Dec 20, 2019 | News

The Shift Aotearoa creates a platform to discuss and understand what a well-functioning housing system means in Aotearoa, how it can be achieved, and what that looks like in real life.

It relates to United Nations led project The Shift, created by UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha calling for a refocus on the social function of housing and strategy-led intervention by governments in housing rather than policy-led modifications.

We are still developing the project plan, but the essential framework of The Shift Aotearoa operates across three significant fields:

  • the international, in which we interrogate the role and correlation of UN jurisprudence in relation to Te Tiriti, and where we import, export, share, and modify understandings relating to The Shift and The Shift Aotearoa
  • the national, in which we develop a clear picture of the domestic social and policy structures involved in this kaupapa
  • the cultural/local/community, where The Shift Aotearoa really starts and ends, and finds strength, inspiration, and relevance for New Zealanders.

Some of the critical propositions and ideas for change are:

  • Through this project we hope to move from an environment in which housing interventions and policies are seen as either/or to one in which good and robust policies operate together for the good of Aotearoa;
  • The financialization of housing globally is displacing families and communities from housing and in many cases from their homes. Measures (regulation) to reduce the profitability of investment in housing militate that trend; failure to implement such measures support that trend.
  • The link between housing and poverty is not uncertain, but critical and obvious. It is a mirror image of the link between housing and wealth, which is treated as a given
  • A National Housing Strategy would move Aotearoa toward a more stable housing system, reducing political and rhetorical interference and promoting instead cross-party political commitment to a housing system at its best for New Zealanders;
  • Strategy means many things. In this project we start with the basics: strategy means being committed to the long-term; relinquishing ideas of low-hanging fruit; intentionally providing for system stability; using open market growth to underpin social wellbeing;
  • We will aim to clarify the difference between the financialization of housing as force reducing social wellbeing, and good financial flows through the housing system which fundamentally support social, community, family, and whanau outcomes;
  • The goal of the community housing sector in Aotearoa is to see ‘All New Zealanders well-housed’. System conditions required to make that happen include the recognition of human rights, changes to the nature and security of government investment, and both increased transparency, speed, and community voice in existing and future large-scale urban developments.

To find out more, please contact Brennan Rigby, Project Lead for The Shift Aotearoa, at [email protected].

More information about The Shift Aotearoa 2019 Conference can be found at

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