What Exactly Is Our Housing Problem?

Does New Zealand have a housing problem that is caused by too many people and not enough houses? Dunedin Methodist Mission CEO Laura Black sees it differently. She sees our problem not as a shortage of houses but as a mismatch between where the affordable houses are and where the people wanting a house live. Continue reading

No Hide(ing) from Water Privatisation

The Alliance is 100 percent opposed to the creeping privatisation of local facilities, especially water, that is being promoted by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

Alliance Economic Development Spokesperson Quentin Findlay says that Mr Hide was unsuccessfully trying to conceal the threat of water privatization under the Local Government Amendment Act.

“Rodney can’t hide the fact that private business concerns are going to have the power to turn off the taps for a considerable period of time under the amendments to the Local Body Act.”

Mr Findlay said that the new Act was a “Trojan Horse” that handed multinational companies like the Suez Company and Veolia Environment S.A. access into a New Zealand “water market.”

“Experience around the world shows once private companies are involved in water provision, costs incurred by the taxpayer actually increase. In England, where privatization had occurred, tariffs had increased by 47% in nine years.”

Mr Findlay says the Alliance Party did not want private-public partnerships in water.

“Basic infrastructure such as water and electricity should be in public ownership, administered for the public good by democratically elected public bodies. There should be no private profit from public facilities.”

Local Government New Zealand had noted that some local bodies accepted the public-private partnership model as they were not able to extend or repair existing infrastructure.

Mr Findlay said that while such a concern was understandable, the problem could be overcome very easily.

“Simply, the state could maintain an infrastructure organisation which would undertake infrastructure repair or upgrades such as maintaining, replacing or extending water pipes in areas where local bodies had funding or manpower issues. Such a body would be similar to the old Ministry of Works.”

The Alliance would be prepared to break contracts with private firms and take basic infrastructure such as water back into public ownership.

Government paralysis in transport failing New Zealand

The Alliance Party says New Zealand’s transport infrastructure should not be allowed to fall victim to the National Government’s lack of foresight and lack of leadership.

Alliance Party transport spokesperson Trevor Hanson says at least two New Zealand regions have had their transport infrastructure put under threat as a result of dominant market players making unilateral decisions – decisions that have serious affected regional industry.

He says it appears the regions are being left high and dry by the Government. Continue reading

Vector's dim-bulb sellout will leave us powerless

The sale by electricity supplier Vector of the UnitedNetworks lines company to a Chinese-based corporation is a threat to secure and affordable power to New Zealanders, says the Alliance Party.

Alliance spokesperson Victor Billot says the basic infrastructure of New Zealand including electricity must remain not just in New Zealand hands, but in the full ownership and control of the people of New Zealand, to be managed for the public good.

Mr Billot says the buyup is linked directly to investment giant Hutchison Whampoa, which failed in a bid to gain a controlling interest in the Port of Lyttelton in 2006.

“These predatory multinationals have no interest in the future of New Zealand except whatever profit they can extract, as the debacle with the railways privatization showed in the 1990s. If the people do not own and control the vital infrastructure of our nation, we have become tenants in our own land.” Continue reading