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The remaking of housing policy: the New Zealand housing strategy for the 21st century.

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Housing Finance International, 20(4), 20-28

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This article provides an analysis of the evolution of New Zealand's housing policy, particularly highlighting the strategic changes ushered in for the 21st century.

Thorns emphasises the importance of understanding housing policy as a continuum, influenced by historical transformations and shaped by current and future societal needs. The article delves into the critical shifts in New Zealand’s housing policy from the 1980s and 1990s, a period marked by significant restructuring within the broader context of the nation’s welfare state, economic strategies, and social policies. Thorns outlines how the initial extensive social and economic interventionist approach, which began with the Labour government in the 1930s, underwent a radical transformation with the neoliberal agenda of the fourth Labour government in 1984. This shift, often described as moving from New Zealand’s ‘first way’ of welfare development to its ‘second way’, laid the groundwork for the subsequent remodeling of housing policy. The post-1999 period, under the influence of global social democratic trends and particularly the policies of the Blair Government in the UK and the Clinton Administration in the USA, marks a move towards a more interventionist state with a focus on social development. Thorns critically examines this shift, questioning whether it signifies a return to pre-1984 practices or the emergence of a new state practice and policy engagement.

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