Another problem with Labour’s housing policy

One massive problem with Labour’s lottery housing policy that they haven’t foreseen is the NIMBY effect. Labour have been using Habitat for Humanity as an example of affordable housing…probably without permission from Habitat. But the bottom line is people simply do not want their properties devalued with impecunious neighbours:

A group of Hairini neighbours fear their property values will drop if a Habitat For Humanity home is built on their street.

They say they would lose privacy and a convenient place for the local children to play if an “affordable house” is built on the vacant lot between their properties.

The Awaiti Place residents have petitioned Tauranga City Council, asking it not to sell the property, which the council was planning to do because the land is surplus to its requirements.

Earlier this year, councillors declined a proposal from the residents that the 474sq m lot be turned into a neighbourhood reserve.

In a letter to the council, Andre and Catherine Hudson said that, when they bought their house behind the empty lot seven years ago, the green space in front was one of the main attractions.

“This area gives natural beauty, a place for children of the neighbourhood to play while also giving each of us privacy.

“Plans to put a house on this land will completely destroy this lovely setting and abolish all privacy with a full viewing into our main living areas from the new house.”

The Hudsons also said they were “extremely concerned over plans to place a family with financial difficulties” directly in front of their house, as they had heard from a homeowner living next to Habitat for Humanity homes that neighbouring property values had plummeted because of frequent loud parties, burnouts on the street and wandering children.

Other neighbours were also concerned the new “affordable” home would devalue their properties.

  • Petal

    Our council was encouraged to provide more “affordable” homes. Once they were there, there was an obvious change in the caliber of people walking around our neighbourhood And whereas we’ve not had a single problem with any sort of petty crime for the 10 years I’ve been here, we’ve just recently had our letterbox kicked over for the 2nd time, and taggers have been in the street.

    The NIMBY issue is very real. You force “affordable homes” into an area, it will bring with it all the joys “affordable people” bring with it. Property values will drop.

  • Random66

    It would appear Mr & Mrs Hudson purchased a property beside an undeveloped section on the naive expectation that no one would build on it because it would interfere with their privacy and somewhere for their children to play. How can they complain about something that they always knew would happen one day? Perhaps they and their neighbours should join together to purchase the section off the current owner if they wish it to remain a greenbelt as I know this has happened in some other subdivisions where privacy and outlook was going to be negatively affected by further private development. Habitat will only purchase cheap sections so this section would seem to be affordable if the Hudson’s pursued this option themselves.

    • John1234

      I had to laugh at their expectation that the rate payers should cough up to preserve their effective over-sized section at no cost to them!

      However I do sympathise with having their own tax/rates money used to inject ‘affordable housing’ (i.e. slum in the making) into their nice neighbourhood. Those residents paid good money with an expectation that they’d be amongst other people that paid good money. Nek minut there’s a clapped out Kingswood rusting on the neighbour’s un-mown front lawn, loud parties and broken bottles. Fuck that.

      • Random66

        Totally agree, which is why I would be rallying the troops (concerned neighbours) to buy that section if I was the one being affected.

        • John1234

          They should do a deal with the council to buy the section at a knock-down price to gift it back to the city as park space. At least they’d never have to pay rates on it.

  • Mr Sackunkrak

    “Affordable people” lol, you mean Labour voters?

    • peterwn

      IMO the policy is aimed at fringe National & NZ First voters. There is no need to worry about beneficiaries, state house tenants and those whose parents and grandparents voted Labour except to try and stop them defecting to Greens or Hone.

      • Alex

        Agree: it’s middle class welfare a la interest free student loans, Working for Families. Know two young tradesmen with wifes and kids, on a fraction of the income of the first time buyers who came through my place. These guys have managed to scrimp and save and beg from family members to secure a deposit on a Lockwood-style home on a new division in Newlands. Nothing exciting, but they’re proud of their house and even carry pictures of it in their wallets to show people! Yet the middle class wannabes don’t want to buy such a house in such an area that they would describe as “grotty”.

      • Petal

        The angle you’re missing is that ‘affordable homes’ right now tend to be rental properties because they’re affordable investments with a reasonable ROI.

        Suburbs grow organically depending on section size and general position. If you then force ‘affordable homes’ into the middle of it through some sort of legislation, it disturbs the natural order of things. (I know what that sounds like, and I can’t find a better way of expressing it, but it means what it means).

  • Apolonia

    Next they’ll be handing out free cell-phones

  • blazer

    if their property values reflected their egalitarian concepts it would be absolutely fab.

  • cows4me

    Make all new state housing only available to those who wish to purchase, no renting, rent now becomes mortgage, they live by the same rules as private home owners, mortgage not paid they get the arse. Give those that live in a state house a chance to own the thing. They may respect something that will be theirs in years to come if they can get their heads around they are building up an investment and not throwing money down the drain in the form of rent. Of course there will probably have to be many criteria for been allocated a state house, there will still be a need for rental accomadation but this really should be left to the private sector.

    • Petal

      I like this idea in general. Might be worth thinking it through some more.

      Of course, on the other hand, we need to remember this:

      This whole thing is a solution in search for a problem. Where are all the people unable to find a place to live? And of those that are renting, who says they have some human right to be a house owner that needs to be catered for by the state in some way?

      • Mediaan

        Yes, I like the idea that it discriminates against hard-working home owners struggling with a mortgage. Mortgage behind, you are out. Why are they discriminated against?

        There’s no “Refuse to pay the rent, stand in the street with a placard, and questions will be asked in Parliament about familes in poverty who can’t buy food bcause the rent is too high, and the sympathetic left media will turn up to say the Government shoud not make them pay…”

      • cows4me

        your are dead right Petal but seems we have more problems then solutions. I’m not socialist, god forbid. Being a farmer I’m pretty hard arse and don’t suffer the shit the government would force upon us. Whether we like it or not we have to help those that can not help themselves, all government assistance should be based on incentives . Those that can process and can prove they are trying to help their situation should not be penalised by tax. At the same time those that “scrimp and save’ should be able to declare their funds free from government interference.

  • Richard McGrath

    Agree with Random66, if the Hudsons want this property so much, they should buy it. Councils should divest themselves of all real estate and use it to pay off debt or charge lower rates.

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