State house wreckers

In today’s ‘why do I even read the news it only ever pisses me off’ adventures, I came across an article on Stuff about terrible people who destroy state houses, with urgings for a crackdown on said people.

People who damage houses that are not their own and then attempt to run from the consequences are terrible people, and should be held to account. It costs landlords thousands upon thousands of dollars every year to fix the damage, and often insurance will not cover it for various reasons. So it’s a big deal.

These are my favourite two paragraphs:

By October last year, Housing NZ already had 7000 tenant-damaged properties on its books, for which it had to spend $16.2m in three months.

The majority of the damage repair bill was for fair wear and tear, natural disaster and fire repairs.

$16.2m. That’s a lot of money, and people shouldn’t be doing that much damage. It’s scandalous! And to think, it’s all wilful . . . wait. It’s mostly wear-and-tear, natural disaster, and fire damage? Whoa, you almost had me believing that there was some sort of meth-lab/wild-party/chainsaw-redecorator epidemic going on. I notice that the number is quietly not subdivided into ‘wilful damage’ and ‘normal maintenance and emergency damage’. No, that might take away from the sensationalism of the numbers.

About a tenth of Housing New Zealand’s 200,000 tenants still have damage debt owing, according to figures released by Housing NZ under the Official Information Act.

Well, that’s a very high number you’ve got there. Are we going to look at how much they owe? Those numbers are not forthcoming, suggesting that perhaps it’s not as dramatic as it sounds.

In Wellington, tenants owed a total $40,421 at October 2013 for damage to state homes they wrecked and deserted.

Oh god, $40,000 and change. For all of the Wellington area. That’s pathetic. When you look at the operating budget of entities like Housing New Zealand, this kind of number is not enough to write a newspaper article about.

Nationwide, four state-owned homes had to be demolished in 2012-13 after chemical damage caused by drug labs rendered them too dangerous to live in.

This is just another swipe at the poorer people of New Zealand. It’s sensationalising the behaviour of a few, extrapolating it to many in an unwarranted manner, and sending the result to the masses so they can judge for themselves information that’s already been tainted.

It seems that people that depend, even in part, on the state need a regular demonising so that other people don’t start thinking that poor people might actually be, well, y’know, people.


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