7 Nov 2015

Housing crisis spurs groups into action

11:00 am on 7 November 2015

Housing groups throughout the country are planning to take part in nation-wide protests to reinvigorate political interest in the number of problems facing the housing sector.

Birds eye view of Palmerston North housing.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The coalition will launch a series of hikoi in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on November 21 to try and trigger political action on several issues affecting everyone from the very poor to middle income earners.

The campaign is built around policy demands including state subsidies for modest income homeownership programmes, a set minimum standard for all rented housing and for a statutory right for people to be housed included in legislation.

Coalition spokesperson Sue Bradford said the protest movement was a call out to all politicians after it seemed housing fell off the political agenda. "We've got to start taking action.

Sue Bradford.

Sue Bradford. Photo: SUPPLIED

"We're saying to all the political parties please pay attention.

"It's almost as though the problem is so big that other political parties perhaps... their response seems really inadequate at the moment."

She said an issue that stood out was the level of homelessness in Auckland. "The crisis is at a level that hasn't yet been substantiated because it's very difficult, but you ask any group on the ground in Auckland and they'll tell you the same story; emergency housing is full."

The housing crisis in the country has become so serious that those in the sector have to come together to push for a political response if change is to happen, she said.

"One of the key things about this hikoi [is that it's] the first time that people have come together around a series of demands that encapsulate both state housing tenants, the people who are homeless, people who are renting, people who are trying to buy homes in an impossible market when you're on a low to middle income ..."

Ms Bradford said above all everyone in the country should have a right to a decent, safe place to live and New Zealand was way behind its peers in the delivery of that service.