Wednesday, 9 May 2007

"Affordable" housing at $400k a pop!

Hard on the heels of the economically illiterate housing minister insisting that developers be forced to supply "affordable" houses on land made unaffordable by the housing minister's regulations -- "How?" "Somehow!" -- there comes a lesson in what happens when "non-profit organisations" get involved in so-called affordable housing.

Unveiled yesterday was a grand scheme, in fact a competition-winning scheme prepared for the Auckland City Mission -- -- "an audacious plan" no less! -- designed, said the excited unveilers "to house 80 of the estimated 250 to 400 inner-city homeless in a 170-unit apartment development surrounding a new square next to the historic church of St Matthew-in-the-City."

The cost? A cool $70 million. That's over $400,000 per-unit. Those 80 heretofore homeless are to be audaciously housed indeed! Over $400,000 per-unit... Just the sort of thing you'd expect from a combination of "multi award winning innovative building designers" (well, that's what their award winning website calls them), a token Maori (Rewi Thompson), and a "not-for-profit" name charity. Everyone's a winner, except of course for those picking up the tab.

Oh, who is picking up the tab, you ask? The answer is right there in the article: Other "non-profit organisations ... which may include the three bodies which paid for the design competition - Housing New Zealand, the ASB Community Trust and the Auckland City Council." In other words: you are.

[Disclosure: I did not submit an entry into the competition, though I would have if I'd known -- though with no expectation of success: I would have been sorely tempted to try designing something that actually would be affordable. Foolish, I know.]

Oh, and in related news: In Ireland, house-builders are saying "Stuff you!" to their so-called "affordable housing scheme" requiring them to build "affordable housing" on land made unaffordable by over-regulation -- exactly the sort of scheme planned by Minister Carter.

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