'Radical' change needed to tackle New Zealand's severe housing deprivation - political commentator

"Radical" and "transformational" change is needed to help get the thousands of people living in severe housing deprivation out and into homes, two political commentators say.

It comes as locals in the Far North's Utakura Valley describe their desperate living conditions as a result of decades of neglect and inequality.

About 41,000 people are experiencing severe housing deprivation or are homeless.

Later on Tuesday, the Government is due to announce its response to the housing crisis, but political commentator Shane Te Pou believes this is only going to "tinker around the edges".

"I don't think that's going to help the people of Northland or the eastern Bay of Plenty. We're living in two worlds really, aren't we?" he told The Hui on Monday night.

"I really do not seriously expect any relief any time soon for the 41,000 people living in crisis."

He said about 20,000 people will enter New Zealand next year once the borders reopen to visitors, but they'll go to Auckland.

"We need a radical shift, and this Government has a majority, it has the political capital to do it, it really hasn't, to date I don't think, had the political will."

Shane Te Pou.
Shane Te Pou. Photo credit: The Hui

Te Pou said while he's unsure how to fix the housing crisis that's affecting those trying to get onto the property ladder, he believes the Government needs to build more state homes to help house those who experience severe housing deprivation.

"Build state homes and then build some more. In the 30s when we had our housing crisis, what did we do in Mount Roskill? We build 5000, 10,000 state homes and that's what we've got to do. And if they're not state homes, then they're hapu or iwi-based homes. We've got to house people in immediate need."

Tau Henare, a former MP and now a political commentator, agreed with Te Pou that there needs to be "transformational change" and more houses need to be built.

"What's going to solve the problem in Utakura? What Shane says. Give us $10 million and we'll build enough houses in Utakura so that all these people can be housed on their own land," he told The Hui.

"This is a horrible situation. How dare New Zealand in 2021 have this sort of situation? I'm not blaming the Government, I blame all governments from mine to this one and everybody in between."