Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Crowded houses

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  • Russell Brown,

    Stuff and the Herald have made great play of a flubbed Andrew Little press conference yesterday outside a house that turned out not to be overcrowded with 17 occupants. But I’m confused.

    Is this the same house John Campbell and Labour MP Jenny Salesa talk about visiting (but don’t shown on camera at the request of the occupants) in the video above? If it is, did the reporters talk to anyone other than the man who said he was the owner and there was nothing to see there?

    Update: Stuff’s reporter Maria Slade has confirmed via Twitter that she thinks the house is the same one.

    Maybe arranging a press stand-up in front of a house whose occupants hadn’t wished to talk wasn’t a great idea, but I’m not convinced the place was just being renovated, given that Campbell seems to have seen something else.

    Edit: Barry Soper has a mocking story on the Herald website too. It’s also based on the say-so of one man who said he was the owner and gave a very different account of the household’s circumstances to what Campbell and Salesa say they witnessed. Salesa seems to have previously visited the household.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    This Government deliberately, and by omission, is falling spectacularly short of Universal Declaration of Human Rights on all manner of things.

    Last night I worked till about 1.20 AM – I got up at 6.30 AM made daughter breakfast and her lunch – she then got ready for school – played the piano and then the guitar – then she had 15 minutes on the computer before going to school at 8.00 AM. Where she has a session in the School Media Club before starting classes at 9.00 AM.

    None of this stuff is possible if you are a family living in a car or garage in Auckland or anywhere else.

    My Message to John Key is “As Prime Minster, it is so wrong you have lead a government that has allowed this housing shortage to develop and fester over 7 years to a point of crisis particularly as you were succoured on welfare through you childhood years – you really are utter slime. You are depriving people of so much more than housing and this puts the future of many in jeopardy.”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Instead of going to private landlords the $1.2 billion could instead be the start of a Universal Basic Income

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee,

    "That was a low thing for the Minister for Social Housing to say." utterly calculated and on message, of course.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    Good interview from Guyon this morning, and good to see John Campbell at his campaigning best on this issue. Now it just needs to stay in the headlines long enough to shame the government into doing something about it.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • walrus,

    I get so sick of The Powers That Be trumpeting how much money they're spending as if we'll all be blinded by big numbers into thinking they're wonderful. It doesn't matter how much money you're spending, if you're not achieving the desired results you're not doing it right. And if these ARE your desired results...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2015 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • EE,

    The empty ponsonby road fire station could house some people.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Thanks, Russell. Having spent some formative years living in state housing, I feel extremely strongly about the subject, and I agree your predictions about the effect of private landlord subsidies have come to pass.

    I think there is a place for a subsidy for single people in particular needing a top-up to their accommodation costs. But this should not substitute for a good base of state-owned housing stock.

    Another thing that seems to be missing in NZ are charitable housing trusts, like the Peabody in the UK. Or if they exist, they aren't making much of an impact. I thought they were a pretty good idea for low-wage earners that didn't qualify for full social housing.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Good Hayden Donnell column on the Nick Smith vs Mike Lee stoush over the Herne Bay SHA.

    Conclusion: Lee's a sellout and Smith is a raging hypocrite.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Between the Prime Minister’s fanciful assurance earlier this week that anyone who happened to be homeless could just go to Work and Income and get sorted out and Bennett’s boasting that the government was providing 3000 new beds ...

    They modestly didn't mention the 8000 plus prison beds which are being provided to the "needy".

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    How about a protest action? Maybe an occupation style stand in a public place that involves corrugated iron? Or just cardboard?

    Maybe middle class home owners like myself could support these sorts of actions by chipping into a war chest that supports homeless protesters?

    .

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    Or perhaps set up camp on the verge outside Key's Parnell pile. That juxtaposition would have a nice symbolism. Public space too. Although I guessed they'd get moved on quickly on "national security" grounds.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori,

    Housing stories are also a trap for journalists who don't have their bullshit detectors turned up to the highest setting. The last time there was this level of unrest around housing - when the market rents policy operated in the 90s - there were a couple of pretty significant own goals by journalists covering cases of apparent overcrowding which turned out to be way over hyped by advocacy groups and then swallowed hook line and sinker by gullible journalists or, in the case of the Holmes Show, were too good to be checked. The first was covered in a lengthy article in Metro and the second led to a complaint upheld by the BSA and a Holmes on-air apology, As always, an excellent rule for a journalist is to apply the same standards you might apply to the utterances of a politician to your sources when they come bearing gifts. That applies especially if the gift is a wonderful story. That doesn't mean the basic premise of the housing issue is incorrect but if a story personifies the wider issue perfectly then any qualifying content that doesn't fit has probably been journalistically photoshopped right out of the picture. Families and their needs don't fit into perfect political boxes and life is messy. That shouldn't deter a journalist from doing their job properly and fully reflecting that reality. John Campbell's cartoonish sense of reality has always been his achilles heel.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Tinakori,

    John Campbell's cartoonish sense of reality has always been his achilles heel.

    Whereas your competingly cartoonish take on events keeps you trapped behind a goofy pseudonym. Pot-kettle.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Stuff and the Herald have made great play of a flubbed Andrew Little press conference yesterday

    Barry Soper had a dig in his Herald ‘Chalk n Cheese’ piece as well – while not answering his own question

    Can you influence decisions by throwing a bit of cash around?

    …a fairly self-evident answer I’d have thought under the current regime…

    <edit> oops, I see you already added this to your comment Russell, c'est la vie.
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    There is a battle of philosophies at work, as there always has been, and the JK and his party are basically "comfortable" with what is playing out. The market is at work and there are winners and losers. John's solution is to go into 2017 touting a programme of tax cuts and we can all guess where they will be weighted. What disturbs me most is the absence of a coherent alternative message, be it from Labour or Green or NZ First. I'm still looking for a party that stands for steady raising of the minimum wage, raising access age to super, increased taxes on wealthy, captial gains tax on housing or a wealth tax of some sort, and serious study of how a UBI/restructure of welfare in NZ could work. I had high hopes when Labour came out with free tertiary study policy early in the year but they appear to have stalled again and got into name calling with the PM. Give me a solid alternative I can vote for.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Newstalk ZB mouth Larry Williams' column on the Herald website is insane.

    He says:

    1. We shouldn't build public housing and we should sell off what we have.

    2. The accommodation supplement is awesome and solves all our problems.

    3. We should build lots more public housing estates.

    4. The accommodation supplement is out of control and a big problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    So I was in a Work and Income office the other day - something you can't do without photo ID, at least at my local branch. And a guy wandered up to the front desk and started telling his story, loudly and quite cheerfully. He'd been living rough. He couldn't get a benefit, because he didn't have an address. With no income, he couldn't get an address. So he tried to kill himself, which got him a bed in a psychiatric hospital.

    Now he'd been discharged, and was right back where he started. So he went into WINZ. They made him an appointment, at least. Their soonest appointment, which was for in two weeks' time. Then he can begin the process. But he doesn't have an address, and without an address...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tinakori,

    As always, an excellent rule for a journalist is to apply the same standards you might apply to the utterances of a politician to your sources when they come bearing gifts. That applies especially if the gift is a wonderful story.

    1. A journalist visits the household and speaks to its occupants, along with an MP who's been there before.

    2. Other journalists dismiss the story after not entering the property and speaking only to a man who says he's the owner and he's just doing some renovations. They don't even get his name and seem confused about whether it's the same house.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley,

    From my perspective the accommodation supplement must surely be part of fuelling the increase in property prices. Why would I not invest in property when I know the tax payer is going to effectively guarantee a return to me?

    What would happen if all that accomodation supplement money was redirected into affordable social housing where your rent was going to be 1/3rd of your income?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Martin Brown,

    Or perhaps set up camp on the verge outside Key's Parnell pile. That juxtaposition would have a nice symbolism. Public space too. Although I guessed they'd get moved on quickly on "national security" grounds.

    I've already suggested on Twitter that tent cities be pitched in the leafy suburbs to make a point.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    ..that tent cities be pitched in the leafy suburbs to make a point.

    Why not, now that freedom glamping is really taking off.
    After all Key is the Minister of Tourism, and it's just a jump to the left...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Emma Hart,

    They made him an appointment, at least. Their soonest appointment, which was for in two weeks’ time. Then he can begin the process.

    Meanwhile he has to still sleep rough?
    That doesn't square with what that nice Mr Key was implying, nor what the people on the radio this week were saying - it's as if they don't realise they're dealing with peoples lives, self esteem and survival...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • Lindsey Rea, in reply to Emma Hart,

    At least he had got into a psych bed. I was at the District Court a couple of weeks ago when a lawyer brought in a client to see the Courts people about his bail. He was obviously very mentally unwell. She was going through his dates for Court etc which included an appointment at a Clinic in June. This was the begining of May. I bet by June he will be sicker and probably been arrested a few more times. At least he did have a bed in a boarding house.

    Since Mar 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

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