Sunday, 22 March 2015

A day or two in the life of Bill English.

State Housing  stuff-up…

Finance [supposed] whiz-kid Bill English, while in the shower one Thursday [that’s the day he never goes to Parliament] had a brain-storm, to help get into surplus he would sell off around 4000 state houses…this would win him Brownie points with the PM and aid the policy of selling off state assets…without actually asking permission to do so. His second thought was, ‘Salvation Army…they are a wealthy cash cow, they love the down pressed, they help the poor, they play musical instruments and shout ‘hallelujah’ from time to time. So he’d make them an offer they couldn’t refuse…and turn them into the biggest landlord in the country. He was so elated by his wonderful idea that he leaped out of the shower and shouted to his wife…”eureka…I’m brilliant… His wife shouted back, you’re not; your bloody naked and not a pleasant sight, for god sake get a towel…

All this took place some months ago…Old Bill…set the plan in motion amid an up roar of those working in the social housing field…and with those living in State housing. He was a hero amongst the super right-wingers as well as many, local council’s like the Palmerston North City Council who believed they too could cast off the odious role of running social housing stock.

Sadly poor wee Bill English dropped into a pool of crap when the Salvation Army turned down his sneaky, unworthy and shameless effort to sell them a rotten apple… While the Salvation Army may shout hallelujahs from time to time, they are wise when it comes to rotten business deals. Anyway after being given the news, Wee Bill climbed back into the shower and turned on the cold tap…    

This from the NZ Herald…

The Salvation Army has decided against buying state homes off the Government, a blow the Labour Party says is "hugely embarrassing".
The decision came after a study to test its capacity to become a major social housing landlord.
Prime Minister John Key confirmed earlier plans to go through the transfer in January. The plan is to transfer more of the responsibility for housing low-income and vulnerable tenants by selling a portion of housing stock to community providers such as churches, iwi and non-government organisations.
But Major Campbell Roberts, of the Salvation Army, says the church organisation does not believe "the lives of tenants would be sufficiently improved by such a transfer".

This is from someone who was involved in repairing state housing stock…his comments give balance as we need to recognise how short-sighted it is to let maintenance slip to such an extent.  

“I am very pleased for the Sallies that they have seen the offer for what it is. All they would be getting for their Hard Earned would be a bunch of old, out dated wooden houses, in very poor condition from a maintenance point of view, which would cost telephone numbers to restore to even a basic minimum living standard. It only takes a short drive through any State Housing area to see the numbers of houses in serious need of repainting. What they are like inside is anybody’s guess.

I worked for a couple of clowns some years ago, ostensibly refurbishing elderly houses. Everything was done to a minimum standard. Sure, in some cases new baths were installed. But in other areas it was a different story. In the kitchens I had to replace drawer runners that with years of usage had become hopelessly worn out. Not only was that, but the bottoms of the drawers themselves completely worn out and for the best possible result, the drawer would have needed to be machined and a new runner fixed to restore it to its correct standard. That just didn’t happen.

In the lounges and bedrooms the damage to the wall linings was a revelation. In one bedroom I repaired 17 small holes in the walls. In some cases the damage required a cut out in the lining and insertion of a patch and replastering, a slow, time consuming, job. Many of those houses were approaching sixty years of age and long past their useful use by dates. All were built mainly of OB Rimu (Ordinary Building) a timber very prone to borer attack. The supposition promulgated by Estate Agents that by buying a State House you would be getting a SOLID home is a complete fable. What you in fact get is a heap of rubbish well past its ‘use by’ date!

What the Government has done, is to have surveyed the entire scene and decided the levels of deferred maintenance represent a cost, that as the nation’s biggest housing provider, is a cost it is not prepared to envisage, hoping instead to flick those liabilities to some other poor mug, who due to greed and ignorance would be prepared to add utter liabilities to their rental portfolios. I doubt very much if any of the houses I worked on were scheduled for repainting.
It is an unwritten rule in this country that any timber house must enjoy a five year painting cycle for maximum preservation of the asset.

Not only that but repainting of the interiors should be on a ten year painting cycle. It goes without saying that the range of interior damage I witnessed would need to be addressed during that stage. Only then could those houses be considered to be maintained to a reasonable standard. A feature of weatherboards which clad most of the houses is that when paint perishes with age the effect of the sun is to dry out the timber and cause hairline cracks in the surface. Which even if painted caused the paint to fracture along the cracks as the timber proceeds to expand and contract with the normal action of the weather, causing accelerated paint breakdown.

The kitchens, which can be considered the action centre of every house, were modern sixty years ago, but hopelessly out-dated in this day and age. As a minimum every house should have been fitted with a modern kitchen doing away with the hopeless cupboards, pushed hard up to the eight foot high ceilings, which saw the top shelves, in most instances, never used. With that they would have been a slightly more saleable proposition and drawing possible purchaser’s attention away from the other defects, outlined here". Comments end.

Bill English was a flop as leader of the National Party, and it would appear that the same title can be used in regard to his effort as Finance Minister...but he is ideal for John Key, one because he never argues with the boss and secondly he never lets the truth spoil his behaviour.

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