The Herald Editorial discusses the changes the government have made to state housing.
An era ended yesterday. The idea that a state house was awarded to tenants for life has been consigned to history. Legislation that put an end to this idea passed through Parliament late last year, remarkably with little comment. The law came into effect yesterday just as quietly. From now on, tenants will face a review every three years to see whether their income or circumstances have improved.
The absence of much protest suggests the public attitude changed long ago. Yet it shows some courage on the Government’s part. Sooner or later an elderly person is going to be evicted from a house she loves in a neighbourhood where she has lived most of her life, so that a family may be given the three-bedroom home she has occupied alone, and she will be on television.
Normally Housing New Zealand would be able to offer her a smaller but reasonably alternative home. But another historic change that took effect yesterday means the corporation no longer decides who gets a house.
The role has been passed to the Ministry of Social Development, which will assess applicants’ housing need as part of all forms of assistance they require. That makes sense and should make the system fairer.¬† Read more »