Argh crap. I warned him about this


John Key may get good advice but it doesn’t mean he accepts all of it.  He’s breaking one of the golden rules for starters:  explaining is losing.

Prime Minister John Key and Labour Party leader Andrew Little are both poised to deliver keynote speeches tomorrow, but Mr Key has got in first, setting the agenda with the issue closest to everyone’s heart – housing, but specifically selling off the ones the state owns.

Potentially thousands will go on the block. The question of exactly how many will be answered in Mr Key’s State of the Nation speech tomorrow.

There are 68,000 state houses – a combined asset worth $18 billion. The Government says about a third, or 22,000, houses are the “wrong place, wrong size”. That amount is worth about $5 billion, but Mr Key says that many won’t be sold and denies it’s an asset sale.

“It’s definitely not [an asset sale],” says Mr Key. “The overall focus here is to accommodate more New Zealanders in social housing.”

“This is a sell-off,” says Mr Little. “This is the Government abdicating its responsibility to make sure that the most vulnerable and the poorest actually get a stable, certain house, a place to live in with a good landlord.”

The PR and comms on this Housing New Zealand housing stock management has been appalling from day one.  National constantly play into Labour’s hands, this time even opening the door by using the “A” word.  For crying out loud…

And the likes of Paddy Gower are leveraging this for all it’s worth, even putting “Asset Sales” into John Key’s mouth when he didn’t even say it:

“It’s definitely not [an asset sale],” says Mr Key. “The overall focus here is to accommodate more New Zealanders in social housing.”

Front footing this should have started six months ago, with a competent comms strategy.  Now all National are doing is saying that Labour aren’t right about Asset Sales, making the phrase Asset Sales sink in even more.

Who’s running that show, anyway?

– Patrick Gower, 3 News


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  • symgardiner

    Exactly. It should have been set out as a programme of reconfiguring the social housing portfolio so it better meets the changing demographics of modern day New Zealanders. Lots of numbers about changes in where people live and where the housing is needed. Add in a system for people to buy their state house. Same outcome and no flak – except from the Greens who oppose everything on a matter of principle.

  • HR

    A lot of the houses they propose to sell are beyond economic repair, being old, in need of re-cladding, re-insulation, renovation. Wrong types of houses, wrong area, just like JK says. The Government needs to provide modern homes and selling off the rubbish is a good plan. There was a move away from the private sector providing a lot of the rental accommodation with the ring fencing of depreciation on rental properties. Without the private sector doing it, the government must provide social housing. To do so means selling the crap and reinvesting the money into suitable housing. A lot of the HNZ stock is on valuable land that can accommodate medium to high density housing rather than one 1960’s state house

    • Rocket

      “The Government needs to provide modern homes”
      “the government must provide social housing.”
      No they do not!
      Asset sale all the “wrong size/place/valuable state houses and let the market provide (unsubsidized) housing. If it is too expensive to do this in e.g. Auckland then so be it. Let the unemployed move away.

  • John1234

    Maybe, just maybe, the Nats are happy for Labour and their acolytes to bleat the A word. They did that for three years running up to the greatest election result in the history of MMP, afterall.

    I suspect that there are plenty of voters out there who are quite happy for these so called assets to be rationalised.

  • The houses are assets. They are being sold. It is an asset sale. The problem is that National hasn’t been in control of the message here. It should have been driving it home why rationalisation of housing stock is good for all of us. Instead, we’re going “it’s asset sales / no it’s not!”.

  • cows4me

    What’s the man worried about he should be in like a robbers dog and deal to these problems while the tossers on the left are arguing what they now stand for. Stuff the leftist idiots. JK clearly has a mandate to govern he should get about and do it, damn the squawking fools.

    • ex-JAFA

      He has no mandate! His party got less than half the vote, and if every prisoner in the country were registered in the Helensville electorate and voted against him, his majority there would have a small dent! /sarc

  • fergus

    Consolidation and reorganisation of assets to best impact the growth of a company is standard practice….so it is in running a country.
    You get rid of the tools that are no longer serviceable or not fit for purpose and replace them with tools that do the job better. Making the company/country…more profitable and efficient.

  • McGrath

    The problem lies in the marketing. Good economic reasoning may be the case behind the decision , however all the public will hear is “Asset Sale” and “Broken Promise”

  • rangitoto

    Why even mention it in a state of the nation address. This is just ongoing operational stuff for a govt dept no one cares about.

  • jcpry

    I think this is being over thought. Most NZ’rs understand the issues of state housing especially the wrong size wrong place and in particular the “entitlement” issues. Most realise that it is a non-issue and is really just another empty vessel beat-up by the left which that fails to resonate with the community at large.

  • Mark Schmid

    Saddest part will be that some benefits will have to be increased as the can’t afford to rent anymore – or more homeless people….but hey who cares, the show goes on a little longer and the five billion will help to fool the people that our economy is booming – lucky i have no mortgage….

  • GMAK

    Come on, this is just asset redistribution, you know like labours tax plan is just income redistribution

  • Huia

    That is an awful lot of properties being made available to the needy. Do we truly have that many needy people in NZ?
    I believed these houses were for emergencies, a hand up for people fallen on hard times, a stop gap until they were on their feet again. That entitlement gene has kicking in with the demand for more state housing. This should be available for a short time only not a life time, why is it the taxpayers job to house people?
    Who pays the rates on these properties, not the tenant I bet, that’s one heck of a lot of money involved in rates alone I bet the taxpayer picks up the bill somewhere along the line along with supplying the housing and usually paying a benefit to the ones living there. What a drain on the country finances and taxpayers.
    Surely people need to start being responsible for themselves at some point, or we just further the dependency on the state for everything.