Rental home market is 'feral'

I've been looking for a rental property recently and let me tell you it's feral out there.

At one viewing I went to 70 people showed up. Everyone had a story of distress. One person told me their landlord had kicked them out so they could put the rent up $150 a week.

This property, a plain three-bedroom home with no garden, still in need of earthquake repairs, is being rented at $530 a week.

People said things to the property manager overseeing the viewing like: ''We'll pay an extra $70 a week if we can have the place''.

Feeling downhearted, I left them to their bartering.

The Press ran a series on poverty in Christchurch this month which made for sobering reading.

A report released at the same time said one in four children in New Zealand are growing up in poverty. About one in six Kiwi children are going without basic necessities, such as not having a bed, delaying a doctor's visit or missing out on meals.

One in six children.

This is the New Zealand we are living in. Is this the New Zealand you want to live in?

We need a revolution.

There's an old saying that a journo's job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

I interviewed a mother-of-three children with a newborn baby who has had to leave her home twice in one week because of earthquake-related problems which included the house next door falling onto her house while being demolished with asbestos fibres left lying around.

The last thing she said made me cry.

Her three-year-old daughter was a six-week-old baby when the February 22, 2011 earthquake happened.

Her mother said to me: "She's three years old now and this life of upheaval is all she's ever known.''

This post-quake Christchurch is all this child has known. Just think about that.

''Kia Kaha,'' Cantabrians are often told. ''Stay strong''.

Overseas quake experts have praised Cantabrians' ''resilience''.

How strong do you feel right now?

How are your resilience levels?

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is people! It is people! It is people!

We need a revolution.

The Press