Spotlight on housing

The Royal Society Te Apārangi recent report “Spotlight on housing” features research from a number of Building Better reports and contributions from several Building Better researchers.

The report, one in a series by Te Tapeke Fair Futures panel, puts a spotlight on housing through a fairness lens and finds that differences in housing is a large contributor to inequity in New Zealand.

“Differences in housing are a huge part of inequity in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says panel member Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, University of Otago – Wellington, “but the wide-reaching impact on our society also means that if we solve the housing issue, we all benefit, not just those struggling to find decent housing.”

The report sets out a brief history of housing and looks at a number of topics such as Te Tiriti o Waitangi, affordability, home ownership, renting, priorities in public housing, and homelessness.

“The housing shortage is critical. It is showing up in increasingly unaffordable house and rental prices. Home ownership is at its lowest since the 1950s and renting has become less affordable. The waiting list for public housing continues to grow and homelessness is a serious problem that has grown with the housing shortage.”

There currently aren’t enough affordable houses in New Zealand to meet demand, driven mostly by a combination of rapid population growth and a shortage of new builds for low- and modest-income households.

Nearly a third of New Zealand households spent 30 per cent or more of their total income on housing costs in 2019.

Spending this much on housing affects wellbeing by cutting into budgets for food and other necessities like electricity and heating. The panel lists several actions that could help, such as setting standards that go further than the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017 and providing culturally appropriate housing.

Read the report: Spotlight on Housing

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy Te Tiriti-anchored Housing Strategies.

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Date posted: 3 November 2021