Call to action over dire state of New Zealand housing
Figures released this week show that the average New Zealand house price, for the first time ever, has exceeded half a million dollars. This is an increase of 14 percent over the past 12 months and yet another example of housing becoming less accessible to everyday New Zealanders.
Hikoi for Homes - a coalition of groups consisting of the Child Poverty Action Group, Auckland Action Against Poverty, Unite and First Union - is challenging the government to do better and to prioritise decent quality, affordable and safe housing as a basic human right. It is organising a series of hikoi in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on 21 November to highlight this very concern.
Inadequate housing has lifelong consequences on health, education, and social and economic participation in our communities. In New Zealand today, people are suffering in unfit homes, homelessness in is exploding, state tenants are being evicted, emergency housing providers are full to capacity, private rents are skyrocketing. We have a government that insists that the market can provide us affordable housing, but the facts on the ground tell us different.
Hikoi for Homes is taking a stand and demanding that our country’s decision-makers consider housing a moral and ethical issue - no matter one’s life circumstances, everyone deserves a home.
The hikoi and its wider campaign argues that current policies do not meet this fundamental demand and that all public policies should be driven by this expectation. Housing needs to be considered more than a commodity whose allocation is entirely decided by markets and a profit motive.
The campaign has seven clear policy asks:
1. An immediate stop to the sell-off of state and council housing
2. A $1 billion annual budget for the provision of more public and other not-for-profit housing
3. Setting minimum standards for all rented housing
4. Greater tenure protection for tenants
5. Rent freeze for five years
6. A statutory right to be housed
7. State subsidies for modest income homeownership programmes
Hikoi for Homes spokesperson Sue Bradford says, "This hikoi is a chance for everyone who believes the government’s response to the housing crisis is completely hopeless to come together and speak out for the right of everyone in this country to have a decent home, not just some of us."
The three hikoi will be held on Saturday 21 November as follows:
Start: Glen Innes Railway Station, 12pm
Finish: Orakei Domain, approx. 3pm
Start: Cuba Mall, near Left Bank, 1pm
Finish: Civic Square, approx. 2:30pm
9 Buckleys Road, Linwood (opposite Eastgate Shopping Centre), 12pm
These are family-friendly events - children welcome.