State housing

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State housing is the system of public housing offered to New Zealand residents on low to moderate incomes. Some 66,000 houses are managed by Housing New Zealand Corporation, most of which are owned by the government.

The Liberal Government

Urban working-class housing in New Zealand in the 19th century was of poor quality, with overcrowding, flimsy construction, little public space, often-polluted water, and lack of facilities for disposal of rubbish or effluent. Local bodies were not interested in enforcing existing regulations, such as minimum street widths, which might have improved housing, or in prosecuting slum landlords.

The Liberal Government, first elected in 1890, believed that the slums would cease to be a problem as workers moved to the country to become farmers or small town merchants. Instead, the cities continued to grow. A parallel idea of making Government-owned land on the outskirts of cities available for workers to create smallholdings failed to gain traction because the cheap commuter trains which might have transported them to their workplaces were not established, and the Government did not provide loans for building or allow the purchase of freehold land in the areas.

Prime Minister Richard Seddon introduced the Workers' Dwellings Act in 1905 to provide well-built suburban houses for workers who earned less than £156 per annum. He argued that these houses...
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