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.