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February 14, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

Mouldy Shoe Box

As the start of trimester looms ahead for many of us uni students we have to start thinking about the practical things we will need to be able to survive another year, staving off malnutrition, scurvy, hypothermia, lice, and poverty in general. One of the most effective barriers to many of these horrible afflictions is finding a good flat. But what do you do when you can’t put a roof over your head?

This post was bought about in part by Conrad’s post and also the fact that I am moving out of my place. I advertised my room on Trade Me. Within 3 days I had over 600 hits on the auction and about 50 – 60 email responses. Most of them from university students desperate for the smallest shoe box to live in.

The Saint George Hostel closed down at the end of last year, leaving at least 200 rooms vacant. In my process for looking for a new place to live, I went and looked at a flat in Kelburn, right next to the university, it was an ok flat, but they didn’t want a 4th year honours student, even though it was highly unlikely I would be the party animal I usually am.

Another problem that is rampant in Wellington is that people are willing to buy investment properties and rape money out of their tenants pockets, but do very little to improve the property because they know the price will keep going up even if the place burns/rots down. There is always some sucker desperate enough to pay the excessive amounts to live in a freezing cold mouldy shoebox.

Shoe box

Students shouldn’t have to partake in higher learning, and worry about your lack of living arrangements. Most other universities world wide have on campus accommodation which is subsidised by the university, or off campus (but still close to campus) accommodation that is run as a partnership between the uni and private companies.

Rents in Wellington have sky rocketed in the last 4 years. When I first moved to Wellington $120 would get you a decent enough room in Kelburn/City area. Now you’ll be lucky to find one for under $140, and most probably higher. The government, the University and the Wellington City council need to get together to solve this housing shortage in Wellington. There needs to be affordable comfortable accommodation for University students.

Also it is handy to know your rights as a tenant just to make sure you’re not getting dicked.

Hope you all find places to live.


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (22)

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  1. peteremcc says:

    RMA and lack of land to build on leads to fewer houses being built.

    That means you either need to kick people out of Wellington, or prices will go up.

    Of course, government departments take up more than 60% of the office space in Wellington. I’m sure some of those office buildings would make nice apartments if we kicked the suits out.

  2. peteremcc says:

    Incidentally, house prices are likely to go up by MUCH more than your student loan while you’re at university. Why aren’t VUWSA jumping up and down over that?

  3. not_peteremcc says:


  4. And replace it with what, perchance?

  5. the unshackled hands of Lady Liberty

  6. Hammond says:

    Nice idealogical thinking here – but what are the steps to a solution?
    The links provided at the end were helpful.


    Love Nic

  7. peteremcc says:

    replace it with nothing

  8. Jackson Wood says:

    Hammond.. or Nic… whatever… thanks… a B+ means so much to me.

    Steps to a solution, or at least a better place for students, low income earners and landlords.
    A) Tougher regulation of land lords. Including inspections by a regulatory agency that would comment on both the state of the house and the treatment of the house by tenants.
    B) A possible raise in the living costs one can borrow would alleviate the short term burden on students, a raise to $200 would not be unreasonable.
    C) Get rid of Kelburn Cricket ground and build a student community area, with accommodation, retail and university services. It is not like the University is suddenly going to go bankrupt, and is guaranteed a steady and increasing flow of students in the the next 20 years.

    Peter: Replace it with nothing? Sure you could think up something better than that. The RMA was put in place to “promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.” It does this. With urban areas such as Wellington, it is not much issue if there is already a building on the site, and or the company planning it complies with the act.

    Here’s some more handy links about the RMA

  9. not_peteremcc says:

    fuck tougher regulation of landlords. Think of it from a landowning perspective, most property owners dread leasing to students because of the shitty way they maintain property. A regulatory agency on something as dumb as that would just suck up money that could be spent on health care or education supplements.

    I agree it is abysmal that lending rates for student loans and allowances are not inflation adjusted.

    replace the RMA with nothing. That means a free market where development can bloom without restriction and meet increasing levels of housing demand. Funny how these things put in place to “promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources” end up sucking up everyone’s time and money and at the end of the road students find themselves sleeping in barrels

  10. not_peteremcc says:

    * lending caps, not lending rates.

  11. bisky risness says:

    why is it that students always feel they should be looked after for choosing to study
    yes there are alot of things wrong with administration but come on you all knew that before you started studying.
    if there is a problem do what you need to do to sort it out, stop relying on other people and stop being friggen victims

    ps this is a rant at a select few who dont seek solutions but would rather point out problems and bitch and moan until someone else comes up with a solution. by which point the complainee has further moaned that its takingto long whilst still DOING NOTHING

  12. not_peterencc says:

    abolisgh the resource management act

  13. okay Peter, say someone wanted to put a three-meter high black fence, with “everybody will rot in hell unless jesus saves them” painted daubed in red paint, around their house right next to a kindergarten. Do you not believe a regulation for deciding whether this is okay should exist?

  14. not_peterencc says:

    No. Why should I interfere with that person’s property rights?

    If it pissed me off too much it may be a nuisance under the common law.

  15. not_peterencc says:

    Ok Tristan, suppose there’s a kindergarten that someone wants to set up but before they can set it up they have to get permission from all the nearby tenants who are concerned that the kindergarten may slightly reduce the availability of parking spaces and possibily lead to some noise control problems. So it doesn’t get set up. Everybody wins right?

  16. Of course everyone doesn’t win in such a situation, and I agree that in many ways the RMA is too harsh. However, what my above comment pointed out is that there is a need for some form of RMA, albeit potentially less bureaucratically slow than what we have now – we need something to stop the most severe environmental catastrophies etc. So although I’m sympathetic to reforming the RMA, making it actually possible for people to conduct business, simply scrapping it and have no guidelines is clearly not the answer.

  17. not_peteremcc says:

    the most severe environmental catastrophies, you mean like global warming? I don’t think the RMA has it within its statutory power to do that.

    why not just revert to common law? people seem to think that without legislation we won’t know how to live our lives. If you scrapped the act you would add millions to the economy straightaway, and also have some snowball shot of improving the current housing crisis of which this article complains. The free market has a general tendency to resolve problems of limited supply and excess demand, and the only thing stopping it at the moment is a big fat costly bureaucratic procedure that peteremcc don’t much like

  18. peteremcc says:

    Hi all,

    after the first two comments (where my name links to my blog), none of the comments are actually from me.

    why someone would go to all that trouble to post under my name, but not even fill that field out to make it look legitimate is puzzling, but yeah.

    oh and I just noticed that whoever it is referred to me in their last comment – even though they are supposedly commenting AS me.

    you guys really need to get a proper account system so people can login and make comments.

  19. peteremcc says:

    I also noticed that sometimes the person used peteremcc and sometimes peterencc… weird huh…

    Oh and I know how to spell abolish!

  20. ange says:

    Need a person and a van/ute to help me move down the road, about 20 house in same street (from mouldy hole to not mouldy hole). Cheaper the better as only going a few hundred metres. Any suggestions?

  21. Jackson, you were in my Politics class and I checked you out from afar. I think you’re a total dreamboat and I would so tap that.

  22. Jackson Wood says:

    Bisky: I didn’t really know how shitty being a student could be till I got down here. Most students move from smaller cities to Wellington and don’t actually realise how shitty it is. I like whinging, whinging gets things done and I can understand how you can be pissed off by it. Maybe instead of whinging about people whinging you could do something to help them.
    Students may feel like they are getting gipped. Students are amongst the people who have the least money in society, and therefore the least influence. One of the only conduits for displeasure is by whinging.
    Our parents got free education if they chose to study, our politicians took away what was seen as a right and introduced a scheme that would leave most students with debt for a quarter of their adult life. We are choosing to make ourselves better, more intelligent people, not only bettering ourselves but the whole of society.

    well that doesn’t make much sense.. but hopefully you get what I mean

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