Bierre, Sarah; Howden-Chapman, Philippa; Signal, Louise; Cunningham, Chris
March 2007
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Mar2007, Issue 30, p42
Academic Journal
There is increasing interest in how New Zealand might address the policy issue of providing good-quality affordable housing in the future. A crucial part of this is dealing with the quality of existing dwellings, particularly residential housing built prior to the Building Code 1991, which makes up the bulk of the housing stock. Present housing standards for existing dwellings have origins in the policy discussions of the 1930s and 1940s. This article examines the institutional influences on the development of policy for housing regulation in the 1930s and 1940s and discusses the way that institutions can affect how housing quality, particularly in the private rental sector, is framed as an issue today. This paper uses primary documents sourced from government files at Archives New Zealand, giving a fresh perspective on housing history, including the influence of organisational relationships, the redefinition of the housing role of the Department of Health, and the way that morality was embedded in policy - exemplified in the exclusion of Mäori from mainstream government administration. We conclude that while the socioeconomic and political contexts of policy may change, the institutions and ideas of the past can linger and shape how policy issues are framed today.


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