“The government’s planned sell-off of state housing will cause serious harm to the education of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children”, says QPEC Spokesperson John Minto.
Pushing more low-income families into the private housing market and social housing will mean another increase in transience (children changing schools frequently) because more families will struggle to pay the higher rents.
Housing from private landlords and social housing providers is typically much more expensive than income-related rents provided through state housing. When income-related rents were introduced, school transience reduced. This policy will have the opposite effect.
The effect will be to destabilise more families and increase the educationally-disastrous levels of transience. Some schools in low-income areas already have a student turnover of more than half their school roll each year because of transience related directly to poverty.
These transient children are the students who are failing. They make up the “long tail of underachievement” the government says it wants to address.
However National’s policy of selling state houses will increase the huge pool of children changing schools frequently. It will throw up more barriers to education for the children who need the most help.
“Selling state houses is a very cynical policy targeted at families already struggling with issues related to poverty and inequality. John Key’s trademark is to be able to say with a straight face that policies that are destructive to the poor are good for everyone. But there is no good news story with this announcement – only another rise in housing costs for those least able to afford it”, says John Minto.
State housing provides affordable income related rents and helps stabilise families. We need more state houses to stabilise more children and enable them to succeed at school. QPEC challenges the government to find any family paying income-related rents who will be better off or have a more stable existence as a result of this policy.