Nick Smith's announcement that the government intends to build 700 new state houses in Christchurch by 2015  will usher in new urban ghettoes and the further privatisation of the state housing sector. But both the corporate media and the Labour Party welcomed Smith's announcement.

Nick Smith's announcement last month  that the Government  intends to build 700 new state  houses in Christchurch by 2015 shamefully received uncritical support from the media and the Labour Party.

The Minister for Housing  got to wax lyrical about  his 700 new houses, declaring that it  was  'biggest government house building programme in Christchurch's history' and not a dissenting voice could be heard. Nick Smith, thanks to a docile media and equally docile Labour Party, got to portray  himself as man bearing gifts for the people of Christchurch. In fact, he delivered something a whole lot more unpleasant.

But Chris  Lynch, the host of Newstalk ZB's morning show in Christchurch, was entirely enthusiastic about the government's announcement.  He suggested to his guests on his regular panel discussion show that 'there is nothing to complain about here.'  One of his guests, Lianne Dalziel MP, responded that 'it was a start'.

Indeed Labour's only criticism has been that it  has doubts about the government  being able to build 700 houses in two years.

Smith made his announcement to the assembled  media at a building site  in Wilding Street in St Martins  Here they have demolished one state  house and are now building three  small and cheap two   bedroom boxes on the site.  The occupants will be living on top of each other. No garden areas are being provided. Privacy will be difficult.

Despite this  'urban  intensification'  there have been no new provisions  made for new community areas such as parks and playgrounds.

But  Smith says building multiple houses on single sections is being done deliberately.He says this is 'making better use of the land and building a lot more homes.'

He may deny it but what he is really doing is  creating new urban ghettoes

And the other nasty twist   in the tail that both the media and the Labour Party have  blithely  ignored is that Smith intends to sell many of  these new state houses to   'social housing providers'.

Smith's goal is to reduce the government's commitment to state housing  by handing over the houses to private charities.  They will be under  no obligation to provide income - related rents and tenants will find themselves being forced to pay market rents.

There is no plan for sustainable housing in Christchurch and in New Zealand - and that is something to complain and protest about.


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