Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

NZ: Tents and cars for houses “not a crisis”

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Tents, garages and shipping containers without sewerage or heating are being lived in by hundreds of people across Auckland as the winter cold sets in.

Mass congregations of people are forced to sleep in cars at parks. That many of these families have two members with jobs shows the severity of New Zealand’s housing crisis. Of those facing high levels of housing stress, Maori and Pacific Islander people are the overwhelming majority.

Greedy property speculators in Auckland have driven housing prices up 77.5% over the last 5 years putting them among the most expensive globally. The average cost of a house is near one million New Zealand dollars! Unbelievably, Prime Minister John Key denies there is a crisis.

Making matters worse, it seems that social conditions are likely to worsen further in the near future. New Zealand relies heavily on dairy exports which are being rocked by a global oversupply crisis. At the same time the economy is heavily dependent on Australia and China – both facing bleak prospects.

With both the major parties in Aotearoa/New Zealand tied to profit interests in the housing sector, working people are in desperate need of their own political organisation that prioritises affordable, high quality housing for all.

By Kirk Leonard