With the Treasury exercising bureaucratic control of the policy, it has become even more unstoppable by virtue of English having been quietly working away for the past four years on introducing a new model for state housing with the ultimate goal of getting the state out of providing houses for the poor and handing that role to community groups, iwi and other private-sector organisations.

His so far carefully sequenced steps will ultimately see the dominant entity in the current market, Housing New Zealand, likely disappear.

Those in need of social housing will be assessed by the Ministry of Social Development. If they qualify, the market will provide them with a house. Or so English intends.

As it is, this revamp of social housing could easily cut right across the Prime Minister’s efforts to demonstrate National is serious about tackling child poverty.

The Children Commissioner’s expert advisory group, which two years ago produced the most comprehensive analysis yet of child poverty in New Zealand, identified housing standards as a critical factor.

Moreover, addressing the housing situation for children living in poverty was the top priority of those who provided feedback on the expert group’s initial report.

The group noted children in poverty frequently lived in poor quality or overcrowded houses, which were linked to the spread of infectious diseases including respiratory infections, such as childhood pneumonia, rheumatic fever and meningococcal virus.

Overcrowding also affected children’s mental health, social well-being and performance at school.

Yet, the message the public is picking up from English is that the Government is no longer interested in replenishing the housing stock managed by Housing New Zealand, whose value to National as a state agency instead resides in the sizeable annual dividend produced by the corporation at the behest of English and his Cabinet colleagues.

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Bill English and the National party haven’t taken long since the start of their third term to continue the privatising of New Zealand, this time having a crack at the state housing asset base.

John Key recently promised he would do something about child poverty. Unfortunately by that he meant directly increase child poverty rates by going for the heart of the state welfare in New Zealand and selling state house assets, relying on the capitalist free-market to solve the issues. This move is completely ignoring the expert advisory’s recommendations that housing standards should be the top priority in fixing the ever increasing situation. The only welfare National are interested in maintaining is corporate welfare.

Private investors will not only get a nice discounted price for the assets, but will also get rent subsidies from the government for life, all at the cost of the taxpayer. Again, the goal is to steal from the poor and give to the rich by redistributing the wealth upwards. The result from this, however, is poor families having nowhere to live, further overcrowding houses and putting a bigger strain on the public healthcare system as more people get sick. Does this behaviour really reflect the clean-green, caring New Zealand culture we try to sell to the rest of the world? It seems so considering the public majority voted for National. Next we can expect the healthcare sector to be privatised, all in time with Key’s hopeful signing of the TPPA while the corporate media diverts New Zealand’s attention using red herrings such as the flag referendum.

It is still hard to believe the blind ignorance of the majority of New Zealand voters, and speaks volumes for the ‘ME’ society we live in where those who are well off are happy to ignore the struggle more and more families in New Zealand are now facing.

The gap between the haves and have-nots is becoming much clearer and following history, the pitchforks will soon be out.

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Wake Up NZ is a team of dedicated truth-seekers from all over New Zealand. We are committed to disseminating information that the mainstream media fails to bring to you.

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