Woman bringing up children in a tent

Sharon Baker and Robert White have resorted to living in tents and a car at Ashhurst Domain.

Do you remember Jacinda’s flagship ‘child poverty’ policy? I always maintain that ‘child poverty’ is a misnomer, because children live in families, so the problem is not child poverty… it is poverty. Nevertheless, children living in poverty are hamstrung. Their education is bound to be affected, often they don’t eat enough and often they are inadequately housed. Jacinda was going to fix all this. Kiwibuild was going to provide housing for the masses, her Families Package was going to provide enough money for everything and her Child Poverty bill, passed just before Christmas, was going to bind future governments to achieve measures to reduce child poverty.

This was all inspiring stuff. What a shame none of it has turned out the way it was supposed to. quote.

A mother and her four children have been roughing it for the summer, but not out of choice. 
They’re living in tents and a car near Palmerston North and the novelty is starting to wear off.
Sharon Baker and her four children, aged from 9 to 17, spent seven years living with Baker’s uncle, Robert White, at a property in the city.
The landlord decided to sell and Baker and her family had to leave by October 28. After a brief stint camping at Tangimoana Beach, the family have been living at the Ashhurst Domain campground for 28 days in a group of tents, and White sleeps in a car.  end quote.

Not so bad at this time of year, but just wait until winter. Palmerston North has the same problem as all other cities with private rentals. There are none available. quote.

Baker’s car doubles as a pantry and wardrobe, while the family’s fridge is a chilly bin filled with ice.

She has been looking at properties since October but believes “landlords judge us before we’ve even spoken to them”, despite having solid references from her past landlord. 

The solo mother thinks the family are low on the “pecking order” of prospective tenants because she is on a benefit. end quote.

Landlords can be very choosy nowadays. Landlord bashing policies are making life difficult for them. Because so many have sold up, those still in the market can pick and choose their tenants. This is the result. quote.

High compliance costs caused many landlords to exit the market, leaving the supply of rental properties low and increasing the competition for tenants.  end quote.

This is what government policies such as mandatory insulation, forbidding giving notice, longer periods before rent can be increased, banning letting fees and compelling landlords to accept tenants’ pets, do. Tenants are the ones that suffer. quote.

Landlords look at the best applicant for their house. They only consider two factors ? whether the rent will be paid in full and on time, and whether the house will be looked after. end quote.


This woman needs social housing… but with over 6,000 people on waiting lists for state houses, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

If Jacinda is really going to fix child poverty, we need a lot more social housing. However, seeing that Kiwibuild has managed to build only 33 houses in 15 months, the future is not looking bright.

If this government had not been so hard on landlords, the problem would not be nearly so acute as it now is. What we have now is a large number of landlords who have sold up and left a social tragedy behind them. Make no mistake; this is entirely the fault of the government – the one that is ‘bringing kindness back’.