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Looking for a new left direction: more than just one housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, November 14th, 2012 - 216 comments
Categories: Annette King, david shearer, greens, housing, labour, Politics, vision - Tags:

A policy focusing on increasing state housing and affordable rents would be a good start. However, my criticism of the current Labour leadership focuses more on the policy direction of the leadership team, rather than solely being on the leader.  The neoliberal scam is falling apart, the global economy is struggling, and the global environmental and resource base is under threat, while those with least power, resources and income are being scapegoated.  A bold new left wing plan is needed to deal with the difficult challenges ahead.

So it looks like David Shearer is aiming to win over left wing critics by taking the opportunity at the Labour conference to announce a policy on affordable housing.  This is a welcome plan, but is it just a one-off bone thrown to the nay-sayers?  Some of us on the left, would like Labour to decisively move away from the soft-neoliberalism of the past.  That means not just one isolated policy, nor one that provides a bit  more government intervention, but one designed to tackle the vast challenges of the early 21st century.  This requires a new narrative and framework: one that works for all kiwis, not just the well-off middleclasses, bankers and property speculators.

The good thing about the pre-announced policy is that it just doesn’t focus on home-buying.  There is also mention of increasing state housing and improving private rentals.

Details of the policy, seen as appealing to core Labour voters, are closely guarded to ensure maximum impact by Mr Shearer in his keynote speech in Auckland on Sunday.

But sources suggest it will see a big push on affordable housing as well as more cash to upgrade state housing stock.

Annette King is reported to have said:

“It’s time for a long-term housing policy, which includes a real partnership with local government, starting by including housing as part of their core services.

“We need to have more houses in the $350,000 to $450,000 range built, have quality and efficiency standards in rentals, have more social housing and introduce a capital gains tax to deter property speculation.”

I will be looking at the small print to see if the policy lives up to such promises, and doesn’t still prioritise house buying and speculation.

I am hoping for some bold moves from the oldest left wing party in NZ, but it is not just their policies, framework and narrative that I will be watching closely.  I am also critical of the shift towards the centre recently from the Green Party.  I am looking for the Greens to move away from soft-neoliberalism, as, for instance expressed in the focus on endless growth.

Update:  and a new left direction, doesn’t involve these moves suggested by Josie Pagani:

“If we don’t win the debate about responsibility, the responsibility when you are on a benefit to make yourself work-ready as much as possible, then we’re not going to win the debate on increasing benefit levels – and there are people out there living on a benefit in absolute poverty.” ..

But he needs to be bolder, she says, such as condemning those in the party resisting moves by former Cabinet minister John Tamihere to rejoin Labour.

She still doesn’t understand that bennie-bashing dog whistles play to the neoliberal agenda.

On Tamihere: becoming a party member is about conforming to the Labour Party rules; but becoming a Labour candidate is a step too far.  It’s an insult to women, especially feminists and lesbians/gays.  Labour does need to reconnect with people struggling on low incomes, but not by embracing bigotry.

216 comments on “Looking for a new left direction: more than just one housing policy”

  1. Mary 1

    And it needs to include having the guts to restore the welfare benefit system by reversing the nasty right-wing changes Labour introduced between 1999 and 2008. An apology saying they got it wrong wouldn’t go amiss, either.

    • Bill 1.1

      Hear, hear. And why not the ability to sign into life long lease arrangements with landlords? Or giving house building standards a thorough going over and have two sets of legislation. Commercial building outfits adhering to stringent standards. Self build and such like allowed to innovate on design and materials on an ‘at your own risk’ basis….kind of like in France (as I understand it).

      I read recently of a guy who built a house in the SW of Scotland for 5000 pounds. Now, lets assume that he can sell it but wouldn’t get whatever reports would go with a ‘standard and to spec’ dwelling/house that offer a sense of guarantee and ‘come back’ should anything go awry? I can’t see anything too wrong with that – and somewhat ironically, would probably trust his standards of building more than I do NZ’s regulated standards that seem more concerned with cost cutting and protecting monopolies.

  2. One Tāne Huna 2

    “I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off.”

    Warren Buffet.

    “…introduce a capital gains tax to deter property speculation.”

    Annette King.

    The notion that taxation deters investment is simply yet another false frame. Is it too much to ask that the Labour Party stops spreading right-wing myths?

    Of course there should be a capital gains tax: income is being earned (or un-earned if you prefer).

    • Stephen 2.1

      You’re aware that Buffet, as a disciple of Benjamin Graham, uses “investor” in a narrow sense that is distinguished from “speculator?” Buffet is frequently quoted on this point because so many people DON’T behave like sensible investors.

      • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1

        Yeah, I read the whole article “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich” – and it’s clear that he thinks there are a whole group of people who don’t have the first clue about it. He calls them “a billionaire friendly Congress” and calls for “shared sacrifice”.

        Note that the take-home message has got nothing to do with quibbling over narrow definitions of “investor”.

        The “speculators” make money? Tax that too.

        • Stephen 2.1.1.1

          I think we’re arguing at cross purposes and actually agree because we have different definitions of investor and speculator. I may have misunderstood the thrust of your original comment.

          I think that investors will still invest for a reasonable return, even if there is a tax, but that marginal deals and speculative deals will be deterred. Yes?

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            No it wont work that way. If people think that property prices will go up 20% in the next year, but they have to pay 1/7 of that gain in CGT, they still get to keep 6/7.

            So, money will still pile in to property speculation.

            • Bunji 2.1.1.1.1.1

              It won’t stop property speculation. The Productivity Commission I think said in 2009 a capital gains tax would have taken out half of the noughties property bubble. It’s probably noticeably less than that, but it would have some effect. It boils down to:

              Say I can get x profit out of housing speculation and x profit out of investing in the productive economy (factories, jobs etc). But the second will be taxed and the first won’t. If I’m only interested in money I go for the housing option.

              More often it won’t be the same number either way, so we’re not suddenly going to go from all housing speculation to all productive economy investment, but it will make a difference at the margin. And then the less housing speculation there is the less profit there is from rising house prices, so you establish a feedback loop…

              So it’s more about pushing in the right direction instead of the wrong one than a silver bullet.

              Of course a good housing policy that gets lots of houses built will ruin housing speculation if there’s no longer a shortage, so that’ll probably help get investment in the right place too…

              • Stephen

                Yeah, that’s my take on it too. CGT isn’t THE answer, it’s part of a set of responses.

                • Dem Young Sconies

                  A part of the “set of responses” to stop a further housing boom, and tax the wealthy should be a 4% per year tax on land. This would put a strong downwards pressure on the price of land, and would deter speculation. It would also stop farming for capital gain in it’s tracks.

              • Colonial Viper

                Unless you directly include the role of banks and banking debt in your rationale, you will have missed a big chunk of the equation.

                For instance:

                Say I can get x profit out of housing speculation and x profit out of investing in the productive economy (factories, jobs etc). But the second will be taxed and the first won’t. If I’m only interested in money I go for the housing option.

                If you have a good income, the banks are happy to extend a large amount of credit to you (say $500,000) in the form of a mortgage on an investment property; all you need is a $100,000 deposit, maybe not even that.

                You won’t get that $500K of finance to start a factory and create jobs on the same basis. Further, ma and pa investor can get into the property game pretty easy, but who is to say ma and pa investor have the skills necessary to start up and run a factory with plant and equipment?

                Which means for most people, regardless of any CGT, investing their money in a productive way is not a realistic option at all.

            • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1.1.1.2

              I think CV has it right: why would “speculators” be any more deterred than “investors”?

              The current tax-free status of capital gains distorts the economy and starves the public purse. The whole notion of taxation as deterrence is a false frame, a right-wing fantasy.

              Remember how if we lower taxes we’ll get trickle down? How’s that working out?

              PS: When the next Labour government increases the top tax rate and some lying Tory shill claims it will deter investment, Annette King has already conceded the point.

              • David C

                Any personal tax rate above trust or company rate is a utter waste of time, unless your an accountant of course.

                • Dem Young Sconies

                  Agreed. That’s why the corporate and trust tax rates should always be aligned with the top marginal tax rate.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Any personal tax rate above trust or company rate is a utter waste of time, unless your an accountant of course.

                  You simply increase the penalties for evasion until its not worth trying it on.

            • David C 2.1.1.1.1.3

              1/7? a 14% CGT rate?

  3. Pete 3

    One thing I do fear is us becoming Labour’s equivalent of the Republican Tea Party. An activist base so narrowly focused on ideological purity that any potential voters who might swing from National to Labour will be repulsed. By all means, cease the bennie-bashing and have a more human-centred approach to government, introduce a CGT too, but it’s a long road to Scandinavia.

    • karol 3.1

      Pete, I agree on the shifting towards a more humanity-valuing approach that doesn’t get into bennie-bashing.

      However,you are making a false equation between “Tea Party” misinformation, and Scandinavia social democracy.  Social democracy is hardly “ideological purity” but a compromise between socialism and capitalism.

      The dominant discourse has moved pretty far to the right over the last few decades.  And the “left” have colluded by making small steps and appealing to the centrist middle-classes.  Left wing parties need to re-engage with people who have stopped voting, not try to win over people who would as easily support National policies.

      • kiwicommie 3.1.1

        Well the National party is mostly the party of angry white men/women [correction: and homophobic religious nuts], and a lot of their economic policies match up with the Tea Party, especially the returning to surplus rhetoric through cuts to welfare and social services i.e. ‘making the government smaller and more efficent’. The problem is that center-left parties tried to woe center-right voters, which ends up making half-measures that try to make both sides happy. Partisianship isn’t always needed in politics, but when it comes to the current National government and the Republican party in the United States; there is no option but to be partisan and push what you believe in.

        • One Tāne Huna 3.1.1.1

          “…what you believe in…”

          aka “reality-based policy”.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2

          The problem is that center-left parties tried to woe center-right voters, which ends up making half-measures that try to make both sides happy.

          http://www.thestandard.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/centrist.jpg

          And, yeah, it just doesn’t work because it’s basically trying to compromise with the delusional that, as soon as the compromise is in, will become even more delusional and demand another compromise. It just keeps shifting the ‘centre’ further to the right which fucks up society.

          PS, someone be nice and embed the image.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      One thing I do fear is us becoming Labour’s equivalent of the Republican Tea Party.

      What would the Standard do with $50M worth of funding from a rich Lefty billionaire or two?

      More seriously: your analysis of the situation goes off track in one crucial way – Tea party candidates WON elections, not lost them. yes, they lost the Presidential election, but they won numerous State and Federal House of Representative races over the last couple of years, and re-energised the Republican Party.

      when you analyse it the power of the right wing Tea Party is that they brought onboard huge numbers of supporters passionate about their values, and got those people selected as public officials proudly espousing the causes they believed in, and they GOT RID OF elected Republicans who didn’t suit their tastes.

      Republican congressmen who weren’t Tea Party supporters had to start moving to the extreme Right in order to placate them.

      Imaging forcing the Right Wing of the Labour caucus to the Left, because if they don’t, their electorates will not select them again.

      • kiwicommie 3.2.1

        “Imaging forcing the Right Wing of the Labour caucus to the Left, because if they don’t, their electorates will not select them again.”
        Pretty much, though at the same time do we really want the Right Wing of the Labour caucus, a small re-alignment to the left in those electorates won’t hurt too much; especially as anyone that isn’t brainwashed by National propaganda can see a weak economy, shit jobs and people leaving overseas in droves.

  4. One Tāne Huna 4

    Pagani “…the debate about responsibility…”

    What “debate”? Is that the “debate” where the National Party produces another fantasy-based argument and Labour goes along with it instead of hammering the lie over and over and over again?

    Is this some attempt to win over the “personal responsibility” cretins? A momentary lapse of concentration? An inability to articulate a left wing position even though one just fell on you?

    Get with the program.

    • QoT 4.1

      Is that the “debate” where the National Party produces another fantasy-based argument and Labour goes along with it instead of hammering the lie over and over and over again?

      Yep, I’m pretty sure she means that debate. Besides, it can’t be beneficiary-bashing if Labour does it.

      • karol 4.1.1

        And anyway, no argument holds up if it’s posted using a pseudonym, because that is behaving like the KKK with hoods.

        • QoT 4.1.1.1

          EXACTLY.

          • David C 4.1.1.1.1

            Should we use full birth names and email addys as handles on here?

            • QoT 4.1.1.1.1.1

              I think you may have missed that karol was sarcastically alluding to Fran O’Sullivan’s whinging about bloggers.

              • karol

                Actually, QOT, that was from Josie Pagani at the FB page you linked to. Pagani begins:

                There’s been a bit of comment about me on the Standard blog. I’m not going to reply there because the people who make the most defamatory comments do it anonymously, like the KKK putting on their white hoods. At least on Facebook, they have to identify themselves. 

                And I don’t like the way the Standard deals out lifetime bans to anyone who disagrees with them.  

                • QoT

                  My apologies – I was getting confused with this eerily similar comment from O’Sullivan. I guess conflating critics with extremist hate groups was in some kind of memo they both got.

                • lprent

                  I think Josie was referring to the way I treat people who abuse authors on this site. In this case probably John Pagani for lying about what an author had said so he could claim it was defamatory. Mostly we disagreed on who ran this site and who could tell authors off. He seemed to think that he did. I disagreed.

                  http://thestandard.org.nz/mythbustin-waitakere-man/comment-page-1/#comment-447337

                  But as QoT points out, it is surprising how closely a right wing business columnist and a left wing nonentity politician sound in their choice of language and phrasing.

                  Reminds me of the 80’s when I saw the same kinds of transitions in politicians like Richard Prebble and Rob Campbell from left firebrands to the favorites of the non-productive business community.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Now tell me a bit about this. Someone was saying to me the other day how a red flag wouldn’t have looked out of place being waved by Prebble or Douglas…until they transformed.

            • karol 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Heh.  And JP’s faith in people always using their real names on FB is quite quaint – not to mention her lack of issues with the way FB makes use of our identities and “privacy”.

  5. Uturn 5

    Labour cannot exercise “bold moves”, which is basically restricted to buying existing houses for state housing, and think they are going to get support from the type of people they currently address. The type of people they want to vote for them are currently building houses, quite happy with the neo-liberalism that is making them rich. What could they say? “Vote Labour, we’ll end your gravy train and raise your taxes.” There might be a few that think, yeah ok, that sounds fair, always wanted to work for the nation instead of for myself – but probably not many. If soft NeoLib is just as bad, apart from necessity induced by total economic collapse, how will Labour or anyone else entice these people to share skills for not much personal monetary gain? Big job ahead, really big job. Labour can’t do it. Wrong mindspace.

    Greens or Mana could do it, by starting at the beginning with attitudes in apprenticeships. Use whoever we already have that wants to help, but otherwise import the necessary tutors/tradesmen to grow a new bunch of apprentices who know what they’re getting into and why. The workers won’t be hard to convince, since many won’t be working right now. Core base of tradesmen, directing new apprentices formally unemployed, build new state housing. Hit several birds with one stone: attitudes, skills, social need, new political direction. The money has to come from somewhere, but that shouldn’t be difficult since government wastes so much already.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    I will be looking at the small print to see if the policy lives up to such promises, and doesn’t still prioritise house buying and speculation.

    From what you quoted of Annette King, you’re going to be disappointed.

  7. prism 7

    Some people have been researching housing practices, availability and affordability for more than a generation. I feel sure of this but I don’t know who they are. Whatever ideas they have come up with, they will have not been listened to in entirety. (The NZ way is to cherry pick ideas from any inclusive report, and half-do these then the pollies praise their small achievements when applying for the next election). And they know that good housing stocks and controls that will prevent speculation in this necessary human need are not what excite voters. So thumbs down for continuing innovative plans to meet the ordinary family’s and single people’s needs.

    Innovative plans would allow for groups of units and houses where extended family can live.
    This would be enjoyed by the Pacificas. Duplex housing on an individual property. Well-built three storey units not built to boundaries. etc.

    Other countries have methods of provision, and passing on housing and mortgages to new owners which would include families or pre-ownership agreements with elderly people. Housing trusts and committees to have training and more ability to create housing clusters. In London I lived in a part of Kilburn with close packed two-storey houses with small private back gardens and with a portion of their section amalgamated into a small grassy park for the residents. There is a sterility of thinking in NZ.

    • Uturn 7.1

      These are all excellent ideas. You are right that design of “state housing” does not need to be defined by the large square brick and tile of the past or the apartments centred around a carpark. An approach to state housing encompasses more than just building houses.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        If Savage could design a solution for the times in the 1930’s with next to no money, maybe all these vaunted PhD types around could do so now, for us.

  8. Olwyn 8

    The difficulty is that Labour under Shearer seems happy to be complicit in these conditions as opposed to seeking ways to contend with them. And given that their conception of middle class seems to be “avid reader of Jane Clifton’s column” and that these people having been given management plus a housing bubble to compensate for the lack of alternative investments, I will be startled if his housing policy comes anywhere near meeting housing need.

    What I would like to see it the bottom line for negotiating with our lords and masters raised to include genuinely widespread affordable housing, employment opportunities and living wages. It is possible, since no one else in the OECD seems to have lowered the bar to our extent.

  9. Chris 9

    Agree that Tamihere should be left in the past where he belongs.

  10. prism 10

    That being work ready as being the main goal of a beneficiary sounds as if Josie Pagani has absorbed the 1984 stuff. Time to open a window of the mind, perhaps someone could find a portal in to Josies a la film Being John Malkovich.

    With housing in general one of the main problems is the inflation in housing, which everyone acknowledges when talking about the housing bubble. One thing that could be done is to have housing trusts set up with different options for people so they could afford to buy a house or unit. It would be revalued each year by the trust in light of the term deposit rates applying that year and would have to be sold back to the trust for their accumulated valuation. The QV valuation would apply for only Council rates etc. Then the Trust would onsell the property once redecorated, for perhaps a 10% rise in valuation. There would need to be control on the Trust onselling price to ensure prices didn’t inflate unreasonably. Also the housing would only be for homeowners not for rental properties or investments.

  11. fatty 11

    In addition to housing in Auckland, the same problem exists in Christchurch…I hope there will be something done there too.
    I fear that there is a perception that Chch Central will shift towards Labour without much of a challenge, and that Wigram and the Port Hills will stay with Labour. But those 3 electorates have experienced major population shifts and I’m not sure how they will play out. Many Labour voters have left for Australia.

    “This requires a new narrative and framework: one that works for all kiwis, not just the well-off middleclasses, bankers and property speculators.”

    Yes…the number of students who vote National astounds me, those votes could be gained easily if Labour’s policies represented their principles…the problem is that Labour are hardly any different than National regarding student loans etc. At least they got rid of Goff, its a bit much to expect students to vote for very the same person that introduced the student loan scam.

  12. pete 12

    Pagani is correct. Handing even more more to people who have no intention of working is not going to hunt.

    For the simple reason that most voters will not vote for it. That should be obvious to all but the most out-of-touch party ideologues.

    • One Tāne Huna 12.1

      Pagani is wrong.

      That is not the focus of the public provision of welfare. Your second sentence is utter nonsense. Of course no-one will vote for it: that is why only a complete moron would characterise it thus.

      So you bought into a bunch of complete fabrications about beneficiaries? More fool you. Have a little cry then try a reality based argument next time.

      • pete 12.1.1

        Pagani is right.

        If the last two elections haven’t convinced you that you’re on the wrong side of the debate, I guess nothing will.

        • One Tāne Huna 12.1.1.1

          Reality check. Pagani is wrong.

          If the outcome of three out of the last five elections and the track records on employment during that period doesn’t register with you, perhaps you simply lack the cognitive ability to recognise the gaping hole in your “argument”.

          • pete 12.1.1.1.1

            Pagani is right.

            The electorate has moved on since Clark. People know the good economic times have passed and the world is in recession. They will not tolerate what they perceive to be hand-outs to people not prepared to pull their weight. That includes everyone from bankers to welfare beneficiaries.

            You lack the ability to see what is patently obvious. You are out-of-touch and very likely surrounded by hardline Labour supporters.

            Will it take yet another election loss before you see it?

            • fatty 12.1.1.1.1.1

              If Labour get in as National lite…then what is the point? If Shearer continues with Pagani’s third way logic then NZ would be better off if National won.

              Will it take yet another 30 years of neoliberalism before you see it?

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1.2

              People know the good economic times have passed and the world is in recession. They will not tolerate what they perceive to be hand-outs to people not prepared to pull their weight. That includes everyone from bankers to welfare beneficiaries.

              So…tax an extra $1B from the bankers and distribute it to the people (from which it was taken from originally).

            • One Tāne Huna 12.1.1.1.1.3

              “The electorate has…”

              Says who?

              Your assertions don’t actually constitute a coherent argument – you do get that, don’t you? Have you ever heard of the analogy for politics that “the pendulum swings back and forth”?

              I’m so out-of-touch? That no doubt explains the opinion poll trend.

              Can you please stop eye-balling your haemorrhoids and try a reality based argument?

              • pete

                So, let’s say a left wing government is elected. It lasts three terms. It’s a return to the golden weather policies of the 50s.

                And everything is going great.

                But after three terms, you’re very bored with everything going great, so vote in ACT. Just for a change.

                What kind of half-wit believes Labour lost because people were “bored and wanted a change”?

                Labour lost because people were sick of their double-talking politicians and their policies.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  What kind of half-wit thinks your feeble, shifting, strawman argument is going to be met with anything other than derision? Why, you, I guess.

                  But not me.

                  • pete

                    Because you’re so one-eyed, you can’t react any other way. I’m the enemy. You’re surrounded by people who think exactly as you do, and they all know they own the truth.

                    Will National lose because they have failed to deliver? Yes. I’m sure you agree.
                    Not “National will lose because they’re doing alright, but people have just got bored with them”.

                    Yet you’d have us believe that when Labour lose, it’s only due to the “electoral cycle”.

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      Hello, Earth to Pete – one minor detail – the notion that “National/Labour will lose because they’re doing alright, but people have just got bored with them” is yours and yours alone.

                      Why are you arguing with yourself?

                      Because you’re not just one-eyed, you’re actually no-eyed? Because all you’ve got is moving goal posts and strawmen?

                      You: “The electorate has moved on since Clark”

                      Me – “Not according to the opinion polls which predict a left led government if an election were held now, let alone in 2014″

                      You – “bluster mumblefuck a load of irrelevant crap”.

                      Care to address the point I made or will you argue with your own drivel some more?

                      PS: “The electorate has moved on since Clark”? That explains the rise in union membership. Oops, reality comes crashing in again!

            • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1.4

              There’s not even any logic in there never mind an argument.

              People know the good economic times have passed and the world is in recession.

              And people know that this recession was caused by the policies that National are following.

              They will not tolerate what they perceive to be hand-outs to people not prepared to pull their weight.

              Yeah, and that would be why the CEOs and banksters getting massive pay rises while the majority of people are getting pay cuts is pissing people off. Also, the very low level of unemployment before the GFC shows that most people are willing to pull their weight and so the only reason those people are out of work is because of the people at the top not employing people – even though they got massive tax cuts.

              You lack the ability to see what is patently obvious.

              Psychological Projection.

              It’s the RWNJs, such as yourself, that deny reality.

              • pete

                You are very dishonest. Why did you edit my sentence:

                “They will not tolerate what they perceive to be hand-outs to people not prepared to pull their weight. That includes everyone from bankers to welfare beneficiaries”

                Then respond as if I never said bankers?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I didn’t edit your sentence – I left off the one I wasn’t responding to. The point is, of course, that people on welfare are willing to pull their weight as the recent high levels of employment showed and that the massive tax cuts given to the rich didn’t create any jobs as promised by this government.

                  It’s the rich that aren’t pulling their weight but that’s been true for 5000 years.

  13. lefty 13

    Too many politicians have investment properties for them to ever do anything meaningful about housing.

    This applies to MPs across the parties.

    As long as there is a shortage of housing it will remain a great investment regardless of whether there is a capital gains tax, or any other form of taxation of it.

    Investors got used to getting lots of free money from their savings but this changed with the GFC.

    But it remains possible to manipulate housing to get superdividends from it as long as the politicians play the game.

    All you need is an artificial shortage of housing and big state subsidies for low income people who have to pay rent.

    Thats why so many red herrings are presented in the debate over housing.

    Its quite simple to solve the housing crisis really.

    Go out and build a shitload of suitable housing and get people living in it.

    There’s plenty of materials, plenty of land, the jobs are needed and the money could easily be found.

    We were able to do it way back in the 1930s when things were much tougher than they are now.

    Once the rent (or mortgage payments) starts coming in it pays for itself.

    But if you build enough to meet the need then rents start falling, the need for the state to pay rental subsidies to private landlords decreases, rents drop even further and so on.

    There’s plenty of houses around to buy and the price drops.

    Lots of people, including many – if not most – of our MPs, lose a lot of money.

    Over the years our politicians have created a situation where the middle class will punish them severely if they solved the housing crisis because their biggest asset would lose value.

    Thats why Mana is the only party that is honest about housing – because the middle class is not its constituency (yet).

    And its why we will continue to be given all sorts of complicated bullshit reasons why we cannot house all the people who live in this land of plenty.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      +1

      Well said.

      And its why we will continue to be given all sorts of complicated bullshit reasons why we cannot house, feed, clothe, employ, and generally provide a decent living standard to all the people who live in this land of plenty.

      FIFY

      The capitalist system is about restricting the nations resources in such a way so that only the few benefit from them.

    • Rogue Trooper 13.2

      lefty, you summarise well!
      (DTB, just saw Max Keiser touting the OWS Jubilee debt buying programme)

  14. Ron 14

    I think we are getting off track here. The task is to provide housing. We have a perfectly good vehicle for doing this in Housing NZ. We just have to give them proper direction and provide the finance to invest in housing.
    Apart from the CGT which is a given how about providing houses where the state owns the land. That would remove a big incentive to speculate on housing.
    Put people in to good quality housing whether rent or purchased. Let them rent to own if that helps
    Thing big. Imagine the cost savings if Housing NZ was to build several thousand houses in Auckland alone. OK so it may well depress the market but since when has that been a good reason for not providing a basic need. Pharmac no doubt drepresses the market for medicine thank goodness we have them otherwise only the rich would get affordable medicine.
    We keep going around in circles. We know what a Labour government needs to do for New Zealanders so how about doing it and stop worrying about a few wealthy individuals who might not make as much.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      OK so it may well depress the market but since when has that been a good reason for not providing a basic need.

      Depressing the “market” in housing is exactly what needs to be done. If the upper middle class and the speculators/rentiers will allow it…

      Markets, as you imply, aren’t interested in ensuring that basic needs are provided for.

  15. Ron 15

    I agree but why are we not planning in this direction. I will bet that Sundays speech will not even touch the real problem instead it will skirt around things by talking about cooperation between council and state which is a real waste of time. We want a party to state the problems and then present firm policies to deal with problem. Once upon a time we had that kind of grit but it is sadly lacking. So what if its two years out from election if its a good policy it will still be a good policy in two years,

  16. pete 16

    Even you do find the magic money, where will you build these slums? I guess Len wants you to build vertical slums.

    They’ll be nice! I’m not sure it will affect the housing market, except at the slum level.

    • Ron 16.1

      Pete
      We are not short of money either. Did i not read in paper yeaterday that NZ wants its own satellite system for the military. From memory it was costed at $82 million. WTF. What the ehck do we need a military satellite for. And I wonder how many houses we could build for $82 million. I would imagine 300-400 houses.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        Plus money for a satellite would leave the country and go to foregin firms, whereas spent in NZ on housing it would generate a lot of NZ jobs.

        Our defence and intelligence establishment are dreaming.

        • Ron 16.1.1.1

          Defence have called tenders. IIthin it is aaway of sucking up to USA
          Reading the article again it sounds like 82 mil it’s only the start

          • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1.1.1

            Defence have called tenders. IIthin it is aaway of sucking up to USA

            That would be some of it same as when National sought to buy the F16s which are absolutely useless for NZ (At least the satellites will be useful).

            • Ron 16.1.1.1.1.1

              No satellites are not useful. They are military use only. Why cannot the military send emails like everyone else

              • Draco T Bastard

                Really? So you don’t find the weather forecasts useful?

                And, as I said, we do need to defend ourselves. We may be the most peaceful people ever but there really are psychopaths out there and they really do get to be dictators of countries with weapons.

                So, yes, the satellites will be useful.

        • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1.2

          The answer to which is to have our own space program and weapons development.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.2

        What the ehck do we need a military satellite for.

        Because we need to defend ourselves.

        And I wonder how many houses we could build for $82 million.

        None, completely different set of resources used.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.1

          Because we need to defend ourselves.

          Wrong way to go about it.

          • Draco T Bastard 16.1.2.1.1

            You got a better way to watch several million square kilometres of empty sea and air?

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.1.1.1

              yeah, fucking buy commercial satellite time twice a week at a cost of $200K pa.

              In addition, you don’t have to monitor several million square kilometres of empty sea, what are you looking for, dolphins???

              Maritime surveillance aircraft, UAVs etc could also do all this work for much less.

              A fucking military satellite. More like for spying on our pacific neighbours.

              • Draco T Bastard

                yeah, fucking buy commercial satellite time twice a week at a cost of $200K pa.

                And what’s the ongoing costs of maintaining a satellite?

                Considering that we’re talking military here it’s unlikely that a commercial satellite will have the required capabilities anyway.

                In addition, you don’t have to monitor several million square kilometres of empty sea, what are you looking for, dolphins???

                Need to monitor all approaches out to two or three thousand kilometres (effective attack range of missiles).

                Maritime surveillance aircraft, UAVs etc could also do all this work for much less.

                Again that comes down to ongoing costs. At a guess, I suspect Maritime surveillance aircraft, UAVs haven’t got a snow balls chance in hell of being able to do the required surveillance for anything like the cost of satellites.

                A fucking military satellite. More like for spying on our pacific neighbours.

                I’m going to have to point out that some of our Pacific neighbours are the psychopaths that I mentioned.

        • prism 16.1.2.2

          The houses come a while after we get attacked, areas area flattened and we have had a chance to use our defence weapons. First things first.

    • fatty 16.2

      nah…most of the top rated cities in the world have dense housing and it allows for a nice lifestyle, rather than prevents a nice lifestyle. Most people I know do not want to live in the suburbs and have to maintain gardens, have high cost of transport, live in a boring neighborhood etc. This ain’t the 1950s, it time we put our outdated ideals behind us eh?
      The slums you are talking about are the result of greedy economic policies, not dense housing.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.2.1

        +1

        Much prefer living in an apartment.

      • Ron 16.2.2

        I dead recently that we are already pretty far up the scale of housing density.Now you must want to make it worse. You can live in an apartment but what happens when children come along

        • Draco T Bastard 16.2.2.1

          You can live in an apartment but what happens when children come along

          They get to live there to and play in the local parks – just like normal.

      • When you have kids you might feel differently.

        • Colonial Viper 16.2.3.1

          Most adults don’t have kids.

        • Colonial Viper 16.2.3.2

          Move out of the apartment

          • fatty 16.2.3.2.1

            yes, and then move back into an apartment when the kids have gone.
            We really don’t need that many stand alone houses. But to make smaller places livable, we need livable cities… and the problem is that more sprawl and suburbs makes boring cities, whereas we need decent cities to make high-rise living enjoyable.
            We don’t need big living spaces, just creates the ‘need’ to full it with stuff that we don’t want. Many people could live in places half their size if their cities were worth venturing into.

        • millsy 16.2.3.3

          Youre a pretty nasty person Monique. Piss off.

          • Monique Watson 16.2.3.3.1

            How exactly am I nasty Millsy. Is it because I call a spade a fucking spade? Is it because I sponsor five children through World Vision? Is it because I have five children myself? Is it because I spend every spare moment volunteering for community organisations because my basic creed is to give back more than you receive?
            I suspect you think I’m nasty because I have no time for fuckwits.
            In which case I’m okay with your judgement.
            I probably won’t piss off either BTW.

            • Colonial Viper 16.2.3.3.1.1

              well, you could do the country a lot more good by staying out of politics. Or at least, to stop shilling for the wealthy asset owning class.

            • millsy 16.2.3.3.1.2

              You hate your tenants
              You want the poor thrown on the streets
              You want wages slashed
              You support American style heath care
              You want to destroy state housing
              You want to ban trade unions

            • fatty 16.2.3.3.1.3

              “I suspect you think I’m nasty because I have no time for fuckwits”

              To be honest I think you are nasty because of your posts. I also have no time for fuckwits.

              “Is it because I sponsor five children through World Vision? Is it because I have five children myself?”

              When you put it like that, yes

            • millsy 16.2.3.3.1.4

              Plus you hate rail and you think youre better than everyone else.

              I deal with ladies like that every day.

              I just make it more or less clear to them that they are not.

            • QoT 16.2.3.3.1.5

              Is it because I sponsor five children through World Vision?

              No, but it might be because you’re willing to use that sponsorship and those children as a way to bolster your apparent “niceness”.

              • Colonial Viper

                African children poverty is real poverty; NZ children poverty – well, it just doesn’t exist.

  17. Ron 17

    We are not short of Land. We need the will to build and to provide the infrastructure around that land. You are correct that Len would prefer to have so called vertical housing but that is becasue the love the idea of getting rates of all the occupants but not having to provide infrastructure to a newighbourhood. Instead we just run it upwards. There is a wealth of information out there about what happens to peoples health when you start storing the vertically but heck why shoudl we worry about that

  18. pete 18

    I think this is the wrong question.

    We’re not short of land. We’re not even short of cheap houses. We are short of regional taxes.
    Simply attract business to the regions by way of a differential tax. If you want to live and operate out of Auckland, it costs you a lot. Less so if you want to do so out of Dunedin, Nelson or Palmerston North.

    • One Tāne Huna 18.1

      I can imagine why no-one has thought of this before. Sorry, I can imagine why no-one has seriously proposed this before.

      Are you a tax accountant, by any chance?

    • Draco T Bastard 18.2

      If you want to live and operate out of Auckland, it costs you a lot. Less so if you want to do so out of Dunedin, Nelson or Palmerston North.

      That’s already true – businesses are still moving to Auckland.

      • pete 18.2.1

        Yeeeess….so make it worth their while to head in the other direction. You’ll save a lot of money not building new roads and silly trains, for starters.

        • One Tāne Huna 18.2.1.1

          Citations needed.

          • Colonial Viper 18.2.1.1.1

            Only commonsense needed, OTH. Studies won’t show jack shit.

            Or maybe you think having 30% of the population of the country in just 0.3% of the space is somehow going to be sustainable?

            On second thoughts, keep the Aucklanders where they are, we don’t want them moving to rest of the country.

            • One Tāne Huna 18.2.1.1.1.1

              Sorry, I just think the conflation of “new roads” and “silly trains” may indicate underlying bias.

              Other than that I think the science of determining where people “ought” to live may well be insufficiently developed to inform policy

              • Colonial Viper

                Other than that I think the science of determining where people “ought” to live may well be insufficiently developed to inform policy

                I really don’t mean to be short with you good sir, but…FORGET THE FUCKING SCIENCE

                The first question to ask is: what kind of society and environment do we want to live in, in terms of housing options and lifestyle.

                THEN set science and policy to work to achieve it.

                Frankly the idea that people would “want” 100-120 minutes of commute per day is laughable. Live in Wanganui, Napier or New Plymouth and your commute each way is probably 8-12 minutes. So much more time with the family, practicing the piano, spending time with mates.

                And did I mention that the cost of housing is probably 30% to 40% less???

              • pete

                I thought the bias was quite balanced, actually. An unnecessary road and an unnecessary train are both silly when we can simply encourage people to live anywhere but Auckland.

                Plenty of underused infrastructure around the country.

                I agree with Mr Viper here….

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I thought the bias was quite balanced, actually. An unnecessary road and an unnecessary train are both silly when we can simply encourage people to live anywhere but Auckland.

                  /facepalm

                  If people move out of Auckland then the new places will need roads and/or trains so that they can move about.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Why? Just walk or cycle 10 minutes to work. You can actually do that outside of the big centres!

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      My point was that the small centres wouldn’t remain small if Auckland moved into them.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m not saying add 10,000 population to Otaki.

                      But you could share 150,000 people out of AKL without blinking. To Wellington, Christchurch, Rotorua, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Wanganui, Napier, Hastings, New Plymouth, Invercargill, Timaru, Nelson, Whangarei, Gisborne.

                      10K people each, no probs.

                    • pete

                      Perhaps Draco is a home owner in Auckland, Viper? Worried about his house price if pressure is taken off Auckland?

                      He might like capitalism a bit more than he lets on…..

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’m not against the idea, in fact I like it, just don’t think it can be done for free as you suggest.

                    • pete

                      “I’m not against the idea, in fact I like it, just don’t think it can be done for free as you suggest.”

                      I think it can, Draco.

                      What was it someone said before – which I also kinda liked. You decide what you want first, then you let the science work out how to do it.

                      It’s not hard. We simply attract business out of Auckland and spread it around the country. There are various mechanisms to do this, and one is differential tax.

                  • pete

                    Dunedin, Palmerston North, Nelson, etc could absorb a few thousand extra each year with little strain on existing/planned infrastructure.

                    It’s under used.

                    • David C

                      Palmy cant take another 1000 let alone 10,000. Fucking useless council cant sort out residential land zoning for future building.

        • prism 18.2.1.2

          Having built infrastructure for trains is going to be much appreciated over the years as oil gets more expensive. They aren’t silly. We just have to do sufficient scoping to ensure trains are running where they will be used.

      • insider 18.2.2

        That’s because the golf and sailing are much better, and teh CEOs like golf and sailing.

        • Draco T Bastard 18.2.2.1

          Actually, it’s because the business is more likely to find suitable people to work for them in 1.3m+ people as well as have a larger market to sell to meaning that, even though it costs more, they’re going to be better off.

          • David C 18.2.2.1.1

            Nah, build it and they will come.
            unless you put a depot/wharehouse/factory in a utterly toxic town and you have good stable work people will move to you.
            good solid jobs are hard to find.
            annnndddd…. if you put it in a “low rent” place your employees are likely to be $100’s a week better off than living in Dorkland.

  19. pete 19

    Whilst you incentivise Auckland, you’re going to get high land prices, which leads to high housing costs. Aucklands plan is up, not out, so your state housing is going to be cheap high rise apartments, tenements and terraces.

    Nice.

    There are many ways to incentivise the regions, regional taxes being just one option. Unless you want Auckland extending to Hamilton, then it’s pretty obvious building tens of thousands of state houses is a bad idea.

    • Ron 19.1

      I disagree disagree can purchase land and if they remain the land and lease it for homes it will not cause high land prices

      • pete 19.1.1

        Sooo……you’ll rewrite the district plan in Auckland? Or should I say. Auckamilton? Where are all these tens of thousands of state houses going to go?

  20. Penalising investors with a more stringent CGT is not the way to go. The solution is to increase the supply and make it easier to consent houses that the buyers are asking for. And for those who have short memories, I’ve blogged on the background to the housing “bubble”.

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/11/or-we-could-build-our-own-houses-part-1.html

    • It is only “penalising” investors if they chose to continue property speculation; this is the whole point of a CGT type tax. To “encourage” investors to do something more productive and useful with their money.

      Some of those who are buying, building and doing up and selling houses, may continue to do so. Those who are in for a quick buck and fuck off and try elsewhere and stop causing basic needs to become un-affordable for increasing numbers of people.

    • Colonial Viper 20.2

      Property speculators need to be severely penalised.

      Those wanting to make a steady month by month income by being professional landlords should be assisted.

      And of course, the Government should immediately build 50,000 new houses itself. Don’t leave it up to the private sector or the market.

      • pete 20.2.1

        A CGT won’t stop property speculation. All it will do is drive up rents.

        Why?

        Your problem is lack of supply. You can’t build tens of thousands of state houses in Auckland, there’s nowhere for them to go under the district plan. You’ll end up building slum tenements.

        That problem is solved by encouraging people not to place demand pressure all in the same two/three cities. Doesn’t cost as much, and boosts the regions.

        • Draco T Bastard 20.2.1.1

          You can’t build tens of thousands of state houses in Auckland, there’s nowhere for them to go under the district plan. You’ll end up building slum tenements.

          Yes we can, yes there is, no we won’t as we won’t be leaving them to the private sector to own and operate.

          • Ron 20.2.1.1.1

            exactly

          • pete 20.2.1.1.2

            So you’ll have to change the district plan, then. Len wants out, not up. Britain tried vertical state housing. Truly horrible.

            Doesn’t matter if it’s private sector or public, you’ve still got a sprawl problem.

            • karol 20.2.1.1.2.1

              Britain went into high rise state housing.  interestingly, high rise apartments work fine in many central cities, including London.  It’s just that they have so far worked better when they are expansive privately owned ones.  It’s all in HOW it’s done.

              Also, it doesn’t need to be high rise – just more low level: e.g. 2 storey apartment blocks.  And in the middle of community facilities, not the wastelands of Pepys Estate  – which I have visited more than once.  Was quite grim inside, lifts not working, smelling of pee.

        • Colonial Viper 20.2.1.2

          Pretty sure that District Plans get rewritten every few years.

          Also I’m not just talking about a CGT. I;m talking about a raft of measures to make property asset speculation something which no longer happens.

          • David C 20.2.1.2.1

            District plans must be looked at every 10 years, usually 15 years between finished versions.

            “the market” usually leads the district plan with private plan changes which are hugley costly to both developer and councils and in the end just get ticked onto the price of the house.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.3

      Catering to the investors/speculators is what’s led to the problem. Time to start catering to the people rather than the rich.

      • pete 20.3.1

        Zero sum. If you nationalised every house in Auckland, you’ve still got exactly the same problem. A lot of people chasing few houses.

        So, you build a lot more. Where? The plan for Auckland doesn’t want any more sprawl, so you’ll have to go up.

        Doesn’t it make more sense to spread people around the county a bit more? Use the wealth of infrastructure we’ve already got, rather than overloading Auckland, or sprawling it ever further?

        • Colonial Viper 20.3.1.1

          Zero sum. If you nationalised every house in Auckland, you’ve still got exactly the same problem. A lot of people chasing few houses.

          You missed a really big factor.

          Profiteering. The state would not need to make big profits off these properties, in fact the statem doesn’t need to make any profit off these properties.

          So will there still be too few houses…yes. But rent will also be cheap.

          This is what happens when you tell the market and the privateers to go get fucked.

          • pete 20.3.1.1.1

            I didn’t “miss” it. It’s not relevant to my point.

            You could eliminate profiteering, and it still doesn’t solve the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is you have more demand than there is supply.

            So, the question remains: WHERE are you going to build the supply? If you stay within Len’s plan, then you must build up. If you ignore Len’s plan, then you must sprawl.

            My point is that there is no need to do this. Simply redistribute demand to other centers, which solves a number of problems, not least of which is affordability.

      • Weeel. If you actooally read my fucking blog post, you’d realise that the average bog standard investor isn’t the “rich”. It’s someone who invested rationally under the fifth Labour government.
        If you were to “get rid of them”, the state has to pay employees to manage the properties and pay for the repairs and maintenance. It could end up costing the taxpayer a lot more if you get rid of private development.

        • Colonial Viper 20.3.2.1

          There’s no problem with the state creating jobs and a housing service to look after those properties.

          We want more jobs after all, and this kind of thing has been done by NZ governments for many years.

          you’d realise that the average bog standard investor isn’t the “rich”

          Not my fault if they negatively geared and have a massive negative net worth. Silly them.

        • Draco T Bastard 20.3.2.2

          It could end up costing the taxpayer a lot more if you get rid of private development.

          Nope, it won’t or, to be more precise, it would cost each taxpayer significantly less than what it’s presently costing individual renters through private development which comes with the dead weight loss of profit. Either way, you need those property managers.

          • kiwicommie 20.3.2.2.1

            Yep, I wouldn’t say that the USSR was true ‘communism’, but certainly even back then (despite the police state apparatus and hardship) it was proven that state ownership of housing lowers housing costs and allows everyone to get a home. Plenty of people in East Germany fondly remember the free education, free health-care and the community spirit back then. I am not trying to suggest the USSR and it’s satellites were a wonderland, it was not. But public housing is achievable, and is a lot fairer on people than the ‘private developer’ crowd, that build high cost housing that barely anyone can afford to live in.

            • pete 20.3.2.2.1.1

              Tenament living. You can have that tomorrow.

              Strangely, Kiwis don’t want to live in them.

          • pete 20.3.2.2.2

            You really are living in a fantasy world.

            What profit? Most landlords are either negatively geared or breaking even, making money on the equity. All you’re doing is leaving that equity with the tenant-as-owner, so it’s zero sum. The house isn’t any cheaper.

            You still haven’t solved your supply problem. Where are you going to build all these new state houses?

            • Draco T Bastard 20.3.2.2.2.1

              What profit? Most landlords are either negatively geared or breaking even, making money on the equity.

              The landlords may not be making a profit (which I find hard to believe) but the banks certainly are.

              Where are you going to build all these new state houses?

              It’s been mentioned, you’re just ignoring it.

              • pete

                “It’s been mentioned, you’re just ignoring it.”

                Can you point it out?

                • Colonial Viper

                  The same places that the private sector would build them. Plus a few others, since the State has the power to appropriate land it sees as important. The private sector is weak and can’t do that.

                  • pete

                    The places the private sector and public sector can build them, in Auckland, must conform with the district plan. The plan for the future of Auckland is up, not out. Public or private, that means towers, townhouses and tenements.

                    As I say, it makes more sense to spread business around the regions. This solves a number of problems. It creates enormous social benefits. It’s just a lot nicer that cramming everyone into one place, no?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No doubt. I agree its insane to cram 30% of NZ into 0.3% of the space.

                      But essentially, the public sector will do a better job of building affordable housing because they don’t have to add an extra ticket clip for making profit, and they can get financing way cheaper than the private sector.

                    • pete

                      I’d argue that what you gain in margin you lose in added production cost. Financing, I agree.

                      We’re getting sidetracked with the public/private debate.

                      It shouldn’t matter who builds them, so long as the end result is what people want i.e. an affordable, warm place to live.

                      Yah?

                      If the state can do that better than private, great, but I don’t see it happening, for reasons outlined.

                      One role the state could play well is the establishment of factory built modular houses. Industrial scale. I dare say it could also be PPP.

                      The problem still remains as to where you’re going to put them. I say adopt a regional approach. Boost the regions, take the pressure off Auckland.

        • Ron 20.3.2.3

          Good God what in the world are we arguing about. I find it hard to imagine why anyone would want to make money out supplying people a basic need such as housing. Lets all speculate on medicine and food supplies and hospitals. Why draw a line at anything. Affordable good quality Housing is a basic human right. It is the purpose of a good government to make sure that its citizens are adequately housed. It should not be left to the whims of so called investors.
          Bring in CGT and also stop landlords from deducting costs of their mortgages from profits accrued elsewhere.
          Then we might see how many good citizens are keen on buying and renting property.

          • Colonial Viper 20.3.2.3.1

            Ron – the entrepreneurial capitalists of free market lore have actually become nothing more than risk averse rentier ticket clippers.

            So of course, they want to profit off the provision of necessary basics such as housing, power, phone and internet, water, schools, prisons, ….

            • Ron 20.3.2.3.1.1

              I have no problem with private enterprise as long as we have proper controls to ensure they play fair.
              When we have a properly developed Commerce Commission and have proper laws for protecting and safeguarding our people then private enterprise will be welcome to operate.
              And with that goes proper laws to protect workers who always seem to be the forgotten lot these days.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The problem, of course, is that under those conditions private enterprise can’t. That’s why the free-market delusion was brought back in.

            • pete 20.3.2.3.1.2

              Being a landlord is work.

              The tenant calls you up at 2.00 is the morning wanting a leak fixed. Is that not work? The house needs maintenance. Is that not work? Tenants sometimes destroy property. Is that not work? The tenant sometimes doesn’t pay the rent? Is that not work/risk? The area may decline in value? Is that not financial risk?

              It’s all work. The return is modest. It’s the short-medium term accommodation business.

              • QoT

                It’s all work

                Be honest, pete. It’s work if you choose to give a shit about your tenants. Plenty don’t.

                • David C

                  Its work either way. if you were a moron you could choose to utterly ignore your tennants wishes but you still need to look after your building. A happy tenant is a good tenant, vacancy is what kills good returns. A tenant that stays for 15 years is the perfect tenant.

                  • QoT

                    but you still need to look after your building.

                    I assure you this will come as shocking news to 3/4 of the landlords I have ever rented from.

                • pete

                  It’s work. It’s risk. You could love your tenants, or loathe them, and the work remains the same.

                  In return, you might may some money. Not guaranteed, as many have found out.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Safer to have the government do it through Housing NZ.

                    Private landlords who can’t make it worth their while need to exit the market.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Yep, there’s work involved but not as much as people like to make out. Somebody working a 40 hour per week job does more and doesn’t get their house paid for out of other peoples work.

              • fatty

                “The tenant calls you up at 2.00 is the morning wanting a leak fixed”

                You could own 50 house for 50 years and I doubt that would happen more than once. If there was a leak then they would ring the next day, not in the middle of the night. Stop making up stories

                • pete

                  Just an example, Fatty. The tenant has a problem – they ring you up, you deal with it.
                  That’s your job. In return for them not having to deal with such problems, they pay you a fee – rent.

                  Anyone who thinks it’s lucrative clearly hasn’t done it.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    If it’s not lucrative then private landlords should get out of the market and let the Government take over.

                    • pete

                      Then the cost transfers to you – that taxpayer, or to the homeowner.

                      The landlord is swapping time for equity. The public servant must be paid directly. If you get the public servant up at 2.30 in the morning to deal with a flood from a burst pipe, that costs you. It doesn’t at the moment. It’s a cost borne by private landlords. Or directly by you, if you own the property.

                      Many people don’t like such headaches and maintenance, which is one reason they rent. Landlords do provide a service. Like in all occupations, there are good and bad operators, but it doesn’t change the fact being a landlord is work.

                      Should they not be paid for their work?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The public service will get it done without having to charge an additional profit margin.

                      If this kind of work is not financially rewarding for private landlords, they really should just get out of it.

                    • fatty

                      “The public service will get it done without having to charge an additional profit margin.”

                      that’s the way I see it too. We have the option of paying rent so the profit sits in a rich person’s bank account, or we could pay rent to the government which creates more jobs and the profit gets redistributed throughout society. I’d love to rent off the government if I could. I’d call that a no brainer

                • lprent

                  Ah no. The leaks that that they ring about are when a pipe cracks or a dishwasher valve jams and they come home to find water inches deep on the floor (or leaking into an apartment two floors down).

                  There are 60 apartments in my block. I wasn’t a landlord, but when I was the goto person here for years I called them quite a lot at all hours. Not a lot for any particular landlord, but a lot of landlords fo various reasons.

                  • fatty

                    well that’s news to me, I’ve flatted for a long time in some very average properties and never had a leak

                    • lprent

                      It is the luck of the draw. In 60 apartments over about 10 years we had probably 5-6 significant immediate attention leaks. I’m not counting the couple of days after a water main cracked outside the house and we had a flood of high pressure water sprouting (and I do mean sprouting) out of the walls of the two underground garage levels.

              • Colonial Viper

                I think there should be a reasonable return for professional landlords generating an income stream from rent.

                But an end to property speculators seeking to make a quick buck on asset appreciation.

                By the way its far more efficient to have Housing NZ be the landlord for tens of thousands of properties, they can have full time staff handling those problems 24/7.

          • PlanetOrphan 20.3.2.3.2

            No need bud, Just sell / rent state housing at a reasonable rate.

            Everyone thinks those home owners are speculating, they’re not, they just want a solid asset.

            If the inflated prices come down then CGT is superfluous.

            It’ll hurt on the current mortgage front (owing a lot more than the house is worth),
            But state houses wont have the same developments a longer standing house will have so there would be balance as well.
            The Government could even cover the difference in mortgage value from the Float, What’s the difference between South Canterbury Finance and the housing bubble afterall ?

          • David C 20.3.2.3.3

            Sure stop all deductions for landlords and the cash freturn of the rent needs to equal real cost plus a return.

            So a $400K house needs to rent at $800? $900? a week?

            100% of capital at bank rates plus rates and insurance plus depreciation plus wear and tear which is huge plus management plus an actaul profit margin! yippee!

        • blue leopard 20.3.2.4

          Monique Watson says: “Weeel. If you actooally read my fucking blog post, you’d realise that the average bog standard investor isn’t the “rich”. It’s someone who invested rationally under the fifth Labour government.
          If you were to “get rid of them”, the state has to pay employees to manage the properties and pay for the repairs and maintenance. It could end up costing the taxpayer a lot more if you get rid of private development.”

          Monique Watson, again, you miss the point.
          If the “unwealthy” people who speculate on property decided the was no longer sufficient profit in buying and selling houses due to a percentage being taken off them through a capital gains tax, the prices of houses would go down, which would create a larger number of people who could afford to buy them.

          Alternatively if the “unwealthy” people who speculate on property did their calculations and decided that despite the CGT, the activity was still profitable for them, then the Government would at least have a source of income to provide for the increasing number of people, both with jobs and without, who require accommodation supplements, due to the high property prices caused by the speculators.

          It is simple really.

      • David C 20.3.3

        When “the people” get off their collective arses and do a large scale property development it will really be something to see.

        in the mean time “the rich” putting their money on the line deserves a return for risk involved.

        Lots of chaps have been thru bankruptcy court recently on the downside of that risk.

        • Colonial Viper 20.3.3.1

          Safer and cheaper for all then if the Govt became the main player.

          • David C 20.3.3.1.1

            Your hi on crack if you think that bunch of twunts in the beehive can do a development close to as well as a chap who has done it for a living for a long time and lays awake at nights thinking about the drainlayer that might be sneaking in a extra half a hours charge beacuse of an unforseen hiccup.

            Good residential developers tend to be closely held companies with fingers on the pulse. Look at Carrus Corp for a good one.

            • Colonial Viper 20.3.3.1.1.1

              Government can do it better and cheaper. Government can borrow money cheaper and doesn’t need to lift a profit from the project so it will be cheaper for home buyers.

              And of course, Government has built a couple of hundred thousand houses over the decades.

              Easily done.

          • pete 20.3.3.1.2

            Yeah, Colonial Viper, a 9-5 state servant is going to make a great property developer, huh. It’s high risk. Give it a try, sometime.

            Most property developers end up broke. Why? The costs move on them quickly. The same happens to a state pen pusher – but he’s got even less incentive to keep it on budget. He just goes back to the taxpayer for mo’ cash. Result: your tax increases.

            • Draco T Bastard 20.3.3.1.2.1

              Yeah, Colonial Viper, a 9-5 state servant is going to make a great property developer, huh.

              Probably better than the private guy.

              Most property developers end up broke. Why? The costs move on them quickly.

              Nope, because they fuck-up by under quoting and then having to cut corners resulting in leaky homes…

              Oh, wait, we’re paying for those.

              The reason why the state servant is going to be doing it better is because that’s what he’s paid for and, often, they actually believe in doing a good job because it benefits the community.

              The private developer, on the other hand, is incentivised to do the job badly. Low wages to boost profit, cut corners to boost profit, and to do it as fast as possible (not the same as fast as practical) to boost profit. It’s all about profit and profit is a negative motivation.

              • Colonial Viper

                I agree, these fellas seem to have really quickly forgotten what a shit multi-billion dollar mess PRIVATE DEVELOPERS did up to the early 2000’s.

              • pete

                “Probably better than the private guy”

                Why? They have no skin in the game. Much easier to just sign the account, take the tradesman’s word for it. Makes life easy, less grief. A private developer with their own money on the line needs to be directly involved, else they’ll lose their shirt.

                “Nope, because they fuck-up by under quoting and then having to cut corners resulting in leaky homes…”

                Just once, perhaps you could listen, rather than just reacting.

                It’s difficult to keep on top of costs because there are a lot of moving parts. There are a lot of suppliers. If one schedule shifts, if one delivery gets delayed, if the council decides to be difficult – none of which might be your fault – you’ve got problems further down the chain. That drives up cost. Another delay, and there goes your profit.

                Sure, you could build in a lot of margin in to cover it, which will be exactly what a public servant will do.

                End price: not cheap.

                • Colonial Viper

                  It’s difficult to keep on top of costs because there are a lot of moving parts. There are a lot of suppliers. If one schedule shifts, if one delivery gets delayed, if the council decides to be difficult – none of which might be your fault – you’ve got problems further down the chain. That drives up cost. Another delay, and there goes your profit.

                  Houses are a social good; they don’t have to be built at a profit.

                  Plus it’s easier to co-ordinate the build of houses on the scale of 10,000 to 20,000 units pa. Only Government can do that.

                  A private developer with their own money on the line needs to be directly involved, else they’ll lose their shirt.

                  Most developers are highly leveraged. That means its OTHER PEOPLES MONEY which is on the line.

                  A public service ethos is all which is needed to do an excellent job without “skin in the game”.

                  • pete

                    “Houses are a social good; they don’t have to be built at a profit.”

                    Sure, but consider what “profit” means. You’re making out that if the developer doesn’t make any profit, the total cost must come down. I contend it can cost you more if you remove a profit incentive, as your production cost will likely rise.

                    Let’s say you have a 9-5 state employee managing a large development. They have no personal cash on the line. Their motivation is to bring the project in, of course, but they have an incentive to make life easy for themselves, rather than hard. That’s just human.

                    It is hard to confront tradesmen who often like to create problems where there aren’t any. Much easier just to sign their invoices. It’s hard to reorganise projects around schedule failures. Much easier just to let the cost blow out and add it at the end. Why not? It’s not your money. Cost blow outs are “inevitable”, eh. Easy to explain away. And next time, make sure your budgets include this “blow out insurance margin” when you’re costing the job. The benchmarks creep up.

                    See how the production cost can rise if you don’t have a personal stake in the outcome?

                    It happened in the USSR.

                    “Most developers are highly leveraged. That means its OTHER PEOPLES MONEY which is on the line.”

                    It’s still their debt. If you blow it, you’ll lose your line of credit for future projects.

                    “A public service ethos is all which is needed to do an excellent job without “skin in the game”.”

                    I think that is Utopian and unrealistic. Again, the USSR demonstrates that the public servant may not act in the interests of “the people” when it comes to production.

                    Which explains the Trabant….

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Why? They have no skin in the game.

                  And how many of those developers that lumped us with all those leaky homes are actually losing money from doing so? I’ve heard of at least one getting off scot free and there will be others.

                  This is the problem with private developers – they don’t actually lose.

                  Sure, you could build in a lot of margin in to cover it, which will be exactly what a public servant will do.

                  End price: not cheap.

                  May come as a surprise but we don’t actually want cheap housing – we want good housing that is affordable to live in.

                  • pete

                    Why keep going off on tangents? The leaky homes question is a different issue.

                    “May come as a surprise but we don’t actually want cheap housing – we want good housing that is affordable to live in.”

                    It means the house costs you more than it should due to project mismanagement. There is no increase in quality in this scenario.

                    Bob Jones, who I’m sure you’ll admit knows *something* about property, is of the opinion all developers eventually go broke, which is why he’s not interested in being one. The reason is due to the cost control problem as you scale up.

                    I’m not sure why you think someone who is very skilled in development would take a public service job doing development, unless the pay matches what they’d make doing it privately. In which case, it’s a zero sum game.

                    And how does one benchmark costs? Do you do so against private developers?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Private sector developers drove the leaky homes issue. Of course its related. The private sector is shit at doing things without cutting corners. This is to be expected as they want to keep that extra profit for themselves, and to walk away from problems which might only appear 3 or 4 years down the track, leaving Councils and Govt to pick up the bill.

                    • pete

                      It’s a tangent.

                      Leaky homes was a problem created by bureaucracy. The councils created jeopardy by assuming the risk. They thought they were getting into a lucrative ticket-clicking game.

                      They vastly underestimated the risk. They did not monitor builds correctly, and dictated stupid building standards, some of which were political i.e. the use of untreated timber. State knows best, eh. The environmental lobby remains very quiet on this topic up until this day…..

                      Look at the houses of the 1930’s. Very little regulation back then. Still solid as a rock.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      State Houses were designed by government engineers who knew what they were doing. The private sector did not.

                      Councils got suckered in by the private sector push for deregulation and self-regulation, and private developers walked away with windfall profits cutting corners and dropping quality.

                      Leaving Councils and Government with the billion dollar private sector bill.

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      Pete, it’s time for your reality check.

                      “…a problem created by bureaucracy..” – nice attempt to rewrite history. It was created by deregulation, as your comment tacitly acknowledges when you say that Councils “…did not monitor builds correctly…”

                    • pete

                      “nice attempt to rewrite history. It was created by deregulation”

                      It wasn’t. You’ve swallowed a party line. If it really was deregulated, you’d have no public liability as the risk would sit with the owner and developer.

                      The problem was the liability was SHIFTED to councils. It was shifted BY REGULATION. This increased jeopardy.

                      See:

                      http://pc.blogspot.co.nz/2009/11/leaky-homes-part-1-myth-of-deregulated.html

                      “FOR A START, JUST think about this: there was a much more light-handed regulatory regime in the early 1910s and 1920s, when most of the villas and bungalows were built for which people now pay huge money – even for “original” examples. Things couldn’t be more light-handed then, but the disastrous systemic problems now being experienced weren’t in evidence then – not even for the many stucco (solid plaster) buildings like these two on the right still decorating some of our leafiest suburbs.

                      In fact, even in 1982 when I started building, a relatively light-handed regulatory regime was still in existence – even in those Muldoonist times.

                      The ‘Bible’ on site was a document called NZ Standard 3604, which back then was about forty pages long; permits took around two weeks at most to process; council inspectors were seen on site around three times maximum – and the thing called a Code Compliance Certificate didn’t even exist. “

                    • lprent []

                      If it really was deregulated, you’d have no public liability as the risk would sit with the owner and developer.

                      The problem was the liability was SHIFTED to councils. It was shifted BY REGULATION. This increased jeopardy.

                      Essentially you’re talking crap. The liability was always with the council and always has been. You can see cases all the way back into the 19th century. What changed was how tight the building regulations got with different materials and systems and the slow reassessment of the earthquake risks.

                      The less redundancy there is in a building system, the more regulation there is to ensure that it is allowed to be built in the first place.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Ah pete I see you are a building industry shill

                      Since Councils and Govt end up paying for Private Sector blunders in housing, they should just do the whole job like they used to and tell the private sector developers to F-OFF

                    • pete

                      No, I’m not.

                      The councils and government should not pay for it. The matter is between three entities – the builder, the buyer, and their insurance company.

                      The state should **** off, except when it comes to earthquake standards, safety and utility connection issues.

                    • lprent []

                      What – no building regulations?

                      Who pays for the provision of the courts?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Why keep going off on tangents? The leaky homes question is a different issue.

                      I was using it as an example to show that the risk isn’t what the privateers say it is. I could have used the banks and the bank bailouts just as well.

                      It means the house costs you more than it should due to project mismanagement. There is no increase in quality in this scenario.

                      That’s an unfounded assertion especially considering that evidence is showing the exact opposite.

                      The reason is due to the cost control problem as you scale up.

                      Actually, that would be a result of stupid management.

                      I’m not sure why you think someone who is very skilled in development would take a public service job doing development, unless the pay matches what they’d make doing it privately.

                      A) Because having a secure job is actually worth something
                      B) Because working to help and improve the community is worth something
                      C) Because they like the challenge

                      Money isn’t the prime motivator that economists think it is.

                      And how does one benchmark costs?

                      Use of real resources.

                      They did not monitor builds correctly, and dictated stupid building standards, some of which were political i.e. the use of untreated timber. State knows best, eh.

                      IIRC, BRANZ had more industry personnel on its board than state employees. Guess who were making the recommendations about the materials and codes.

                      the builder, the buyer, and their insurance company.

                      And the best insurance company and builder is the state.

                    • pete

                      “Actually, that would be a result of stupid management”.

                      It’s a very difficult process to manage well, which is why so many developers get into trouble.

                      “A) Because having a secure job is actually worth something
                      B) Because working to help and improve the community is worth something
                      C) Because they like the challenge

                      Money isn’t the prime motivator that economists think it is”.

                      Uh-huh. I can pretty much count long-time profitable developers in NZ on one hand. Yet you’ll find hundreds of them willing to work for a state salary for the seemingly altruistic benefit of “helping people”.

                      Good luck with that. What you’ll most likely get is low-level middle managers who fancy themselves, inflated pricing, and inevitable cost over-runs.

                      The state would be better off staying away from bespoke projects and focus on industrial-scale modular house building.

    • millsy 20.4

      Increasing the state housing stock, buy either building or buying houses can probably do most things that a CGT does, including pushing out the fly by night slumlords, and leaving only the private landlords who are a more businesslike and professional in their dealings (ie dont see their tenants as something that they would scrape off their boot).

  21. millsy 21

    The Standard should invite Josie Pagani on to guest post about what her vision of social democracy/socialism is, and what policies she would implement if she became PM? (And if she would oppose homosexuality like her mate JT).

    What changes would she make to the welfare system?
    Does she support the building of more state housing?
    Does she support privatisation and contracting out?
    What changes will she make to our health and education system?

    So far I have heard meaningless Blairite rhetoric from her but nothing about actually policies she supports (whining “I support free education and healthcare” doesnt cut it darling).

    Come on Pagani? What do you stand for?

    What would **YOU** do?

  22. PlanetOrphan 22

    The Government needs to float the economy properly, plain and simple Karol.

    That’s the new policy required, not a new idea, but desperately required for our country.

    A Trillion dollar float.

  23. prism 23

    When housing was being given the neo lib makeover it was pointed out that paying beneficiaries accommodation supplements would have a long term effect of boosting rental prices. If there was a sensible government in at any time we could have tried multiple ways to advance people’s housing.

    One would be – People saving for a minimum of two years to a level that a financial advisor say with Kiwibank, would consider affordable for them. That would establish their financial competence, on a fairly low wage. There were 3% and 5% 25 year loans available in the 1960s for first home buyers. The amount of loan money might be low, but there would be the opportunity of buying a modular house chosen by them that would suit their section and the direction of the sun, starting off with the basics and one and a half bedrooms that would provide adequate living space for a few years. There would be a planned suburb on a bus route that would go past a shopping centre with supermarket and other services.

    Then if they had children they would be paid a weekly child allowance which they could choose to take in a lump sum and interest free build onto their house, or along with this make an addition to their mortgage on top of the allowance.

    It worked well years ago. There is no reason why we have to hark back to 1840 when NZs were gulled by land speculators right at the beginning. But going back to the future with 1960 ideas would provide current policies that are relevant. But no way should anyone get an interest free holiday on mortgages or overvaluation. Everything would be done prudently and simply and effectively.

    Mr Micawber would approve. “Mr Macawber said – ‘Income 20 shillings, expenditure 20 shillings and sixpence, result misery. But income 20 shillings, expenditure 19 shillings and sixpence, result happiness’.”

  24. Ron 24

    Why do we keep on talking of developers. I do not think they are the problem, What we need to investiaget is why people feel the need to own multiple houses. I read recently of a politician who had 5 houses that he rented out. Why does he need 5 houses. Is the mp salaray and pension scheme not sufficent for him to live on.
    If he did not purchase those 5 houses there would be 5 houses for people to buy and own and live in.
    I said before allowing people to buy and make money of ou a basic need such as housing is socially iorresponsible. We should discourage such actions and have a firm policy to enable housing all New Zealanders.
    We should also discourage people hidding their assets in trusts. I think that any party that claims to support New Zealander’s social concerns that has MP’s with trusts should seriously think if it wants such people as its politicians.

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      Its greed and rentier capitalism mate. To these people its not a matter of what they “NEED” to be reasonably comfortable, it’s a matter of acquiring and collecting AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. A mix of ego building and empire building.

    • prism 24.2

      Ron
      To be fair – if a pollie has houses rented out, they are likely to be full because people are looking for a place to live even while they save for a house. And pollies need to have a basic income because of the possibility of not keeping his or her seat and so being without that handy salary. I am inclined to think that all should step down after nine years, three terms, anyway.

      • Ron 24.2.1

        For goodness sake Pollies get a housing allowance and if they are cabinet ministers they get free accomodation. If they did not try to make money by buying houses and renting them there would be more houses for people to buy.
        I dont really care what other political persussions do but I want a left political party to behave with proper care and not use their service in parliament to be seen as s good way to make money on the side

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    Environmentalists sometimes have an uneasy relationship with cities. Because they concentrate a lot of people and economic activity in relatively small places, they also concentrate a lot of negative environmental effects. All that concrete, all that energy being consumed, the...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Got a mystery? Just ask John!
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009John Key has learned the identity of the entertainer guilty of an indecency charge through the grapevine of people circumventing the suppression order....
    Pundit | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD....
    CTU | 30-10
  • Blocked
    It is safe to say before the election last month I was fairly prolific in the blogosphere as we headed to an election. Was it because there was a glimmer of hope for we on this side of the coin?...
    My Thinks | 30-10
  • Blend with the Bruntletts Group Ride
    While Vancourerites Chris and Melissa Bruntlett are here for their Auckland Conversation talk, Generation Zero, Frocks on Bikes and TransportBlog have organised a slow, family friendly ride around the city centre. The map is below. The ride is designed to be self-directed so...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Rawshark – Is she Maori or Pakeha?
    Cameron Slater blamed someone for being behind the hacking of his emails and passing them on to Nicky Hager. And then he named someone he thought was Rawshark. John Key says someone told him who Rawshark is but he ain’t telling. @B3nRaching3r is...
    Te Putatara | 30-10
  • Employment law: it’s toasted
    In an early episode of Mad Men, when the company’s going for the Lucky Strike account, sleazebag antihero Don Draper asks the client exactly how cigarettes are made. They talk through the process, mentioning the tobacco is toasted – and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • Owners of the wind
    Thirty-odd years ago in the Kingdom of Denmark lived some brave people who disliked nuclear power and loved renewable energy. Determined to keep their country clean and safe, they began building their own wind turbines. Today, thanks to these passionate...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • An unmanaged conflict
    Katherine Rich is a member of the government-appointed Health Promotion Agency, responsible for (as it says on its website) "inspiring all New Zealanders to lead healthier lives". Katherine Rich is also Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Robert Fisk
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • A stretch
    This morning the Herald revealed that Kim Dotcom had been convicted and fined for dangerous driving in 2009, but had not declared it on his application for residency. Immigration is now talking about deporting him. So, this is what we...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Tauranga port happy to take the money – but not happy to accept responsib...
    Comments from a Port of Tauranga manager about deaths and injuries in their port during a Radio New Zealand interview are unacceptable....
    MUNZ | 30-10
  • New Ebola Toys for Xmas. Yay?
    From the "too soon?" file, here are two oddly successful exercises in niche marketing. First, the molecularly-sort-of-correct ebola plush toy. Apparently it has sold out: And, of course, the sexy ebola nurse outfit: Ebola, as everyone knows, ignores cleavage. And...
    Polity | 30-10
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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