The image of Michael Joseph Savage carrying a dining room table into New Zealand’s first state house is etched into the consciousness of many Kiwis.
Providing affordable, quality family homes was a major aim of the first Labour Government and under Michael Joseph Savage, they provided it.
State houses, they believed, would give families a home to call their own. Furthermore, the local economy would be stimulated and construction would provide employment for the thousands of men left jobless by the Great Depression.
Labour came to power in 1935 and set about buying up hundreds of hectares of land and engaging private contractors to build the homes – the first significant public/private partnership.
The first of these was opened in 1937 – 12 Fyfe Lane in Mirimar, Wellington – and the first tenants were the McGregors.
David McGregor was a tram driver and the rent he paid for the house was just over a third of his pay.
Now in 2016 we have a Government looking to abrogate its responsibilities by contracting out the supply and management of state housing to community providers.
For the 60th anniversary of state housing in 1997, the New Zealand Herald visited the house, which at the time was occupied by John and Winnie Nysse and their three children. The market rents imposed on state housing by the fourth National government meant the family were paying 73.5% of their income ($215 out of $292) in rent, compared to the 34.5% paid by the McGregors in 1937.
On 25 September 1986, the house was registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I heritage item, with registration number 1360. It was registered for its historical significance, for its cultural significance, and for its architectural significance. – Wikipedia