Workers' dwellings were built by the Liberal government to overcome the failure of the market to provide good-quality and affordable housing to workers in the main cities. However, their superior construction – to avoid slums-in-the-making – led to higher than expected rents. This, and their distance from inner-city workplaces, deterred tenants. The scheme was not very successful and New Zealand's first venture into state housing was wound down by a successor Reform (conservative) government.
These were among the workers' dwellings erected in the Dunedin suburb of Belleknowes in 1907. The scheme aimed to build dwellings that were indistinguishable from private housing and so avoid any taint of living in a state house. These houses met this objective and even in the 2000s it is hard to tell them apart from other houses of this era.
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