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The housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, November 16th, 2012 - 60 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

Labour is due to release its big housing policy at conference and I suspect it’ll be either a Kirk style subsidised mortgage scheme for first home buyers or a substantial increase in state housing stocks.

If it’s the former then it needs to ensure that there are tight parameters on what kind of home can be bought. The Kirk era scheme required houses to be new build which helped housing stock and created jobs but is also responsible for some of our sprawl suburbs and sprawl is unproductive and expensive. I’d like to see a similar scheme focus on medium density urban homes.

If it’s the latter then there’s a whole spectrum of ways it could be rolled out from PPP through to more interventionist build. I suspect this opposition would look to tender out a build which comes with its own dangers in terms of risk to taxpayer and creation of monopoly providers among other things. There’s also a risk of creating ghettos and/or sprawl if a lot of thought isn’t given to how they are placed. Which isn’t to say I’m against such a policy but the devil is very much in the detail – these policies can be “left” but done badly, they can also be very much crony-capitalist.

Of course Labour’s policy may involve a third option but I’m betting it’s one of these two. There’s a rumour National has its own housing policy announcement planned for tomorrow at Hobsonville to take some of the gloss off Labour’s. I reckon they’ll be throwing a lot of money into a PPP of some kind. I guess we’ll just wait and see.

Update: National’s announcement was today not tomorrow and it’s basically adding 600 new “affordable” hoses to the Hobsonville development. Word is Labour’s policy is likely to be big. Like ten figure big.

60 comments on “The housing policy”

  1. I have trouble with the first option. We clearly have a bubble, and I don’t see giving people money to buy into the bubble turning out well. Not to mention that part of our housing crisis is for people who are too poor to save even for a modest house, or to rent suitable accomodation. Building public housing to provide housing directly and indirectly reduce the demand side seems better to me.

    • IrishBill 1.1

      I’d agree with that. Kirk’s policy was suited to its time.

      • Rob 1.1.1

        so your assuming we are going to presented with flawed ideas and plans, dosn’t sound greatly inspiring does it.

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      Not sure you can charaterise the Auckland market as a bubble. Auckland needs around 13,000 new dwellings each year just to keep up now. With the population heading towards 2 million in 20 years, that’s another 400,000 houses, maybe more. Sprawl won’t work. Auckland is already the largest territorial authority in Australasia. It is imperative that the housing policy be connected to the transport policy, for Auckland anyway. Let’s see if Labour are smart enough to make the connection?

      • Bill 1.2.1

        So Auckland needs 13 000 new homes per year. Why? There are countless smaller towns throughout NZ that would probably welcome a bit of influx. (Spread the 13 000 amongst them and we’re looking at not too much of an impact at all.)

        But the problem would appear to be (correct me if I’m wrong) that the need to have a job and potentially earn a livelihood dictates that people will gravitate to the few conurbations in NZ where careers and jobs exist.

        So, is it really a housing problem?Or is more a problem with the spacial orientation of business?

        At the risk of sounding ever so briefly naive or romantic – it wasn’t so long ago that small towns had multiple job opportunities. And it’s a fairly recent phenomena whereby ‘everything’ is brought in from outside due to the centralisation of businesses and the economies of scale that go with that process.

        I’m not advocating a return to some notion of a quaint past, but just wanting to signpost that the large scale centralisation of business and the idea that everyone has a job or whatever and lives within a market framework simply isn’t sustainable. (And I don’t care how ‘green’ any attempts to sustain it might be. Ain’t going to work out)

        So the problem goes way beyond housing and urbanisation. The problem is climate collapse and peak resources (oil or whatever else) and (basically) living by a theoretical model that’s on the cusp of not relating to the real world situations it’s creating, and so by extention, living by a theoretical model that simply won’t be able to serve us at all in the not too distant future.

        Elephants. Room. Ostrich. Sand. Choose the metaphor of your liking.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          and (basically) living by a theoretical model that’s on the cusp of not relating to the real world

          What do you mean “on the cusp”? It hasn’t related to the real world at any time.

        • Macro 1.2.1.2

          Bill most people immigrating to NZ want -for what ever reason – to stay in Auckland. I’ve worked in the civil engineering side of urban development and what Tom say is perfectly true. In the 2008-2009 construction seasons developers stopped almost all new projects – the pressure on house prices in the Auckland area now is a direct result of that slowdown. I don’t agree with urban sprawl anymore than most other commentators here, But the simple fact is that Auckland will need around 400,000 new dwellings in 20 years.

      • mike e 1.2.2

        tom labour had a policy of electrifying Auckland commuter rail as well as expanding the network national canned it and put in a piece meal short term solution in ,as right wing-nuts do!
        A wide spread capital gains tax is neaded, the money raised could be put towards increasing the house supply and keeping inflation down with out hurting the productive sector ie the cause of the high dollar! .
        The right wing nutters don’t care won’t care so log as they don’t upset their speculator mates and donors to their party .While destroying the productive sector and the battler young families trying to get ahead can miss out! and go to Australia where housing is cheaper better as well as job prospects !
        National full of B?S promises such as the brighter future where the hell is its not in NZ:
        National are short sighted F wits Power and Ponce over substance!
        All promise and no delivery just like a bunch of Con artists and ponzi schemers.
        Blame every thing else and every one else for their mistakes!

        • TightyRighty 1.2.2.1

          Oh the irony of your last sentence after another one your incoherent rants. Lay off the breakfast rheinecks for the good of society. Please.

          • PlanetOrphan 1.2.2.1.1

            Ironic for a separatist, observational critisism for everyone else M8!

            • TightyRighty 1.2.2.1.1.1

              I am not your mate. Anyone who considers the spittle laced rants of mike e to be observational criticism would founder at the kiddie tables of normal society. it’s telling the kind of rambling diatribe mike e delivers is considered an academic post here, but gets sites like kiwiblog and whaleoil named as sewers by the delivery monikers of said ramblers.

              • ” … considered an academic post here …” , what r u on about TR?

              • mike e

                Tigh arse almightyFunny that, One of new zealands fore most economists was agreeing with my observations on Jim Moras show this afternoon.
                You having your education paid for by me is ironic but even more ironic is that all you have learned to be is a tight arse “ignoranting”prick who has a degree in economics but doesn’t know anything about economics except how to repeat the failed mantra of the Chicago School Cult !
                Sorry my last rant was so accurate even if the diction wasn’t up to your Standard but my diction has got nothing on your economic naivity!
                Besides i’m just getting used to my new samsung galaxy s3 notebook!
                I’m also paying more tax than you as you pointed out last year in an argument where you accused me of being a benefit bludger!
                Sorry I don’t fit your mould!
                The English language is changing all the time idiot maybe a couple of my words will become common.But with your lack of foresight you would not understand as you are a follower and not a leader hows that for a rant!

          • mike e 1.2.2.1.2

            I see the Greens are getting stuck into National about the so-cold cheap housing project in Auckland!
            Maybe on planet key they are cheap but $400’000 for the average person its well out of reach !
            I hope these houses have toilets!

        • Johnm 1.2.2.2

          Hi Mike E

          “A wide spread capital gains tax is neaded, the money raised could be put towards increasing the house supply ” I agree A Capital Gains tax on investment properties of 80% backdated for 12 years would bring down the price of buying a house smartly so our young working kiwis could get a stake in this country and buy their own place. Probably knock 40% of the price of every house.
          We have a property speculation plutocracy here in NZ which has shut out our own young people. Shameful, selfish, greedy, part of the money grubbing malaise of this land.

          100% right. was a time when money grubbing stank of filthy lucre now the same has the scent of saintliness as in Goldman Sachs John and the grovelling to Prince Charlie.

          • johnm 1.2.2.2.1

            100% right :-) “Houses are now investments instead of just being places to live. The more that people rent the more this will be exacerbated.

            We’ve all (well not quite all of us) been sucked into thinking that absolutely everything is a commodity, even the essentials; housing, food, electricity etc, which should be bought and sold like fucking shares or currency.

            I’d like to see the next left government create some kind of ‘walled garden’ in the economy, inside of which are all the essentials. They can then say to the sharks “There you go, you can have that free market bollocks for your high-fructose reeboks etc but you’ll be keeping your grubby little mitts off this stuff”

    • George D 1.3

      The first option is simple madness. What happened with Australian first home buyer grants is that it simply pushed prices up at the bottom – an effective grant given straight to existing owners, developers and speculators. That in turn pushed everything up by the same amount.

      We can expect the same here.

  2. James Henderson 2

    the problem is no-one is building affordable housing, there is a real shortage of those – and a speculative bubble on top of it. Any government policy that gets those houses built without more sprawl- state housing or cheap loans for homes that fit those parameters is a good thing.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      cheap loans for homes will push up prices.

    • King Kong 2.2

      For single dwelling sections it is impossible to build low cost housing. The value of the land makes it insane to build cheap houses on it.

      If you want affordability in a growing Auckland, you either spread out, or go small and on top of each other like they do in every other large city in the world.

      • mike e 2.2.1

        Hey primitive primate the most sensible thing you’ve ever said on this website! Hooray!
        KK You should read more of what Rod Oram has to say!
        I’m starting to believe in Leaky’s theory of evolution again!

      • David C 2.2.2

        KK, I agree (mostly) with your comment.
        The problem is this; if you want to go up the district plan needs to be changed and that takes time, a lot of it. Then there is NIMBYism.
        People are rightly worried that a 8 storey slum block is going to be built next to them.

        If Looney Len and his cohorts were to start to designate areas for medium density now it would probably be 7 to 10 years before the first person were to take ownership.

        • mike e 2.2.2.1

          DC Maribyrnong st in Melbourne and the surrounding areas are what Rod Oram has pointed to as the way to go 2 to 3 story inner-city apartments they look good a lot better than John Banks shoe boxes and Melbourne’s designers are making beautiful open spaces to break up these beautiful apartments.
          Native birds are flocking back to these green spaces its the way forward I’ve just come back from Melbourne and have seen this inner city renewal project!

  3. pete 3

    Or encourage businesses, and/or new immigrants, to locate to the regions by making it worth their while.

    As always, dullard politicians from both sides asking the wrong questions. Perhaps many have holdings in the Auckland property market.

  4. Bill 4

    Crazy, I know.

    But what about compulsory purchases of land and buildings that are being left vacant for purposes of speculation? And then convert suitable properties to residential buildings? I know of a few large city center properties in this city that would fit the above category.

    And then there is, of course, squatters rights. Put simply – allow people to occupy and renovate abandoned buildings.

    And with specific reference to Christchurch, why didn’t…or why won’t…the government make compulsory purchase orders out to the west of the city and then, essentially, rebuild the eastern suburbs there? (And pass legislation to transfer insurance obligations to the new parcels of land too.)

    And for those who wish to continue to live in the ‘red zones’ or wherever, in the absence of a rebuild of infrastucture due to non-insurability, supply every person who wishes to take that option with a septic tank and a water tank and be sure they understand the situation viz-a-viz their insurance situation.

    And break any and all of the building industry’s monopolies on supplies. As I understand it, there is, for example, one company that controls the supply (and therefor the price) of bricks in this country.

    And while we’re at it, introduce a two tier building code. One for commercial building firms (make them far more stringent than at present) and one for ‘self build’ projects where the idea is to basically live in your house and not speculate. The latter proposition could become a hothouse for innovative design and construction – would be ‘governed’ by basic engineering prerequisites only – and embrace an ‘at your own risk’ philosophy. Okay, I can hear the squeals about insurance and so on. But if I can construct a home for about $10 000, (and that really is very do-able)then is insurance really such a big deal?

    And still there would be a housing shortage. But it would be a much, much smaller problem hedged around by multiple solutions.

    • David C 4.1

      What do you get for your $10K house? a tent, a portaloo and an extension cord to charge your laptop?

      What a fucktard.

      • mike e 4.1.1

        david c a dwelling could be built for $10’000 it wouldn’t look pretty but it would be better than sleeping rough! Mass production would be the way existing home owners would put up the nimby argument but $50’000 would get a whole lot more but still throw up the nimby problem!

    • KJT 4.2

      You obviously havn’t worked as a builder. On fixing owner built baches and farm buildings.
      Most are hazardous to the occupiers health and safety.
      New Zealander’s have way to high an opinion, of their own DIY skills.

      The problem is both high building material prices, and high land prices making it more profitable to build expensive houses.

      The developer that has the size and finance to build affordable housing is the Government.

      Heck. With rent to own it could even be revenue neutral.

      Quality 90 to 120 m sq houses are doable under 100 k. See the houses built by Auckland’s Unitec.

      One way to cut land prices and still have suitable living for young families is the village green style.

      And make it easier for businesses to locate away from Auckland.

      The last thing we need is UK style high rise slums.

    • Bill 4.3

      @ KJT and David C. If you have the time…watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXj7antqNn4

      Maybe google Michael Reynolds or on the question of what you can build for $10 000….try this http://www.envisioneer.net/howto.php

      • KJT 4.3.1

        Yep. Seen those.

        Unfortunately long term houses with a small ecological footprint often need better materials.

        • Bill 4.3.1.1

          You say you’ve seen those documentaries and links before. And so you’ll know the materials used are often unorthodox and cheap ones that nevertheless satisfy basic engineering specs for construction materials. Yet you appear to be claiming something to the contrary.

  5. pete 5

    “and embrace an ‘at your own risk’ philosophy. Okay, I can hear the squeals about insurance and so on. But if I can construct a home for about $10 000, (and that really is very do-able)”

    Very libertarian of you, Sir. I agree with this – get the government/council parasites out of the process.

    • Bill 5.1

      Very libertarian of you, Sir.

      Aye well, us left libertarians have no more love for remote authoritarian bureaucracy than anyone else. But do recognise the absolute need for forms of social governance….just we’d rather that governance was empowering and direct as opposed to disempowering and remote. But I guess that’s not quite what you were saying. I imagine you were taken by a wrong-headed notion of some individualistic ‘free for all’ that would be governed by ‘the laws’ of the market?

      • pete 5.1.1

        End result is the same. You and I would both like to build a house without (much) interference.

        The real problem is, of course, land. We have a lot of it, but it’s tied up by all manner of vested interests. Councils, especially.

        • Bill 5.1.1.1

          So put an end to any and all notions of private land ownership and return the land and any resources it might hold back to the commons. Then there can be no destructive vested interests – council, private or otherwise.

          • pete 5.1.1.1.1

            I think we part ways at that point.

            • quartz 5.1.1.1.1.1

              lolz

            • AAMC 5.1.1.1.1.2

              I’m always intrigued by the (Right) Libertarian desire for the State’s only role to be the protection of private property, given it was the State that stole it. Shouldn’t Libertarians be fighting to hand land back to the Maori?

              • pete

                Maori never owned it.

                They occupied some of it, whilst they could defend it. Which explains why Auckland was mostly empty. Too hard to defend.

              • KJT

                If they were really libertarian they would be consistent in keeping the state out of everything, including property rights.

                In actual fact fact libertarians are only against the part of the State that prevents THEM from stealing..

                Once they have stolen OUR wealth they then want us to pay to help them protect it.

                Of course libertarian states do not succeed.
                It just changes subservience to Government to subservience to robber barons.
                No wonder that neo-liberalism grew from libertarianism.

  6. jason 6

    If the govt wants to bring down the value of land, they should tax ownership of it.

  7. Blue 7

    It is taxed, its called Local Authortity Rates

    • fatty 7.1

      true…but we should be taxing property exponentially. If someone owns 4+ houses, then they are leeches and a burden on society, so tax them more.
      I hope the plan is to build a lot of government houses…none of that PPP bullshit, just build them and rent them as cheap as possible.
      And increase the tax on people with multiple houses, and offer assistance to those paying off their mortgage via Kiwibank, but only on their first house.
      Basically, I hope Labour moves in this direction: we need cheap Government owned and run rental properties, make it easy to buy your first house, and make it a struggle to buy a second house…and make it damn near impossible to get over 4 houses.

  8. AAMC 8

    When are they going to attack the root causes of these issues rather than Governmental band-aids.

    Stop land banking with a LVT and place controls on the Banksters that are inflating our bubble with all that FED, ECB, BoJ, BoE money running scared of Europe and profiting off our interest rates and currency.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Labour should stand with Mana and the Greens and say “not one more house” to be taken from GI on scabby Owner Driver trucks under state forces protection in the dark. Labour should call for hundreds of people to turn out each night with Shearer and Cunliffe at the front. Hone might even let them sit in his vehicle!

    This is unlikely obviously. Policy wankery is much more important. That is the difference between a neo liberal “social democratic” party rather than a party of principle that built the first kiwi state houses (albeit in league with some of the major capitalists in the land).

  10. geoff 10

    Houses are now investments instead of just being places to live. The more that people rent the more this will be exacerbated.

    We’ve all (well not quite all of us) been sucked into thinking that absolutely everything is a commodity, even the essentials; housing, food, electricity etc, which should be bought and sold like fucking shares or currency.

    I’d like to see the next left government create some kind of ‘walled garden’ in the economy, inside of which are all the essentials. They can then say to the sharks “There you go, you can have that free market bollocks for your high-fructose reeboks etc but you’ll be keeping your grubby little mitts off this stuff”

    /rant

    • rosy 10.1

      “Houses are now investments instead of just being places to live. The more that people rent the more this will be exacerbated.”

      Houses should be an investment in the city and in people’s lives. Renting doesn’t need to exacerbate making money off housing. I hope the Labour Party has been looking at some European cities that are still building large developments that contain affordable housing. In Vienna for example there are rebuilds of large apartments into smaller ones – whole buildings of them, not just one or two – near where I live in the central city because the City recognises that there is a lack of affordable units for young city workers. This is on top of massive City-driven developments (e.g. the Aspern project that will deliver 8,500 units). Rent controls and affordable housing requirements keeps the private housing market muted but there is still enough in it for private developers to come on board with the City-driven plans.

      Research into housing needs and the high and medium-density plans driven by the City of Vienna along with rent controls, while not without problems, seems to work a lot better than the completely private model. It has the added bonus of providing jobs during economic downturns – meeting another state-driven imperative of jobs first in economic policy.

      • geoff 10.1.1

        “Houses should be an investment in the city and in people’s lives. Renting doesn’t need to exacerbate making money off housing”

        Ok, my intention was to use the word investment in the financial sense of something that can be speculated on for short term profit.

        Rent controls, yeah great idea but I have never heard of rent control in NZ and the rights of tenants are few in comparison to landlords.

  11. Binders full of women 11

    I don’t mind either capitalisation of benefit or WFF for deposit. I don’t mind an increase in the State Housing stock.. esp along the lines of the Glenn Innes model. I do mind any talk of house affordability crisis or boo-hoo-Jacinda-can’t-slum-it-in a 2 bedroom unit in Grey Lynn. There are 90k perfect boned State house beauties on the market down the road from me. I also really like the idea of higher density city/suburb living (but not through leaky apartments or leaky cross leases).

  12. Adrian 12

    But the problem is that we need rental properties. Very few young people want to buy a house until their job situation is stabilised and in the future that may never happen as occupations are becoming more transient. You be nuts to buy a house and then have to sell to move with your calling.

    • lprent 12.1

      Most of the time people buy in a place and use it as a base. They rent when they move for work unless they know they are resettling.

      • pete 12.1.1

        Now why would they do that?

        Perhaps they see it as….. *an investment* (que: satanic music)

        Being a landlord isn’t for everyone, of course.

  13. pete 13

    If you want labour mobility, you need rental houses.

    Not everyone wants to own their own house. I certainly didn’t until I was in my 30s. Why? Never knew which country I’d be in six months in advance, let alone city. Also, didn’t want the capital risk, or the maintenance headaches.

    Landlords are great – they do all that stuff.

    • geoff 13.1

      I don’t want ‘Labour Mobility’. That’s just a right wing term which translates to the destruction of
      communities in the real world.

      • fatty 13.1.1

        well said..the neolibs can shove their ‘flexibility’ too…we all know what these terms really mean

        • pete 13.1.1.1

          Set up a Kibbutz, then. You’ll never have to move, and you won’t “destroy” your community. Everyone can share in the “wealth”.

      • pete 13.1.2

        You can choose not to be mobile. Live in a town, work in a needed industry, never move. Work for fisheries in Nelson, for example.

        Meanwhile, NZ benefits from having people work overseas and return with skills that can’t be attained here. People who live in regions where the work doesn’t match their skills may benefit if they move to a larger centre.

  14. Poission 14

    There is a rather scathing commentary from the CEO of the BNZ on housing investment and John Keys limitation of the retirement age.eg

    BNZ’s Andrew Thorburn hits out at ‘fundamental anomalies’ of tax system that favour residential property and says lack of leadership is main problem in housing affordability ‘crisis’

    http://www.interest.co.nz/kiwisaver/62066/bnzs-andrew-thorburn-hits-out-fundamental-anomalies-tax-system-favour-residential-pr

    The obvious problem is that the system is biased to favour property investment ie it rewards borrowers and penalizes savers.

    The second problem’s that the absence of tax mitigation on residential property investment,is the ability of overseas investors ( non resident)to purchase property without any captital gain which is a rare investment opportunity globally.Here I see no benefit for NZ ,this is actually a large component of the AK market.

    Another area for debate is the use of building covenants on sections by developers,which is used to “protect their investments”,which if it is an investment and not merely a home the suggestion of an asset tax on covenant land would see the clause come off large development blocks (at the end of the day the covenants are a from of economic apartheid and discrimination).

  15. AmaKiwi 15

    Is there an Auckland housing bubble? Yes and No.

    Yes, there is a shortage of housing but the prices have reach speculative bubble (and burst) proportions.

    The formula for housing affordability is your total housing costs should be no more than one third of your after tax income. The average NZ income is $33,000 (x 2 for a couple) = $66,000. Let’s say after tax is $49,000. One third of that is $16,333 or $314 per week (including rates, water, power, maintenance).

    Financially, it is a bubble. It is going to burst very soon. It will be ugly.

    When it does, where will people live? With each other, even more tightly packed together than they are now. Like it or not, this is REALITY.

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  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    14 hours ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    15 hours ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    15 hours ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    16 hours ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    16 hours ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    18 hours ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    18 hours ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    20 hours ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    21 hours ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    21 hours ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    1 day ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    1 day ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    1 day ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    1 day ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    10 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    11 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    11 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    14 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    14 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    16 hours ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    1 day ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    3 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    1 week ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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