The Block NZ accused of promoting property speculation

By Simon Collins

The Block NZ Contestants 2016. Photo / Supplied
The Block NZ Contestants 2016. Photo / Supplied

Popular TV show The Block NZ will face protests this weekend from unionists who say it promotes property speculation.

The show's two male teams and two female teams will be on hand at a free open day on Saturday to show off their houses now nearing completion in the upmarket Auckland suburb of Meadowbank.

Unions Auckland say they will be there too to protest.

"We just think it's a really strange situation where you have this housing crisis, and at the same time there is this primetime TV show that is all about basically property speculation - getting a house and doing it up and flicking it off and the winner is the one who makes the most money," said Unite Union organiser Ben Peterson, who has set up a Facebook event for the protest.

"Money and resources can be found to build a house in a short amount of time for the purpose of getting ratings, but not to build state houses and not to fix up the damp houses that we have."

Real estate firm Barfoot and Thompson said the average price of a three-bedroom house in Meadowbank last month was $1,144,292.

Peterson said a first home buyer would need a 20 per cent deposit of $228,858 to buy the house and, based on Kiwibank's mortgage calculator, would then have to pay $1085 a week on a mortgage - impossible sums for the average family.

"All those thousands of people who will come and look at the house at the weekend but no one will actually have a chance to buy it," he said. "The people who will buy it will be investors or from the upper end of town."

The protesters will meet outside 200 St Johns Rd at noon on Saturday and will march to The Block open home at 97 St Johns Rd.

A spokeswoman for Mediaworks, which screens the show on TV3, said the company had no comment to make.

- NZ Herald

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