Weekend Herald

How we got to a housing crisis — and the way out


Ben Leahy’s article “Out Of House & Home” (Weekend Herald, July 10) squarely sets out the issues facing housing but it offers no explanatio­n of how we got to this point or the possible way out.

We got here because of neoliberal economic policies by all government­s from the 1980s up until the last National Government was defeated in 2017. Under this regime, less and less social housing was built (state houses). “The market will decide” was the mantra.

Well, the market decided, and this is the result. The market model is a complete failure.

The most successful housing policy in NZ’s history was that implemente­d by the 1936 Labour Government and continued by subsequent government­s up until 1984.

State housing ran on the basis of government-subsidised rentals; if you wanted to buy, the fundamenta­l criteria was that payments under the State Advances Corporatio­n took no more than a third of your income.

This scheme was the basis on which the wealth was built of the World War II generation and their children, “the Baby Boomers”.

Surely such a similar scheme is the way forward rather than repeating failed policies.

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