National announced this morning a bold new initiative to end homelessness within three years at a record low cost of one billion dollars. Early commentary by observers suggested that National’s policy was announced in response to Labour’s two billion dollar affordable-housing package.
The first phase of National’s new policy was revealed by Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith with what he called a ‘substantial new accommodation development’ in Waikeria. Smith said the new development would house 3000 people and be able to provide additional accommodation for 1500 more if demand increased. “I think think this definitely demonstrates that old adage that National are the most astute economic managers in the country” said Nick Smith.
Nick Smith led reporters on a tour of the proposed new site in the afternoon and was met with a barrage of questions. Some reporters queried the placement of the new development as it was far away from any main development centre, but Smith explained that the National Party were committed to regional development and many Aucklanders would prefer a rural lifestyle.
“Look, this is going to be one of a few facilities around the country that we plan to build that will give every New Zealander a place to reside if needed” Smith said. “People who stay here will get a life of luxury! They’ll be provided with three complimentary nutritious meals a day, and with our bulk buying power, these meals will be very economical. There will be an onsite gym, a library and the facilities will be staffed with security, cleaners and chefs! Luxury I tell you!” Furthermore, Smith said expected tenancies could last as long as 20 years, and there would be jobs available on site so tenants would not have to travel outside of the grounds.
Smith called attention to the modern concrete and steel design and large courtyards complete with sports facilities. When questioned on what appeared to be the foundations for high barbed wire fences surrounding the premises, Smith explained that many people were concerned about security and that gated communities were becoming more common. Some on the tour noted the rather small window design which would lead to a lack of natural light. At this point Mr Smith appeared frustrated “Look, compromises have to be made and people can’t have it all! Many people’s first home are not always roomy and well lit, they have to be realistic.”
At the end of the tour, the floor plans were projected to a screen. The development appeared to consist of 3000 small one bedroom units with toilets included within the same room as the bed. Smith explained, “Look, this type of housing isn’t going to appeal to everyone, we’ll first be targeting the most troubled in society, but I’m sure demand will increase and a lot of people who never imagined that they’d find themselves in a fully catered and staffed luxury premises will find themselves here. Look, it’s all part of a wider policy package tied in with some new announcements regarding other policies as diverse as those on jobs, income and law and order”
When asked for comment, Prime Minister Bill English said “This solves so many problems in a record short time with a record small budget, including the housing problem, and we basically just had to stick to our guns, focus and do nothing over the last several years to achieve this great outcome! Once again, Labour are really lacking compared to our solid, strong, stable solution.”