Everyone’s House Is Their Castle

Housing is set to be an election issue. Rightly so. Far too many people are without a warm dry home. Far too many people pay exorbitant rents. Taxpayers are forced to stump up a large portion of this rent for people whose employers do not see it as their responsibility to pay their workers a wage that would enable them to afford the extortionate rent charged by their landlords.

Only a few people are able to afford buy a home to live in. Most of those people live in the less populated/popular areas where sanity has prevailed and houses are still regarded as somewhere to live, not an easy way to make a quick buck.

We all get the problem, but this election let’s not just talk about how many new houses the government – or whoever they delegate the job to – should build over the next ten years. Whatever the amount, if nothing else changes it won’t be nearly enough. Continue reading

Housing 101 – Back to Basics

The United Nations Charter states in article 25 of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services”.

Any discussion on housing needs to start from the premise that adequate housing has been identified as a basic human right. Housing, whether rented or owned, needs to be affordable for everyone. Houses are for people to live in, to provide shelter, not a way to make money. Continue reading

Everyone is Entitled to a Place to Call ‘Home’

The Alliance believes that to solve the housing crisis we need a radical rethink on the role of housing. It sounds self evident but we need to start from the premise that a house is for people to live in, a home, and everyone is entitled to one.

We need to embrace article 25 of the United Nations Declaration of Universal Rights which lists housing as a basic right. If we do this as a country, making sure everyone has warm dry affordable housing must become one of the main jobs for every government.

This may be painful for some. Houses tend to be seen as a safe investment, a good way to make money, particularly in the deregulated environment of the past 30 odd years. During this time government involvement in housing has been frowned upon. “The market will provide,” we were told. Quite clearly it hasn’t. Time to move on! Continue reading

Dealing to Inequality Will Keep Us Safer than Mass Surveillance

The Alliance Party believes that the Big Brother inspired GCSB bill is a futile waste of time and money that will allow the invasion of our privacy and destroy our peace of mind.

We are not criminals and we don’t need this kind of mass surveillance. It will not make New Zealand a safer place or a better place to live. What It will do is destroy our quality of life by creating a level of paranoia that makes us edgy and afraid, when there is no reason to be. Continue reading

Was New Zealand's UN water vote flop due to privatization plans?

The Alliance Party has criticized a decision by New Zealand delegates at the United Nations to abstain from a vote to have safe drinking water and sanitation recognized as a basic human right.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says that fortunately for the 884 million people worldwide who don’t have access to safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion who lack access to basic sanitation, 122 countries did vote in favour of the resolution.

“As a result, no thanks to New Zealand’s delegation, the right to water and sanitation is now recognized by the United Nations as a human right.”

Ms Murray says the New Zealand representative’s excuse that “the text had been tabled before the delegation had had an opportunity to consider its provisions” was difficult to fathom.

“It is a very simple concept. People need water and adequate sanitation to live. Anything that is a necessity of life should be a basic human right. ”

In introducing the resolution the Bolivian representative stated that some 1.5 million children under five years old died each year from water and sanitation related diseases.

Ms Murray says the Alliance Party wonders if the New Zealand decision was influenced by the privatization agenda for water that is becoming apparent in New Zealand.

“If everyone is entitled as of right to water, it will restrict profiteering by global corporations taking control of our water under National’s privatization agenda and free trade deals.”

That the USA abstained from the vote was no doubt another major factor, as it seems as far as the National Government is concerned, where the USA goes New Zealand follows.

ENDS

For more information, contact Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray on 0211672843