Hous­ing a loom­ing is­sue

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION/NEWS -

Fol­low­ing the furore sur­round­ing the sale or oth­er­wise of the Moana Court Flats by the lo­cal coun­cil, I asked my­self: Just what is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of lo­cal or na­tional gov­ern­ment to pro­vide hous­ing for any­one and ev­ery­one who can’t af­ford to buy their own?

The Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights, Ar­ti­cle 25 (1) states: “Ev­ery­one has the right to a stan­dard of liv­ing ad­e­quate for the health and well­be­ing of him­self and of his fam­ily, in­clud­ing food, cloth­ing, hous­ing and med­i­cal care and nec­es­sary so­cial ser­vices . . .”

From the ear­li­est times of Chris­tian­ity, it has been a cus­tom for those who have to sup­port those who have not, and this tradition has be­come en­shrined in law and cus­tom all over the world.

No mat­ter how pro­gres­sive and wealthy a coun­try might be, there are al­ways peo­ple who can­not, for what­ever rea­son, make ends meet. So who picks up the tab?

From the foun­da­tion of our own coun­try, it has been mainly the reli­gious groups that have ful­filled this obli­ga­tion to their less for­tu­nate brethren. But in the years since the es­tab­lish­ment of the wel­fare state, the cli­mate has changed.

Some reli­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions have found their main work taken over by the State or have been forced to close ei­ther by lack of State sup­port or by the plethora of reg­u­la­tions which have sprung up over the years, mak­ing their job im­pos­si­ble.

Again I ask, who fills the gap? Af­ford­able hous­ing is a real prob­lem these days, even for those earn­ing good money. For those in the lower ech­e­lons – ben­e­fi­cia­ries, su­per­an­nu­i­tants with­out other in­come, un­em­ployed, and so on – there is no way they can hope to buy a house for them­selves and fam­i­lies.

It is hard enough pay­ing the power, rates and food bills, let alone sav­ing for a house. What used to be the aim of most New Zealan­ders is now be­com­ing a dream for an in­creas­ing num­ber. So where are they to go? And how does this sit­u­a­tion af­fect the rest of us?

Some would say that the Gov­ern­ment should look af­ter it. That means us, the tax­pay­ers, of course. Are we happy to have the ‘‘gov­ern­ment’’ take charge? Would we be happy to let a large pro­por­tion of our taxes and rates go to pro­vid­ing hous­ing for what used to be called the ‘‘un­de­serv­ing poor’’? If not, what other so­lu­tions are there? I do not pre­tend to have the an­swers to these co­nun­drums. I sim­ply pose them for your con­sid­er­a­tion.

We are left with the un­wel­come knowl­edge that many of our vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens face the fu­ture in less than op­ti­mum hous­ing.

If at the mo­ment we en­joy own­er­ship of our home, where will we be in the fu­ture?

Af­ford­able hous­ing for the el­derly, cer­tainly, is hard to come by. If, like me, you have a house in a less favoured area (re­gard­less of the ac­tual state or style of the house in ques­tion), even sell­ing it will not bring in enough funds to buy in to a re­tire­ment vil­lage.

Last month we learnt some un­com­fort­able facts about how much in tax is taken from our su­per­an­nu­a­tion. It made rather un­com­fort­able learn­ing, es­pe­cially in view of our dis­cus­sion above about the price of hous­ing.

This month we are wel­com­ing the Min­is­ter for Se­nior Cit­i­zens, Jo Good­hew, to tell us some­thing about her min­istry and how it in­ter­acts with her other port­fo­lios.

It would cer­tainly be in­ter­est­ing to know just how much clout her min­istry has, given some MPs’ view that Se­nior Cit­i­zens should be a front bench port­fo­lio in par­lia­ment.

I’m sure you have many ques­tions you would like to ask her. So come along, and have your ques­tions ready.

Date: Tues­day, Au­gust 14. Time: 1.30pm. Venue: The Porirua Club, Lodge Place, Porirua. Contact: He­len Grif­fith, phone 236 0112.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.