Selwyn Manning delivers this week’s NZ Report on FiveAA Australia’s breakfast show with Dave Penberthy, Mark Aiston, and Jane Reilly. In this bulletin: NZ Government moves to privatise thousands of state houses + Lorde causes controversy after holding Taylor Swift’s foot…
ITEM ONE: (ref. LiveNews.co.nz ) – The National-led Government has sent its strongest message yet that it intends to privatise thousands of state owned houses in the greater Auckland region.
Previous governments have viewed state housing as the backbone of New Zealand’s rental housing market. Millions of New Zealanders, including the current prime minister, grew up in state owned homes, where affordable rents helped their families to get ahead.
But yesterday (Thursday) New Zealand’s finance minister Bill English announced the Nationals will sell off around 3000 state homes to a new company, which it owns jointly with Auckland Council.
It is the first wave of disinvestment planned for the next ten years.
Last week the Government approved a $200 million loan to the new company for it to purchase the homes off the Government.
Under the current law, state house tenants pay only a percentage of the household income in rent. By shifting the state’s housing stock across to business ownership, it can demand, should it wish, market rents from tenants.
The Government currently owns 1 in 16 homes in Auckland. Bill English said yesterday the new social housing company will turn 2800 state homes into 7500 new homes – two thirds of those will be sold to private homeowners and landlords, the remaining third will remain with the new social housing company.
When the Nationals were last in Government in the 1990s it had commercialised the state housing corporation and operated a policy called ‘market rents for state house tenants’. The policy was tossed out in 2000 by Labour after the policy led to overcrowding, illness, and general poverty.
But yesterday, the Finance Minister said: “… we need to do a better job with them for the sake of tenants and aspiring homeowners, as well as for the neighbourhoods they live in and the wider city.”
ITEM TWO: (ref. NZHerald ) – New Zealand’s international singing sensation Lorde has created quite a mystery after a photo was released of her holding onto US performer Taylor Swift’s foot!
The photo went viral on social media this week. The photo shows Lorde resting on the ground, holding onto Taylor Swift’s foot, while the latter sat on a tandem tricycle surrounded by friends.
Personally, I can’t see what the big deal was, but millions around the world seemed to think it was a signal that Swift and Lorde were more than just friends.
But then, as a Kiwi reporter said yesterday, perhaps Swift couldn’t balance on the trike for the photo so Lorde was just helping her out.