapidly selling off both our country and its assets, those who head it up are giving us the impression they govern as elected representatives of the people. In a sense they do but their real agenda, their corporate bottom line, is hidden from view. Corporations if you study them, and as the above trailer illustrates quite succinctly, are not required to consider the effects their economic activities have on people. I strongly urge you to watch the full documentary on ‘The Corporation’ page. You will then be joining some dots and making sense of what is really happening in our midst. As long as we remain a corporation, poverty will not disappear. The welfare state has always existed merely to give capitalism a human face. That capitalism is now shamelessly profit driven and the human face is disappearing fast.
Check out the links and see for yourself where and how we are listed on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website here.
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Featured image: “State houses at Arapuni Hydro Works” by Archives New Zealand – State houses at Arapuni Hydro Works. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:State_houses_at_Arapuni_Hydro_Works.jpg#/media/File:State_houses_at_Arapuni_Hydro_Works.jpg