“Transfer” is a friendly way of saying selling state assets.
“Regeneration” is a friendly way of saying the poor must go, so the wealthy can live here.
On this page we look at the journey of gentrification through the state-owned company (also partly owned by Panuku Development, a Council-owned company), Tamaki Regeneration Ltd. This company is known by a variety of names: Tamaki Redevelopment Company, Tamaki Housing (as their correspondence to tenants says), Tamaki Housing Association Limited Partnership. Staff and board members appear to be the same in each.
On this page, we look at …
(1) the beginnings of the Tamaki Transformation Programme in 2012.
(2) the stock transfer of 2,800 state houses into a company
(3) how redevelopment works as anti-democracy and pro-gentrification.
(4) and lastly at the company (TRC) in its actions against our member Ioela ‘Niki’ Rauti.
Beginnings of the ‘transformation’ (2012)
On July 24, 2012 at Tāmaki College in Glen Innes, the Minister of Housing Phil Heatley, and the Mayor of Auckland Len Brown signed a Heads of Agreement that saw the announcement of the Tāmaki Transformation Programme and formation of the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company.
Glen Innes residents were not invited to this meeting. When protesters came to the meeting they were met with a show of police officers brought in from Manukau and Central police stations. Some of the state home tenants being threatened with eviction were forcibly removed from the College while Brown and Heatley sat inside signing away their future.
Described as an “urban regeneration programme“, it serves to continue the harsh process of gentrification in Glen Innes and neighbouring suburbs.
The Tāmaki Redevelopment Company is to be headed by Debra Lawson. Previously the Chief Executive of Wandle Housing Association is a social housing provider based in London,
The Wandle Housing Association has had complaints ranging from a mentally ill tenant finding a suicide rope in his new home to a memory stick with the unencrypted details of 26,000 tenants found lying in a bar to potentially deadly and ‘vile’ living conditions.
Stock Transfer: the first in the National government’s Social Housing Reform Program
In April 2016, 2,800 state houses were transferred (not bought) from Housing New Zealand to Tamaki Redevelopment Company. They became landlords of 2800 households with no prior experience in acting as social landlords.
Under the social housing reforms, state houses are being transferred to Community Housing Groups (CHPs), but also to developers. These community groups do not have the capacity to look after these houses without significant government subsidy. The Salvation Army already rejected the offer of ex-state houses based on figures which proved the inability of CHPs to sustainably manage large-scale transfers. Internationally, when public housing has been given to charities or companies it results in progressive privatisation where the housing is eventually sold and tenants are evicted.
Glen Innes was the pilot project for the rest of Tāmaki (Glen Innes, Pt England, Panmure), where redevelopment companies have been involved in a state-led gentrification process under the disguise of urban renewal. This has involved the eviction of tenants and the removal or demolition of state houses.
TRC have already been involved in the destruction of the community of Glen Innes, where the poor are being evicted so that the wealthy can move in. They have silenced the voices of community members who are concerned with their future through a lack of consultation and they have not been upfront about their role in the redevelopment with the people directly affected.
How redevelopment works as anti-democracy and pro-gentrification
The redevelopment project presents itself to the public as an uncontested process that will benefit both current tenants and future, incoming middle-class residents who are seeking houses close to the central city. While TRC wants to be seen as conciliatory, as working ‘with’ the community by holding open days at the library or at Tamaki College, the voices of those in opposition are locked out, physically and metaphorically.
TRC fits into the dominant narratives, that (1) the housing crisis will be solved by building more houses regardless of how expensive they are, (2) that property developers will build more ‘effectively’, making ‘better use of land’, and (3) that state house tenants (pre-stock transfer, now ‘social housing’ tenants) have no voice or authority to take part in decision making around what happens to their own community. We disagree with this, and more and more people support us, when we say this is privatisation, we say, building more mansions does not help in a housing crisis, decreasing the number of state houses does not help in a housing crisis (actually in escalates the crisis and adds to increasing house prices), making people transient and destroying community does not help in a housing crisis.
Lastly we include an excerpt from Vanessa Cole’s 2015 thesis, ‘WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED’ Community Displacement and Dissensus in Glen Innes, Tamaki Makaurau: “In doing so, resistance opposes the logic of current liberal democracy, as particularised in urban planning, which attempts to suture antagonism with manufactured unity. The building of a mixed community and the appropriation of the language of community by developers attempts to expel inequality and resistance. This thesis demonstrates that when a community speaks against the current ordering of people – those that have a right to live in Glen Innes and those that do not – they are declaring that they exist and refuse displacement.”
Tamaki Redevelopment Company and Niki Rauti’s Fight to Stay
Ioela ‘Niki’ Rauti is an elderly heart patient being evicted from her home on Taniwha Street, Glen Innes.
Her home used to be owned by Housing New Zealand (HNZC) but was transferred to the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company (TRC).
“Transfer” is a friendly way of saying selling state assets. “Regeneration” is a friendly way of saying the poor must go, so the wealthy can live here.
TRC are redeveloping Tāmaki by removing state homes and building a mix of social, affordable and private homes. Most of the homes being built are private homes for the wealthy while low-income tenants get displaced from their community.
The land in Tāmaki was once owned by the government but is being sold to developers. The land values have increased since the redevelopment from $400,000 in 2011 to nearly 1million today. This is not about providing more housing to solve the housing crisis. This is about developers wanting prime real estate, and being supported by our government to do so.
Tenants like Niki have paid for their home through paying rent for 21 years. All people deserve a home where they feel safe and secure without the threat of being moved.
Research shows that transiency contributes to the deterioration of health in elderly and sick tenants, when moved away from their networks and home. Transiency also impacts on children where it disrupts their educational development.
The houses TRC are offering elderly tenants in the community are two story homes with three year contracts. TRC promised the people of Tāmaki that they could stay in their community. Yet families are being told to move into the private market (rising rents driven by state-led gentrification makes it unaffordable to stay in GI) or move into a state house in other parts of the city.