Budget an insult to the thousands without homes

“Today’s Budget is pitiful in the face of the biggest housing crisis since the 1930s Depression.

 “With thousands of people homeless in Auckland alone, Bill English’s Budget is an insult to their desperate and immediate need,” says AAAP spokesperson Sue Bradford.

“The Government says it will increase land supply in Auckland, but under the current regime all this is likely to do is create more opportunities for private developers and investors.

“English confirms a $41m budget for emergency housing that offers no new beds over the coming year, despite demand which grows by the day.

“He adds a tiny amount - $200m over four years -  to the grants available to meet social housing need.  Much of this will be soaked up by rising costs and subsidies without creating significant new housing.

“Yesterday Paula Bennett served up a revised version of an earlier announcement, offering up to $5000 to 150 families to move out of Auckland into districts where locals already face employment and housing issues.

“In the unlikely possibility that this is a success, it will still be a tiny drop in an ocean of need.

“Anne Tolley also partially backed down yesterday on MSD’s demand that beneficiaries should be made to repay all debt incurred when Work & Income places them in overpriced, shoddy accommodation, but with no clarity on how this will work in practice.

“National continues to flounder hopelessly in response to the homelessness crisis.

“AAAP calls on the Government to immediately drop its commitment to state housing privatisation and commence a major state house build and acquisition programme, employing and training some of the 280,000 jobless people who are also largely ignored by this Budget.

“The consequences of National failing to deal with the emerging catastrophe in Auckland and elsewhere will be felt for years to come in downstream welfare, education, health, housing and justice costs.”

“This is hardly the responsible fiscal management so dear to Bill English’s heart, nor the kind of compassionate conservatism once espoused by some in the National Party, including the Finance Minister himself.”