Constitutional transformation

Dr Moana Jackson set the scene for constitutional transformation in 2019, and it was carried forward by others. This theme has Treaty of Waitangi and human rights elements, but we know there are critical links to political, economic, and political-economic phenomenon, like capitalism and neo-liberalism, that we often talk about but rarely take the next step toward catalysing change.

In 2021 we can give a broad voice to this nationally important kaupapa, as well as forging deeper into the conversation about how these matters impact on housing specifically. Through a concerted pre-conference work programme conference 2021 can include many diverse voices and create an opportunity to move the kaupapa along one small step – a step agreed by those at the heart of the discussion. This should center around Matike Mai, and as Matike Mai did, a rangatahi voice must be heard.

Housing system settings

Housing system settings are the heart and soul of what we do as CHA, as Te Matapihi and as the diverse housing sector and related individuals and entities. Our housing system will never work if it continues to discriminate against Maori in regard to barriers to development on Maori land as well as in more urban dynamics.

At conference 2021 we plan to separate out constitutional matters from housing system settings. We think this offers the context for fuller conversations about both. We can for example, place capitalism and neo-liberalism where they belong – in a constitutional context.

Rather than throwing the net wide, we aim to distil a small set of 5 – 7 critical central, and meaningful housing system settings we can focus on at the conference. This is different to what we have done in the past, when the conference has been used as a forum to share wide ranging research and thinking.

By identifying - through pre-conference engagement - a small set of 5 – 7 critical central, and meaningful housing system settings to focus on, we hope to form the conference as a decision making forum, where we agree our future positioning and advocacy.

Narrative change 

We believe there is a need, and an opportunity to change the narrative about housing: that all bad housing outcomes are the government’s fault; that supply is the only real problem; that the rental system is the locus of an heroic and eternal battle between tenants and landlords; and the market a battle ground between first home buyers, pitted against investors.

We don’t think these narratives are helping grow and better housing system – in fact they are harming our chances. That’s why we are constructing a  narrative change theme for conference 2021.

Through a concerted pre-conference work programme in the first half of 2021, we can start influencing media and commentators about these harmful narratives, and we can I use the conference to reach a consensus on new narratives, with the ground work being done via a further working group.

We will need partners and friends, and first, we need conversations.