What is the true reason public housing waiting lists are growing?
Its a simple question and the media have made half hearted attempts at answering it, but the root cause for some reason escapes their eagle eye. The most common answer, and the one National’s shadow housing spokeswoman Nicola Willis gives is that there is a “shortage of housing”.
There has been a shortage of housing for about a decade or two. That shortage has been theoretically reduced by the govt’s (claimed) construction of 1600 state houses. They also claim another 1000 will be constructed by the end of 2021. Yet waiting list numbers are still rising. Again, why?
Population growth and immigration are another pressure. Net gain due to immigration this year is about 20,000. Birth rate is about 45,000. So allowing four to a house, there is about 16000 houses right there. There is no way New Zealand can build that many houses in a year. So one obvious answer to the housing shortage is to cut immigration to zero.
So why doesn’t it happen? Because Jacinda can’t do that without annoying her large immigrant voting base, many who are exercising family re-unification options and bringing in extended families. In other words, the primary solution to reducing the waiting list can’t happen because Jacinda would lose votes.
There’s another driver to rent increases. Probably the main one. Its the ever increasing costs and risks that landlords are being forced to assume by Ardern’s regulators. This hammering on landlords will convince many to give the renting game away and rely entirely upon capital gain for return on investment.
Over the last five years empty home numbers have increased by 18%. There are around 50,000 homes vacant in Auckland, 14000 in Christchurch and well over 5000 in Tauranga. (Stats NZ figures) There’s your 24000 waiting list easily taken care of right there, if the owners could be persuaded to rent those houses.
Its ironic when the obvious solution to the housing crisis is to persuade people to rent their empty homes, the govt has spent much of the last 4 years doing the opposite. Hammering landlords, making renting less attractive as an investment option and thereby creating more empty homes, which in turn creates higher rents. It then exacerbates the situation by bringing in too many immigrants.
Mark Richardson attempted to explain this to the communist zealot Chloe Swarbrick the other morning during an argument on the latter’s proposal to institute a Warrant of Fitness for rental houses. House owners don’t want to be lured into the same trap that car owners have been with warrants for cars. (Queensland has no annual WOF and no one suffers for it).
Home owners don’t want power drunk yellow vests with clipboards invading their privacy in a system that would be wide open to abuse and bribery anyway. Yet it probably will happen, as the Ardern regime in a manner characteristic of the left carries on trampling over property rights. So once again, there will be fewer houses to rent.
Jacinda once said her main reason for being in politics was to help out the poor. if that is truly the case she should resign right now!