1,000 signatures reached
To: To the New Zealand Government
Homes for People, Not for Profit
We call on the New Zealand Government to:
- Urgently build and buy enough public homes to house the 'true waitlist' for good.
- Embed a long-term commitment of increasing public housing to 20% of all homes by 2033 to house everyone.
Why is this important?
All people should have a secure and healthy home to live in. A place to come back to, for quiet and rest, a place to experience joy with friends and family, a place to feel grounded in community. But people in government having a hands off approach to the economy means it is geared towards protecting private profit – treating houses as commodities, rather than homes for living.
Housing affects every part of our lives. The stress of hyper-short tenancies, week-to-week emergency housing grants, and the looming threat of rental increases pricing people out of their communities has a major impact on people’s wellbeing and working lives.
Public housing can provide stable and safe homes for people, yet successive governments have neglected the state housing programme, choosing to privatise and commodify houses instead of ensuring everyone has a home.  Real estate magnates are extracting profits while everyday people are being locked out of homes.
We need a bold plan out of this crisis, not piecemeal change and band aid solutions. An ambitious and significant public housing programme is a proven way of truly addressing the issue of housing. In Aotearoa, this must happen alongside a Te Tiriti based housing system where Māori have tino rangatiratanga over housing.
Government neglect of public housing impacts everyone. Forty years ago, it was possible for a family to buy a home because household income was equal to the average house price in Aotearoa. Today, families need eight times their household income to buy a house. If the government takes action to prioritise public housing, it can create the conditions where housing will be more affordable for everyone.
1 in 4 renters spend 40 percent or more of their income just on rent.  Health care workers and teachers are being priced out of their communities.  If we had more public homes available to more people in more areas of Aotearoa it increases people's opportunities to lead thriving lives - teachers can walk to their local schools to educate your kids, and health care workers to our hospitals to care for your loved ones.
By the government’s own criteria we have nearly 30,000 people and families waiting for homes right now.  But if we consider all the people and families living in unaffordable, uninhabitable and insecure housing who don’t meet the government’s criteria – the need for a build and buy programme able to house everyone becomes abundantly clear.
We know from research there are 105,747 people struggling with some form of homelessness or housing deprivation. There are also 346,998 people who are reliant on Accommodation Supplements because they cannot afford homes. This starts to paint a picture of a ‘true waitlist’ that could really benefit from more good quality, affordable public homes.
Right now, the government spends millions of dollars a week on the accommodation supplement, and emergency housing. These mechanisms are ways the government subsidise the profits of private landlords and moteliers who can charge exorbitant prices and raise this at will. Instead of doing this, the government can choose to prioritise building and buying public homes, rather than propping up property magnates and corporate profits.
Aotearoa New Zealand is falling behind when it comes to public housing, making up just 3.8% of all homes, far behind the UK at 17%; and Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands all above 20%.  Countries with higher public housing and more generous eligibility criteria have better housing outcomes for people and families.
Public housing is infrastructure for care, connection, cohesion and contribution. We need the Government to look after all of our long-term wellbeing by building and buying more public homes to house everyone.
Public Housing Futures (PHF) is a group made up of Aotearoa based researchers and organisers who believe that everyone in Aotearoa should have access to beautiful, accessible, sustainable and secure housing, and that public housing is a pathway towards this. ActionStation has teamed up with Public Housing Futures to work on this campaign.
1. Kāinga Kore: The Stage One Report of the Housing Policy and Services Kaupapa Inquiry on Māori Homelessness. Waitangi Tribunal - WAI 2750, 2023 https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_197630281/Kainga%20Kore%20W.pdf
2. Generation Rent: Rethinking New Zealand’s Priorities. Eaqub and Eaqub, 2015; New Zealand house prices drop again but still out of reach for first-time buyers. Guardian, 10 May https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/10/new-zealand-house-prices-drop-again-but-still-out-of-reach-for-first-time-buyers
3. Housing affordability more challenging for renters than homeowners. Stats NZ, accessed Jul 2023 https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/housing-affordability-more-challenging-for-renters-than-homeowners/#:~:text=In%20the%20year%20ended%20June,released%20by%20Stats%20NZ%20today
4. Housing costs driving teachers, aged care nurses away from cities that need them. Stuff, Aug 2021 https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/126061577/housing-costs-driving-teachers-aged-care-nurses-away-from-cities-that-need-them
Public Housing Quarterly report. HUD, March 2023 https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Public-Housing/HQR-Mar23-web-V2.pdf
5. Public Housing Quarterly report. HUD, March 2023 https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Public-Housing/HQR-Mar23-web-V2.pdf
6. Severe housing deprivation in Aotearoa New Zealand. Amore et al., 2018 (updated Jun 2021) https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Severe-Housing-Deprivation-2018-Estimate-Report.pdf
7. Over 100,000 people are in severe housing deprivation and struggling to access a home. Human Rights Commission, accessed July 2023 https://housing.hrc.co.nz/over_100_000_people_in_severe_housing_deprivation_and_struggling_to_access_a_home#:~:text=A%202022%20OECD%20report%20found,OECD%20average%20of%207%20percent