22nd July 2019
The growing housing shortage crisis about more than supply and demand- it is about inequity.
Recently released analysis by Kiwibank shows that last year’s “severe” shortage of housing has worsened, with the
shortfall growing from 100,000 to 130,0000 homes- set to hit 150,000 next year if nothing changes.
“These figures are bad news for countless New Zealanders struggling with the cost of rent, many of whom have little to
no hope of ever affording a home,” Lucy Sandford-Reed, Chief Executive of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social
Workers (ANZASW) said.
“As social workers are trained to do, we see this issue from a wide-lensed perspective. We know that houses are being
built at a growing rate and that some factors, such as net migration levels, are contributing to under-supply- but
ultimately the bigger issue here is about the privileging of market forces over social well-being and the way wealth is
distributed in our society,” she added.
“Increasing housing stock through government schemes is important, but let’s not forget that
as long as workers are not getting paid a living wage, many people are going to be priced out of the market possibly for
their whole lives. Housing affordability cannot be fixed by increasing supply alone,” Luis Arevalo, ANZASW member and
organiser for the Public Services Association (PSA), said.
“Analysis suggests that employers are spending a smaller proportion of their revenue on wages, while incomes for many
are not rising to meet the cost of living, leaving growing numbers of New Zealanders forced to get emergency grants to
cover housing costs; meanwhile, stocks of state and emergency housing remain critically low, even as waiting lists
lengthen” Sandford-Reed argued.
“This combination of insufficient pay and high levels of demand for housing will continue to create poor outcomes for
many New Zealanders until something changes at a fundamental level. Put simply, wealth needs to be more evenly spread
out across society if we are ever going to fix this,” she said.