web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Speculation

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, July 30th, 2013 - 142 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, housing, tenants' rights - Tags: , ,

I know many of the liberal left don’t like or can’t accept the thought that banning non-residents from speculating on residential property in NZ is in any way xenophobic. Thankfully, from my perspective at least, the liberal left doesn’t speak for the whole of the left. Thing is, this banning of foreign investment is similar to the proposed Crafar Farms deal with China’s Shanghai Pengxin. And just as many of the liberal left exhibited large dollops of xenophobia over that little affair but just couldn’t bring themselves to recognise that fact, well…it’s déjà vu – with the caveat that all foreigners, bar Australians, are the bad guys this time.

But good ol’ NZ property speculators? Big thumbs up. Nothing wrong there. Or at least that’s the laughable implication of the stance adopted by ‘the liberal left’.

Maybe if we want to be at all serious then, we need to acknowledge the fact that property speculation is the problem – ie, all property speculation and not just that undertaken by foreigners. And tempting though it is to argue that private individual ownership is the problem – or that a Marxist fixation on ownership that ignores control is the problem – for the sake of this post, I’ll leave the concept of private property in place.

So, to repeat what others have pointed out. 400k is in no way affordable for most people living in NZ. That’s a fact. But it’s not necessarily a problem. Thing is, as a tenant, I don’t give a toss who owns the house I live in. Mostly what I care about is the amount of rent being charged, the long term security of the lease and the physical integrity of my home.

On the basis that most people just want a decent  house to live in  – a place to call home, I’ll float the following.

Lets take the Green’s ‘fitness of warrant’ on urban rentals as a given. And let’s take the normalisation of ‘rent for life’ leases as something worth pursuing.

Given those two things, it seems an obvious step to take the sheen right off of property speculation would be the introduction of a maximum allowable rent.

Obviously, rent as a percentage of income (as per the Clark government’s 25% of income for Housing NZ tenants) doesn’t fly in the private sector, as only wealthier workers would be entertained by property owners looking to make a buck. So calculate maximum allowable rent through some formula that takes GV and rates or whatever into account. And construct the formula to yield a result that kills off the current financial incentives to owning and renting out strings of properties. And legislate so that tenants who may be ripped off get fast and full redress.

As an aside, from casual conversations I’ve had, my understanding is that rentals in major cities in the likes of Canada are about ¼ of those in provincial NZ. So it seems there is plenty of room for manoeuvre on the rent front when viewed from an international perspective.

Done correctly and thoughtfully (as opposed to this off the cuff post), we get diminished returns from property speculation and cheaper rents. And what’s not to like about that? Let the Australians and who-ever else buy whatever they want. But take the cash cow element away.

And if speculators then quit the housing market and you, for whatever reason, have your heart set on buying a house, then hey…prices are going to be dropping.

Meanwhile, why not devise exemptions or exceptions on any rent formula such that  housing co-ops and such like are actively encouraged? Then far more people than at present could wind up in a far more empowered position that today’s home owners. Just a thought.

Mind you, maybe best to just trundle along applauding half arsed measures that might – just might – be to the advantage of a fairly small proportion of the population.

142 comments on “Speculation”

  1. North 1

    Interesting Bill. Massive but interesting.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    There needs to be a professional land lord class willing to provide quality rental housing at moderate returns to themselves ( say 5% to 6% pa return on capital, net but excluding interest). It does require base property prices to be collapsed first of course.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      By the way – outstanding post, Bill.

    • Bill 2.2

      Housing co-ops tend to provide quality rental housing to themselves for moderate returns…actually, and depending on how you look at it – zero return. Rents cover rates, loan repayments and agreed upon maintenance/structural improvements.

      And if speculators, who are pumping up house prices and (in part) able to do so by charging exhorbitant rents flee the housing market due to diminished returns on a legislated max rental formula….

      edit – thanks CV

  3. vto 3

    Just a comment on your first proposition – that this policy wont solve the problem / its all speculation / its a bunch of other factors…..

    Of course housing affordability is a multi-pronged problem. That has been explained countless times. This policy is just one prong of the many required. Foreign ownership is part of the problem. Speculation is another part of the problem. So too is building sector cartels. So too is Council development contributions. So too is land supply. So too is increasing GST. So too is …….

    It seems you are missing the multi-faceted nature of this issue.

    my 2c says foreign ownership is a biggie and my 2c has said many times in the past that my vote will swing on it. It still will.

    over

    • Bill 3.1

      I know there are many factors involved. But identifying ‘one half’ of one factor as Labour has done and runnning with it is crap. Speculators are speculators no matter where they live or what nationality/residency they hold.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        I suspect it came down to a detailed analysis of votes gained versus votes cost. Few votes cost by pinging foreign nationals living overseas.

        To actually do something highly effective to solidly limit or even reduce house prices = many votes cost.

        • Saarbo 3.1.1.1

          I suspect that Labour have already lost most property speculators/investors, so they may as well go the whole hog now. Homes are for living in, Im sure the social benefits of home ownership are well documented. Rental housing has contributed towards turning what were beautiful suburbs into ghettos. High housing costs is the main driver of poverty.

          Create disincentives to invest/speculate in housing. Go hard now Labour…

          • karol 3.1.1.1.1

            Rental housing with the right kind of oversight, contributes to social well being.

            Many renters contribute to their local communities.

            The research is done in a system where home ownership is privileged and renters treated as pariahs. We aren’t.

      • vto 3.1.2

        True true, but each of these factors need attending to. Perhaps Labour should have announced it thus…… “As part of several policy announcements to be made over the next 6 months we are banning foreigners.. etc etc blah blah”

        But such vehemency towards each factor, as you show, is to be applauded. Get into it. High capital values help nobody except the banks, and that is a truth.

      • dancerwaitakere 3.1.3

        But generally overseas speculators are benefitting from a different market in their home country.

      • Brent 3.1.4

        You must be oblivious to the fact that this is one part of a whole host of housing policies labour has proposed. Did you actually go to their website and read about the CGT or Kiwibuild?

  4. karol 4

    I’m all for moving away from this obsession with property ownership and that results in affordable and secure rental accommodation for all who want/need it.

    I also am for the Greens policy on building more state houses. Plus I’m for the encouragement of not-for-profit social housing and housing cooperatives, and any measures that will help to prevent property speculation.

    However, I’m also for restricting overseas property speculation one way or another. It’s most usually done by people with more money to spend than people living in NZ, and they will add to the upward pressures on the cost of renting.

    • Bill 4.1

      However, I’m also for restricting overseas property speculation one way or another.

      Well, yes. But why single out one set of speculators and leave another set untouched? Why not restrict both with the same set of rules/laws that render all speculation unprofitable – or at least far, far less profitable?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Ah yes, my 3.1.1

      • karol 4.1.2

        Yes, I’d be for that. But I don’t see it happening any time soon, unfortunately.

      • Jackal 4.1.3

        Because the arrangement with Australia is reciprocal while the UK and China etc agreements aren’t. It is likely built into all these FTA’s that investors should be treated by the other Party no less favourably than that accorded.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.4

        But why single out one set of speculators and leave another set untouched?

        This is but the first plank, there could, and hopefully will, be others.

      • weka 4.1.5

        “But why single out one set of speculators and leave another set untouched? Why not restrict both with the same set of rules/laws that render all speculation unprofitable – or at least far, far less profitable?”

        I would have thought that was obvious. Overseas speculators can’t vote in NZ elections.

  5. insider 5

    “Thing is, as a tenant, I don’t give a toss who owns the house I live in. Mostly what I care about is the amount of rent being charged, the long term security of the lease and the physical integrity of my home.”

    You may get that better with an absentee landlord than a local because its hard and costly to manage a rental from a distance. They’ll probably want stability just as much as you.

    But just because someone buys a house doesn’t mean they are speculating, which I class more about gambling for short term gain. Many of these buyers will be medium to long term holders i suspect because the risk around short termism are increased if you are not there in the market actively monitoring when you should sell.

  6. Jackal 6

    Bill

    But good ol’ NZ property speculators? Big thumbs up. Nothing wrong there. Or at least that’s the laughable implication of the stance adopted by ‘the liberal left’.

    Isn’t this latest Labour policy meant to be in combination with a Capital Gains Tax and Kiwibuild etc? Wouldn’t these powers combined increase the amount of available houses and inhibit speculation in the dysfunctional housing market?

    According to the BNZ, around 19% of houses are being sold to NZ speculators and 9% to foreign speculators. In my opinion (as a liberal lefty) the proposed policies will reduce the amount of speculators and in turn increase the amount of Kiwi families who are able to afford their own homes.

    The majority of foreign speculators will be removed from the market and New Zealand speculators will look for other investments because QE will mean housing is no longer a cash cow for them. This will surely cause more investment in productive enterprises, which will also create jobs and thus increase affordability through increased wages.

    As for your idea of setting up an entire branch of the government to regulate rental prices (the current government can’t even regulate HNZ rents), which currently stand on average at around 35% of the median household income, and that this is somehow a solution to our low and falling home ownership levels, it simply won’t work…both politically and practically.

    Renting is a mugs game even when it’s not expensive and in my opinion every New Zealand citizen irrespective of his or her ethic backgrounds should have the option of acquiring a place to call home. That is one of the only ways of ensuring affordable rentals and is after all the Kiwi dream…a dream necessity that National seems determined to turn into a nightmare of ever increasing prices, foreclosures and never-ending mortgage payments.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Lifetime renting works fine for tens of millions in Europe.

      As for your idea of setting up an entire branch of the government to regulate rental prices …it simply won’t work…both politically and practically.

      What the heck

      Just beef up the Commerce Commission in conjunction with HNZ.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Lifetime renting works fine for tens of millions in Europe.

        The GFC and collapsing European economies would suggest otherwise.

        Rentiers are a poison in the economy.

      • Jackal 6.1.2

        Lol! How exactly do you propose to regulate such a market where the transaction is between a private client and a private landlord CV? You could implement rules that said rents could only be a certain amount and only increase a certain percentage each year, but the onus would be on the tenant to regulate this by making claims, by which time they would be out the door. There is no practicable way for the government to interfere in such a huge privately owned and operated sector of the economy. The Commerce Commission can’t even regulate the price of cheese.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1

          Lol! How exactly do you propose to regulate such a market where the transaction is between a private client and a private landlord CV?

          There is no practicable way for the government to interfere in such a huge privately owned and operated sector of the economy.

          well, we do it for billions of dollars of house sales, especially with the new real estate agents legislation and standards. And it matches exactly your description of a “hugely privately owned and operated sector of the economy”.

          I mean seriously, get with the programme mate and stop acting the free market believing fool.

          • Jackal 6.1.2.1.1

            Real estate agents legislation and standards? WTF! We’re talking about keeping rents affordable, not any superfluous and meaningless amendments to already weak legislation.

            There’s a big difference between me pointing out the impracticalities of what’s proposed and advocating for the free market. I expect better than your obvious straw man blowing away in the wind CV.

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1.1.1

              I just mentioned the example of the entirely privately operated billion dollar for sale and purchase property market, which is being effectively regulated by government decree. Get used to it.

              • Jackal

                Real estate agents being effectively regulated by government decree…surely you’ve exceeded your irony quota for today CV?

                • Colonial Viper

                  hey jackal, if you don’t think that government can be an effective market regulator why not just ditch the whole enterprise and go small government libertarian?

                  • Jackal

                    I didn’t say that CV. What I did say was that it won’t be as effective to try and regulate rents directly by government decree where the tenant will be left holding the can. Instead, increasing the amount of available houses will be more effective at regulating rental costs. You seem to be proposing that we simply do away with the current economic system entirely in favour of totalitarian state control? The failure is with the free market not providing enough houses, not with the economics of supply and demand.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I don’t see why we wouldn’t put in place some solid regulation as well as your idea of increasing housing supply.

                      You seem to be proposing that we simply do away with the current economic system entirely in favour of totalitarian state control?

                      Sure, if you took my idea and extended it in every possible direction by 1000%, I suppose that’s what you would end up with.

                    • Jackal

                      There’s no point in regulations that are impracticable to enforce CV. You’re effectively proposing that the government take over managing all privately owned rental properties. There would need to be another department to firstly work out what an appropriate rental price is for the approximately 500 K rentals and inform the owners that their incomes will be significantly reduced.

                      In 2011, rents on average were overpriced by 43%, meaning that such a law change would cause a huge reduction in a lot of people’s incomes. If you thought the whinging about foreign speculators was bad. In the event of such changes, no investor would be looking at providing rental accommodation, which would likely cause a reduction in overall housing availability for the poor. It would certainly cause the housing bubble to burst in a very economically damaging way.

                      This new department would also need to work closely with a large number of government employed lawyers, because most landlords have the means to fight your proposal through the courts forever. However, many of them would simply ignore the law change, because it’s a private transaction using people’s private bank accounts.

                      Instead of wasting all those millions of dollars, why not just increase competition in the first place CV?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So you’re saying that government regulation is impractical, you are afraid of the reactions of investors and the way to deal with the problems of the market is to increase competition?

                      OK.

                    • Jackal

                      I’m saying that increasing the housing stock to increase competition for buyers and renters money instead of trying to regulate a dysfunctional market that has caused a lack of houses and overpricing is the answer.

      • tricledrown 6.1.3

        warrant of fitness it works for cars!
        I work for a lot of landlords their are very few good ones most landlords do the absolute minimum maintenance and lots do none at all less than 10% actually maintain their properties to a good standard!
        like wise the worst landlords usually end up with the worst tenants!

    • srylands 6.2

      “a dream necessity that National seems determined to turn into a nightmare of ever increasing prices, foreclosures and never-ending mortgage payments.”

      Oh boo hoo

      You do remember that it was the last Labour Government that created the conditions for the spectacular rise in NZ house prices (esp Auckland) between 2000 and 2006, and did nothing about it?

      • Arfamo 6.2.1

        “But Labour did it way back when…” doesn’t really fly here much any more. That was then. Now they know it’s got to be fixed.

        • srylands 6.2.1.1

          Yeah until they get into government and fail.

          • Arfamo 6.2.1.1.1

            Oh boo hoo. :) It’ll most probably work out ok. It’ll be bucketloads better than the situation we have now.

          • Jackal 6.2.1.1.2

            As an obvious National party supporter I guess you know all about housing policy failure eh srylands?

          • tricledrown 6.2.1.1.3

            srylands they increased interest rates, labour was National lite with peter Dunne and peters to rely on and the big four Aussie banks breathing down their necks, the big four aussie banks being the biggest beneficiaries as well!
            most people had jobs as well.
            Economic growth has always been higher under labour than national!
            Labour got booted out because of its anti smacking civil union shane jones pornography winston peters indiscretions etc shower head pressures energy saving light bulbs petrol tax increases(National have increased petrol tax far more after promising not to and increased gst read my lips no new taxes john key)!
            the only thing they failed on was to much change at once!

    • karol 6.3

      Renting is a mugs game even when it’s not expensive and in my opinion every New Zealand citizen irrespective of his or her ethic backgrounds should have the option of acquiring a place to call home.

      Call me a mug then, because I have always preferred renting and never had a desire to own a bit of real estate. Works for me. Never understood the home owning obsession.

      • Bill 6.3.1

        ditto

      • Murray Olsen 6.3.2

        Mug number 3 here. As far as I can see, the home owning obsession helps banks and real estate agents, which has never been one of my life goals. I’d be more than happy with long term rentals such as they have in much of Europe.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    I know many of the liberal left don’t like or can’t accept the thought that banning non-residents from speculating on residential property in NZ is in any way xenophobic.

    That’s because it isn’t. Being xenophobic would be banning them from becoming immigrants in the first place solely because they’re different. We don’t do that and none of us are suggesting that we do.

    But good ol’ NZ property speculators? Big thumbs up. Nothing wrong there. Or at least that’s the laughable implication of the stance adopted by ‘the liberal left’.

    BS. Several people on here and on other blogs have mentioned the sociopathy of the speculators. Calling them parasites is being nice.

    Let the Australians and who-ever else buy whatever they want.

    No. It really is bad for NZ and will turn NZers into serfs. Ask the Palestinians about how well that works.

    Meanwhile, why not devise exemptions or exceptions on any rent formula such that housing co-ops and such like are actively encouraged?

    We have this really remarkable co-operative – it’s called government. It’s a co-operative that involves all the people in the country.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      BS. Several people on here and on other blogs have mentioned the sociopathy of the speculators. Calling them parasites is being nice.

      Bill isn’t talking about us. You, me, Bill, etc are basically by definition so far left that there’s only the ditch remaining. The “liberal left” are another breed altogether.

      We have this really remarkable co-operative – it’s called government. It’s a co-operative that involves all the people in the country.

      You’re smart, and your comment shows a high level of conceptual insight, but as a neighbourhood scale model for practical living, your idea is completely useless.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        You’re smart, and your comment shows that, but as a neighbourhood scale model for living, your idea is completely useless.

        And where did I say that it had to be central government?

        One of the realisations that I had in regards to government created money was that it would be a mistake to leave it solely to central government. The solution would be to have local government creating money as well (under strict conditions of course) which would allow, and encourage, use of the local communities resources for the best of the local community decided democratically.

        Central government would assist of course but the decisions would be local.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Would you have local government issue regional currencies or national currency?

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1

            National currency. Having regional currencies would push the administrative costs up.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Having regional currencies would push the administrative costs up.

              That doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would it push the administrative costs up? Why would it matter if the administrative costs go up when you are issuing your own currency and not borrowing it?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Why would it push the administrative costs up?

                It would use up more resources – power, telecommunications, computing, time etc – as people would have to make sure that they had the correct currency when they went from Auckland to Hamilton.

                Why would it matter if the administrative costs go up when you are issuing your own currency and not borrowing it?

                Because the economy is about resources, not money.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Local currencies are going to be a must in the future.

                  Because the economy is about resources, not money.

                  Yes. Which also includes keeping people employed.

                  power, telecommunications, computing, time etc

                  Our power is a resource but electricity is largely renewable in NZ. The telecommunications and computers are already there. It is difficult to consider time a resource.

                  The real hard resources are land, water, minerals and non-renewable energy.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Local currencies are going to be a must in the future.

                    Perhaps but I doubt it.

                  • weka

                    How can time (of people) not be a resource?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Our power is a resource but electricity is largely renewable in NZ. The telecommunications and computers are already there.

                    Doesn’t mean that they’re unlimited. At any given time you only have so much of any of those and thus you need to choose how to use it. My computers already there but when I’m doing my 3D Art I sure hell ain’t playing games because the software that does the art is, quite literally, using all of it.

                    It is difficult to consider time a resource.

                    Really? And here’s me thinking that was the easy one and the most important.

                    You have 5 minutes you can either:
                    1.) Make a coffee
                    2.) Organise exchanging currencies
                    3.) Kissing your SO
                    4.) Making a move in a game of chess

                    Note: In that five minutes you can only do one of those things. Sure, you could do the whole lot in the next 20 minutes but in the 5 minutes after the first 5 minutes you have different choices.

                    The real hard resources are land, water, minerals and non-renewable energy.

                    Don’t kid yourself. All resources are limited, some are renewable, some are recyclable but all of them are limited at the time.

                  • TheContrarian

                    To understand Draco’s…interesting…take on all things political/economical I suggest starting with Jacque Fresco.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacque_Fresco

  8. weka 8

    I’m not sure if I follow all the arguments here, but can someone please clarify. Is it inherently a problem if one person owns many properties, or does it depend on what they do with them.

    I’m thinking of someone I used to know who owned rental properties in a city and he went and lived in the country. The rental properties gave him an income and he also worked doing things he liked doing. I never knew him to buy and sell property, and I don’t know what kind of landlord he was, but he struck me as a kind enough person in general (not that that necessarily transfers to business). But let’s say for argument he’s not greedy, is a good landlord and keeps the rents reasonably stable.

    Is there an ideological objection to what he is doing? Is there an economic objection?

    • Waffler 8.1

      I think most people here agree that Kiwis should have the option (and economic ability) to purchase their own house.

      That said, there will always be a need for rentals. Some people don’t want to rent, and there are very few people who can go straight from living with their parents into home ownership.

      Personally, I think it’s much better for those rentals to be owned by a landlord for a long time. That way they’re gaining a long-term investment (which will probably be used to pay down the mortgage before being sold later in life to provide a retirement fund).

      Speculators, on the other hand, buy for short term gain. Purchase a property, do it up (not necessarily well), then on-sell it. If this is done by several speculators in an area it can push the price of the neighbourhood up – which pushes prices away from first homebuyers.

      • weka 8.1.1

        Thanks Waffler. I understand the difference between speculators and longterm landlords. What I was asking is if there is any inherent problem in one person owning many properties. I’ve seen it suggested that there is, but I’m not sure why.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          The idea of a capital owner rent-seeking from labour (i.e. from actual income earning workers) while not adding anything productive to society with their own labour, is where this bias comes from.

          Now the interesting example if that of RL, who had built from scratch 8 units of accomodation that he now rents out.

          • weka 8.1.1.1.1

            RL?

            “The idea of a capital owner rent-seeking from labour (i.e. from actual income earning workers) while not adding anything productive to society with their own labour, is where this bias comes from.”

            Is that ideological? Ethics? Or are there economic reasons? What about the person I knew who also worked productively? And as I said below, how is providing affordable housing not being productive within society?

            • Arfamo 8.1.1.1.1.1

              +1. I made a similar comment below.

            • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Red Logix.

              Is that ideological? Ethics? Or are there economic reasons? What about the person I knew who also worked productively? And as I said below, how is providing affordable housing not being productive within society?

              Obtaining financial gain by owning and not by one’s own labour is a basic definition of capitalism.

              I agree with you, providing affordable housing is a productive endeavour within society. Buying over existing housing to add to your property portfolio does nothing much to provide affordable housing to society however – that housing was already there.

              • weka

                “Obtaining financial gain by owning and not by one’s own labour is a basic definition of capitalism.”

                So? That doesn’t explain why it’s inherently a problem. It also doesn’t explain why owning two houses is good but owning ten is bad (as a landlord)

                “Buying over existing housing to add to your property portfolio does nothing much to provide affordable housing to society however – that housing was already there.”

                Unless the person selling no longer wants to own the house (someone has to own it, don’t they?). Or the previous landlord was a shark who kept raising the rents. Or the house wasn’t being rented before and is now available for someone to rent. etc.

                • Colonial Viper

                  “Obtaining financial gain by owning and not by one’s own labour is a basic definition of capitalism.”

                  So? That doesn’t explain why it’s inherently a problem. It also doesn’t explain why owning two houses is good but owning ten is bad (as a landlord)

                  You have to study historical examples and theory for examples for why this scenario came to be considered a problem, starting with Marx.

                  Who said owning two houses was “good”?

                  True capitalists seek to accumulate more and more productive (income generating) assets, and their behaviour inevitably moves to that of rentier capitalism.

                  The follow on from this is concentration of financial wealth from the hands of labour (the workers) into the hands of the owners (the capitalists).

                  Further than this you’ll need to study up on your own, or ask Bill, Mr Rattler, DTB et al.

                  • weka

                    “You have to study historical examples and theory for examples for why this scenario came to be considered a problem, starting with Marx.”

                    So it’s an historical problem, not a comtemporary one? I’m not trying to be smart here, I just don’t understand why this is so difficult to explain in real terms (as opposed to referring to theory).

                    “Who said owning two houses was “good”?”

                    Is it bad then? Is all ownership to rent bad?

                    “True capitalists seek to accumulate more and more productive (income generating) assets, and their behaviour inevitably moves to that of rentier capitalism.”

                    But I’m not talking about true capitalists.

                    “The follow on from this is concentration of financial wealth from the hands of labour (the workers) into the hands of the owners (the capitalists).”

                    Theoretically. But is that inevitable or can it be controlled?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      So it’s an historical problem, not a comtemporary one?

                      It’s a problem that goes all the way back to Sumer about 5000 years ago. It’s the reason why civilisations have banned interest and had debt jubilees. The advent of a rentier class always results in all the wealth going into the hands of the few and massive poverty for everyone else.

                      Is all ownership to rent bad?

                      Yes.

                      But I’m not talking about true capitalists.

                      Yes you are. Just because they’re small time doesn’t make them any less a capitalist.

                      But is that inevitable or can it be controlled?

                      It is inevitable because the capitalists always end up with the wealth (the real wealth, the land and resources) and thus control over the society. The correct terms to describe this is plutocracy, oligarchy, aristocracy and feudalism.

                      Yep, our economic system is taking us socially backwards 500 years.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “Is all ownership to rent bad?”

                      “Yes.”

                      What fucking crap, Draco.

      • tricledrown 8.1.2

        the interest charged on a rental is a business expense and can be written off by a land lord capitol gain can but not always can be tax free!
        Maintenance costs can written Off!
        So the Mortgage lender is much happier to lend to a landlord than a family who’s kids are seen as a liability!
        The home owner can’t write off interest or maintenance!
        So the home buyer is behind the eight ball!
        Which is anti family and needs to be balanced out in favour of families like it used to be!

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Is it inherently a problem if one person owns many properties, or does it depend on what they do with them.

      Speculators, which is what Bill is addressing, tend to be people who buy and then sell later for a profit. Of course, foreign residents could also be buying long term and their ability to pay more for a house would still be pushing house prices up.

      Is there an economic objection?

      There’s an economic objection. A person who owns many houses to rent out is acting as a massive dead weight loss on the economy over all but especially to those people that they’re renting to. See Adam Smith, Henry George, Ricardo IIRC, and several other economists over the last couple of centuries. It’s really only with the rise neo-liberalism in the latter part of last century that renting became a respected part of the economy according to the economists. The GFC and increasing poverty that their policies have brought about should tell you just how good their economic theory is.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Why is it an economic problem. I’m not going to read hard core economics, is it that hard to explain simply?

        • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.1

          The basics is that rentals end up with a large amount of money going to a non-productive purpose.

          • weka 8.2.1.1.1

            How is a home a non-productive resource?

            • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.1.1.1

              I didn’t say that the house was non-productive. I said that a large amount of money was going to non-productive purpose – the capitalist who’s only use of the money is to take it out of circulation and thus crippling the economy.

              • srylands

                “take it out of circulation and thus crippling the economy.”

                Isn’t rent just a payment to the owner for the use of an asset that has been paid for? No rent = no asset for use.

                It is just the same as a lease payment on a commercial factory or a lease payment that an airline makes on its aircraft?

                Payments for assets that are linked to the asset vale are a sign of a well functioning economy. It is totally bizarre g for you to say that rental income flows “cripple” the economy. It is interfering in the market that will cripple the economy! Good grief.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Nope, due to the dead weight loss of profit.

                  BTW, the capitalist system isn’t, and cannot be, a well functioning economy. The ever increasing poverty we see in them is proof of that.

                • tricledrown

                  srylands rent is taken out every week the tenant is not making money out of the asset commercial leases provide an income the cost of the lease can be written off as business expense.
                  home buyers don’t get the write off either but when the mortgage is paid off more money flows into the local economy as well we get the proven benefits of a stable family in a stable community.
                  renting creates itinerant families (costs to the economy) rents keep going up while after few tears mortgage payments generally become lower than what you would pay in rent!

              • weka

                You’re talking about the landlord, Draco? Aren’t they taking the money (rent) and spending it in the ecnomomy on things like food and goods and services?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  You’re talking about the landlord, Draco?

                  Yes.

                  Aren’t they taking the money (rent) and spending it in the ecnomomy on things like food and goods and services?

                  Yes they are but they’re not spending all of it. Some of it goes in the bank which earns interest as well (another form of rental) and as we all know by now the money that goes into a bank doesn’t get back into the economy as the bank just creates the money at the time that the loan is created.

                  The ever increasing rentals and the exponential nature of interest means that the capitalists will, eventually, own everything and everyone else will be dependent upon them and have no say in their own lives.

                  • srylands

                    “the bank just creates the money at the time that the loan is created.”

                    No

                    • tricledrown

                      srylands where have you been the banks are aloud to create up to 60% of the value of the loan.Before the financial crisis it was up to 90%.
                      But now it could be still higher considering countries like the US Japan The UK the EU are still Quantitative easing lending printed money and .5% interest to goldman sacks bofa etc etc those multinationals are lending that money to the big four Aussie banks who are mixing that with deposits and printed money of their own to kiwi’s.
                      Merrill Lynch the company John mugaabKEY worked for was found to be lending money to the likes of Ireland at 38 to1!
                      yes for every dollar Merrill Lynch had on deposit they leveraged it by printing $38 Dollars fact the SEC securities exchange commission of the USA investigated Merril lynch!
                      John MugaabKEY was at the heart of this ponzi scheme!
                      YES!

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Yes

                      That argument was won a long time ago. It just hasn’t filtered out to the people yet that the banks are ripping them off.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Easier way to put it is that loans create deposits. It must be remembered that your deposit at a bank is actually considered a bank liability on their balance sheet.

          • Arfamo 8.2.1.1.2

            I’m still thinking about this. I don’t see that some private rental housing provision is a bad thing if there are rent controls. While not strictly a “production” output (is that what you meant by productive purpose?) it’s still providing a useful purpose for society. You might just need rent controls to prevent tenants being exploited. I don’t see how someone, particularly someone who builds rental units as a source of income or retirement fund, is not contributing to society in their own way.

            • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1.2.1

              Well thats what Red Logix has done.

              The main objection is people loading up themselves (and hence the country’s balance sheet) with debt to flip existing housing to each other.

              • Arfamo

                Yep I agree and that’s why I like the CGT policy.

              • weka

                Right, so that’s an objection to speculation, not being a landlord with multiple properties.

                • Arfamo

                  That’s how I see things, yes. I’m also opposed to tenant exploitation via too high rents.

                  • weka

                    So theoretically, multiple property ownership could be an ok thing if there were controls on that?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yes, but Bill’s idea of housing co-ops is still superior. People own and control their own situations within communities which suit them.

                    • Arfamo

                      I haven’t been able to get my head around how that would work if it was the only option. I see no reason why it couldn’t work in a housing policy environment where it was simply one option a group of so-minded individuals could successfully operate.

                    • karol

                      Yep. I’m all for housing co-ops.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well it shouldn’t be the only option, but it should be a viable option, so that people who wanted to begin to opt out of the capitalist system could do so.

            • srylands 8.2.1.1.2.2

              Yes excellent. Internationally, rent controls have worked effectively where they have been applied.

              • Arfamo

                Well, perhaps they won’t be needed if people have the choice of sufficient supply of council and government provided rentals at reasonable rates. I’m not really opposed to private accommodation providers renting a shoebox with a view in Queenstown to people like you for astronomical sums.

                • srylands

                  Yes because everyone should aspire to live in a council flat.

                  • Arfamo

                    I think I’ve gone off you a bit. It’s probably the sneering.

                    • srylands

                      Thats OK. I’m gone now. To paraphrase David Farrar, “If you play with pigs, you get covered in mud. You feel dirty and the pigs love it.”

                    • Arfamo

                      I expect he’s just re-using what someone said to him. I can see why they would’ve said it.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    “Yes because everyone should aspire to live in a council flat.”

                    A million NZers would simply like warm dry housing that they call their own. It would be a big improvement over their situation today.

                    • RedLogix

                      Sorry … been too busy to contribute to the thread CV.

                      The one point I would like to add is that I’ve long held that all urban residential land should be leasehold, rented long-term from the TLA, ie local council … and that landowners should pay rent rather than rates.

                      This would stop the land price speculation that Bill rightly identifies as a huge problem (because the banks could not use it as security) … while retaining the flexibility of rental market.

                      And I totally agree that the market needs tightening up. The Ministry of Housing and Building does an ok job at present, but in practical terms there remains far too much uncontrolled risk for both tenants and landlords. Lot’s of ill-will, distrust and horror stories from both sides.

                    • karol

                      I’m all for the leasehold option RL.

                      I recall reading a history of NZ in which, there was a heated debate in the late 19th century about whether land in NZ should be freehold or leasehold. (May have been Keith Sinclair’s book.)

                      There was a lot of support for the leasehold option back then. It’s disappeared from public view these days.

            • karol 8.2.1.1.2.3

              I agree, Arfmo.

              As well as rent controls, there need to be regulations to enable and support long term renters with a right to continue living in the same accommodation. It’s done overseas.

              The last few places I have rented have been in units on properties were the landlord also lives. Only one of them had more than one rental property. They always on hand to perform repairs or hire others to do it. They tend to treat me as a person and with respect for my needs,

              That is vastly different having absentee landlords, looking only to make a profit, and who sees me as merely a unit on their balance sheet.

              Good landlords are needed, to provide a satisfactory and humane rental service. It’s a job, if done properly and without the system being skewed by greedy speculators..

              • RedLogix

                Yes… that is our situation too. We’ve always lived on site. At least up until now. Absentee landlords (especially ones that never visit the place or ever meet their tenants) are not desirable.

                And personally I’d love another name for what we do. The lord part of the name just seems so archaic and counterproductive these days.

                • karol

                  I agree, it would help to shift focus by having a name that indicates they are providing a service and that it should be done in a non-exploitative way.

                  And some of my landlords have been landladies. There needs to be a gender neutral term.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    And some of my landlords have been landladies. There needs to be a gender neutral term.

                    I think Labour should start pushing this as part of their housing policy. It will make all the difference in the public eye and media.

                    • karol

                      Heh. I wouldn’t expext Labour to have a policy to change the name of “landlord”, de-gendered or not. The current caucus is clearly too scared to do anything a little bit unusual.

                      I was thinking of a need for a cultural change in perceptions of renting, ;easing property, etc., and not as something to be legislated for.

                • srylands

                  Howe about “rentmaster”?

  9. BLiP 9

    The OP seems to be conflating objection to international economic imperialism with a fear of foreigners.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      +1

      • srylands 9.1.1

        +2

      • tricledrown 9.1.2

        a radical socialist agreeing with a fundamentalist monetarist unbelievable!
        Didn’t john MugaabKey say we are in danger of becoming tenants in our own country!
        -GSCB
        +GST

        • srylands 9.1.2.1

          “a radical socialist agreeing with a fundamentalist monetarist unbelievable!”

          I was taking the piss you pilock

          • Arfamo 9.1.2.1.1

            That would explain the aggression. A little less of the piss probably not a bad idea. Last thing needed on this site’s an angry drunk. Best place for them to post is Whaleoil.

          • tricledrown 9.1.2.1.2

            as if i wasn’t

    • karol 9.2

      Agreed BLip. I object to the way the wealthy are given a free pass and privileges in order to be able to invest here and drain the profits out of the country.

      Immigrants, “economic refugees” and others on limited means just looking to live in NZ and contribute to the community, social and economic well being of the country tend to be given less of a welcome, and have fewer regulations operating in their favour.

      The priorities and values are wrong and should be reversed, IMO.

      We should welcome low -to-middle income immigrants, and put up a “not welcome” sign for the wealthy speculators and greedy profit-seeking rentiers.

  10. Sanctuary 10

    In capitalism, money seeks profit and to much money chasing to little profit creates bubbles. This fundamental aspect of capitalism has to be understood when looking at our housing market. When you have foreign banks inflating an economy with cheap money that money is bound to try and seek a profit.

    Now, if the economy you are pumping that money into has a semi-criminal financial sector, a volatile exchange rate that punishes productive manufacturing enterprise, and a neo-liberal ruling elite biased towards monopolies, duopolies and corporate oligarchies then the only place the cheap money funneled into the general economy can go is property speculation.

    To my mind, the overheated property market is a symptom of how sick our capitalism has become. It is capitalist in name only. If our economy was actually more capitalistic in deed rather than words it would be more dynamically productive, rather than geared towards rent taking/seeking by a wealthy elite. Strong anti-monopoly laws that fostered competition, Inheritance tax, land tax, capital gains taxes, death duties and nationalisation of mortgage financing would all help to break the middle class addiction to the idea of getting rich by doing nothing other than looking for a simplest, quickest way onto the one way bet into the easy street of landlordism.

    • srylands 10.1

      “then the only place the cheap money funneled into the general economy can go is property speculation.”

      So how come the share market in NZ is so short of capital? What you are saying is so laughable.

      There are two things that would make a big difference. All your class warfare bullshit is well just bullshit.

      1. Release more land for housing. Radically reform idiot local councils.

      2. Introduce a comprehensive capital gains tax on all assets, including all housing. Labour’s “exempt the family home” thing is mad.

      So we increase the supply of land for anyone who wants to build a house. We treat all asset classes neutreally for tax.

      Then I would go after some of the pratices that inflate building materials.

      For gods sake stop making shit up and read the Productivity Commission’s report on housing affordability.

      • vto 10.1.1

        Good morning srylands, we were getting right to the crus of the issue of the labour capital split yesterday when you suddenly disappeared. I thought a reminder would be worthwhile so that the debate can be run completely through. This of course is at the very heart of the left right divide when it comes to economics etc. All else is meaningless until this point is crossed. http://thestandard.org.nz/this-gives-me-heart/#comment-671537 See you there.

      • Sanctuary 10.1.2

        “then the only place the cheap money funneled into the general economy can go is property speculation.”

        “…So how come the share market in NZ is so short of capital..?”

        Because the pervasive and largely unpunished criminal culture of our financial sector has created a generational perception that the share market is full of insider trading, sharp practice and corporate raiders. The key thing about a house is that it is, well, as safe as houses and a therefore a lot harder for a shiny suited bullshit artist to steal.

        “…There are two things that would make a big difference. All your class warfare bullshit is well just bullshit…”

        Nothing liked a bit of reasoned dialectic to get Plato smiling up there on Olympus, eh?

        I was actually arguing for “proper” capitalism. That the defenders of the neo-liberal status quo like yourself now equate competition with class war shows how decadent our model of oligarchic rent seeking neo-liberalism has become. Capitalism is actually strongest when it is productively dynamic – when it creates jobs, can facilitate wage growth by conceding to workers a portion of the profitability generated by investment and can allow working people some say in the process of government.

        “…1. Release more land for housing. Radically reform idiot local councils…”

        Zombie “fact”, long since disproved. Next.

        “…2. Introduce a comprehensive capital gains tax on all assets, including all housing. Labour’s “exempt the family home” thing is mad… …Then I would go after some of the pratices that inflate building materials…”

        Did you not notice I suggest a CGT and strong anti-monopoly laws? Are you literate?

  11. bad12 11

    Bill, while i agree with you totally that a maximum allowable rent would be a welcome solution when it comes to private sector rentals,

    Tipping that section of the property market on it’s head by Legislating for one would be in my opinion electoral suicide,

    There are far too many in middle class New Zealand that have piled into ‘rental investments’ to make ‘maximum allowable rents’ a viable policy for any political party,

    My opinion is that the fix for unaffordable rents is the same solution as that taken by the First Labour Government and every Labour Government up to the point of the Lange government,

    A State House building program where all the houses are rented to the tenants for 25% of their income,

    Such a program takes the ‘heat’ out of the whole housing market and has been proven to have done so since the First Labour Government first started building en masse State houses…

  12. Bob 12

    Why not simplify things further? From the 1/1/2014 it would not be possible to own more than 2 houses unless you built the additional houses yourself/purchase a new build (existing ownership exempted).
    This means anyone (including foriegn investors) can own as many houses as they like, but they would need to add to the existing housing stock in order to do so. More new houses built, more existing houses at affordable prices for first home buyers.

  13. Rosetinted 13

    When setting maximum rents also work out a valuation process that keeps the historial purchase price at the base, then adds a reasonable investment return and allowance for rates and maintenance which must be carried out and inspected every year, and then give a decent sized tax rebate, a sort of Housing for Families allowance to the landlord, who has to set the rates at a certain level and can’t put them up by more than 7% a year or something.

    It’s not hard to work out. The sort of people who have money can work out how to buy a bet on something, that might happen, and offset it against something that they are going to make happen, to invest in something that is still on the drawing board etc. And then sell it off as a venture note or some such label.

    In other words, when I hear financial people wanting simplicity and flat tax and the other well-worn cliches, who are they kidding, they love complexity. Getting round it buys their pleasure boats and overseas holidays.

  14. Binders full of women 14

    I agree 400k is a lot of money so why aren’t people buying the 95k houses instead? 1700 of them for sale on trade me (obviously not inside the beltway)…6,700 if you up it to 200k. I read something this morning that said banning Asian/South African/British buyers won’t build any more house.. and that may be the problem.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      If you can create decent jobs in the places where those houses are, then I’m sure they would be taken up.

Links to post

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • 10 articles to read about Michael Brown and what’s happening in Ferguson
    Sometimes it’s difficult to get a real sense of events happening overseas from our own mainstream media in NZ – for obvious reasons they prioritise cover NZ issues. It’s also really difficult for a Pākehā like me to comment – both...
    On the Left
  • Ports of Auckland Moving More Freight By Rail
    Ports of Auckland did a press release back in September that didn’t really get picked up on: Working with KiwiRail, Ports of Auckland has doubled the rail services between its Waitematā seaport and Wiri Intermodal Freight Hub. The increased service...
    Transport Blog
  • Momentum Builds for No Deforestation Palm Oil
    By now you know the problem: a rapidly expanding palm oil industry, eating up forests, draining carbon-rich peatlands, and sparking conflict with local people and workers.But if you had to guess at what is turning out to be a key...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • “Real” experts’ on climate change? Really?
    The Heartland Institute has produce a new propaganda poster on climate change. Here it is: And this is what they say about it: This poster presents clear and undeniable evidence that the debate is not over. Looking out from this poster...
    Open Parachute
  • Whiteboard Wednesday – How a flat tax would be fairer than our current sy...
    Geoff is going to talks us through how a UBI and Flat tax work together. The end result is less bureaucracy and a fairer, simpler, more productive society....
    Gareth’s World
  • Ede and the Public Records Act
    Jason Ede was required by the Gwyn Inquiry to produce emails from his private accounts that included official government information. He couldn't do that in the end because, gosh darn it, he had just destroyed and permanently deleted everything in...
    Polity
  • “Appalling”
    In 2011, John Key was Minister for the SIS. At that time, according to John Key: The SIS didn't understand the workings of the OIA. I mean that's appalling, and I accept all of that."1 Well, if that is the...
    Polity
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    frogblog
  • Symposium on the way forward, 4: making our own revolutionary kaupapa and f...
    On Monday, November 24, The Freedom Shop, an anarchist centre in Wellington, held a meeting about the way forward for the activist left.  A number of speakers were invited to give ten-minute presentations; below is the presentation given by Don...
    Redline
  • When will the PM take responsibility?
    It often bemuses me as to why people would vote for a dishonest political party that has spent the last two terms in government undermining our once great democracy. Why on earth would voters support a scoundrel like John Key,...
    The Jackal
  • Gordon Campbell on the inquiry into one case of dirty politics
    Suddenly, we’re awash in inquiries and reviews. (It feels almost as if the Greens won the last election.) Caught out by the damning inquiry by SIS Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn, the government’s response yesterday was utterly in character – it released...
    Gordon Campbell
  • John Key: The buck doesn’t stop with me
    President Harry Truman famously had a piece of walnut wood on his desk in the oval office that read, "The buck stops here", and when the president referred to it in speeches it was to say that he had to...
    Pundit
  • Speaker: Market failure in the research world
    The “serials crisis” has been a feature of research life for over 20 years. According to figures from the US Association of Research Libraries, during 1986-2007 academic journal subscription charges increased by 340%, four times the rate of inflation.Publishers contribute...
    Public Address
  • 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...
    Frankly Speaking
  • Terrorism bill fraught with risk for academics
    Academics studying terrorism, or other topics that the SIS considers not to be in the national interest, could be among those who lose civil rights if an ‘anti-terrorism’ bill becomes law. TEU, the union representing tertiary education staff, says the...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Being mindful of mental illness
    There’s a lot of mental illness stigma in New Zealand. From the friend or family member who tells you just to ‘get over it’, to the many little ways that living with a mental illness in an unsupportive environment slowly...
    On the Left
  • Auckland Transport November Board Meeting
    Every month I comb through the reports to the AT board looking at what the organisation is up to (that they’ll say in public). I’ve already covered the separate reports on additional bus priority and the New Network for the...
    Transport Blog
  • Henryk Grossman on the struggle for Marxism, 1883-1932
    Henryk Grossman, Fifty Years of Struggle over Marxism 1883-1932, translated by Rick Kuhn and Einde O’Callagan, with an introduction by Rick Kuhn; Ebook AU$6.34 from http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OE6KF7O and paperback AU$10 from redflag.subs@gmail.com reviewed by Tom O’Lincoln There is a story about Marx’s legacy that...
    Redline
  • Financial assistance for tertiary students
    I’ve gotten my final assignment back for the 300-level Policy Research & Evaluation paper I did last semester, and earned another A+ and another teacher telling me to do post-grad if I can afford it without starving. The only way...
    The little pakeha
  • A brief commentary from John Key, Prime Minister
    Hello. I’m not going to apologise. There’s nothing to apologise for. I have done nothing wrong. Yes I suppose a few people in my office may have possibly been in contact with people in Camoron Slater’s office, but I had...
    My Thinks
  • A surveillance power-grab
    Section 7 of the government's spy bill introduces a new power for police and SIS to access information held by Customs. Its not mentioned in the press release, and the bill's explanatory note is extremely vague. So what's it about?...
    No Right Turn
  • Another shoddy analysis
    What's the case for the government's Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill? I've been reading the bills Regulatory Impact Statement, and the short version is that there isn't one. A RIS is a vital part of the quality control process for...
    No Right Turn
  • “We should be a working on the railroads…”
    Yesterday Peter asked if the Auckland’s motorway network built on “strategic misrepresentations”?. In it he briefly mentioned engineer Joseph Wright who questioned how much the motorways would cost. In response I put this image in the comments however it probably justifies it’s...
    Transport Blog
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    frogblog
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    frogblog
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    frogblog
  • Counterproductive
    Since June, the US has been bombing Iraq. Since September, they've been bombing Syria. In both cases, the aim is ostensibly to stop ISIS. So how's it working out?About as badly as you'd expect:US air strikes in Syria are encouraging...
    No Right Turn
  • No justice in America
    On August 9, police officer Darren Wilson shot and murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.. The shooting of unarmed black men by American police is so routine that they don't even bother to keep statistics on it. And of course,...
    No Right Turn
  • The Andrew Little experiment has failed
    It’s time to admit that the Andrew Little leadership experiment has been a failure. A terrible failure....
    Imperator Fish
  • Abuse of power: The OIA / public records dimension
    One of the things to emerge from the "dirty politics" report is that the SIS pissed all over the OIA:The NZSIS also made a significant error in considering information requests by the news media. Such requests were, from 25 July...
    No Right Turn
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    frogblog
  • A further thought on the Gwyn report
    The report itself is here. The main issues have been well covered by the media. Here’s what struck me. One of Key’s big achievements as Prime Minister has been the expansion of the size and powers of the state security...
    DimPost
  • A further thought on the Gwyn report
    The report itself is here. The main issues have been well covered by the media. Here’s what struck me. One of Key’s big achievements as Prime Minister has been the expansion of the size and powers of the state security...
    DimPost
  • Thin Ice edit for US TV funded in full
    The Thin Ice Kickstarter campaign was resounding success, with the total pledged reaching NZ$34,448 from 228 backers. The extra funds are likely to be used in a PR effort to get the newly-edited film shown on as many TV stations...
    Hot Topic
  • The City Unbound
    The current Metro Magazine has has an article by me on Auckland, its new urban nature, and surprise!: Why we need a change in transport infrastructure investment to unlock its true value. Most here won’t be unfamiliar with the arguments but the...
    Transport Blog
  • The City Unbound
    The current Metro Magazine has has an article by me on Auckland, its new urban nature, and surprise!: Why we need a change in transport infrastructure investment to unlock its true value. Most here won’t be unfamiliar with the arguments but the...
    Transport Blog
  • Cover up in the PM’s office
    Here's an extract from a very good post by Russell Brown this morning: But there’s more. The inspector, Cheryl Gwyn, has this to say: Witnesses appearing before this inquiry also produced documents. Documents were provided voluntarily by Mr Hager and...
    Polity
  • An abuse of power
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has released her report into the release of information to Cameron Slater by the SIS. Its a lot to digest, but it looks like the core allegation of Dirty Politics - that the Prime...
    No Right Turn
  • Media Link: The Slater/SIS/PM’s Office OIA debacle.
    Sometimes one has to speak bluntly but honestly about unethical behaviour within the NZ intelligence community. The revelations about the way an OIA request from a notorious right wing blogger was  handled by the then Director of Security and Intelligence...
    Kiwipolitico
  • The buck stops on level 9
    The IGIS report has come out, saying the SIS failed to maintain political neutrality, smearing Phil Goff, and finding that senior Prime Ministerial staff were complicit in channeling security agency information to Cameron Slater. In response, the SIS has apologised...
    Polity
  • Hard News: Incomplete, inaccurate and misleading
    The reporter of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of information by the SIS is now public, and it turns out to be largely about a democratic problem we've discussed plenty this year: the growing contempt in which New...
    Public Address
  • I’m not ALWAYS wrong …
    I'm presently acting as a "parent helper" at school camp in the backblocks outside of Cromwell, so my capacity to comment on recent events is limited (to put it mildly). So I'll simply reproduce this part of this post from...
    Pundit
  • Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter November 2014
    What’s in this newsletter?  1.  Upcoming Events 2.  Heads in the Sand! Join us on December 7 3.  The Elections – analysis from Jeanette Fitzsimons 4.  The IPCC – and New Zealand’s response 5.  Honey I shrunk the Board!  Bathurst...
    Coal Action
  • Is New Zealand heading up shit creek? [infographic]
    Should we be able to swim in our rivers? Water quality has been in the news a lot this year – in particular the impact of dairy farming on nitrogen levels (and algae) in our rivers. But if we want...
    Gareth’s World
  • Reaction to Labour reshuffle
    The commentators have digested Andrew Little's reshuffle overnight, and their verdict is predictably positive. Even if the Herald can't agree on whether the reshuffle was a big deal or not (the editorial says "largely cautious" while John Armstrong says "radical...
    Polity
  • SIS report due out today
    The Gwyn Report into allegations the NZ SIS were used for political purposes to smear Phil Goff, via Cameron Slater, is due for release at 10 am. Radio NZ reports: The report by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn,...
    On the Left
  • Nothing Wrong With John Key’s History.
    Done Deal: The Prime Minister's comments regarding the peaceful settlement of New Zealand have been ridiculed by his detractors, but they were considerably less controversial than the Waitangi Tribunal's assertion that Maori never ceded sovereignty to the British crown. (Image...
    Bowalley Road
  • Hibiscus Coast New Network confirmed
    Back in July and August, Auckland Transport consulted on changes to the bus network on the Hibiscus Coast as part of the region wide new network. The main driver for consulting on the changes now is that AT want to...
    Transport Blog
  • Hibiscus Coast New Network confirmed
    Back in July and August, Auckland Transport consulted on changes to the bus network on the Hibiscus Coast as part of the region wide new network. The main driver for consulting on the changes now is that AT want to...
    Transport Blog
  • (Not) changing the climate on climate change
    Here’s a foreign policy issue the government wishes would go away: climate change. Most other governments wish it would go away, too. They will nonetheless send emissaries to Lima in Peru for 12 days of talks from next Monday. Lima...
    Colin James
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    Greens
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    Greens
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    Greens
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    Greens
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    Greens
  • Key’s vile smear machine questions left unanswered
    The report into Judith Collins’ involvement in undermining the former Serious Fraud Office boss leaves major questions unanswered about the smear machine run out of John Key’s office, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “This report has deliberately narrow terms of...
    Labour
  • Govt must make up lost time on sexual violence law reform
    The Government must prioritise any recommendations from the Law Commission to improve criminal process for sexual violence cases after it stalled reform work for two years, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour is pleased Justice Minister Amy Adams has...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • Report confirms John Key abused power of PM’s Office
    Today's Inspector General of Intelligence and Security's (IGIS) report confirms that the Prime Minister's office engaged in a serious abuse of power, says the Green Party.The IGIS report looked at the release of an Official Information Act request to disgraced...
    Greens
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter referring to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    ...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2009. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2009. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Rotorua White Ribbon Ride urges stand against violence
    Dave Donaldson will never forget the story of a woman who escaped her violent partner by going to jail. Some years ago while the Rotorua deputy mayor was still a police officer, he escorted a woman to Auckland to serve...
    Scoop politics
  • Air Line Pilots’ Association on proposed rules for Drones
    The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association is welcoming calls by the Civil Aviation Authority to have industry and the public have their say on proposed rules for unmanned aircraft operations....
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Report on Gender Bias Welcomed
    Family First NZ is welcoming a report which says that blaming men for domestic violence is ‘gender bias’....
    Scoop politics
  • Terrorism bill fraught with risk for academics
    Academics studying terrorism, or other topics that the SIS considers not to be in the national interest, could be among those who lose civil rights if an ‘anti-terrorism’ bill becomes law....
    Scoop politics
  • Iwi score badly on Māori language report card
    Māori language group Umere has given 'iwi corporates' a "Not achieved" for not standing up for te reo....
    Scoop politics
  • Men need to play leadership role
    White Ribbon Day is the international day for the elimination of violence against women and occurs each year on 25 November....
    Scoop politics
  • NZ-HK Customs heads meet to strengthen ties
    A meeting between New Zealand Customs and Hong Kong Customs officials in Auckland today has strengthened the close partnership between the two agencies that continue to work together, especially to combat drug smuggling and organised crime....
    Scoop politics
  • Liam Butler interviews Hon Richard Prebble CBE,
    Out of the Red $29.95 The untold story of NZ's biggest business turn around....
    Scoop politics
  • Submissions called for two herbicide applications
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on the reassessment of the herbicide Firebird and an application for release of the herbicide Sakura....
    Scoop politics
  • Collins Inquiry – Statement from Mr Adam Feeley
    "I am pleased that the inquiry was undertaken and with the outcome announced today, especially given the unprecedented level of speculation, criticism and comment around investigations into the collapse of finance companies - much of which bore little...
    Scoop politics
  • #GivingTuesday focuses on charitable giving in Xmas lead-up
    More than 100 New Zealand charities are taking part in the inaugural #GivingTuesday being held on Tuesday 2 December....
    Scoop politics
  • Carrick Graham: Inquiry Shows New Media PR Here to Stay
    Facilitate Communications welcomes the Prime Minister’s release of the Inquiry report into allegations regarding the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley....
    Scoop politics
  • Carrick Graham: Inquiry Shows New Media PR Here to Stay
    Facilitate Communications welcomes the Prime Minister’s release of the Inquiry report into allegations regarding the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley....
    Scoop politics
  • Importance of employer support of victims of family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed a new report, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, published today by the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Importance of employer support of victims of family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed a new report, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, published today by the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Activists celebrate success in ‘Roast Busters’ campaign
    Activist community ActionStation is today celebrating the success of their campaign to force a review into the lack of charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ case, after the Minister of Justice announced the re-opening of work to improve the justice system...
    Scoop politics
  • Activists celebrate success in ‘Roast Busters’ campaign
    Activist community ActionStation is today celebrating the success of their campaign to force a review into the lack of charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ case, after the Minister of Justice announced the re-opening of work to improve the justice system...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Day: A lot of work to do
    White Ribbon Day is a timely reminder to all New Zealanders that when it comes to sexual violence there is a lot of work to do says Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue. “Many victims of sexual violence are failed by...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Day: A lot of work to do
    White Ribbon Day is a timely reminder to all New Zealanders that when it comes to sexual violence there is a lot of work to do says Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue. “Many victims of sexual violence are failed by...
    Scoop politics
  • MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws
    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)....
    Scoop politics
  • MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws
    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)....
    Scoop politics
  • E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call
    E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call for Māori Tikanga to Battle Domestic Violence...
    Scoop politics
  • E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call
    E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call for Māori Tikanga to Battle Domestic Violence...
    Scoop politics
  • Link between inequality and teen births studied
    A University of Canterbury economics and finance postgraduate student’s research project has been unable to find a strong link between teen birth rates and socio-economic inequality....
    Scoop politics
  • Link between inequality and teen births studied
    A University of Canterbury economics and finance postgraduate student’s research project has been unable to find a strong link between teen birth rates and socio-economic inequality....
    Scoop politics
  • On White Ribbon Day, and every day, Plunket is here to help
    On White Ribbon Day, Plunket says the impact family violence has on children is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, and is encouraging parents in violent or abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and their...
    Scoop politics
  • On White Ribbon Day, and every day, Plunket is here to help
    On White Ribbon Day, Plunket says the impact family violence has on children is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, and is encouraging parents in violent or abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and their...
    Scoop politics
  • Dr Warren Tucker accepts findings of IGIS report
    I accept the findings of the Inspector-General's thorough and careful report and take full responsibility not only for my decisions but for the systemic errors made by NZSIS at the time....
    Scoop politics
  • Dr Warren Tucker accepts findings of IGIS report
    I accept the findings of the Inspector-General's thorough and careful report and take full responsibility not only for my decisions but for the systemic errors made by NZSIS at the time....
    Scoop politics
  • NZSIS accepts Inspector-General’s recommendations
    The Director of Security, Rebecca Kitteridge says she accepts all of the recommendations from an inquiry into the release of NZSIS information in July and August 2011. “We are implementing all of the recommendations as soon as possible,” Ms Kitteridge...
    Scoop politics
  • NZSIS accepts Inspector-General’s recommendations
    The Director of Security, Rebecca Kitteridge says she accepts all of the recommendations from an inquiry into the release of NZSIS information in July and August 2011. “We are implementing all of the recommendations as soon as possible,” Ms Kitteridge...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwis Embrace the Spirit of Giving This Christmas
    Auckland, New Zealand – November 25, 2014 – Kiwis are embracing the spirit of giving this Christmas, with new figures revealing that a majority of us will be looking to purchase gifts for six or more people this festive season....
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwis Embrace the Spirit of Giving This Christmas
    Auckland, New Zealand – November 25, 2014 – Kiwis are embracing the spirit of giving this Christmas, with new figures revealing that a majority of us will be looking to purchase gifts for six or more people this festive season....
    Scoop politics
  • The writing’s on the wall in aged care
    The writing’s on the wall in aged care, so let’s get on with it....
    Scoop politics
  • The writing’s on the wall in aged care
    The writing’s on the wall in aged care, so let’s get on with it....
    Scoop politics
  • Report on release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater
    The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office....
    Scoop politics
  • Report on release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater
    The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office....
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand a world leader in animal welfare
    The Animal Protection Index , which ranks 50countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland)in first place....
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand a world leader in animal welfare
    The Animal Protection Index , which ranks 50countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland)in first place....
    Scoop politics
  • Corrections Review of Phillip Smith’s Illegal Departure
    Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has made public a summary of the findings of the review into the illegal departure from New Zealand of prisoner Phillip Smith during a temporary release....
    Scoop politics
  • Corrections Review of Phillip Smith’s Illegal Departure
    Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has made public a summary of the findings of the review into the illegal departure from New Zealand of prisoner Phillip Smith during a temporary release....
    Scoop politics
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere