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COVID-19 and Media Constructions of Housing and Home in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Aotearoa New Zealand responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting an elimination rather than a suppression strategy, which involved using traditional public health techniques of rapid tracking and tracing, isolation and quarantine.

The home became the central mechanism of defence in national public health measures to manage the pandemic. The use of the home as a key tool in the COVID-19 management strategy has occurred within the context of a housing affordability crisis for those on low incomes and associated problems of housing precarity. This immediately highlighted Aotearoa’s persistent problems with unaffordable and insecure housing, as well as homelessness. The interplay between the housing crisis and COVID-19, and the way in which it was dealt with in the media discourse surfaces and reproduces the meaning of housing and home in Aotearoa NZ.

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