Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand has pursued a Covid-19 elimination strategy of stringent public health measures, including strict lockdowns; managed quarantine requirements, testing, contact tracing, social distancing, vaccination and ongoing travel restrictions. This strategy has enabled New Zealand to effectively manage community transmission of COVID-19 with very few infections and deaths compared to the rest of the world. The New Zealand government has supported the economy through a combination of measures to facilitate a quick post-Covid economic recovery. These measures include a NZ$50 billion pandemic response package, record-low borrowing rates, mortgage payment holidays for homeowners and a NZ$100 billion quantitative easing programme – printing money to buy back government bonds (Georgeou & Hawksley, 2020). This economic strategy has saved jobs but significantly increased housing affordability. Cheaper mortgages have allowed the wealthier populationto build up portfolios of rental investment properties. In contrast, rapidly rising house prices have locked out first home buyers and low-income earners. Rents have also increased, spurred by the housing shortage and growing population. New Zealand now tops the list for the most unaffordable housing among OECD nations. While the Government has spent substantial amounts on short term emergency accommodation for the poor, it has directed very little into building permanent new homes. Statistics New Zealand (2020) report significant building issues fueled by Covid19 related shortages of labour and building supplies and decreased productivity to lockdowns. Motels are often used as emergency housing, although critics of this practice regard them as unsafe and unsanitary. Patterson (2021) reports the experiences of those in emergency accommodation as intimidating and terrifying, with young families living next to gang members. Due to limited resources, support services though needed, are seldom provided. Violence and crime are common. The long-term physical and psychological toll of living in this environment is yet to be fully quantified.
Lyn Murphy has a diverse academic background in education, health, psychology, management, and accounting and brings over 25 years of experience as an academic. She has served on several New Zealand boards, including local body and government directorships. Lyn currently works as a senior lecturer in Public Health at AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand. She is also a director for Ember Services Limited, which delivers government contracts to provide quality housing and support services for those with mental health, addiction and intellectual disability.
Terry Quilty started in management Roles in Steel Industry (Line management) and then to Senior Administrative Roles in Legal, Commercial in Steel Industry and legal roles in the tourism sector. Terry has a diverse range of skills, including legal, commercial/business, project management, construction, CAD design, and various practical skills in building and engineering. Terry has been lecturing for over 25 years and is currently a senior lecturer in law, business planning, entrepreneurship and sustainability at Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. He is presently a Trustee/Board member of the Community Law Services South Trust and Chair of the finance risk and audit committee of New Zealand’s largest community law service.