Labour’s housing plan

Although the Media party are selling it as Labour policy, Labour themselves only call it a plan.

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Which is just as well, because a Policy it is not. It is at best a statement of intent, with absolutely no detail as to how it is to be achieved. Here are the broad strokes that are to get people excited about Labour having it all under control:

  • Provide an extra $60 million over four years for emergency accommodation
  • That would deliver 1400 beds or 5100 places a year, bringing total emergency housing to 8100 with 2200 beds at any given time
  • It says the policy is part of a much larger plan to launch “a massive state-backed affordable house building programme”.
  • Labour says people are typically homeless for a few months
  • It believes the new supply of emergency housing will be enough, over time, to support the homeless population into permanent housing.

For those who follow politics closely, you’ll be amused to know Labour have called this -repeatedly – their comprehensive housing plan. 

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Putting aside the veracity of the actual people in need of emergency “beds”, matters aren’t helped when the Media party whip up hysteria by turning 4200 New Zealanders into… 40,000!

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Oh, and Isobel turned the plan into a policy.

But, as it is a plan, and not a policy, the detail is so light you might as well call it non-existent.

This leads to tough questions, such as…

Where do you put 1400 beds? You can’t put them in a car park or vacant lot. Are there empty buildings that can accommodate 1400 beds? Do these buildings have parking, ablutions and are they up to health and safety code? Do they have sprinklers?

Of the $15m a year for four years, how much is capital cost to set things up, and how much is going towards running costs? Who owns it? Who administers this? Who sorts out the dramas? Who cleans the sheets? Who replaces stolen pillows?

In fact, who’s doing all of this for 1400 beds?

$15m per year for 1400 beds is $10,714 per bed for the first year. Can someone break that down please? How much is being spent on making the bed a reality, and then how much is spent on operating that bed?

Why, once the 1400 beds are put in place, is the cost of operating those beds $15m for subsequent years? Surely there is a lesser cost once the set-up has been paid for?

How much privacy and dignity are these beds going to provide? Is it going to be a bed per room? Two bunk beds per room? Will there need to be segregation for men, women, children, drunks, families and drug addicts?

What about security?

How long is it going to take to actually make 1400 beds, and the required floors, walls, roofs, common areas, showers, toilets and parking available? How long will it take to hire, train and roster the staff to administer, repair, maintain and provide service and support?

Thank goodness it’s only a plan, because if it was a policy it would definitely be yet another Labour announcement that would be dead in the water within a week of being announced, and never to be heard of again.

But not this time, because Labour are clearly not serious. It’s just a plan.

 

– various


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