While the world was focused on the outcome of the US election, some 100 residents from Glen Innes (Auckland), Maraenui (Hawkes Bay) and Pomare (Lower Hutt) marched in protest to Parliament to present a petition for immediate action on the housing crisis affecting low-income families in these areas.
Angry residents protested the government’s housing policies, policies that allow Housing New Zealand to evict families, dismantle existing state housing for “redevelopment” and change state housing eligibility. In Hawkes Bay and Napier there were hundreds of families waiting for state housing; the changes have reduced the number eligible to just 70. All the while state houses are left vacant as families languish in overcrowded conditions.
The Government has argued for “maximising the return from their property portfolio” which translates to a “property developer fuelled land grab” according to Tamaki Housing Group, a Glen Innes resident action group.
There is a real struggle going on in Glen Innes between residents and Housing New Zealand – recently Hone Harawira was arrested at a protest in solidarity with poor residents facing the loss of their homes. John Minto and others in Mana have also built and sustained these demonstrations. Resistance is gathering on the ground.
Residents from Glen Innes, Maraenui and Pomare fighting back are an inspiration to us all. We in the International Socialists were proud to join them on this rally.