This week's Wire Worry Week theme is Housing Crisis. Today, producer Lisa Boudet looks into Aotearoa's "ghost homes": houses that are left inoccupied by their owners.
While we wait for the 2018 census data to ba analysed, the previous figures of 2013 showed 185.000 houses in New Zealand had been listed as empty, with about 3/4 having effectively no one living in them at the time the data was collected. Earlier this month, the government announced a $100 million plan to fight homelessness in the country, including $37 milion in temporary motel accomodation.
Now voices, like political activist John Minto's, are rising saying another solution is taxing owners of underutilised houses.
Vancouver, Canada, has chosen this path. Every house that has not been rented for at least 4 months of a given year will be taxed 1% of its assessed value. This year, the city has collected CAN$30 million.
So, should New Zealand follow in Vancouver's footsteps?