Social Policy Unit's Alan Johnson's paper presented to the the Nelson Property Investors Association in Nelson on 15th September 2015.
The 1949 General Election was fought in part over different visions for how society might develop.
The First Labour Government, which was by this time led by Peter Fraser had embarked on an impressive public housing programme and had built over 30,000 houses throughout New Zealand. His party’s vision was for more of the same given the critical housing shortage which still existed in post war New Zealand, where young couples were making up for lost time and through their efforts producing the baby boom.
Fraser’s opponent was Sidney Holland and his National Party promised to make New Zealand a property owning democracy. Holland and his National Party of course won that ballot and nine of the following eleven elections as well. While in power they more or less delivered on their promise of making New Zealand a property owning democracy.
In 1951 61% of dwellings were owner-occupied and by 1991 this proportion peaked at 74% - the highest rate in the western world at the time.