As my late mama would have said, they’re like pigs into muck. Wallowing in profits they are … like there’s no tomorrow.
And as Christine Lagarde CE of IMF said (infamously):
Neo lib is great at kicking the can down the road & hollering ‘let ’em eat cake’. And so for Kiwis since Rogernomics, increasing numbers have found themselves unable to buy a home or even find one to rent these days. We have 43K homeless, many of those living in sheds, garages & even cars. Unheard of once in the (once) clean, green Godzone.
I went with someone recently to look at accommodation in a block of rental apartments in a NZ city.
On the Real Estate ads the flat looked not too bad really. Not top of the line at the price but average & humbly comfortable… by the looks. The yard also. Even a google street view showed a not too bad looking block of apartments. However, in real time I was in for a big shock. It was basically a 21st Century ‘slum’. Rubbish lying around in the open garages, old furniture left behind presumably by tenants, paint peeling off the exterior of this pair of two storied concrete edifices, shabby curtains, weeds galore growing out of the concrete and the tenants communal open decking at the center looking nothing like the nice on line images. Certainly not maintained or kept up to date since the google pics.
There was more in store.
The real estate employee & myself wended our way up the two flights of concrete stairs outside of the narrow landing that led to the only entrance to the ‘apartment’. Once inside, there was the musty smell of old damp, stained carpet, a cracked window & paint peeling off the ceiling.
Depressing & Dickensian really.
I asked if they intended repainting. Oh yes the worst paint-peeling ceiling (only) would be painted eventually, but not before (the lucky) tenant moved in. And ‘had we looked at anything else yet?’ checking to see if we realized how scarce the housing supply currently was. (I was well aware having just noted a woman now camping because her rental had sold). I asked if it was up to earthquake proof standard. ‘I hope so’ was the reply. A call later to the government tenancy services told me (rather vaguely) that no there had been no rule changes since 2010, 2011, hinting presumably at the Christchurch quake that remember killed hundreds of people. I reminded her that nobody had ever been held accountable for the CTV building collapse and the people who died in that preventable disaster. Her only advice was that tenants should complain about these things (yeah right). I politely reminded her that there is a housing crisis & tenants are on a back foot. I really wouldn’t be holding my breath that the (well known) Real Estate Agent that starts with ‘H’ would be either painting or ensuring it was earthquake safe in the foreseeable future. In my humble opinion it was being milked for all it was worth, just as the housing crisis is being milked, until finally it’ll be bulldozed for the prime real estate it is (yes on a hill, over looking water … albeit stinkingly polluted water courtesy of sewage & other disposal for over half a century by local Councils like the rest of the country’s councils, doing what they do best … can kicking).
I had a search around the newspapers about the current housing ‘crisis’ (they write about it like it’s a big surprize that’s come from left field … nary a mention of the thousands of state homes, a public asset hocked off by Key’s government to property developers). I found many articles on people’s awful predicaments. We have folk in NZ living in garages, sheds and even their cars. This is a crisis Jacinda was intending to make a dent in but has indicated it’s now being kicked down the road a bit further, more foot dragging from our esteemed authorities.
Thanks Roger Douglas. Your experiment on the NZ public isn’t working.