Housing shapes as battleground

For whatever reason Jenny Shipley and Jim Bolger in 1992 completely changed the structure and focus of Housing Corporation NZ, it must be causing the National Party to rue their actions in light of the current shortage of 100,000 low-cost homes, especially in the Auckland area.

On the local scene, the department had been established since 1938 and had been active in the construction of many hundreds of rental homes and many thousands of mortgage homes.

The rental stock had many tradespersons engaged on contract works, most of which were advertised for public tender in The Southland Times.

Many of the mortgage homes have now reached the stage, due to obsolescence etc, where there is a need for upgrade works such as roofing, windows, wall cladding, insulation, kitchens and so on.

The department used to have an improvement loan for these works, which was extensively used.

Staff consisted of frontline personnel to sort out the many financial and welfare problems. As well, there were technical and professional staff for field works.

Now that the parties are aware there is a housing supply problem, Labour leads the way with a target of 10,000 new homes each year for 10 years.

National trails with a superficial plan to train apprentices. John Key (as the song goes) looked a definite shade of pale, and close to fainting, when replying to Labour's intentions on TV.

The Minister of Housing, Phil Heatley, because of lack of policy, has been replaced.

This year looks to be interesting on the housing situation, with more to come yet. Watch this space!