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Eleanor Ainge Roy
When Leilani Farha touches down in a new city, the first thing the UN special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing does is look up.
In Melbourne, Toronto, London and Dublin, the skies above are filled with cranes, Farha says, soaring across the skyline , to construct new homes for their booming populations.
Last week Farha arrived in Wellington on a fact-finding mission, lured by the headlines of a housing crisis, chronic homelessness, and motels bulging with desperate families for months at a time – all occurring with a new progressive government at the helm.
“I didn’t see cranes in the sky, which is suggestive of not a lot of development – that struck me right away,” says Farha, a plain-talking Canadian. “They allowed the perfect storm, and that’s successive governments. It’s really a bit tragic. It’s a human rights crisis.”
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing Leilani Farha said New Zealand’s housing crisis is tragic Photograph: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Image