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Houston and the cost of sprawl

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, June 16th, 2013 - 51 comments
Categories: housing, infrastructure, transport - Tags:

The Right’s favourite sprawl example at the moment. Sections for $50,000. Wow! But they haven’t asked why new sections in Houston are so cheap. They’ve just assumed its because Houston doesn’t have tight zoning rules. In fact, they do – but their rules encourage sprawl. And, while the land may be cheap, it means much higher living costs – particularly transport.

Take a look at this graph:

Revised_petrol_use_urban_density

New Zealand’s use is 25 GJ of petrol per person a year.

So, Houstonites are using more than three times as much petrol per head as us and its inextricably linked to their sprawl. If you’re all spread out you’ve got to drive further.

If New Zealanders used so much petrol, it would add $5,000 a year to the average household’s annual bill.

And the price of petrol has been rising at an average of 8% a year for a decade.

So the cost of sprawl in terms of energy use is massive. Add to that the cost of all the motorways, which spend most of their time largely empty and heavily congested for a couple of hours a day (Houston has the fourth worst congestion in the US – you just can’t build enough roads to get ahead of the traffic demand generated by sprawl on that scale)

WEST-HOUSTON_600

Houston is partially hedged against that rising cost – it is the centre of the Texan petro-state – the world capital of oil. When oil prices rise, there’s more work and higher incomes in Houston, which counters the higher cost of petrol (which is lower near the Texan oil fields anyway). Auckland doesn’t have that hedge.

The cost of burning more petrol. The cost of building more roads (and leveling existing houses to do it). The cost in transport time on congested roads. All those transport costs are costs that a person takes on when they buy a section on Houston, or in any sprawled city. Yes, the price tag on the land might be cheap, but the cost of owning it is anything but.

h/t Auckland Transport Blog

51 comments on “Houston and the cost of sprawl”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    Auckland: The Lone Far State.
    and then there is all this National Party Social Media Roading Propaganda.
    Oil Supplies may tighten up as early as 2015 according to The Guardian.
    Duplicating all that Infrastructure and Amenities.
    Lost Productivity due to commuting.
    Isolation.
    Alienation.
    Was listening to the husky tones of Georgia (or Angel) consoling those Aucklanders stuck in a jam on the Southern Motorway for two hours this week. To requote Key and Brownlee, “hope they’re tuned to a good radio station. (The Prisoner is not from Piece of Mind, Mikey: Love your work).

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      How can we get more New Zealanders to live and work in a foreign city which has a good public transportation system?

      Once you have, you appreciate the joy of not being enslaved by your car.

      OK, comedians. I know we are exporting our best and brightest. How do we win them back?

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Wait for those other spots to start collapsing faster than we are. The other possibility is by creating a country with clear leadership and a social vision for an Energy depleting future.

        Sprawl makes us just the same as the worst around the world.

        • Rogue Trooper 1.1.1.1

          carry on, unwinding the skein.

        • mickysavage 1.1.1.2

          The best example is Cuba. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of cheap oil Cuba had to reform dramatically. Car use went way down and physical health improved dramatically, and organic community gardens that did not rely on fertilisers appeared everywhere. There is a lot of information out there on the phenomenon but a starting point is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organopónicos and http://peakoil.com/generalideas/the-power-of-community-how-cuba-survived-peak-oil.

          • Bill 1.1.1.2.1

            True that Cuba did manage to survive the post USSR period. The problem I have with it is that it was probably only possible due to the fact that Cuba was a command economy. And relatively benign as Castro was/is in terms of dictators, the loss of political freedom and general agency that comes with a command economy is too high a price to pay. Far better than being directed by a dictatorship of one form or another (state or corporate) would be for us to empower ourselves to make the necessary changes

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Well, command economies come in all shapes, shades and sizes. NZs responses during WWII and during the 70s oil shock for instance. Muldoon era economics.

              One thing which we know is very helpful in collapse, whether gradual or rapid: social capital. You want to build lots and lots of it, and to do so early on before you need it. The details of the administrative systems can then build on that advantage.

              Nicely, it is something which makes local democracy function very well.

              • weka

                My understanding is that alot of the agricultural/horticultural changes that happened in Cuba post-Soviet support were managed collectively, not just via the dictatorship (it’s been a while since I read that history though). I agree with what you say in general Bill, but given Cuba was in that state before the loss of cheap oil, they did very well. It’s not like we would ever be in that same situation. For NZ, I see the potential for us to lose democracy very quickly if the wrong people are in power when the wrong crisis hits at the wrong time. Can you imagine Brownlee in charge if we were to have sudden ongoing food and power shortages brought on by an oil crisis?

                So, empowering ourselves. We should be doing this now, yeah? I agree with the idea of building social capital. And I think we need to be developing systems of inter-relationships and local governance too. If the current undermining of local authority by NACT continues we will be in a very sad state when the shtf. How liberals and conservatives work together strikes me as crucial, which is why the microcosm that is ts is interesting (albeit pretty depressing too).

          • Macro 1.1.1.2.2

            Interestingly Cuba is the only country in the world still that not only has a high level of equity, but also lives withing it allocated carbon foot print per person. It is the living example of a steady state economy. It has a well developed health and education systems, far better for the average person than the USA.
            It is a glimpse of what the future will be like post oil – without the – the modern technologies

            • weka 1.1.1.2.2.1

              Macro, what are you meaning by allocated carbon footprint? I would guess that Cuba still uses more resources than its landbase can sustain over time (ie it’s total environmental footprint is still too high), and that it’s carbon emissions are relatively low compared to the big hitters (wiki says Cuba and NZ are on par for carbon emissions).

  2. happynz 2

    It isn’t just Houston.

    Here in the fast “developing” state of Kedah in Malaysia the car rules. Here’s why. New housing developments, called tamans, pop up out in the former rubber and oil palm plantations like mushrooms after a night’s rain. The usual taman will have several thousand terrace houses packed into a couple hundred hectares. Not so bad, but these tamans usually have no services such as shops, restaurants, clinics, supermarkets, or places of entertainment. (OK, there’s often a mosque nearby so people’s spiritual needs are met.) If anything needs to be done, it’s a case of getting in the car and travelling. It’s just too hot and sweaty (not to mention dangerous to one’s health and safety) to trek down a highway to pick up some bread and the papers. A car or motorbike is a necessity as public transport is totally shit in my city. The only saving grace at present is that petrol is relatively cheap at RM1.90 per litre (NZ$0.75).

    With the combination of housing sprawl, lack of amenities in the farflung housing estates, and cheapish petrol, yeah, cars rule (and traffic usually sucks).

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Nothing like a good mix of property development and political corruption to get the best housing outcomes for citizens. What is the financing for these new houses like?

      • happynz 2.1.1

        If you’re a Bumiputera (Malay) you’ll get a nice 5-10% discount right off the top. As for financing, I can’t say. There’s a bewidering (to me anyways) array of financial tools that are used. The Islamic banks don’t use interest as paying interest or usury is not halal or sumthin’ (I’m not all that up to speed on Quranic studies obviously) so mortages are adjusted in some manner or rather. For us non-Muslims I’ve read somewhere that mortgages go for around 6-8%. I have a sneaking hunch that a significant number of houses and apartments are purchased with cash with the cash coming from savings, family whiparounds, wedding gifts of cash, and erm…seed money from informal sources.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    All those transport costs are costs that a person takes on when they buy a section on Houston, or in any sprawled city.

    And that’s just transport. On top of that you’ve also got the extra costs to provide basic services such as sewage/storm-water/rubbish collection and even parks.

    Sprawl is massively expensive once you take everything into account.

  4. Paul Campbell 4

    Don’t forget that Houston is hot and humid as hell – a bunch of that cost is due to running your car’s air conditioner for much of the year, without that expense (and home air conditioning too) Houston wouldn’t be particularly habitable at all

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      The massive power failures the US experienced last summer was very little fun for a people used to being cooled by their 140 energy slaves.

  5. Bill 5

    So okay, it’s true that more car journeys are undertaken when peope are ‘sprawled’. But local ammenities could be incorporated into housing plans – shopping precincts constructed that are central to each cluster of housing. Fairly souless – but a solution of sorts. The UK tried this post-war, with the construction of its New Towns.

    But people still commuted to main centers to get to their jobs. And that, it would seem to me, is the principle problem; the jobs. Companies have centralised their operations and rely on transport to solve any potential location problem. Meanwhile, the days of ferrying workers via company buses are long gone. (Let’s not bother mentioning the farcical public transport system in NZ) An obvious point to make is that most jobs are utterly pointless – beyond their capacity to make money for the owners/shareholders and their promise to afford workers the means to participate in society via access to cash.

    But with the likely massive increase in fuel costs (alongside other factors) putting onerous financial pressures on workers already subjected to quite deliberate incremental impoverishment, we arrive at a problem that probably won’t be solved within a market context.

    The only way I can see to solve the problem of where people might reasonably live, is to get to grips with the multiple problems/expectations associated with our job culture. I’d argue to simply get rid of it. There is no reason not to develop systems based on worthwhile production. There is no compelling reason why we couldn’t/shouldn’t allow ourselves to pursue a meaningful life free from social pressure that would have us shackle ourselves to meaningless jobs for years on end.

    Is a social wage one solution? I don’t know.

    But without the pressure to have any job at any cost, the population of NZ could spread itself throughout the country. There are many small towns with ample housing. The principle problem is the lack of meaningless jobs in such places. But when meaningless jobs are seen as such, and a reasonable life not reliant on being shackled to one…

    • The first thing you do is you upgrade public transport and if you have a transport system that does not rely on oil you make sure it is in as good shape as possible in preparation for the day oil starts disappearing and the price soars.

      For instance if you had the chance in your major city to double the potential throughput of your electricity fuelled train system by digging a tunnel you would do that immediately.

      Wouldn’t you?

      • Bill 5.1.1

        For instance if you had the chance in your major city to double the potential throughput of your electricity fuelled train system by digging a tunnel you would do that immediately.

        Wouldn’t you?

        Well, no…I wouldn’t bother to be honest. The way we live determines our dispersal – or lack thereof – and it simply isn’t sustainable. What I’d do is begin the get the country ‘ahead of the curve’ in terms of reconfiguring our living arrangements and working lives to cater for the upcoming post peak world. But it’s not up to me. And it’s not up to you. It’s up to policies emanating from numerous, deeply conservative institutions. And that means there will be a panic – a flurry of inadequate policy reactions somewhere off down the track – and absolutely nothing in terms of visionary pro-active policy now.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          If we had actually conservative institutions, we’d probably all be better off. Things engineered to last, strong back up plans and redundant systems, spare capacity and a well trained competent staff.

          The most conservative people I know have 3-4 years of firewood stashed up…”just in case”…of what I’ve never quite figured out, but its simply a way of looking at things and making design choices.

          • weka 5.1.1.1.1

            +1.

            Avoiding sprawl is a good idea if you think that energy supply will increase over time but you want to be prudent financially and resource wise. If you think energy/resources will decrease, then Bill is right. We can afford to spread out a bit and rearrange to localise pretty much everything – food production, energy production, jobs. Some manufacturing still makes sense to be more centralised, but lots can be taken back to the local level.

            Even within large cities this makes sense. Chch would be better off as a series of interlinking towns and villages rather than centralising everything. Around and between the towns would be food growing space that wasn’t being done within the town. If people think that commuting is going to be an issue in the future re transport fuels, take a look at the real costs of food miles and how fragile our current food production system is (and by that I mean what we get to eat, not whether farmers can make money exporting kai).

            There is no reason why making a living cannot be localised for most people too.

            Except as Bill points out, we’re not in charge :-)

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.2

            +1. CV

            Actually what you’ve described is the difference between ‘cautious’ and ‘reactionary’. Far too often the word ‘conservative’ is used to mean the latter when it really means the former.

          • Ad 5.1.1.1.3

            well said

      • Jimmie 5.1.2

        Where does the electricity come from to fuel this public transport nirvana?

        Coal/Natural Gas/Oil? = Bad
        Nuclear = Evil
        Wind and solar = Wonderful but ineffective and minimal out put and bad for the environment (especially wind)
        Other = ????

        Saying that it is powered by electricity is all very good but you have to figure out where that electricity is to be generated from.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.2.1

          Oh noes! We might have to figure it out!!!

          You missed out a couple of categories of power generation. I expect that’s just you being a fuckwit.

          • weka 5.1.2.1.1

            Seemed like a valid question to me.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Sounds like a banal, bad faith question to me. When did the need to plan for the future suddenly become such a huge problem? When did wind and solar power become ineffective and minimal?

              When did drill it mine it sell it RoNS groupie Jimmie start to give a toss about public transport?

              • Jimmie

                Well duh – wind and solar output is intermittent at best, requires large battery storage (bad for environment), subsides to make it cost efficient, and in the case of wind turbines they kill thousands of birds every year – including rare eagles in the US.

                http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-wind-farms-pass-eagle-deaths-072316007.html

                I didn’t mention hydro as though it works well the red tape hupla to jump through to get new projects approved is ridiculous and many countries don’t have the water sources available.

                Geothermal is great too but is available in very limited quantities.

                So yeah for all those who want to jump on the electricity band wagon need to provide suitable cost effective generation options otherwise tis all for nought.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Yes, Jimmie, future transport options will require planning and not a little adaptation, because continued fossil fuel use will cease to be an option.

                  I note your cheer-leading for RoNS utterly fails to acknowledge this.

                • lprent

                  The most well tested and simplest way to store excess generated power is to simply pump water uphill into a dam. Small hydro lakes don’t fit because you may as well use the power directly rather than spilling. But there have been numerous examples around the world of high ponds, lakes, and dammed valleys used for the purpose.

                  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

                  Why bother with batteries?

                • Colonial Viper

                  and in the case of wind turbines they kill thousands of birds every year – including rare eagles in the US.

                  As if deep sea drilling, shale fracking and tar sands operations don’t kill massive amounts of wild life as well. The deep sea horizon spill…well the loss of wildlife there was devastating.

                  Don’t see nature loving you campaigning against deep water drilling though, strangely.

              • weka

                “When did drill it mine it sell it RoNS groupie Jimmie start to give a toss about public transport?”

                Ah, so you know him already. I was taking the comment at face value.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  It even motivated him to argue his case a little more coherently, but as usual, we need better wingnuts.

  6. The plan is just build road after road, basically handing over cash to Fletcher to build roads to nowhere.

    • Rosetinted 6.1

      That’s what the roading authority in Naples did – with the Mafia. So we were told in the 1970s.

  7. millsy 7

    Proponents of urban sprwal never bother to consider things like services and amenities…

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      No profit just costs for private developers considering that ‘unnecessary crap’

  8. Macro 8

    Houston will die with the collapse of oil. It is completely unsustainable.

  9. Ad 9

    Would Julia Ann Genter quickly release an alternative Government Policy Statement for Transport please.

    If there really is to be a good crack at this from late 2014, the whole industry need to know how tight the turnaround is going to be.

    Auckland has one of the highest levels of car ownership in the world, in part because it is one of the most motorway-and-road dominated cities in the world. Can it be turned around? Is there really the will?

    Without a fresh and reversed GPS, Auckland Transport and its partner NZTA Auckland will continue to do the (LTMA) job of reconciling the Auckland Plan with the current GPS. Which is a whole site better for public transport than what is in Auckland now, but it’s also a whole lot more roads.

    Julie-Ann, I know what you don’t like, and I know you like the CRL. But do you have the policy chops to turn this supertanker around? Why not come on the site and tell us.

    And could Russell please confirm that she will indeed be the Greens’ preferred transport minister, rather than presuming any Greens caucus member can do any portfolio.

    • karol 9.1

      The Greens Policy on transport is mainly a series of bullet points at the moment, with a general outline of policies for Auckland and Wellington.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        If it is going to be a Green Minister of Transport by November 2014 – and that’s a whole bunch of if’s – they will need to come in hard and come in fast.

        That means telling MoT and the transport Briefing to Incoming Ministers to get lost …

        … and having one of your own ready to go. Slapped down on the table.

        Given MoT’s running Ministerial interference for the current Minister on the City Rail Link, the new Minister should rehearse a line like: “You do not have my confidence.” ie piss off and get me a progressive police wonk who can deliver me the goods.

        Then the Minister would need to review the entire makeup of the NZTA Board. Particularly a chat about which motorway budgets can be cut for the same productivity and safety benefits.

        Then the Minister would need to have fully pre-written their own Government Policy Statement for transport … slap it on the table and start disseminating into MBIE and Treasury.

        Then have a sit down with the major City mayors for a heart to heart.

        And of course presume that the entire transport construction industry, car industry, trucking industry, and the AA – together with their media access, lobbyists, and fully vested interests, would have their guns ready for prolonged trench warfare.

        It will make the housing lobby we have seen in action over the Auckland Unitary Plan look like a walk in the park.

        Should the Greens get the transport prize in November 2014, buckle in.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          she’ll need powerful allies – and you’ve not listed any

          • Ad 9.1.1.1.1

            The progressive Mayors, Transportblog, a few media reporters on National Radio, NZHerald, Campbell Live, the usual NGO’s … and if the new Minister frames it well enough, every driver in a queue, and every public transport commuter with unsatisfactory performance.

            The playing field is tilted hard in favour of the status quo … which is why the new Minister would need to come in hard and fast, install their own people, and get the hard moves done fast inside the first 100 days.

  10. infused 10

    I find it pretty bullshit… take LA for instance. I was staying on the outskirts. It was a good 20-30 minute drive in to town, but I only went once. We had shopping complexes and everything we needed in walking distance.

    Walmarts were everywhere.

    Americans all have V8’s too. Everywhere I went. I think I saw two jappers. Hummers there, fully kitted out are only 20-30k usd.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.1

      Say, that sounds really swell*, just a couple of questions:

      What’s a litre of gas (that’s what Americans call petrol) going for over there these days, and how much do they use?

      *transparently disingenuous.

  11. Rich 11

    Why not take Detroit as an example – you can get a section for $100 with a free house thrown in.

    http://au.businessinsider.com/cheap-detroit-homes-2011-6

    Beats 50k in Houston. Ok, you’d need to spend a few grand on guns and bullets to shoot all the neigbours, and there isn’t any paying work within 500 miles, but cheap is cheap.

  12. Kiev 12

    So that graph would be a lot more helpful if,

    a) Auckland was on it
    b) It was current – that graph relates to a 1989 report/study.

  13. Lloyd 13

    If you want to get data on the relationship between urban density and energy Google “Newman and Kenworthy”.

    Every person who wishes to have input into urban design should know the relationship between density of cities and the fuel use per person that Newman and Kenworthy discovered.

    I bet Bill English has never heard of them.

    If you haven’t, look them up today, rather than tomorrow.

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    There’s often a lot of discussion around the future of transport – particularly in cities. We’ve talked many times before about how transport trends are changing, how we’re seeing people drive less and catch PT more, how changing preferences amongst younger people in… ...
    1 day ago
  • Australia’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on...
    The prohibition against torture is one of the cast-iron features of international law. You're not allowed to torture people, and you're not allowed to return or extradite people to a country where there are substantial grounds to believe they will… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: Removing the opposition
    Last year, Nauru's government abused its parliamentary majority to suspend the opposition from Parliament on a spurious privilege motion. Its a disease which is spreading: last night, Fiji's "democratic" regime did the same, suspending an opposition MP for making a… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    1 day ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    1 day ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    1 day ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 day ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    1 day ago
  • April-15 Patronage
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    1 day ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
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    2 days ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
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    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
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    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    2 days ago

  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    30 mins ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    44 mins ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    4 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    8 hours ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 day ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    1 day ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 day ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
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    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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