In a city where there are some 7000  homeless people, what Christchurch desperately needs is an exclusive luxury apartment complex with a swimming pool and fitness centre.

THE PICTURE YOU ARE LOOKING at is that of a planned Park Terrace  apartment  complex  that will overlook Hagley Park  in central Christchurch. Construction of the four-level  complex will begin in 2015 and will  take approximately one year to complete.

In 2013 it was estimated that there were approximately 7000 homeless people in Christchurch. Through no fault of their own, they find themselves living in garages, in cars, in caravans. Other people 'sofa surf' migrating from one house to another.

It has also been estimated that there are some 25,000  Christchurch  people living in overcrowded  conditions. Michael Wright of  the Salvation Army said earlier this year that it is not uncommon for  people  to be doubling up or tripling up in houses, with two or three families in one house.

And  the situation has only been exacerbated by skyrocketing rents. Christchurch rents rose a massive  20 percent in 2012 -2013 when the rise nationally  was 6 percent.

This apartment complex though will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the housing crisis but will generate substantial profits for  the people constructing  it and the private investors who will lease out some of the individual apartments.

The complex is, of course, being built for the wealthy. A three bedroom apartment in the complex will cost $2 million. It comes with the 'added bonus' of residents  having access to the complex's exclusive swimming pool and fitness centre.

Property developer Mike Greer says he is confident all the apartments will have been sold before construction begins.

""It  will be most exclusive residential development ever undertaken in Christchurch. It will compare with some of the best inner-city apartments in the world." he  told The Press. Well, that's just peachy.

In the capitalist economy there is always money for developments like this  - but never enough money to build enough affordable social housing. Not that this seems to worry The Press  which thinks this home for the rich will be a boost for Christchurch. A boost for property developers and private investors it might well be, but not for ordinary people struggling to find somewhere affordable to live.

In 2012 Quake Minister Gerry Brownlee said  the government did not want to '"influence' the housing market because it could "lower the appetite of private investors to provide a solution that could be lucrative for investors".

The result of the government's  market philosophy  is the construction of  luxury housing for the wealthy in the midst of a major housing crisis.

It beggars belief that someone like Councillor Raf Manji could ever think it was good idea to sell off the Christchurch City Council's social housing stock.

Adequate public housing should be a right in any society that claims to care about human need. But in Christchurch, as elsewhere, housing  is seen purely as a business for private gain. In a city that has been devastated by a major earthquake, creating an environment "lucrative for  investors' has led straight  to the chronic housing crisis that Christchurch has now. But at least the rich will have somewhere nice to live.



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