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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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    Here’s a 22 point plan for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Entrench Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.Never let a chance go by to duplicitously conflate Hamas and some in Fatah with the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL so as to gild the imperiled-Israeli...
    Pundit | 19-11
  • Rapid transit has passed the acid test
    I recently ran across a New Zealand Herald article from 2000 on the region’s plans to start building good rapid transit infrastructure. (Which, as Patrick highlighted in a recent post, is exactly what is holding Auckland back relative to its...
    Transport Blog | 19-11
  • The week in politics vs. Gilmore Girls
    This week in politics: Andrew Little became leader of the Labour Party. Julia Gillard spoke at the University of Auckland about gender and politics. Gerry Brownlee was fined for breaching airport security. Tony Abbott threw down with Vladimir Putin at APEC....
    On the Left | 19-11
  • Whither the class line?
    In 1995 I published a book that explored the interaction between the state, organised labor and capital in the transitions to democracy in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The book was theoretically rooted in neo-or post-Gramscian thought as well as the...
    Kiwipolitico | 19-11
  • This video shows the pain caused by NZ’s current benefit system
    Darryn bravely talks about the stigma that comes with being on the benefit, and how that has affected his life. This stigma is just one of the many problems our current benefit system creates. These problems would be removed if...
    Gareth’s World | 19-11
  • Climate change: The cost of past inaction
    For the past 20 years, New Zealand's climate change policy has been one of inaction and delay. While we've seen no less than four failed attempts at putting a price on carbon (including the current ETS), we've never really tried...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • Policy of fear
    Community groups have a vital role in New Zealand. In addition to speaking out on social problems such as poverty, mental illness and addiction, they also often have a direct role in fixing them via government funding. Unfortunately there's an...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47A
    A carbon tax could bolster wobbly progress in renewable energy A dam revival, despite risks Congress is about to sabotage Obama’s historic climate deal David Cameron urges Tony Abbott to do more on climate change G20 pledges lift Green Climate...
    Skeptical Science | 19-11
  • ‘Consult on promotions policy’: TEU to Auckland VC
    TEU is asking the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland to engage in a process of consultation on the university’s Academic Grades, Standards and Criteria policy and other policies so the two sides can avoid further litigation. Earlier this month the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Asia-Pacific plans for gender equality
    New Zealand is one of the few countries who have not sent a government minister to an Asian and Pacific conference on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Thailand, but it has sent TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb.  The conference...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • TEC, Ministry and Treasury want new funding model
    The government should consider a radical shift in tertiary education funding policy according to advice from the Tertiary Education Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Treasury. All three agencies advise the government to shift tertiary education funding away from...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • The awkward question of New Plymouth
    It’s rather common knowledge that Andrew Little wasn’t exactly a star in New Plymouth. He stood in the former Labour Party seat in 2011 and 2014, losing ground in both the electorate and party vote on each occasion. Overall, the...
    Occasionally erudite | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas. Staff and South Auckland community members had been campaigning to turn around the polytechnic’s proposal for mass redundancies since they were announced last...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Proud’s Britain
    Alex Proud has a very good long piece in the Telegraph that is as disturbing as it is accurate. The subject? Baby-boomers, and the way they have blindly robbed the generations that came after them. He is writing about Britain,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • This year’s (super) model: visualising atmospheric CO2
    Here’s a superb high resolution supercomputer visualisation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center of the flows of CO2 in the atmosphere around the planet. Apart from being beautiful to look at, it shows the major sources of CO2 emissions in...
    Hot Topic | 19-11
  • Public Service Announcement: Advice to Andrew Little
    Over the last 48 hours absolutely everyone and his/her dog/cat has been publicly advising Andrew Little what he should with his front bench and much else decides. Good for them. Free speech is super. I won't be joining the chorus,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • Jordan uses Islam to battle ISIS
    My former UCLA colleague Larry Rubin, and my former Michigan colleague Michael Robbins, have a fascinating piece at the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog overnight, all about how Jordan is setting Islam against ISIS: Many people in the Hashemite Kingdom...
    Polity | 19-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens | 21-11
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour | 20-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Why lifelong prisoner surveillance is evidence of our failing prisons
    The intrusion of more and more State surveillance is easier to implement if the State begins with groups the populace are frightened of. Muslim radicals, Maori radicals, environmental radicals and prisoners are all easy fodder for ratings chasing media to...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • REVIEW: The Blind Date Project
    The Blind Date Project Silo Theatre 4-29 November The Basement  Part of the excitement of a live performance, be it music or theatre or a circus with trapeze artists and lion tamers, is the risk that it could all go...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Good News For The Left!
    EVER SINCE the debacle of 20 September 2014, the New Zealand left has been hanging out for some good news. Today, thanks to Stephen Mills, the Executive Director of UMR Research, it has finally got some. UMR Research has for...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Right to Life Congratulates the new Labour Leader
    Right to Life congratulates Andrew Little MP, on being elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. This is a very important election as Andrew Little is now a Prime Minister in waiting His election follows a line of...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Reply to open letter on earthquake repair in Christchurch
    You raise many points and I acknowledge the frustration some people are experiencing when their homes are still not repaired or rebuilt. We have consistently said that the scale and complexity of events has always meant that it will not...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little New Labour Party Leader
    In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Labour Party Caucus room at Parliament, it was announced Andrew Little had been voted in as Leader of the Labour party....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Liam Butler interviews Professor Jay Kandampully
    Jay Kandampully is Professor of Consumer Sciences in the Department of Human Sciences. He also serves as a visiting professor at University of Innsbruck, Austria; Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China; and Furtwangen University, Germany;...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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