Public sector workers’ housing struggle
Nearly half of public sector workers in Auckland can’t afford the house they’re in and most are considering leaving the city, according to a Public Service Association submission to a mayoral taskforce on housing.
Sixty per cent of respondents to a PSA survey said they had considered leaving Auckland for housing reasons, four in 10 for transportation issues, and nearly half said they currently lived in unaffordable accommodation. The survey attracted more than 2500 responses and was presented after a PSA event at Aotea square on Friday afternoon.
PSA policy advisor Sarah Martin said their survey attracted its first 1500 responses in only two hours.
‘‘We were just overwhelmed by the heartbreaking stories,’’ Martin said.
‘‘People who had been working all of their lives and were having multiple generations having to live with them because their children couldn’t afford anywhere to live.’’
Martin said stagnant wages in the public sector and skyrocketing Auckland house prices had created an undesirable situation for public service employees including for older workers in their fifties.
‘‘The sense of shame was really sad, that they were professionals who had been working all their life and they’re still in this untenable situation.’’
Stories in the submission included one health worker who was forced to commute 220 kilometres every day and another who was left with just $55 a fortnight after paying rent.
Several of the stories were written on placards and displayed at the event.
‘‘We cannot afford a home of our own to rent,’’ wrote one community worker who said she and her husband, both in their fifties, who had been forced to moved in to their son’s home.
‘‘We both get really depressed, we cry a lot, as we feel we are intruding on our son trying to raise his three sons.’’
A survey last year revealed applicants for vacant teacher positions in Auckland were well down on previous years.
The Primary Principals Association President cited housing and transportation as the main reasons potential applicants were looking for positions outside of Auckland.
26, jokes that he’ll only be able to afford a house if he marries into landed gentry.