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State housing: bursting the “market” bubble

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, January 20th, 2014 - 102 comments
Categories: class war, cost of living, housing, poverty, sustainability, thinktank - Tags:

The (un)affordability of housing in NZ, especially in the cities of Christchurch and Auckland, is beyond crisis point.  It’s become an inhumane blight on the record of our current government.  In Auckland it has gone from crisis to hyper-inflated devasation for the least well off.  And most often, those on lowest incomes are being relegated to living in transport poverty on the outer margins of the city.

Some MSM reporters have been talking up the up-swing in home building.  But doing that all within the system of private home ownership is just giving more fuel to the rentier classes, and those desperate to buy their own home.  The answer is simple – to end the crisis in (un)affordable housing, the state could just provide more housing at an affordable cost.

Meanwhile, the just released report of the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, shows that Auckland housing is becoming increasingly over-priced – the bubble just keeps on inflating.  Anne Gibson reports in today’s NZ Herald:

Last year, the survey pegged Aucklanders as having a median household income of $75,200 and a median house price of $506,800, giving the city a total median multiple of 6.7 (house prices divided by incomes) when anything more than 3 is regarded as unaffordable.

But now Auckland’s median house prices are $561,700 and median household incomes $70,500, the city has been pegged as having a median multiple of 8. The survey concluded Auckland had slipped further in its ranking as one of the world’s most severely unaffordable places to live.

Last year, Auckland was the world’s 313th most unaffordable place out of 337 cities but now it is the world’s 347th most unaffordable out of 360 cities.

Christchurch-based survey co-author Hugh Pavletich said the trend was extremely worrying.

[...]

Demographia sourced its New Zealand housing data from the Real Estate Institute and the incomes from Statistics New Zealand.

Mr Pavletich said income figures were projected on Census 2006, until Census 2013 when the latest figure was used.

Some NZ economists question the findings.  But more worrying, is the underlying ethos of the Demographia Report written by Alain Bertaud, Urbanist, Senior Research Scholar, Stern School of Business, New York University  and Former Principal Planner – The World Bank.  Basically he is critical of the kind of approach in Aucklannd’s Urban Plan – an approach that aims to increse density in selected areas of Auckland, rather than continue to consume more land for housing and urban development.

Bertaud wants to follow the (alleged) approach of the Chinese government:

Even the Communist Party of China recently declared that resource allocation is best achieved through markets; why can’t urban planners in so-called market economies reach the same conclusions and let markets decide how much land and floor space households and firms will consume in different locations?

“Markets” don’t actually decide any such thing.   It’s people: people in positions of power and wealth, especially the investment bankers and property speculators who really decide how things go – and they want the land to be available for their profiteering.  It has been people with power, money and influence hiding behind the myth of “markets deciding”, that have created the life-destroying property bubble in places like Auckland.  Continuing with this mythical scam, Bertaud concludes:

It is hoped that the clear quantitative approach demonstrated by the Demographia survey would incite local think tanks in India, Brazil and China to develop the data base and the methodology to analyse the affordability problem and find a market solution to solve it.

There is another, more humane and economically beneficial way to solve the crisis in affordable housing: a crisis maintained by the profiteering of the few, and causing inhumane suffering for the least well off.

It’s been done quietly in Utah, while other US states have continued increasing human suffering on the back of the misery of homelessness.  Other states have been harrassing and demonising the homeless – seriously, where are they going to go if they are hounded off the streets?

On Open Mike today, Adam posted a link to this article; ‘Utah is ending homelessness‘:

In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail says for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but the keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.

It sounds like Utah borrowed a page from Homes Not Handcuffs, the 2009 report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless. Using a 2004 survey and anecdotal evidence from activists, the report concluded that permanent housing for the homeless is cheaper than criminalization. Housing is not only more human, it’s economical.’

The lesson is clear.  To solve NZ’s housing crisis, especially in Christchurch and Auckland: a significant increase in affordable state housing, and make the housing available to all who need it.

More state housing is Green Party Policy, and Mana Party Policy and activism – these parties are leading the way on the apporaches needed to make life more liveable for the least well off.

102 comments on “State housing: bursting the “market” bubble”

  1. vto 1

    The fundamental behind what Utah has done is simple and so very important. In a nutshell – give people a stake in their community and it flies.

    High house values help nobody except the banks. The sooner steps are taken to drive down the cost of home ownership (and everything else with a capital value) the better. It means less of our daily toil has to go into paying for the roof over our heads and more of our daily toil can go to other things such as food, education, etc.

    It is all such a complete no-brainer.

    The main problem of course is that no government wants capital values (of houses or anything) to drop because it means they get voted out.

    This current government knows this reality and will be rubbing its hands with glee over the current rise. They will do absolutely nothing to deal with this housing problem.

    So, how do you get a government to work to bring down house values when doing such will get them voted out? It is a conundrum…

    • Will@Welly 1.1

      Could you imagine National, for one minute, having a bar of this policy?
      Talk about “communism”, North Korea, dancing Cossacks and all the other bull………
      Affordable housing fits right next door to solving child poverty.

  2. tricledrown 2

    Karol I believe these houses were homes that had been reposed by banks and are not new homes like Labour Green Mana have as their policy.
    Its good seeing the greens 6,000 houses they promised to buold each year being upgrade by Labour to 10,000 per year.
    The Greens popularity is forcing labour back to its roots instead of being labour lite.

  3. tricledrown 3

    RNZ noon news New Zealands housing affordability worst in the world with house prices rising rapidly and wages falling.
    Come on greens and Labour get stuck in to dickhead smith.
    The holidays are over we johnny is still on planet key hawaiikey.
    Friggen hell fire some shots.

  4. bad12 4

    Well said Karol, it is the State House which in effect since the 1930’s has kept the lid on inflation both in house purchase and house rentals,

    The fact is the National Party when in Government have a deliberate policy of house price inflation being good for the economy,(such inflation being counted among the data as ‘growth),

    Thus the National Party when in Government have a deliberate policy of lowering the number of State Houses which in turn creates demand for rental property both from renters and would be landlords,

    The current sell off of State Housing by Minister Nick Smith is in fact the biggest unannounced State Owned Asset sell-off, with the value of the HousingNZ estate said to be in the realm of 50 billion dollars and Smith having been quoted as saying that ‘any house worth $700,000 that is empty will be sold’ coupled with the recently rushed through under urgency law change which promotes the removal of the tenants from these houses unveils the ‘real plan’ of this particular National Government for this unannounced asset sell off,

    Another reported quote from Smith gives us an estimate of just how large this asset sell off has been planned by the current National Government with Smith on a number of occasions happily blurting out the fact that the National Government plan is that HousingNZ will provide 20% less of the total ‘social housing’ and He expects the private NGO’s such as the Salvation Army etc to ‘magic’ the shortfall into existence on the basis that such NGO’s can now get the same subsidy that the Government gives to HousingNZ,

    Lastly as i have often put forward as a comment, at it’s peak HousingNZ had an estate comprising some 75,000 homes for a population of 3.3 million, that population is now at or very close to 4.4 million souls and on a population basis alone would strongly suggest that the ‘needed’ number of HousingNZ homes is now in the realm of 100,000,(most of that increase needed being within the City of Auckland)…

  5. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5

    Excellent article Karol,

    It is great to hear that somewhere in the world there are people trying new solutions to problems and succeeding.

    I would really like to see NZ being courageous in similar ways. It is so boring seeing the same old problems year in and year out being addressed in the same old tired and failed ways.

    I fail to understand why ‘market theory’ continues to be viewed as an answer to everything. Don’t we all know already that there is a severe error in the basic assumptions of market theory?

    “Markets” don’t actually decide any such thing. It’s people: people in positions of power and wealth, especially the investment bankers and property speculators who really decide how things go – and they want the land to be available for their profiteering. It has been people with power, money and influence hiding behind the myth of “markets deciding”, that have created the life-destroying property bubble in places like Auckland.

    Brilliant

  6. Will@Welly 6

    Absolute fab karol. I have a vested interest in state housing for two reasons.
    They were the corner stones of the original Labour Party. They provided shelter, a home, a job, and training. Not many other “institutions” do that.
    One of my uncles returned from the war, and without a state house, probably “would never had made it”. The same with a lot of people I first worked with when I first entered the work force. Some brought their houses, others didn’t, but each house was a home.
    That’s the lie National fails to understand. Kicking people out of their houses isn’t simply kicking people out of their place, it’s destroying their way of life, destroying who they are, but then, unless there’s a big f**ken $$$, National aren’t interested.
    Our house has doubled in value in the past few years, I look at it and say what complete bull***t. Its still the same house I brought a few years ago, and probably paid a tad too much for then, but not like today.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    “Markets” don’t actually decide any such thing. It’s people: people in positions of power and wealth, especially the investment bankers and property speculators who really decide how things go – and they want the land to be available for their profiteering. It has been people with power, money and influence hiding behind the myth of “markets deciding”, that have created the life-destroying property bubble in places like Auckland.

    And that is why we got “markets” which have, inevitably, made people worse off.

  8. CC 8

    While accepting that affordable state housing has much to commend it, will the Government actually be able to provide houses at a reasonable cost under the current regime. Recently, it took possession of a number of public private partnership constructed units. The property developer appears to have been able, to screw the taxpayers for well in excess of $500 000 per unit. No – this was not in an area of expensive land or ‘exclusive’ properties! It must be time we looked to the past and re-instituted the housing policies that served the country well last century.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    While National seem determined to return us to slum housing stock of the 1930s and an emergency program of state house building is critical right now, no one is NZ really wants a state house, insofar as no one really wants to rent off the government all their life. People perceive that as for those with no choice, or for free-loaders.The idea of the government or council owning all the houses doesn’t fly in this country.

    What people would like to see from a party is a commitment to subsidised housing in a variety of forms (flats, units, apartments, townhouses, houses) that can be purchased, or rented to purchase, or leased, as well as rented. Even if this required some right off of capital cost by the state, the book value would still be immense and economies of scale (I wouldn’t be afraid to have entire apartment blocks pre-fabricated in China complete with white wear, plumbing and wiring if that is what it took) could see prices plunge.

    • karol 9.1

      no one is NZ really wants a state house, insofar as no one really wants to rent off the government all their life.

      You sure of that? Citations needed.

      31 December 2013 – 4,493 people on the waiting list for a state house.

      I am one of a large number of life time renters – and I’m not in any immediate or medium term danger of being homeless, or any way likely to be most in need of a state house. But to me, given a free choice between renting from the state, or from a private landlord – a private landlord profiteering and adding to house price inflation – I’d choose a state house.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        +1

      • Sanctuary 9.1.2

        You really need a citation for that? How about trying planet earth.

        • karol 9.1.2.1

          Yes, I do, Sanctuary – I have presented some evidence to the contrary eg HNZ waiting list. Where’s your evidence?

          Will below adds the fact that many people were proud to rent state houses in the past. It was a cause for celebration when the Labour Government first introduced state housing.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.2.2

          If you have a secure long term rental at a good rate, with freedom to make minor changes to the property including gardens etc, why not rent from the govt?

          • QoT 9.1.2.2.1

            I think Sanc has identified another area for us to work on in society: the notion that getting help or using basic services from the government is inherently a form of bludging.

            We shouldn’t keep buying into the rightwing notion that a big government providing the necessities of life is a shameful thing.

    • Will@Welly 9.2

      Problem is Sanctuary, our wages have gotten out of skilter. Once we had a carpenter earning good wages, below him a couple of others earning decent wages, and then there were a couple of apprentices. What’s missing? The last group. What’s been added? Big time property speculators/developers, and the banks. Look at how much money flows overseas in profits to the banks. We’re funding part of Australia’s lifestyle.
      A couple of other points regarding state houses. Many people had no problem renting state houses, then in the 60’s National convinced people the right thing to do was to buy their own house. Problem was a lot weren’t replaced. The same is happening today. The other problem people faced, once rents were straight forward, you could budget, now with each successive Government, you don’t know where you will stand.
      The other issue surrounding building is the role of Government and Local Government authorities. What we’ve seen is the salaries for those in the top tiers rise far above the norm, and the extraordinary amount of compliance costs and fees has exacerbated the costs of building to many home owners and builders. These need addressing. A cap needs to be put on the level of pay paid to those in the top levels of the public sector. If they believe they are really worth that amount, let them go find it in the private sector. Very few do.

    • Mike S 9.3

      I’d much rather rent off the government, especially if it’s long term. I’m in the position of having to find another place to live as the owner of the place we’re in is selling it. That’s 3 times in 3 years, all 3 houses owned by foreigners living overseas. Why should we allow someone who doesn’t even live here to buy residential housing here?

      I would ban all foreign ownership of residential housing, if you want to buy a house here then come and live here. I would make it illegal for anyone to own more than 2 residential properties. I would also make it illegal for a company to own a residential property.

      Residential housing should be for people to live in, not for making profits from at the expense of those with no capital and those on low incomes.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.3.1

        Residential housing should be for people to live in, not for making profits from at the expense of those with no capital and those on low incomes.

        QFT

        And if the profiteers don’t like it they can go back and read Adam Smith and several other classical economists about how bad rentiers are for the economy and society.

  10. Plan B 10

    The idea of putting a floor under a market has been mentioned here before. For instance Kiwibank it is said puts a floor under banking- it helps make the sector work a bit better by giving people an option regarding minimum standards if you like- it is sort of a market based regulation alternative.
    The same can be said for state housing I suppose – state housing provides a standard that means if the market does not deliver what people want at the price they want to pay then they have an option- willing buyer and willing seller – but with the state providing the minimum ( at whatever level the state thinks is appropriate )
    So state housing and many other state owned entities like insurance may be explained as a market based approach rather than a regulation based approach to standards in different markets. Ha the right will hate it.

  11. tricledrown 11

    Real competition something the big 4 Aussie banks do not like they write Nactionals finance policy .
    The biggest beneficary of the housing bubbly are the foreign owned banks easymoney for them no work involved doubling their profits.
    The electricity market is next.

  12. Molly 12

    Housing affordability is something that has interested me for a while, and while being involved with a community planning group (and attending many Auckland Council workshops/presentations) it is apparent that housing affordability means different things to different people. In particular those making the rules and regulations. Changing rules comes at a prohibitive cost for small innovators and new models of housing provision – and so we stick with the continuation of the market which has systemically failed over the last few decades.

    For me the definition is somewhere along the lines of:
    “Housing that is affordable to rent/buy, live in and maintain to a healthy standard as part of a healthy community.”

    What I have discovered over the last few years is a decided lack of innovation and different small scale housing models that truly address affordability. I believe that housing needs to be part of a healthy community, and so the design of the neighbourhood and how it interacts is as important as the size and design of whatever built form of housing type you choose whether it be apartment, terraced, or detached.

    Some innovations that are worth looking at in terms of developing true affordability are:
    1. Co-housing – taking the middleman property developer (whose average cut is 16%) by supporting the prospective owners/renters to be the developers,
    2. Allowing multi-generational family homes without too much regulation. We already have these in Auckland, but they are in garages and sleepouts as the cost/restrictions are too high to do legally. There has been some movement towards this in the Unitary plan, but not to the degree that it is needed.
    3. Giving leeway to self-build owners – who were never the problem in the leaky building situation anyway. Self-builders who intend to live in the property usually build over-spec rather than to minimum requirements.
    4. Allow Tiny Houses. Imagine if Christchurch had been savvy enough to create villages such as this to transition people from devastation to rebuild.
    5. Promote smaller houses such as those shown by the Tumbleweed and the Not So Big house movements.
    6. Even better combine this idea with the idea of using waste materials to build such as the business models in the US, Tiny Texas Houses or Phoenix Commotion.
    7. Promote self-build earth buildings – for smaller dwellings or sleepouts.
    8. Promote options 3-7 to replace those unhealthy living environments in uninsulated garages and sleepouts by reducing/streamlining or eliminating regulations in some areas. This can be done by requiring that the resident in the property is the owner, and that if the property changes within a set time frame, full fees and consents are charged accordingly.
    9. Have permanent affordable housing prices on state houses provided at discount. There are many ways to do this, choose a few.
    10. Protect any change of government from wholesale selling of state housing by making them only 49% shareholder in any state housing project – the community itself retaining the remaining balance.

    The issue has been discussed on the Transport Blog recently, and also on Joel Cayford’s Auckland planning blog. His recent entries Who Is The Liveable City for? and On Special Housing Areas are well worth the read.

    I also believe that the solution should be multi-modal, and innovation in design, business models and investment will help aid that. People are very good at coming up with solutions themselves if given the opportunity and support.

  13. Molly 13

    On the pricing side:
    1. Do not allow overseas investors to buy residential property. My preference is for no land sales but this is only about affordable housing.
    2. Enforce current CGT to its full intent – eliminate those leap-frog developers who live in their home while they sell it and do this consistently in order to avoid income tax. Follow up rental properties that get sold to ensure that CGT is paid.
    3. Use Kiwibank to offer a NZ resident discounted mortgage rate – lower than the Aussie banks. If this redirects mortgages to Kiwibank (or TSB) this should have an impact on the balance of payments, which must have a lot of money from residential mortgages leaving the country every day.
    4. Implement a perpetual housing affordability model – for housing provided by the state. Sell off some of the new development at a discounted rate to pay off the loan – or invest in the next one. Ensure that this discounted rate is transferred to the next owner in perpetuity.

  14. Tiger Mountain 14

    Tenure is a most important feature of state housing. It was once truly “your place” as long as you desired. The nats have finally wiped this. Chucking everyone into the pool of uncertainty that is house hunting, or more correctly garage hunting and mates sofa hunting. Houses disappear from streets overnight and other modest ex “staties” such as in Pt Chev easily sell within hours of listing for a mill plus.

    Many home owners are full of it and in denial–“my place” is really the banks place and monopoly building suppliers and spec plan CAD twiddlers place that you get to occupy as long as you can pay the mortgage.

    Houses are the classic example of you can’t take it with you but can enjoy while you are around. A hugely increased state housing stock at newly set low rent levels (and a CG tax) would be good for most of us as well as the homeless and substandard living arrangements sector. Rents would drop in the private sector, house prices would drop and some stability would ensue for thousands.

  15. Bill 15

    Good on Utah – although they appear to be missing the point entirely.

    ‘Correct’ thinking would allow them to understand that cost isn’t a determining factor – profit is. The question then – the one they should be asking is ‘How profitable is it to house a homeless person against imprisoning them in a privatised prison system?’

    Obviously, imprisonment makes more sense. Jail the homeless, the drug takers, the drug dealers and (just generally) the poor. See, just because we don’t contribute much to the financial economy in terms of PAYE etc, there is no reason why others can’t extract a profit from our situation.

    Meanwhile, if the preference is to ignore or contradict how much of the world actually operates vis a vis generating profit from poverty, then in addition to measures mentioned – pass squatting legislation that gives homeless people some rights at the expense of property speculators….and watch rents tumble, streets empty and empty properties fill ;-)

  16. Richard Christie 16

    Last year, Auckland was the world’s 313th most unaffordable place out of 337 cities but now it is the world’s 347th most unaffordable out of 360 cities.

    What is it with people and double negatives?

    1st on list of “most unaffordable” will not be very affordable, in fact it will be the first amongst the unaffordable, i.e. the most unaffordable, it’ll probably be a place in which it is a struggle just to get by.

    Last on such a list is the last of the unaffordable, i.e. the least unaffordable, ergo the most affordable.

    Sliding in this scale seems to make Auckland more affordable.

    • karol 16.1

      Yes – poorly worded in that article.

      The latest, 2014 – 10th Annual Survey still shows Auckland in the “severely unaffordable” range according to the criteria it used.

      Median Multiple (the main ranking calculation they used):
      Severely unaffordable: 5.1 & Over
      Affordable: 3.0 & Under

      By that calcualtion NZ had dropped considerably in the ranking from 5.7 to 8.0

      So clearly there are more cities on the list this year. Whether or not Auckland has “slipped down” the rankings, depends on what cities were added (or taken way) compared with last year, and whether the same cities are below or new cities have been included. I checked. All the cities below Auckland in the 2013 report except one (Swindon) were part of the 2014 report.

      201414 Cities below Auckland
      Auckland (8.0 – Median Multiple rank)
      San Luis Obispo, CA
      Port Macquarie, NSW
      Melbourne, VIC
      Bournemouth & Dorsett
      San Jose, CA
      Sydney, NSW
      Santa Cruz, CA
      San Francisco
      Oakland, CA
      Santa Barbara, CA
      Honolulu, HI
      Vancouver, BC
      China SAR
      Hong Kong

      201322 cities below Auckland
      Auckland (6.7 Median Multiple ranking)
      *Swindon & Wiltshire
      Abbotsford, BC
      *London Exurbs (E & SE England)
      *Kelowna, BC
      *Mandurah, WA
      *Melbourne, VIC
      *Wollongong, NSW
      *San Luis Obispo, CA
      *Gold Coast, QLD
      *London (GLA)
      *San Francisco Oakland, CA
      *San Jose, CA
      *Santa Barbara, CA
      *Coff’s Harbour, NSW
      *Sunshine Coast, QLD
      *Santa Cruz, CA
      *Sydney, NSW
      *Port Macquarie, NSW
      *Bournemouth & Dorsett
      *Honolulu, HI
      *Vancouver, BC
      *Hong Kong
      [* = in the 2014 report]

      So basically, a lot less cities are ranked below NZ in the latest report. Hence Auckland HAS slipped down the rankings, and become more severely unaffordable.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        Great place to “create wealth” using a portfolio of rental properties though.

  17. Saarbo 17

    Housing is a biggie in 2014. On one side are the people desperate to gain access to affordable housing, whether that be renting a state house or purchasing affordable homes that don’t require 2 people to worklike slaves for the rest of their lives to pay off. On the otherside are the investors and home owners who are pretty keen to keep their house prices at the elevated levels that they currently are. Personally I think to alleviate poverty then a new state housing scheme is a must. But there is a chance that a very large state housing scheme in Auckland that significantly increases supply could pop the bubble…something is going to because that is exactly what it is.

  18. (not)BM 18

    people who cant afford houses made poor life choices or are welfare bums

    • karol 18.1

      Thank you, BM.

      Actually, people who profiteer from people’s need for housing are the ones making poor (socially irresponsible) choices.

      • (not)BM 18.1.1

        part of our freedom is the right to make a profit ,winners and losers its the losers who complain

        • vto 18.1.1.1

          why would they complain do you think?

          • vto 18.1.1.1.1

            BM, if you’re around….

            In your family (assuming you have partners and sons and daughters and cousins and aunties etc etc), do you have winners and losers? Do you have, say, a son who is wealthy and a daughter who struggles? Does the fact that the son’s wealth is at the expense of your daugher’s struggle concern you?

            This is the crux.

            Virtually no people that I know would be happy with one child ‘winning’ at the expense of another child.

            Yet this is what you and your type want and implement.

            As said above by the others – your actions are callous and inhumane. I do not want people like you in my society. I don’t like you. You are a negative for human good. You are bad for my community. You can bugger off.

            But I think it goes another step further than that too. I think that you would not want that yourself either, yet you vote for it. This means further that you and your lot are unthinking, unintelligent and shallow (on top of callous and inhumane).

            • BM 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Have a read of this, it may answer your question

              http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-06012014/#comment-754134

              • vto

                It doesn’t.

                And neither have you.

                Would you be happy with one of your children “winning” at the expense of another?

                • BM

                  You’re arguing with a young feminist girl, not me.

                  • vto

                    Answer the question chicken

                    • Arfamo

                      I don’t think BM understands that there don’t have to be winners and losers to make a profit. The winners and losers thing is what identifies him as unsuitable for living in communities.

                    • BM

                      Even though this argument has nothing to do with me.

                      I don’t like win lose approach to business, that’s for old pricks like Larry Ellison.
                      This need to crush and destroy your opponent is some sort of baby boomer/old person throw back due to the influence of WW2 etc.

                      I prefer the approach of organizations such as google, I might have a larger piece of pie than my competition but at least he has some pie.

                      Tends to my for better business relationships.

                    • Arfamo

                      part of our freedom is the right to make a profit ,winners and losers its the losers who complain

                      Then why did you say this? How do you reconcile that with what you’ve just said.

                    • BM

                      For fucks sake, I didn’t write that, it’s some annoying young feminist that’s pretending to be me.

                      Look at the gravatars, you may notice a slight difference.

                    • Arfamo

                      Oh. Lol. Sorry. That is such a terrible thing for someone to do. That is right up there with voting for National. Pure evil. If I were you I’d storm off out of here in a huff and never come back.

                      Seriously though, that’s a no no. Impersonating someone else. Not good.

                  • dave

                    BM your a total wanker you callous prick winners and losers!!!!!!!!everybody needs a home BM.

                    • BrucetheMoose

                      BM – the old argument of the winners and losers scenario is the classic sociopath’s reasoning in order to justify their selfish behaviour and satisfy their conscience. The law of the jungle and strongest will survive nonsense in other words. You do know who fully used that philosophy to it’s fullest to justify his power lust and manipulate an entire country to embark on a insane campaign of domination and destruction, causing tens of millions of deaths and even more suffering – don’t you? Get with the times BM. The winners and losers mentality belongs in last century, it has no future in this one. Otherwise we simply have no future.

                    • BrucetheMoose

                      The old argument of the ‘winners and losers’ scenario is the classic sociopath’s reasoning to justify their selfish behaviour and is used in order to satisfy their conscience. The law of the jungle and strongest will survive nonsense in other words. You do know who fully used that philosophy to it’s fullest to justify his power lust and manipulate an entire country to embark on a insane campaign of domination and destruction, causing tens of millions of deaths and even more suffering – don’t you? Society needs to get with the times. The winners and losers mentality belongs in last century, it has no future in this one. Otherwise we simply have no future.

        • karol 18.1.1.2

          What sort of system is it where the competition always mean some people will not have enough to survive on? Callous and inhumane system.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.1.2.1

            Callous and inhumane people who changed the system to this particular setting, despite the fact that they were already wealthy, and despite the fact that there were tried and tested real-world alternatives available.

            Callous and inhumane people who maintain this state of affairs.

            • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.2.1.1

              Callous and inhumane people who maintain this state of affairs.

              Otherwise known as government who do what business wants and not what the people want.

        • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.3

          There is no inherent right to make a profit and, no, it wasn’t the choices of the poor that made it impossible for them to afford to live but the decisions of governments as they kowtowed to the rich.

        • Tracey 18.1.1.4

          making a profit is a “right” BM? Are you sure?

  19. Tracey 19

    Thanks for the posts molly

  20. tricledrown 20

    blinkered monetarist does that include john keys mum.
    the middle classes are now getting squeezed out of the auckland CHCH market the next generation of middle classes will have to stay home with their parents live in a tiny apartment or live in a rural small town.
    The productivity commission said the cost of housing is the single biggest factor holding back New Zealands prosperity.
    Ask Don Brash rodney hide who demanded productivity commission.

  21. dave 21

    the hidden side of the housing bubble is the dept bomb that’s building up i hate think where this is heading we carried on our merry way after 2008 gfc we just love dept! almost 185 billion dollars all on housing ,

  22. greywarbler 22

    A new housing survey to give us a reaslistic view of our market and affordability of housing. With comment by Hugh Paveltich et al, property speculators beating the drum for more greenfield property to be made available. That will bring the price down – more supply. For how long? Christchurch survey author Hugh Pavletich said that year after year there was debate by economists over the accuracy of the income figures used in the survey.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/9629141/Housing-affordability-getting-worse

    We hardly do anything beside farming now, we can’t afford to put ticky tacky boxes on every bit of flat land so property speculators can provide inadequate houses for the proles. And leaving speculators doing something that government ought to do build long term affordable housing that stays in the state system. This is by getting people to buy them, or rent to buy on the same basis that retirement villages work. State renters then get a house, at a reasonable price, they get security, and if they keep the place in good order they get a priority pass to a state house in another area if they have to move. Also they get their money back, less some costs. The figures need to be done, but it could be that state housing could pay for itself with this group of people.

    Others who have a poor care record, need help looking after houses properly, which would keep destruction and deterioration down. A house one of my family rented, never had the windows open, hence a build-up of damp which went into the gib board. Talking to the tenants would help with coping with such problems. It might have been they were very afraid of that night time rapist, Rewa? who was busy for some long months. Or burglars while they were working. Did they have a security stay, and know how it works.

    Taking an interest in tenants and regular checking that they know to air a house, get drips fixed, etc. would help save expensive repairs and bad feeling. For the worst, concrete walls and painted floors that could be hosed would be sensible. That would provide something for families especially where there are young children, simple but with rugs on the floor and light painted walls, windows that closed tightly, and reasonable furniture and whiteware that worked it would be pleasant and no-bassle. Permission to put posters up on the walls etc would be given so they wouldn’t lose any bond that would be paid. And the undisciplined couldn’t kick interior walls down then. Probably more window glass would be broken, but that would be less expensive to repair.

    • karol 22.1

      Yes, gw, that is the research I cited in my post. But even on TV3 News tonight, economists at the ANZ who disgrees with the way the figures in that survey are compiled, agree that incomes are not increasing as much as house prices – the general finding of the survey.

      • Molly 22.1.1

        Watched the news as well, and the person that composed the affordability report brought out that old chestnut “free up land on the fringes”.

        That freed land might be affordable to develop, but is usually less affordable to live in. Residents require a vehicle to get to shops, doctors, schools, amenities etc. The development of green fields means – once again – the requirement for good sustainable design in terms of health and community is once again lost to the cheaper building option of one house on a square of land.

        Perhaps we should talk about state “affordable communities” – mainly because the long-term benefit of a well-designed community is phenomenal. Too much planning oversight ends with property boundaries at the moment, and there is little connection between the development and the community it is built in.

        Remember one of the first HNZ developments in Palmerston North understood this and deliberately created a walkable neighbourhood with a variety of building types with access to recreational facilities – Savage Crescent – as recognised by Palmerston North City Council in 1996 and original design plans.

  23. (not)BM 23

    blah blah blah we cant afford a house boohoo may be if you lot stopped opposing John key you could!

    • karol 23.1

      BM, that’s a totally useless comment. I never said I couldn’t afford a house. I rent and can pay for it (although I do think it, and other accommodation in Auckland is over-priced, re percentage it takes of people’s incomes). But I am concerned many others can’t afford even what I can afford. The facts speak for themselves re-affordability and the numbers living in garages etc.

      And how would NOT opposing Key change the unaffordability crisis?

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 23.1.1

        So, if we stopped opposing John Key we’d be rewarded with lower house prices? John Key is the PM and house prices are unaffordable (not for me personally, before you start, fool). Kind of the point of the post.

        I think if we put John Key in a sack and sent him to Hawaii it would make good youtube, but I can’t see how it would affect the housing affordability crisis.

        Personally I think we need to revalue a day’s work.

      • greywarbler 23.1.2

        Karol
        You are so patient! Treating RWNJs as if they were worth your time and can actually understand the words.

    • Paul 23.2

      You’re gibbering, poor fellow.

    • Draco T Bastard 23.3

      It’s the actions of John Key and this National led government that are making housing unaffordable.

      • Will@Welly 23.3.1

        Try deliberately “stimulating” the economy to create a false appearance that we are actually improving, when infact the economy was going nowhere.
        $50 billion in extra borrowings does not suggest a healthy economy. If your house was worth $300,000 yesterday, and it now is worth $500,000 today, without any improvements, have you made any significant improvements to the economy?
        Perhaps the point of note though, is that this Government has happily stood by and watched as this country has been transformed into a country now divided in two. One that has wealth and aspirations, the other, without money, and fast losing hope.

  24. jcuknz 24

    There was an interesting report from I believe London where young singles, and not so young singles find rents exhorbitant and the idea to to convert containers into studio units. This is cost effective by quite a margin over subsidising rents.

    From my younger days of renting the idea of a container studio sounds very attractive and not just suitable for housing excess prisoners, or holiday homes as was proposed a few years back.

    The concept of everybody with their quarter acre section is quite ridiculous I have happilly lived on a fraction of that for the last 50 years with first the family home and now my retirement home. .

    Another angle to the situation was the discussion some years back on the merits of renting over home owneship and there was not much in it. Then on the security of tenure is the concept of leasing where I remember my aunt being very pleased with the fact that she had been given a 99 year lease on her cenral london flat, now she is dead the block is an office building from what I could see when I passed by on a nostalgic trip a couple of years ago.

    • Molly 24.1

      You are talking about Container City in London I think. I believe it was a council supported development which encouraged artists to spaceshare.

      Re small spaces. My children have collected second hand materials and designed a cob cottage (around 16m2) to have a go at making their own building. Trench is dug, and materials are there. What is stopping us is the cost of getting a building consent – and probably engineering calculations. The design exercise is what got us interested in small spaces to start off with, and the idea of well-designed as opposed to large is one I’m in agreement with.

      • jcuknz 24.1.1

        I believe that people are their own worst enemies in this situation … there was the hullaballo over the leaky homes and as a result the politicians encouraged the beaurocrats to be more and more restrictive and expensive. Aparently you cannot modify a motor vehicle from what came out of the factory these days without an engineer’s report … sounds like jobs for the boys the way other sectors have placed restrictions on the public ” for safety reasons” yeah right as Tui puts it.
        With the invasion of the American concept of litigation people are designing more and more stringent ‘safety rules’ whose idea is less to protect people but the beaurocrats becuase every time something goes wrong there are the vocals calling for ‘heads to roll’.
        Having built two houses and modified vehicles in past days without undue supervision I am I am glad to be ‘past it’ becuase of age …. originally I was v ery glad of the original Building Regulations becuase they taught me what was required as a non-building industry person, unpopular with the industry becuase it stopped short-cuts leading to problems, but they were scrapped and replaced by an unhelpful system requiring ‘experts’ at high cost to certify what is proposed will work.
        Rant over :)

        • Molly 24.1.1.1

          It was a while back, but I think I submitted on that bill – for the reasons you outline. When I say think – I recall writing a submission but don’t know if I got round to sending it after hearing back from Sue Bradford.

          I had contacted Sue Bradford – so she must have been the MP in charge of that bill at that time – and questioned whether the new building requirements would be effective as a response to the leaky building debacle.

          Also, I asked if owner builders would be required to meet those obligations. Given that most leaky buildings were the product of fly-by-night developers – and inadequate council oversight – it probably would have been less troublesome to educate both building consent officers/engineers and council inspectors than to require builder’s registrations and oversight.

          Sue’s response was that owner/builders would be provided for. But I don’t know if that is the case – having neither the inclination or wherewithal to build my own house.

          I do wonder about the lack of clarity sometimes when problem solving. I see a lot of situations were the end results have required that “something be done”. I agree on resolving problems but do get frustrated when the reasons for the problem are not identified and effectively addressed.

          A solution that does not solve unfortunately seems to be the norm these days. Especially in government.

      • greywarbler 24.1.2

        In early days, there was a core cottage built, and then lean to’s were built on, particularly for the laundry and kitchen, but with a higher core up on foundations. There could be the opportunity to fix to the outer cladding and suitable supports under and go on a concrete slab. The appearance would be quaint. Perhaps we could start thinking practically about suitable designs allowing cheaper housing rather than rigid hegemony by builders and planners.

        • Molly 24.1.2.1

          There’s a really good book – The Company We Keep – from a builder in Martha’s Vineyard (speaking of unaffordable communities) who kind of fell into property development in a roundabout way.

          End result of more than two decades of building and addressing affordability in different ways, is that he ended up creating a collective development company where employees after five years, were looked at as potential shareholders – and board members – for the company. He wanted to ensure the company – South Mountain – would continue when he retired.

          Over the years, he came to the conclusion that the separation of building practices led to a lack of continuity and craftsmanship and so the company approaches the task of residential building from design to completion.

          One design component that they include is:
          To design the structure so that walls/windows doors may be removed to accommodate lifestyle or ownership changes without requiring full demolitions or expensive structural rework.

          He persuades owner builders to spend the extra nominal amount in foundations and structure upfront to accommodate future changes. Then every stage of the build is recorded and documented and the owner receives an owners manual noting where all the wiring, plumbing and structural forms are.

          When I look at the use of triangular trusses for cheaper roof building and think of that wasted space – and how we build stud walls to accommodate only the original design – it makes me wonder where NZ’s much lauded innovation is.

          • greywarbler 24.1.2.1.1

            Molly
            That sounds interesting I will look at it. Have to dash now. Thanks for responding with that. You may feel like me that too often we get bogged down in the adopted norm. and hey there’s more than one way to do anything, more like one hundred possibly.

            If the pollies and the fatocrats want to take us back to poor colonial days, then we will have to approach things in a more simple way without the high-class disdain for the plain and practical. And change can happen, just because of mindless fashion. Look at all the mud coloured houses being painted, the industrial grey, sleet and prison coloured houses. When it is mainly practical we will just have to suck it and do it.

            We had one of our foremost architects in NZ design living huts for slum dwellers in Manila or somewhere that could be built using found materials, sometime in the 70’s? We can take the model train off the rails and set it on a different track. It just requires an overview and to lean over and pick it up and replace it on lines to a different place.

            • Molly 24.1.2.1.1.1

              As mentioned before this is one of my areas of interest – not of professional expertise.,,

              But one exercise we did for a design project with the kids was to design a house, that changed from couple – to family home – to reduced family home when the children left.

              It was actually not that hard to design a small 65m2 home, that could be added to when children arrived – and then could be divided – simply by sealing a couple of internal doors, to create a smaller home and a self-contained ground floor flat suitable for elderly parents or renting out.

              Despite the transitional nature of homeowners now, there are still communities with long-time residents – usually the working class/ lower income suburbs. The ability to only buy (and accrue debt) for the size of the house that you actually need, and make long-term connections to community and place should be considered.

              Couples don’t need three bedroom houses. One of my favourite rentals with my partner when we were childless was a bedsit in London with shared bathroom and utilities.

  25. jcuknz 25

    Unfortunately National have a blind spot over state housing and I am not sure any argument will get them to change.

  26. (not)BM 26

    if we were really serious about affordable housing then the money supply that is fuelling the bubble needs to be turned off a house has become an asset class instead of a roof to keep the weather out .
    whack the interest rates up ,impose a capital gains tax, stop new Zealand from being used to launder dirty money make house prices relevant to new Zealand incomes first then revalue a days work because if we push wages up before a collapse in the housing bubble then the banks will gain not new Zealanders. ,building homes on fringes of Auckland is stupid you swap housing poverty for energy poverty.get the bloody trains out there first

    • Draco T Bastard 26.1

      Wow, you almost got it. You’re right that the money supply is helping drive house prices with the other main driver being offshore owners.

      What actually needs to happen is that the private banks be prevented from creating money and borrowing from offshore (there is absolutely no reason for foreign money to be used in NZ). Then the government creates the money instead and loans it out via KiwiBank at 0% interest* to those who want to purchase their own home and builds several thousand residences as state housing for those that are more inclined to rent. The total supply of houses, ensured by government building, should be 1 to 2 percent over demand. This will keep rents and house prices down.

      * There’d be strict caveats on the loan.

      • TightyRighty 26.1.1

        yea that won’t lead to hyper inflation and debasement of the currency. That’s never happened before in the history of the world. your’e such a dingbat when it comes to economic theory.

        • Draco T Bastard 26.1.1.1

          Dude, we already have hyperinflation in the housing market due to over creation of money by the private banks – same as it happened last time. It’s not the government printing money that causes hyperinflation – it’s the private banks. What it really comes down to is the controls that prevent excess money being created and that the money created is also destroyed. I’ve always said that and put forward ideas as to how to put them in place so, no, it won’t cause hyperinflation nor will it cause debasement of the currency – it’s over valued as it is due to the high interest rates we’ve got.

          • TightyRighty 26.1.1.1.1

            “high interest rates we’ve got” – you having a giggle?

            i was only just born in the 80’s, but my parents and their generation regale me with stories of how lucky we are to have single digit interest rates.

            It is the government printing money that creates hyperinflation. You have localised one market and blamed it’s funding sector (or money creator for the purposes of this discussion) for it’s hyperinflation. take your own theory on hyperinflation in the housing market and expand it to the entire economy, then ask yourself why inflation is only 1.6%? because it’s money creator isn’t creating lots of money.

            It’s not the controls, it’s not how the money is destroyed, it’s how much money is created. inflation is an observable phenomenon since before economics as a study was invented.

            there are two really good methods to control rampant house price increases.

            1) increase the stock of housing. don’t let overseas people by existing housing stock. if they wish to purchase, they need to build new housing. sell existing state houses in well to do areas and use the capital to build two to three new houses further out in what would be considered traditionally state-housing suitable suburbs.

            2) increase the land available for housing. the housing component of house prices are worth fuck all, it’s the land value. closer to town in a nice area? 7 figures easy. further away from town nice area mid to high six figures. further away and a bit edgy, low to mid six figures.

            this is hardly rocket science.

            • vto 26.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope. Governments don’t print money. Get some more learnings as your basics render all else useless.

              • TightyRighty

                really? governments don’t print money. going to split hairs and claim that issuing government bonds backed by nothing more than the governments promise to pay it back at a future date isn’t printing money?

                Or maybe skynet has become self aware and the printing press’ themselves are doing it?

                money is created through the credit multiplier effect, which has it’s transactional grounding through the retail / wholesale banking system. this “flow” is affected by interest rates, which in NZ are nominally set by the reserve bank, which is independent of government operationally, but must follow policy aims dictated by the government of the day. i.e. keep inflation between x and y using this tool. in effect allowing the government to control the “flow” of money created.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  That’s the theory – doesn’t work though as the exponentially climbing amount of M3 in the system shows.

                  • TightyRighty

                    seriously, quoting the greens on economic issues? how much do you think the national party knows about environmental issues? just your opinion.

                    probably the stupidest thing you’ve said, today. of course m1 is only created by the reserve bank, but m3 is backed by the reserve bank. capital adequacy ratios, LVA’s and interest rates to stem the demand for lending are all tools that the reserve bank uses to control money creation. private banks would not be allowed to do it without the approval of the reserve bank.

                    Surely you know all this? or did the rank aussie bludger tell you otherwise? you stupid git. thank christ you are probably too much of a blundering neckbeard to ever be voted into power. you would actually drag down the economic understanding of the greens caucus.

                    • Paul

                      Oh..you’re here with your usual mix of cheerful insults, rants and barely coherent messages.
                      Every time I hear folk like you throw tantrums about the Greens, I know they are doing something right.

                    • TightyRighty

                      i would expect a green supporter to consider informed economic insights “rants and barely coherent messages”

                      I’m not throwing a tantrum, the greens haven’t done anything. they can’t really. being last cab off the rank each time pretty effectively nullifies any possible impact they may have. it’s little surprise that you consider speaking the truth about DTB’s economic literacy and the shallow economic talent pool that is the greens caucus a tantrum.

                      Keep up with the observations though Paul. Made a single contribution to any argument apart from commenting on how other people comment?

            • Draco T Bastard 26.1.1.1.1.2

              It is the government printing money that creates hyperinflation.

              Nope. Britain didn’t have hyper-inflation back when they were using tally sticks.

              You have localised one market and blamed it’s funding sector (or money creator for the purposes of this discussion) for it’s hyperinflation.

              then ask yourself why inflation is only 1.6%? because it’s money creator isn’t creating lots of money.

              Why are house prices so high?
              The money creator is creating lots of money. The real problem is that most of the money that the banks create is loaned out to housing mortgages pushing up the price of housing.

              take your own theory on hyperinflation in the housing market and expand it to the entire economy,

              Why would I do that? As I’ve said time and time again – increased spending by the government comes with increased taxation ergo, no significant increase of money in the economy thus no hyperinflation.

              It’s not the controls, it’s not how the money is destroyed, it’s how much money is created.

              So, that would be the controls which determine how much money is created and destroyed thus controlling the amount of money in circulation?

              Fuck, you’re a moron.

              • TightyRighty

                No, you’re the fucking moron. That’s why my relaying of the settled science of inflationary measures is the orthodox method, and why what you propose always sends governments and economies to fucking ruin.

            • dave 26.1.1.1.1.3

              one problem people move Auckland roading is one large jamb,the council is on the right path with the unitary plan ripping up more of the country side is not the answer

      • BM2 26.1.2

        the supply side of the equalisation is projects like labours kiwi build and we got to seriously look at how we build in this country and get some real economies of scale in the whole process generic designs manufacture compartmentalisation pre assembles of structures complete with services

  27. tricledrown 27

    BM turning the money supply off
    Is not going to increase the house supply infact the reverse as Nactional found out.

    • Draco T Bastard 27.1

      National didn’t turn the money supply off – they just made it so that only the rich had access to it.

  28. tricledrown 28

    true but they changed the rules back for new builds only 10% deposit because the tightening money supply virtually stopped all new builds.
    so bms argument is fucked on all levels

    • Draco T Bastard 28.1

      true but they changed the rules back for new builds only 10% deposit because the tightening money supply virtually stopped all new builds.

      True but what that showed is just how much our economy has become dependent upon private bank created money. We really do need to do something about that especially as it’s the cause of our economy being unsustainable.

    • Molly 28.2

      I found that requirement interesting. As far as private development goes – someone wanting to build their own home – the deposit requirement was often already at 20% if not higher.

      So, it was interesting to see that National put the deposit/loan ratio at 20%, and it had an impact on new builds. Does this mean that those who were impacted by this change were mainly professional developers who could no longer get commercial loans for their developments from the bank because it was prohibited?

      And now, we have a 20% deposit required for an existing house in an area, and only 10% required for a new build – even though this may be more expensive? Private owner/builders are likely still subject to the development ratio – but if they are not – that is one of the long standing conservative bank policies that has gone down the road thanks to this policy.

  29. BM 29

    i personally think the reserve bank governor has saved a lot of first home buyers a world of hurt standing on the fence at this time is not a bad thing.

  30. jcuknz 30

    +1 BM and DTB

  31. jcuknz 31

    Even 10% of current house prices seems a lot of money to me and my solution way back was to buy a decrepid rundown building and live in it while building a new house in the backyard and only after showing what we could achieve, my wife and I, did I get a small mortgage to complete …. but I was earning somewhat above average and was secure in my job which only required a 40hr week.
    I am very glad I am not ‘young’ today.

  32. MrSmith 32

    The Reserve banks new lending restrictions for first home buyers are nothing but another transfer of wealth to the already rich,

    It’s this simple: People need to live somewhere and if you make it to hard for then to buy, then they must rent, and who will be providing that rental accommodation, the already rich in most cases, with capital from the banks created out of thin air.

    The Banksters like it because they don’t have to sign risky loans to new clients, the landlords and investors like it because the pool for tenants increase.

    And just when there seems some light on the horizon for the poor plebs with some wage increases interest rates will rise, so repayment amounts go up canceling out the wage rises, and then rents go up as well because landlords pass on increased interest costs to the tenants.

    When you have a former banker Graeme Wheeler (who formally was managing director of the World Bank) running our Reserve bank, then the question has to be asked, who is the reserve bank governor working for?

    • dave 32.1

      that is why the housing market needs stiff medicine cranking up interest rates will kill the parasites ! pain is unavoidable and the faster the better, cheap money produces bubbles !

  33. captain hook 33

    “The Market” in New Zealand is just a catchall phrase to denote the latest gang that the tories have given a subsidy to.
    There is no market in New Zealand.
    Every transaction is rigged.

  34. SpaceMonkey 34

    Great post Karol… thanks.

    The way successive Governments (national and local) have colluded with the bankers and property developers to work the housing “market” leaves me cold. Just another get rich scheme for those on the inside, to hell everybody else.

    It’s posts like this that remind me why I’m keen to build an earthship home… once I find the right land.

  35. Even the Communist Party of China recently declared that resource allocation is best achieved through markets; why can’t urban planners in so-called market economies reach the same conclusions and let markets decide how much land and floor space households and firms will consume in different locations?

    Because as long as it’s up to local and central government to provide new developments with roads, water, sewerage disposal, schools, hospitals, you-name-it, the market does its deciding while being offered huge incentives to build sprawl.

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    Potentia | 30-10
  • Tea Party takes on “President Obola”
    OK, so this happened: Theatricality is one of the best ways to shake the sleepwalking public awake. One brave liberty advocate made a bold statement when he donned a Hazmat suit and an Obama mask, and took to the president’s...
    Polity | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said.  Photo:  ...
    CTU | 30-10
  • Herald vs Hosking-in-Herald on teabreaks
    The New Zealand Herald editorial today is distinctly unimpressed with the government’s decision to remove mandated tea breaks for workers: It is a pity that almost the first legislative act of the Government's new term is an act abolishing mandatory...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • Ghost Dancing?
    Ghost Dancing circa 1890: With the buffalo effectively exterminated, the material basis for the Native American cultures of the Great Plains was destroyed. The Ghost Dance, it was believed, would reconstitute the basis for an independent indigenous existence. Has the...
    Bowalley Road | 30-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Way back in March, 2012,  I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18...
    Frankly Speaking | 30-10
  • WINZ: Bureaucratic Befuddlement and Confustication
    Yeah, I know. Confusticate isn’t a word, unless you’re quoting Urban Dictionary. Definition: This word is the coalescing of the English words “confuse” and “complicate”. It refers to anything of, or relating to the process of being both confused and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • The idiot
    Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years –...
    DimPost | 30-10
  • The idiot
    Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years –...
    DimPost | 30-10
  • Climate change and New Zealand cities
    Environmentalists sometimes have an uneasy relationship with cities. Because they concentrate a lot of people and economic activity in relatively small places, they also concentrate a lot of negative environmental effects. All that concrete, all that energy being consumed, the...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Got a mystery? Just ask John!
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009John Key has learned the identity of the entertainer guilty of an indecency charge through the grapevine of people circumventing the suppression order....
    Pundit | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD....
    CTU | 30-10
  • Blocked
    It is safe to say before the election last month I was fairly prolific in the blogosphere as we headed to an election. Was it because there was a glimmer of hope for we on this side of the coin?...
    My Thinks | 30-10
  • Blend with the Bruntletts Group Ride
    While Vancourerites Chris and Melissa Bruntlett are here for their Auckland Conversation talk, Generation Zero, Frocks on Bikes and TransportBlog have organised a slow, family friendly ride around the city centre. The map is below. The ride is designed to be self-directed so...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Rawshark – Is she Maori or Pakeha?
    Cameron Slater blamed someone for being behind the hacking of his emails and passing them on to Nicky Hager. And then he named someone he thought was Rawshark. John Key says someone told him who Rawshark is but he ain’t telling. @B3nRaching3r is...
    Te Putatara | 30-10
  • Employment law: it’s toasted
    In an early episode of Mad Men, when the company’s going for the Lucky Strike account, sleazebag antihero Don Draper asks the client exactly how cigarettes are made. They talk through the process, mentioning the tobacco is toasted – and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • Owners of the wind
    Thirty-odd years ago in the Kingdom of Denmark lived some brave people who disliked nuclear power and loved renewable energy. Determined to keep their country clean and safe, they began building their own wind turbines. Today, thanks to these passionate...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • An unmanaged conflict
    Katherine Rich is a member of the government-appointed Health Promotion Agency, responsible for (as it says on its website) "inspiring all New Zealanders to lead healthier lives". Katherine Rich is also Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Robert Fisk
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • A stretch
    This morning the Herald revealed that Kim Dotcom had been convicted and fined for dangerous driving in 2009, but had not declared it on his application for residency. Immigration is now talking about deporting him. So, this is what we...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Tauranga port happy to take the money – but not happy to accept responsib...
    Comments from a Port of Tauranga manager about deaths and injuries in their port during a Radio New Zealand interview are unacceptable....
    MUNZ | 30-10
  • New Ebola Toys for Xmas. Yay?
    From the "too soon?" file, here are two oddly successful exercises in niche marketing. First, the molecularly-sort-of-correct ebola plush toy. Apparently it has sold out: And, of course, the sexy ebola nurse outfit: Ebola, as everyone knows, ignores cleavage. And...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Temporary, discriminatory and an admission of Faliure
    The PM says that the legislation his government proposes to pass under urgency allowing for the confiscation of passports of NZ citizens in order to combat the threat of returning foreign fighters will be “tightly focused” on those traveling to...
    Kiwipolitico | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • Experiment-gate update
    Readers may recall the saga around an experimental mailer some Stanford / Dartmouth researchers sent into the state of Montana. In a randomised trial, it provided voters with some added information about two candidates running for a judicial election, and...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Why are our Politicians Auckland Toll Chickens?
    Yesterday both the National Government and Green Party opposed the suggestion to place a toll on Auckland’s roads, but for completely different reasons. The Government opposes it because they see it as a new tax. The Greens because they would...
    Gareth’s World | 29-10
  • The obvious question
    John Key says he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. So, will the police be raiding his home for ten hours and taking all his data, or is that something they only do to enemies of the National Party?...
    No Right Turn | 29-10
  • Guest post: Living with a criminal conviction
    What happens when one moment of bad judgement changes everything anyone ever thinks about you? Mike Jones* used a weapon to defend his girlfriend from an aggressive man at a party seven years ago. He’s still paying for that choice....
    On the Left | 29-10
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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