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Aspects of New Zealand housing 1920-1970

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dc.contributor.author Ward, Anthony John
dc.date.accessioned 2011-04-14T23:26:20Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-26T01:50:17Z
dc.date.available 2011-04-14T23:26:20Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-26T01:50:17Z
dc.date.copyright 1977
dc.date.issued 1977
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/23963
dc.description.abstract This thesis investigates the development of housing in New Zealand between 1920 and 1970, concentrating on the patterns of demand for housing and the role of the state in providing housing. Before analysing these patterns, it is necessary to clearly specify the terms 'demand for housing' and 'the role of the state'. In chapter one, which centres on methodology, it is argued that earlier works on New Zealand housing (which are reviewed) have often suffered from not stating their basic principles. 'Demand for housing', it is argued, should not be seen as the chance aggregation of individual preferences. Especially for commodities as important as housing, those preferences stem to a large part from the functions that housing plays in the social formation. The key functions of housing lie in reproducing labour-power (drawing on Karl Marx's work) and in reinforcing existing social structures (using work by Louis Althusser). Similarly, the nature of the state in capitalist society must be spelt out to understand the state's involvement in the specific area of housing - this section discusses especially the work of Nicos Poulantzas and James O'Connor. Discussion of the statistical evidence of housing (particularly taken from the nine Censuses of the period) starts with the aggregate dwelling and population series. Dwelling numbers are seen as determined by the social patterns of household formation (marriage rates and age structure being key variables), and are little affected by the economic climate. But if this climate does not affect the number of dwellings, it can certainly be seen in the quality. Extensive areas of substandard dwellings existed throughout New Zealand in the interwar period, as can be seen from a variety of sources. The major force working on these standards of housing is the level of development of the forces of production, which is seen in the growth of real incomes. Stagnation in the interwar years was followed by marked expansion of the forces of production between 1936 and 1956, tailing off in the 1960s. This affects the housing picture in several ways. The expanding building industry, improvements of amenities within houses, and the ability to pay for housing are of major importance. Related to this is the surprisingly high 50 000 foreclosures on mortgaged dwellings in the Depression, a number hitherto unsuspected by historians. The role of the state in housing is governed especially by the relative strengths of class forces. The two major periods of housing initiative were the early 1920s (another area underestimated by historians) and the Labour plans of the late 1930s. State action came about primarily because of large numbers of substandard dwellings (substandard being of course a socially-specific definition). This is not enough in itself however - the housing problem must appear as a political problem, posing questions for the state's key role as the guarantor of social cohesion. Once the conflict diminishes on the political level, the state action diminishes, as happened during the 1920s and after 1950. The thesis concludes with some suggestions for future work, stressing the importance of methodological work and the insights given in the problematic of dialectical materialism. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Aspects of New Zealand housing 1920-1970 en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline Economic History en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ


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