Twelve thousand Housing New Zealand or ‘state’ owned houses are to be sold into the private sector under the guise of community services.
The weekend announcement by housing minister Nick Smith will see the further transfer of publicly owned state assets into the private sector. Minister Smith says that the reason the government is selling off these houses is because the needs of those who currently live in state houses can be better met by community based organisations.
At the moment all taxpayers own and contribute to providing a level of social security to all the citizens of our nation through social welfare, education, health, and housing policies.
“Time and time again research has provided evidence that adequate housing is one of the most basic needs that will contribute to the health and well being of the people of our nation and is therefore a fundamental responsibility of the state rather than the private sector”, says Dr Rose Black from Poverty Action Waikato.
If the government decides it cannot afford to provide social housing how might an already very stretched and slimly resourced community sector do so?
Rather than sell off publically owned state houses the government would serve the public better by setting up ways in which state and community organisations work together to provide for the housing needs of people.
The sale of more State owned houses will further exacerbate the growing inequality in our society as support for the poorer members of society are no longer met by an ethos of social security. The level playing field and notions of equal opportunity are becoming more mythical by the day.