Labour’s beat up on housing

The Press

Labour is having a major beat up again on housing and the media is helping them with uncritical analysis of the stories being fed to them by the Labour party.

Take the calls last week for Phil Heatley to visit Christchurch:

Labour has invited Housing Minister Phil Heatley to Christchurch to meet families living in desperate conditions after he told Parliament the city faced housing ‘‘challenges’’, not a crisis.

Heatley this week said Labour ‘‘might like to drum up the idea that there is a crisis’’.

‘‘The reality is that there are housing challenges in Christchurch.’’

Housing New Zealand recognised those challenges and was rebuilding damaged houses, upgrading its stock and looking at building up to another 350 houses, he said.

However, local welfare agencies have insisted there is a crisis and are backed by Labour after Wigram MP Megan Woods and housing spokeswoman Annette King spent time with some of the city’s most vulnerable people.

King said they visited a family of five being charged $300 a week to live in a freezing and mouldy caravan on a relative’s property.

There were up to four families living in single houses because they had nowhere else to live.

‘‘Because they are not seen, the Government says it doesn’t happen.’’

More than 500 people had serious housing problems in Christchurch, she said.

‘‘Yet Mr Heatley doesn’t think it’s a problem.’’

Woods yesterday wrote to the minister inviting him to visit her electorate.

‘‘To call this a challenge, not a crisis, is an absolute abdication of his responsibility as minister. I’m happy to show him what a crisis looks like.’’

The current flu outbreak in Christchurch was caused by the cold and damp conditions people were living in, she said.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee last month denied there were massive rent rises in Christchurch, and has also denied there is a housing crisis.

Heatley has said there would be no Government intervention in the rental market because the solution was to build more houses.

Hornby Presbyterian Church’s the Rev Hamish Galloway said average rents in Hornby had risen from $280 to $360.

‘‘For low-income families, that’s really difficult. The biggest areas of stress we are coming across are people who are having their rental tenancies come to an end and having to find new places.’’

The Government needed to take the issue seriously, he said. Its refusal to intervene in the rental market was philosophically driven because National supported the free market.

‘‘Surely, when you’re in an exceptional situation you can make laws and rules to protect the poorest of the poor.’’

What is amazing to me is that the example they use of the family living in a mouldy caravan. It appears that the family is being ripped off by their own relatives and yet this is the government’s fault for some reason.

I’m not denying there are issues with housing in Christchurch but this kind of sensationalism is wrong and is using those in a difficult situation for political point scoring.

Perhaps Gerry Brownlee and Phil Heatley could launch and investigation into people taking advantage of their relatives and friends in a time of need and profiteering from the situation.


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  • Allyson

    Hi Annette. I well remember the last person you “housed” having to leave the country after attemping to male rape a guest at your house. Probably best you leave housing to people with higher morals. I stilll understand you have not apologised… shame on you

    • AnonWgtn

      He is back in Wellington trying to get a high listing for the 2014 election.
      The new Labour Party Secretary will find a bed for him surely.

  • Nameless

    I’m sorry but you cannot use this as an example for a housing crisis

     “a family of five being charged $300 a week to live in a freezing and mouldy caravan on a relative’s property”

    I want to ask what that family of 5 is like as they must be completely unbearable if you have to make them pay you $300 just to be able to justify them living in your backyard.

    They’re probably members of Labour and can sense some publicity.

  • Positan

    It’s gotten to the point where when Labour actually comes out and says something rational or intelligent, at the very least there’s going to be skyrockets and streamers – and perhaps even a public holiday will be declared.

    The most incredible thing is that its MPs and remaining supporters really believe that they’re not only capable of government, but that they’re the alternative government.

    The state the country is in now, one more Labour “administration” would be the end of things.

  • rouppe

    Yes, what kind of relative is it that charges $300 a week for family to live in their back yard. For one weeks rent they could go to Mitre10, buy a couple of bales of fiberglass insulation and completely wrap that caravan.

  • Mediaan

    Bet you a Flying Pig to a Whistle,

    (a). There is a government housing subsidy in there somewhere, paying the $300, which accounts for the silly rent,
    (b). This family of five chose not to use free temporary accommodation reserves when Government raced to set up 700 motor homes, 100 temporary houses, etc etc., and found nobody wanted them,
    (c). It wasn’t until it snowed they realised this was not such a good idea, because they are not thoughtful planning people.

  • Joe Bloggs

    A quick and effective solution for this so-called housing crisis: 

    Exit Mould 500ml spray cleaner trigger pack – $7.49
    Chux absorbent all-purpose cleaning cloths – 2 for $2.49
    Elbow grease – priceless

  • Johnbronkhorst

    Crisis???? Now Syria is a crisis, Sudan is a crisis, ….this is a difficult situation made worse by people who WON’T help themselves!!!!

  • Whafe

    Labour endeavor to make adult thinking New Zealanders dumber than a huge giant throbbing dumb thing…. Well Labout, that we are not….

    • AnonWgtn

      Jim Anderson is behind this publicity trying to become Mayor.
      He shot himself leading the rebuilding of the Anglican Cathedral (as a Catholic) so he has arranged for the Labour lites to scream and shout for him.

      • Whafe

        Totally agree, Anderton is another embarressing Pinko. Again, should have got out of dodge years back = trougher!

  • “I’m not denying there are issues with housing in Christchurch but this
    kind of sensationalism is wrong and is using those in a difficult
    situation for political point scoring.”

    Unlike every other opposition politician throughout the history of politics in this country of course… The National echo chamber in here seems to have conveniently forgotten that.

    Politicians (on the whole) all display the same behaviour in opposition, i.e. sniping, points scoring – whether spurious or not. When in government, they seem to turn into glorious examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect (

    If there’s to be an investigation, I lost a sandwich a while back and Gerry looked decidedly coy.

    • Johnbronkhorst

      So humphey…..some examples of National in opposition making mountains out of mole hills????
      Nat….If you continue to spend as you are (Mr Cullen)….NZ will go in to Recession…
      Nat….Buying toll rail will never pay for itself.
      etc etc etc

      • I think the recession was coming anyway, but blame away.

        “So humphey…..some examples of National in opposition making mountains out of mole hills????”

        There’s a couple here…

      •  One that comes to mind was Mr Key screaming about firing Winston under ‘she who shall be obeyed’s’ tenure. Similar circumstances to John banks I believe…

        My first reply looks to be deleted, so a link to some other spurious words not meeting action here -

  • Guest

    Nowhere enough information given as usual. 
    Is the relative providing toilet, shower, cooking facilities, TV watching in the warmth of the house; even the caravan itself? If they are, then $300 isn’t particularly outrageous for a family of five.

  • not happy days

    I think Gerry Brownlee deserves a bloody medal. Who would want to put up with the shit he’s put up with for the last two years. For goodness sake it’s not his fault there are continual earthquakes why the people give him a break and thank him for getting up every morning – it’s like ground hog day. Cheers Gerry and thanks