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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Megan Woods view inside the Flatbush Salvation Army Housing development on June 3, 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand, as they open two new public housing developments in June. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand's Human Rights Commission launched a national inquiry into the country's housing crisis.

Why it matters: While New Zealand is one of the world's wealthiest nations, it's an expensive place to live. Human Rights Commission chief Paul Hunt noted in a statement: "Successive governments have failed New Zealanders," resulting in a "massive human rights failure."

Driving the news: The number of homes available for sale is at a 14-year low, according to a July market report from Realestate.co.nz.

  • "There are now only 12,684 homes available to purchase across the country, down -34.8% compared to July 2020," the report stated.
  • The national average asking price "reached an all-time high at $893,794," the report notes.

What they're saying: "For many people, especially young people, the goal of an affordable, healthy, accessible home has actually become more remote. These serial governments bear a heavy responsibility for this massive human rights failure which is blighting lives and communities," Hunt said.

  • "The present government has made a promising start on housing, but it remains to be seen if it will do better than its predecessors and address New Zealand’s housing and human rights emergency.
  • "Based on the Guidelines, the inquiry will help ensure the government keeps its promises to everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand," he added, referring to the country's duel name in Māori and English.

The big picture: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's ruling Labour Party was re-elected in a landslide last October on the strength of her government's pandemic response and pledge to fix the housing crisis, among other policies.

  • Labour's popularity has slipped 9.7 points to 43%, according to a Newshub-Reid Research Poll published Sunday night.
  • Ardern remains much more popular than her rivals, rating 48% as preferred prime minister as the country marks 154 days with no COVID-19 cases reported in the community.
  • The prime minister told TVNZ her government had granted more housing consents "than ever before." "When I look at the record of what we've done, 8,000 houses to date, 18,000 on the cards — we are scaling up as quickly as we can," she added.

Go deeper

University City may lose affordable housing complex

The University City Townhomes in West Philadelphia. Photo: Taylor Allen/Axios

An affordable housing complex in West Philly could soon be no more.

Driving the news: The owner of University City Townhomes has informed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that the complex intends to sell the site rather than renew its affordable housing contract with the agency, according to City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier's office.

  • Residents have been notified they must leave by July 8, 2022, a release from the District 3 representative's office states.

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on how to view threats that climate change poses to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.