Margaret Martin

Margaret Martin, Sisters of Mercy Wiri, and NZCCSS Council member, has penned this perceptive insight into housing.


State house numbers going down

In 2013, 69,000 owned by the Crown.


People sleep in garages, cars and on the floor

while MSD waiting lists continue to soar

Men, women and children out in the cold

And houses for the homeless are empty or sold.


The social housing experiment begins to kick in

Reduce the state stock and pocket the win.

A fiscal model becomes the norm

the private market will transform.


State house numbers going down

In 2015, 67,000 owned by the Crown.


Houses are sold or demolished in a flash

And new builds lag for not enough cash

No crisis English, Smith and Bennett declare

Disclaiming any national despair.


Down, down, down the houses go

For little made boxes the vendors crow

Houses being built but not for the poor

Auckland South families living door to door.


Developers profit from land for SHAs*

Their legacy, narrow streets crammed with cars

Communities and neighbourhoods now blighted

This ghetto type planning quite short-sighted.


State house numbers going down

In 2016, 64,000 owned by the Crown.


Come on people we must speak out

A merciful response we must shout

Short term stays – motels and marae

“No solution” is our cry.


Build, tenant, repair and maintain

This will relieve our people’s pain

Direct provision is a nation’s resource

Not to be replaced by a market force.


Secure, affordable housing offers hope

Families can settle, participate and cope

Children’s life chances better protected

When homes and communities are connected.


Stop state house numbers going down

It’s time to build, build, build in every town

Saving our housing heritage is a worth a fight

Shelter for all is a universal right.


*SHAs Special Housing Areas

~ Margaret Martin,   

Sisters of Mercy Wiri

Margaret Martin is a Sister of Mercy and registered social worker with a particular interest in social justice, living and working in Wiri, Auckland, for over 25 years.