The opposition and the other usual suspects are exercised by the government’s plan to sell some state houses and labelling it an asset sale. But Prime Minister John Key said:
“If at the end of the day, Housing NZ sells a few state houses, well, actually, that’s happened for a long period of time. We often trade our stock.
“So if we sell some individual state houses, it’s not an asset sale. If we sold Housing New Zealand or part of it, it would be, and we have absolutely no plans to sell.”
This is like Landcorp selling some of its farms.
I’d be happy if the SOE sold more, but selling farms isn’t the same as selling the company, just as selling some houses isn’t the same as selling the entity that owns them.
Mr Key said the Government was undertaking a massive redevelopment of state housing stock because many houses were in the wrong place or unsuitable for housing needs.
If the houses are in the wrong place, in poor condition, have too many or two few rooms or are otherwise not fit for purpose it is sensible to sell them.
The issue shouldn’t be who owns which houses but what’s the best way to ensure people who need a house can get it and the government is planning to increase the supply by building more state houses and also making it easier for other providers of social housing to build.
The number of houses available matters far more than who owns them.