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Warm, dry homes – let’s just do it

Written By: - Date published: 4:50 pm, March 20th, 2014 - 99 comments
Categories: child welfare, housing, housing insulation - Tags: ,

Healthy HomesMaking sure every rental property is a warm, dry home should be a no-brainer in the 21st century.

Parliament will shortly get the chance to vote on my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill. The vote will sort the parties for whom this is a genuine belief from those who just pay it lip service.

I think the public argument on this has been won. Academics at Otago University have done compelling research  on the connections between cold, damp homes and the epidemic of respiratory and infectious diseases hospitalising so many of our children.

We have 285,000 children growing up below the poverty line. Most of them living in private rental housing. Less than half of that is insulated. When kids constantly get sick it sets back their development and their schooling, locking them into the cycle of disadvantage.

A warm, dry home is an essential part of giving every Kiwi kid the best possible start in life. But if that doesn’t do it for you, then consider the economic payback. Investing in warm, dry homes delivers a return of $5 for every $1 invested, because of the savings in health spending.

My bill will have the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (EECA) set standards requiring home insulation, and an efficient heating source. Landlords will then have to certify a rental meets those standards before they can sign a new tenancy agreement. After a five year phase-in period, all properties will have to comply. If a landlord is found to be in breach they face a fine of up to $3000, compensation to the tenant, and an order to upgrade.

This approach takes the two big factors, heating and insulation, and sets mandatory minimum standards. There has been a generous taxpayer-funded subsidy scheme for the past few years but relatively few landlords have taken it up.  But with one-third of New Zealanders now renters, and that includes most people on low incomes, the subsidy scheme has not helped the people who need it most.

Housing Minister Nick Smith recently announced a pilot scheme of a Warrant of Fitness for 500 state houses. It was a Nick Smith special; a photo op designed to look like he is doing something. In fact as Minister he can just require state houses be upgraded to a certain standard, and anyway state houses have now almost all been insulated. The real problem is in the private rental sector.

And just as National stands up for property speculators and won’t support a Capital Gains Tax, it’s refusal to back my Bill and guarantee warm dry homes puts it squarely on the side of slum landlords.

The Greens, NZ First, the Maori Party, Mana, and Brendan Horan, have all pledged support for the Bill. National has said they won’t support it. ACT, well, you can imagine. The vote may well come down to Peter Dunne.

To be honest, this issue is such a no-brainer, and so essential to the Kiwi value of giving every kid the best start in life, it should be above politics.

It is time to just do it.

Phil Twyford is Labour’s housing spokesperson and the MP for Te Atatu.

99 comments on “Warm, dry homes – let’s just do it”

  1. The Real Matthew 1

    Having moved from a villa with no insulation to an insulated house I am against this bill.

    In my year renting the uninsulated villa I got sick just once. We had no additional heating costs. We simply rugged up warm, wearing sensible clothing for the weather and survived just fine.

    Back into an insulated house I am sick 2-3 times per year. The house is like an Oven and is unbearable during the summer months. It’s now the end of March and I still can’t sleep because it’s too hot at night. At least now it’s a bit cooler outside and I can open the window, though it’s lucky dip to see if I get any mozzies in to join me along with the cool air.

    Perhaps for those living below Taupo this bill might bring some benefit with the cooler temperatures but for me in Auckland this bill will bring a lifetime of costs trying to cool my housing.

    • lprent 1.1

      There is something screwy with your logic. It is pretty much the same in the uninsulated houses in Feb in Auckland. I moved several times over the last few years in an assortment of uninsulated to poorly insulated and back to my fully insulated apartment.

      The uninsulated place was the hottest in summer. That is because it is the wind that allows the place to cool and it didn’t have any. My current fully insulated apartment is also just below the peak of a ridge and usually has a nice wind running from front to back. Coolest place of the lot. I virtually don’t use my portable aircond unit in there except for those odd nights when the sea breeze doesn’t pickup later at night.

      I suspect you have a faulty causation issue. I guess that you moved to a place without much wind or where the windows were poorly placed to catch it.

    • Ant 1.2

      I open the windows in summer to cool my insulated house, works pretty well. The heating portion of our power bill has been cut in half over winter.

    • It is true that ventilation is also important, particularly to prevent mould. What we have done with our policy and my Bill is to focus on heating and insulation because these two factors make the biggest difference. Ventilation and a bunch of other things should also be improved, and ultimately will be via a broader Warrant of Fitness.

      • Chooky 1.3.1

        +100….This quiet unobtrusive bill is very important!……The ‘Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill’, if it goes through, will make a lot of difference to the quality of life and health of a lot of NZ adults and children .

        I have lived in damp flats and dry well ventilated flats as well as in family owned houses … which were both damp and dry and well ventilated experiences ….in the damp places i had chronic bronchitis and asthma

        …NZers often neglect this aspect of their housing because we live in a moderate climate (and have been brought up to think we are tough) , unlike North Americans and Europeans who are very concerned and fussy that they live in warm , insulated houses.

        Good work Phil Twyford!

      • It’s a bit bizarre that this isn’t getting support from National as well given how much of a no-brainer it is, how lenient the phase-in period is, (5 years is a LOT of time) and that you presumably aren’t repealing or ending any of the insulation or heating subsidies, so many landlords will still get an easy ride on the upgrade.

        We have incredibly lax building standards in New Zealand, it won’t hurt to strengthen them a little- they’ll still be completely reasonable.

  2. Tel 2

    Good on you Phil. This issue of private sector slums needs some light shone on it, and is long overdue, no where more so than in Auckland which has very high humidity levels in winter which combined with cold temperatures is the cause of mould growth in houses and illness. Insulation is certainly important, but so is humidity control, so I’m pleased to see you mention an efficient heating source by which I take that to mean heat pumps. Heat pumps are vital to keep the relative humidity below the important 60% to 80% threshold of mould gemmation on interior surfaces, and ultimately this will make a huge contribution to the health of our nation. Well done and all the best with your bill.

    • Tracey 2.1

      Good to see a greens proposal from about a decade ago getting claimed by national and now embedded in lp policy.

      Thats why mmp must stay.

  3. freedom 3

    I admit I have not read the Bill
    but do have two quick questions which I hope someone out there can answer.

    Q1: Is it the intention of the Bill to apply this new standard to a residential lease in a commercial property?

    By this I mean will those leasing commercial premises for dual purpose be required to meet these standards?

    There are a lot of people in this situation, usually by choice, as not everyone wants to live in a house.
    It would be unwelcome and highly impractical to expect dual purpose premises to meet any insulation standards of a normal home.

    Q2: If the standards are to be applied, can the standards’ application be suspended if both parties are in agreement? (and this question would apply to residential houses as well I think)

    • Q1: So like a loft? Haven’t worked out the detail on that. It is the sort of thing I would expect would get ironed out at select committee with the benefit of public and expert submissions. Thanks for raising it.
      Q2: I wouldn’t support an opt out provision. I don’t know how you’d prevent landlords at the bottom end of the market only offering to take on tenants who agreed to an opt out. The aim here is to lift standards right across the market.

      • freedom 3.1.1

        Thank you for the prompt response. A loft is a nicely romantic vision of the reality that some people prefer to live in, but the separation of work and domestic environs (in a dual purpose lease of a commercial premises) are not always so precise. Hence the impracticality of applying residential insulation standards.

        I completely agree that on a residential lease the ‘opt out’ is open to potential misuse.

        However, in a commercial dual purpose lease scenario, I believe it will be essential.

        Earthquake standards, Insurance adjustments, suburban sprawls ( and the noise control issues they bring) combined with the ever growing list of OSH regulations are combining to create a perfect storm of impediments for dual purpose leases. These essential accommodations are getting more and more difficult to secure and this restriction would only be a further impediment.

        There are probably a few thousand such relevant leases across the country, (mostly Artists, Musicians, Film makers, Mechanics, Engineers, Inventors and the like) but the lives of these people often contribute much more than the strictly commercial aspects of their accommodations.

        Further barriers to their contributions seem unnecessary.

  4. geoff 4

    People go about Winston as kingmaker etc but having that bow tie wearing pervert having so much influence is far worse.

    Great Bill, Phil, hope it passes.

  5. bad12 5

    Phill i hate to nit-pick, but, having said that will now indulge, your Post points out that we have 285,000 kids living in poverty,

    Part of the ‘solution’ is to require an efficient source of heating???, ‘poverty’ i would suggest would leave such families without the means to pay for any heating efficient or otherwise,

    Problem number two i would suggest is that as soon as you ‘require’ a Landlord to add something to a proposed rental property that will cost the landlord the immediate response from the landlord will be to attempt to pass the cost onto the tenant,

    Or, if the landlord happens to be an objectionable prick, and, there are more than a few of them out there, such landlords will simply issue the tenants an eviction notice,

    And back to the nit-pick at the top of the comment, can you not see the relationship between the poverty of the tenants renting in the private sector and the fact that they have to rent in that private sector…

    • Ergo Robertina 5.1

      ‘Problem number two i would suggest is that as soon as you ‘require’ a Landlord to add something to a proposed rental property that will cost the landlord the immediate response from the landlord will be to attempt to pass the cost onto the tenant,’

      Ideally it dampens speculators’ enthusiasm for buying rentals, as it’s basically increasing the cost of doing business.

      • bad12 5.1.1

        Ergo, so you do not believe that the Landlords forced by legislation to insulate and provide a source of heating will simply pass the cost onto the tenants by increasing the rent???…

        • Ergo Robertina 5.1.1.1

          Yeah it’s probably wistful thinking, why I said ‘ideally’. You have made some good points.
          However, I hoped it might be a reality check and a reduction to the subsidising of the phony capital gains of landlords (in this case the public health cost of respiratory illness).

          • bad12 5.1.1.1.1

            My view is the best means of dis-incentivising the landlords is to take away from them the one impetus that has them all piling into such an ‘investment’, the Tenants,

            How bout it Phill, instead of pottering around at the margins why not get real and build a whole new city of State Housing,

            The Chinese can knock one of these up for 250,000 people in 3 years, and you only have to look at where the first Labour Government got the monies to pay for the first State Houses to find the means of construction…

        • Melb 5.1.1.2

          That’s the best thing about a warrant of fitness for all rentals.

          My rental has a heatpump, had the ceiling insulation replaced two years ago, I’ve just put airfoam in the walls in Dec, and I’m having a DVS system installed in two weeks.

          Bringing all the shitbox cheap houses up to a certain standard across the board will increase their rents, there’s no two ways about it. And because those floor rent rates have increased then the rental rates for my place will increase too, just to maintain that margin above the bare-minimum shitboxes.

          • bad12 5.1.1.2.1

            Melb, thanks for the comment, and, your ‘reasoning’ is why i made the suggestion to Mr Twyford in the comment above…

          • Ant 5.1.1.2.2

            That assumes that most landlords aren’t already charging the maximum they can for the location and rental type. In reality a significant percentage of landlords will have to absorb the cost without passing it on.

            • Tracey 5.1.1.2.2.1

              not in Auckland. People are paying double the bond, and some a non refundable bond to get tot he front of the queue for a flat.

              • Ant

                My point is in high demand areas (as a generalisation) landlords are already charging the maximum they can get in rent, insulation or no insulation. Looking at the high demand central suburbs there is no real difference in rental prices between insulated and non-insulated houses – it’s now at a point where it is far down the list of drivers.

                From friends and acquaintances in ChCh, I’ve heard they take whatever is going along similar lines to Auckland.

    • Olwyn 5.2

      I am with you on this bad12. Quality standards for homes is a good thing, but affordability and security of tenure are more fundamentally important. Look at the current uprooting of the Glen Innes community. What I want to see more than ever from Labour is some real protection of the poor from the machinations and ambitions of the rich and powerful, on so many levels.

      • bad12 5.2.1

        Olwyn, Phill Ure has linked to a Chris Trotter piece down near the bottom of today’s ‘Open Mike’, its well worth a read,(i would suggest the whole Labour Caucus have a good read of it, especially the bottom half),

        Yep agree with you 100 on the security of tenure and affordability and would love to hear any ideas Phil Twyford has on these most basic of issues,

        i would suggest offering the States Tenants security of tenure would be easily accomplished by forming a Trust of a dozen prominent left wing personalities and placing whats left of the States Housing after Smith has finished flogging them off into the ownership of such a trust, with the trusts deed meaning none of them could ever be sold, and then, put HousingNZ back together as the management company for all of such housing,

        It aint going to happen tho because the ‘political will’ is missing…

        • Olwyn 5.2.1.1

          Thanks bad12 – I may have read it, but I will follow up on Phil Ure’s link. And I too would like to hear what Phil has to say on this important subject.

      • bad12 5.2.2

        The point i forgot to make to Phill Twyford was that if He wants the 280,000 kids living in poverty to have the means of heating their homes without becoming more impoverished He may have to ensure their parents have the monies to pay for the heating costs,

        On paper Phill might think His Legislation is the means of solving a problem, but it aint, i would suggest that Phil should set about taxing the landlords sufficiently so as to be able to pass on to these impoverished families free power for the months of winter, that will ensure that those 280,000 kids can be kept warm…

        • Tracey 5.2.2.1

          The positive is it is a policy, on paper and in the public domain. Compare it to what we have under this government. I don’t count their home insulation as such because it wasn’t their idea. YES they have implemented and good on them for that BUT it was not their idea and is a minor pillar to attempt to show they give a shit while most other things they have done have made living int he newly insulated home more and more impossible for low and some middle income earners.

        • PapaMike 5.2.2.2

          Problem is to the Landlord not passing on his upgrade costs that he would have no hesitation to sell if he gets fed up with this legislation, and some probable new (young) first buyer will take it on and upgrade the house themselves.
          That would take another house out of the rental market

          • bad12 5.2.2.2.1

            Yeah Papamike, it would be the more ‘bloody-minded’ landlords that would do this, more than a few i would think,(which to a small extent might help those who can buy a home),

            Still in the end the proof of the pudding and all that, it would appear that this is how a Labour Government intends to ‘help’ 280,000 impoverished children,(and it is pointless adding my further thoughts about them),the ‘outcome’ will make an interesting study and upcoming polls and the vote in September will tell us all how the electorate view such tinkering…

      • Phil Twyford 5.2.3

        Hi Olwyn. I agree. Three big issues in housing: affordability, quality (warm and dry), and security of tenure.

        On affordability, we have to 1. increase wages and reduce household costs (see my comment above), and 2. build a lot more houses, especially in the affordable range. Which is why we have committed to build 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers. Plus a Capital Gains Tax excluding the family home, that will quieten down the extreme speculative pressures that drive the Auckland property market.

        On security of tenure: Yup, one third of NZers rent. They can be kicked out in 90 days for no reason. It is no way for people to live. Especially if you are raising kids. We need to do something about it.

        • Olwyn 5.2.3.1

          Hi Phil, thanks for your reply. Housing is one of the things most fundamental to security, sanity and an ordered life. There are far too many New Zealanders now forced to live as if they were the dispossessed of an occupied country. I so want the left to win this election and to make a real difference in having won it.

        • Tracey 5.2.3.2

          Hi Phil

          Do you agree public transport and housing affordability solutions have to go hand in hand?

          If yes, to build affordable homes in great enough numbers they will currently have to be geographically further out of Auckland. Will Labour re-examine the auckland public transport plans and have you personally read anything from transportblog and generation zero on their ideas for the rail loop and integration of public transport? If yes, what is it labour policy to stick with Len Brown’s Council’s current pan.

          I dont believe I am digressing because without affordable, reliable and regular public transport any affordable home will be quickly offset by transport costs

          • Phil Twyford 5.2.3.2.1

            Public transport and housing affordability do go hand in hand. I’ll give you an example. If we are going to build a new town centre with residential, commercial and industrial development in the North West we cannot do it without turning the North West Motorway into a rapid transit corridor with a dedicated Busway. SH16 already cannot cope at peak hours.

            Labour supports the Congestion Free Network produced by TransportBlog and Generation Zero.

    • bad12 – It’s true that my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill won’t solve the poverty problem. Also true that it’s all very well to require the landlord to provide an efficient heating source, if the tenant cannot afford the power bill.

      For that, we need an economic policy that delivers more jobs and higher wages. And other policies that reduce household costs (housing affordability, more and better public transport, reform of the electricity sector). Labour has some pretty grunty policies in all those areas, if I do say so myself.

      Will the landlords just pass the costs onto the tenant? I am sure some will. But it hard to say how much.

      To insulate your average family home, and install a heat pump or two, you are looking at an outlay of $5-6000. That investment will last say 15 years. Over that time the property will generate a gross revenue of between $150,000 and $450,000 depending on where in the country it is. That is not a huge investment set against the potential revenue. What’s more, it is supply and demand that ultimately sets rents. When only some landlords insulate and heat their properties then maybe they can charge a premium over their uninsulated competitors. When all properties have to meet the minimum standard, it won’t be so easy.

      • Ergo Robertina 5.3.1

        ‘What’s more, it is supply and demand that ultimately sets rents.’

        That’s rubbish. Lots of things have a distorting effect, primarily the availability and cost of credit.
        Also, the amount Governments are willing to subsidise the market through accommodation supplements; and income inequality which creates an entrenched landlord class.
        The invisible hand of the market is a myth you know..

        • Phil Twyford 5.3.1.1

          I’m not arguing its a perfect market. Just that there are limits on any increase a landlord wants to make in the rent. They can only pass on what the market will bear.

          • Ergo Robertina 5.3.1.1.1

            ‘They can only pass on what the market will bear.’

            Your Victorian notion that the market is more or less a servant of the needs of the lower paid is so far from the truth that I can’t take anything you say seriously.

            • bad12 5.3.1.1.1.1

              Ergo, i admire your patience, i am afraid that when i read Mr Twyford’s answers this morning that i had the immediate impression that i was over in ‘Open Mike’ engaged in the usual entanglement with ‘SSLands’…

              • geoff

                Get a grip, bad12.

                Likening Phil to SSLands is a bullshit thing to say.

                • bad12

                  Oh i have a grip geoff, Mr Twyford and His market theory are exactly what SSLands would advocate and i reckon Sir(spit)Roger Douglas would be quietly pleased with the view that leaving those who suffer poverty in the hands of the market as far as housing goes provides the best outcomes…

              • Tracey

                I hear you but I think Mr Twyford has one or two things srylands does not. Genuine compassion for people and a desire to intervene in a market that has done nothing to help many many people.

                • bad12

                  ”A desire to intervene in a market that has done nothing to help many many people” really Tracey, perhaps we read words spelled in English differently,

                  ”its all very well to require the landlord to provide a efficient heating source if the tenants cannot afford afford the power bill” unquote Phill Twyford,

                  What then is the point of Legislating the installation of heat pumps then Tracey, the only beneficiary of doing that are the makers of heat pumps and i don’t think we make a lot of them in New Zealand,

                  Will the landlords just pass on the cost to the tenants?i am sure some will.but can’t say how much”, unquote Phill Twyford.

                  So how does this help the tenants Tracey, Legislating heat pumps into rental properties where poverty exists would presuppose that the use of them will not be affordable and meanwhile how many landlords will increase the rent and increase the poverty of the tenants to recoup the cost of having to insulate and install the heat pumps,

                  Phill Twyford doesn’t know how many landlords will do this,But, lets do it anyway, that sounds like a recipe for even more poverty to me…

                  • Tracey

                    key word from my differentiation of Phil from Srylands is “desire”. I didn’t say he was right, or that it would work, but it’s great to see someone who doesn’t think the answer is to leave everything alone as it is and let the market do its thing.

                    Were you getting extra something for every time you used my name?

                    • bad12

                      Tracey perhaps you would be happier if i used another noun in place of your name,

                      Desire, whats-your-face, desire to Legislate heat pumps into rental homes while admitting that its a given that the tenants who are impoverished wont be able to afford to turn the fucking things on????,

                      Desire, that rental housing is all insulated while admitting that the landlords are likely to crank up the rent as a result of having done so further impoverishing the tenants???,

                      Mmmm let them eat desire,its bound to keep them all healthy and warm,…

                • Chooky

                  +100…landlords should bring rental properties up to health standards without increasing rent….otherwise they should NOT be landlords..(.to be a landlord is a privilege…. not a right to rip off your fellow New Zealanders)

                  …also something must be done about electricity prices to keep them at a minimum for New Zealanders….the Greens and Labour have plans for this….this should also be an election issue which is trumpeted

      • bad12 5.3.2

        Mr Twyford, yes Labour propose to build 100,000 affordable homes, are you suggesting that those living in poverty are somehow going to suffer a magic transformation via the ‘grunty’ economic policies and en masse be able to afford to buy such housing,

        Can you not see that it is ‘the market’ when it comes to housing that is the biggest drain on household incomes and therein lies a major ’cause’ of 280,000 impoverished children,

        i am afraid Mr Twyford that the not to often occurrence has occurred, i am gobsmacked into near being lost for words having read you reply,

        Poor families, a real growth demographic under the auspices of both National and Labour Governments ‘probably’ wont be able to afford to turn on these Legislated for heat pumps but lets do it anyway???,

        i think Mr Twyford i had better shut it befor i say what i am really thinking, and will leave you with the thought that at a time, probably when we all live on planets at least within talking distance of each other, that Labour propose that those 100,000 affordable houses are built as State Housing we will have then changed at least my vote and my voice to be one solidly Labour,

        i suspect that there are more than few other’s here and elsewhere that would express the same sentiments…

        • Tracey 5.3.2.1

          my concern is the transfer or purchase of those new affordable homes to landlords. I guess as long as rentals drop and public transport access, efficiency and cost is reasonable, that doesn’t matter?

      • Tracey 5.3.3

        “Will the landlords just pass the costs onto the tenant? I am sure some will. But it hard to say how much.”

        To your knowledge was any such research undertaken with regard to the insulation project of subsidies by government? Pre insulation rental and post insulation rental charges?

      • karol 5.3.4

        As you say, improving housing quality needs to be accompanied by other policies that tackle poverty and housing affordability.

        One big policy not mentioned is the priority need of more state housing. This will take some of the heat out of the housing bubble.

        As a renter in Auckland, who has moved twice in the last 2 or 3 years, I agree with others about the negative impact the warm, dry homes policy would most likely have.

        I fear that it will not only push up the rents on already over-priced private rentals, but it will cause a related rise in poor quality un-improved, “black market” accommodation. Many are already living in garages, on people’s floors, in camps, etc.

        Where will people go if rentals become even more unaffordable? My guess would be that they would turn to unscrupulous landlords who won’t comply with the regulations, and will continue to provide housing that is not signalled or registered on the official rental market. Some landlords are already providing accommodation that doesn’t meet with current requirements – cut corners in various ways.

        So the very poor are the least likely to even get into the new and improved warm and dry homes.

        • Tracey 5.3.4.1

          Each week as I drive to my weekly supermarket shop I pass a shed advertised as an extra room from $65 per week. I presume this doesn’t include hook up to electricity but don’t know.

          One answer has to be to “grow” the economy outside auckland. I see cerebus has dumped 125 jobs and they will now go to dunedin and sydney. Obviously the sydney bit is not good but the provinces as a person for person shift is a good idea, imo.

          If I recover from my large mortgage due to leaky home repairs I intend migrating south for my retirement… I am lucky that I have a valuable central auckland property with equity.

          As for the higher density housing. A project of apartments on Dominion Rd is now offering apartments for sale. The site is between balmoral and valley roads on Dominion Rd (for those who know Auckland). It’s a main arterial route for transport to the city and in to britomart if need to.

          The studio or 1 bedroom is being advertised for about $330,000. I will double-check while out today. So, you will need $66,000 as a first home buyer to secure a studio or 1 bdr… borrowing 267000 at 6% over 30 years comes to 738 fortnightly. That’s $369 a week for a studio or onbe bedroom. If you work in the city, the bus top will be literally at your front door. Is that affordable?

          • bad12 5.3.4.1.1

            Tracey affordable to the middle class earner, Yes, which is my whole point made to mr Twyford about the 100,000 affordable homes Labour plans to build, they will only be affordable to the middle income earners,

            Wheres the 100,000 State Homes for the bottom 30% of the economy where as economic conditions improve Labour can shoehorn the tenants that can afford the mortgage into ownership by allowing their future working for families/kiwisaver accounts to be bundled together as the deposit thats ‘real Labour policy’,

            Karol above points out ‘the reality’ of what is happening more and more in the ‘rental market’ and the other aspect of this not yet mentioned is the multi-family private rentals where 3 families are cramming into 3 bedroom homes, 13 people a house, so as to afford to keep a roof over their heads,

            Much of this goes un-noticed because such tenants are hardly going to call attention to themselves…

            • Tracey 5.3.4.1.1.1

              I agree, that Michael Savage had it right. After the depression and all that… well we have had two economic collapses since 1987 one of an incredible global scale… so it’shardly surprising we are in need of such measures again.

              The “market” has failed in this regard, and will do so again.

              I agree that these “affordable” homes need to be state owned rentals, not fodder as second homes (cos with clever lawyers people will always find a way around the law… put their children on applications as genuine “first home buyers” etc etc.

              If 100,000 2-3 bedroom homes appeared as state funded (built at per cost) and with some garden space (green is good), many of them in Auckland, rentals would start to fall.

    • Tracey 5.4

      evict them but replace them with someone who will pay the higher rent you mean?

      Phil? Do you know how the WOF pilot is going? Have their been any interim reports?

      No policy will ever be perfect but law changes are a signal to society of the new line in the sand. It takes education and so on to change behaviour but it starts with a signal from the law, in this instance. Also, if many landlords have to do this, perhaps the increased demand for specific supplies and installation will bring the cost down?

      • Phil Twyford 5.4.1

        I don’t think there are any interim reports on the housing WOF yet. There is Nick Smith’s pilot with 500 state houses but that’s only just been announced. A number of City Councils are also working on a WOF but its early days I think.

  6. lurgee 6

    Will the proposals allow landlords to make a tax deduction for the cost of improvements like insulation? If it doesn’t, I think it will fail, dismally, and make the problem worse.

    • bad12 6.1

      Theoretically lurgee my understanding is that they probably could now, the smart landlords have their properties in a company that also includes their remuneration from whatever they are employed as,

      This is for the purpose of writing off income tax where if the property shows a loss they recoup this in rebates on their tax while the interest on the mortgage is also i think able to be deducted from their income tax as well,

      Easy to see why, along with the 200 odd bucks of Accommodation Supplemenmt they collect via the tenants that the ‘rental’ is a favored investment…

      • srylands 6.1.1

        “This is for the purpose of writing off income tax where if the property shows a loss they recoup this in rebates on their tax while the interest on the mortgage is also i think able to be deducted from their income tax as well,”

        No. There is no tax rebate. Interest on the mortgage (an expense) is deducted from rents (revenue) to produce an income. 100% of that income is subject to tax.

        So again, you are making shit up.

        • McFlock 6.1.1.1

          Interest on the mortgage (an expense) is deducted from rents (revenue) to produce an income. 100% of that income is subject to tax.

          So the answer to lurgees question is “yes”.

          Fuck me, SSpylands has finally done something useful. Never fear though, Pete George is impartially plugging United Future press releases like old times…

        • bad12 6.1.1.2

          More bullshit SSLands, this from RadioNZ two days ago,

          ”Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said New Zeland’s tax system probably explains the greatest proportion of the decline in home ownership”

          ”Basically landlords can register tax losses on rental properties. If they have a mortgage its tax deductible at their marginal rates of income tax” unquote Dominick Stephens.

          http://www.radionnz.co.nz/news/business/239227/home-ownership-on-decline

          So who is bullshitting who here SSLands, you who is paid to hide such schemes from the light of day,paid to arrange peoples taxes in such a way that they escape their due taxation, or, the chief economist of Westpac Bank.

          It would appear that the Aussie property investors love the tax rorts they can tuck into by buying up New Zealand property as well,

          ”For Australian investors, owning New Zealand investment property is even more tax effective, the Australian tax office allows investors to deduct any tax losses from their NZ property from their Australian taxable income”

          http://www.nzps.com>CONTACT>US>HOME

          The Google title for the above = Managing New Zealand investment property,
          i found both this and the RadioNZ article by Googling ”Tax rebates for landlords in New Zealand”, and both articles from memory were on page 2, that’s just in case my links,(as usual) do not work,

          i am pretty much sick of you SSLands, your a nasty little turd who continues to enter the discussions here at the Standard peddling absolute bullshit, you are a Liar and a Coward who when confronted with the truth tucks tail and runs for a week or two only to, like a snake slime your way back here with the same lies every time,

          i well remember the 1990’s when little posses of tax lawyers and real estate agents flogged the current house price unaffordability into its current guise by going up and down the country holding seminars with the very intent of starting the gold rush by teaching people how to couple their income tax to their investment properties so as to write off 1000’s of dollars of tax a year, these ‘professional tax evaders’ made a fortune out of showing average citizens how to get into property and how to arrange their tax so as to be able to write off plenty of it,

          i will SSLands search a link out to this little tax rort,(legal but still a rort), tomorrow BUT only on the understanding that when i produce the details of how this is done YOU will leave this site and never come back,

          As to providing you proof of anything else i claim on this site, you won’t be getting none’ the only thing you have ever earned and deserved here is ABUSE so expect plenty more of it…

          • bad12 6.1.1.2.1

            As a little adjunct to the above, i well remember the rolling out of this little tax rort in the 1990’s by those little posse’s of tax lawyers holding seminars up and down the country because my brother got involved in it,

            Dating a chardonnay swiller at the time who was a Party big wig He had found on a notable NZ lonely hearts dating site who for obvious reasons will go unnamed along with the Party She was attached to, He tried to get His hand in my pocket at the time spending a lot of time and verbiage trying to convince me of how great this little scam was and just how many big wigs he had met at the seminar,

            Me being a man of many convictions the brother couldn’t get His head around the fact that i wouldn’t have a bar of this little scheme /scam, what He didn’t have the intelligence to understand,or, the will to even consider, was what such schemes/scams had the potential to do to the balance of both home ownership and the rental market,(considering who He said was involved),along with the position of where this would leave the provision of State Housing,(again considering who He said was involved),

            There is one thing i will never forget, and that is where i came from, where the working class,the wharfies, the freezing workers,the bus drivers,everyone in my small town, now a city,all the low paid hard workers who gave their labour to this economy, all of them, the only way to home ownership for any of them was through a State House and being able to cash up the ‘family benefit’ to be able to purchase those homes where their children had been conceived, many actually born, and where those kids grew and thrived,

            There is,in my world a code that must be obeyed, and the obedience to such a code would prohibit me to take actions that would in time negatively effect the very institution that i had been born into and who’s walls had sheltered me in a rough childhood that would have been 20 times worse had that institution not existed, this institution??, The State House,

            Its a damn pity i cannot say the same for those who availed themselves of the
            scheme/scam i discuss here, many of them in positions of political power creaming it every which way through the tax systems and welfare payments made to their tenants both beneficiaries and increasingly a growing number of the working poor…

            • Ergo Robertina 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Your values are not their values Bad.
              News out this week in Census data that home ownership rates have fallen to less than 50%; meanwhile Duncan Garner has a list of MPs and their predator like acquisition of multiple houses.
              Of the 121 MPs, 68 own more than one house.
              Here are the MPs from the ‘left':
              Raymond Huo
              5 investment properties
              1 house

              Louisa Wall
              3 houses

              Iain Lees Galloway
              4 houses

              Sue Moroney
              4 houses

              David Parker
              3 houses

              Shane Jones
              3 houses

              Chris Hipkins
              3 houses

              David Clark
              1 house, 2 holiday homes

              Clayton Cosgrove
              2 houses

              Phil Goff
              Home, farm and 2 other houses

              David Shearer
              2 houses and a section

              Ruth Dyson
              2 houses

              Moana MacKay
              2 houses

              Nanaia Mahuta
              2 houses

              Trevor Mallard
              2 houses

              Sua William Sio
              3 houses

              Greens

              Catherine Delahunty
              2 houses

              Kennedy Graham
              3 homes

              Kevin Hague
              3 homes

              Eugenie Sage
              2 houses and an 8 hectare block

              Mojo Mathers
              2 houses

              United Future

              Peter Dunne
              2 houses

              MANA

              Hone Harawira
              2 homes

              NZ FIRST

              Winston Peters
              2 houses – 2 plots of land

              Andrew Williams
              3 homes

              Richard Prosser
              1 house 1 block of land

              Asenati Lole-Taylor
              2 houses

              Dennis O’Rourke
              2 houses

              • bad12

                Tah for that Ergo Robertina, that’s only the more honest among those who admit to owning such property, there is plenty of ways of stashing house ownership out of site, we have to remember also there may be many reasons for multiple home ownership,(although i am at this point in the night bereft of an ability to list the ‘many reasons),

                In an ideal world, yeah sorry if i have you choking on the coffee, our MP’s would not only list such ownership but also tell us what if any ‘rebates’ from taxation such ownership allows them to receive, along with the dollar value of the annual tax benefit they get,

                In that same ideal world, i promise to stop with this in a minute, our MP’s would also be happy to tell us all just how much in Accommodation Supplement and Special Benefits any tenants they may have in these homes is putting in their pockets on top of the rent and tax benefits,

                In yet that same ideal world again, i know i promised, the poor working sod down the street from me who despite having a number of health problems has always been in the workforce wouldn’t have to go begging down at the local WINZ office for an Accommodation Supplement to line the pocket of His fucking landlord to make up the difference in being able to eat for the week or not, and nor would that same poor working sod when they cut His hours, which they regularly do, have to do a repeat performance to get a special benefit for that same food,

                My apologies to Phill Twyford for having dragged His Post far far away from what He intended it to discuss, i will tho inform my working mate who hates having to beg at WINZ about the fact that He could be getting a heat pump to look at while He ponders filling in His next WINZ application, that ought to cheer Him up no end…

                • RedLogix

                  Supplement to line the pocket of His fucking landlord to make up the difference in being able to eat for the week or not,

                  I suppose your poor working sod could always just get a mortgage and own the house.

                  (Oh but he can’t because in all probability the bastard landlord is actually subsidising his accommodation … and he couldn’t afford to pay the difference.)

                  All this has come about because the middle-class (yes I know the despised middle-class who pay most of the tax in this country) had no other sane option to fund their retirement.

                  Because you don’t spend your youth working hard to get qualified for a skilled occupation, then grind out long hours, for bastard bosses, taking home worries and responsibility for 40-45 years – just to spend the last 20 or more years of your life on the miserly sum we call Super.

                  Give me a sane choice to fund my retirement any other way and I’ll happily look at it. Really a lot less stress than dealing with tenants who may or may not turn out to be a dead loss.

                  Making a class enemy of your landlord is fucking dumb – in this country he or she is most likely just another working stiff like you. Most of our tenants have much flasher furniture, cars and toys than we do.

                  The only pockets really being lined here are the banks.

                  • bad12

                    Nice knee-jerk reaction Red, i suppose, and you would obviously know, that my mate down the road neither earns enough at His job when He has good hours to have sufficient income to support a mortgage and doesn’t get enough hours of work to support such either,

                    Yep!!! them damn bankers forced your arm up your back and made you sign up as a landlord, its all their fault,more of the 1%er stuff right Red, it takes ‘enablers’ for the 1%ers to be able to get their slice of the pie,

                    You didn’t see me put the label ‘Class Enemy’ on landlords, i will have to sleep on that one,but, i must admit i could become quite attached to it…

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    What a mean and miserable diatribe.

                    ‘I suppose your poor working sod could always just get a mortgage and own the house.’
                    HOUSE ownership rates are dropping, latest Census data released this week shows. Unless people have become more feckless by nature, there must be external elements outside their control.

                    ‘(Oh but he can’t because in all probability the bastard landlord is actually subsidising his accommodation … and he couldn’t afford to pay the difference.)’
                    THIS shows contempt for the tenants you’re banking on to fund your comfy retirement. You are not subsidising the tenant. You are expecting the tenant to compensate you for your imprudent investment decision.

                    ‘All this has come about because the middle-class (yes I know the despised middle-class who pay most of the tax in this country) had no other sane option to fund their retirement.’
                    THERE are other sane options to fund your retirement than exploiting vulnerable people, and then playing the victim.

                    ‘Because you don’t spend your youth working hard to get qualified for a skilled occupation, then grind out long hours, for bastard bosses, taking home worries and responsibility for 40-45 years – just to spend the last 20 or more years of your life on the miserly sum we call Super.’
                    WE have had structural unemployment for the last 30 years, introduced by the the 4th Labour Government, which means some people don’t get the chance to have a career. Oh well, at least their lack of options in life makes them easy pickings for greedy middle class speculators.

                    ‘Give me a sane choice to fund my retirement any other way and I’ll happily look at it. Really a lot less stress than dealing with tenants who may or may not turn out to be a dead loss.’
                    THIS is essentially the argument that it is economic necessity to screw over your fellow New Zealanders. Doesn’t wash.

                    ‘Making a class enemy of your landlord is fucking dumb – in this country he or she is most likely just another working stiff like you.’
                    YOU are making a class enemy of your tenants by treating their lives with contempt.

                    ‘Most of our tenants have much flasher furniture, cars and toys than we do.’
                    DON’T blame your tenants for their purchases because you have made a bad investment decision.

                    ‘The only pockets really being lined here are the banks’
                    WHY aren’t you just pleased you’ve got tenants to line the pockets of your bank, since it is your retirement plan?

                    • RedLogix

                      What a mean and miserable diatribe.

                      The mean and miserable started with YOU making a list of MP’s who own investment property – as if this made them the spawn of the devil.

                      You are expecting the tenant to compensate you for your imprudent investment decision.

                      Most investment property starts out with negative cash flow until the mortgage is paid off – which might take 15-25 years. By the time you include rates, insurance, maintenance, vacancy and fair wear and tear costs usually exceed rental income.

                      The average tenant paying say $18k pa to rent would likely find that to live in the same home would cost them in excess of $25k to own. The point is of course that over a long period of time the property eventually pays off it’s mortgage and returns a modest positive cash flow – hopefully about the time you need it in retirement.

                      If I never sell the property, then the capital gain over that time is a meaningless paper transaction. You really cannot label me a greedy speculator and then sneer at an ‘imprudent’ investment in the same breath. Pick one.

                      THIS is essentially the argument that it is economic necessity to screw over your fellow New Zealanders. Doesn’t wash.

                      Complete fail at answering how I should fund my retirement. I explicitly asked for an acceptable alternative investment that you would NOT regard as ‘screwing over my fellow citizens’. I await your wisdom.

                      YOU are making a class enemy of your tenants by treating their lives with contempt.

                      You have absolutely no idea about how I treat my tenants. None.

                      Your apparent hatred of landlords has blinded you to the fact that the vast majority of us are just ordinary, sometimes very ordinary, people who are simply doing our best with the limited options open to us.

                      Hating us just clouds your thinking on the topic ergo.

                    • bad12

                      Red, your obviously a little ‘sensitive’ to any perceived criticism of yourself as a landlord,

                      What interests me is you immediately jumping into the discussion at the point i used the words ”fucking landlord” in relation to my friend down the road’s landlord, an immediate positioning of yourself not with my friend in the dire position He is forced to live in, but with His ”fucking landlord”,

                      The point being that my discussion about ‘a particular landlord’ resonates with immediacy in your mind as a discussion about ‘You’, so far from me having brought this conversation round to one of being about ‘class enemies’ you have done so yourself,

                      Why ”Fucking Landlord”, i will explain,

                      There are a number of long term residents in the little street i live in 25–30 years and they know the history of who is who and how they come to be here,

                      What we know about this ”fucking landlord” that is in the first big sell off of the States Housing stock in the 1990’s he got in fast and what a price He got in for, 60 grand way back then on a property that now has a value of 3 to 400 thousand,

                      His modus operendi as far as tenants goes is to get to know them and get to know their financial situation and then bump up the rent bump,bump,bump until the tenant is tapped out to the Nth degree,

                      Once He has the tenant tapped out to that Nth degree He expects them to pack up and leave for someplace cheaper, most do, a few over the intervening years havn’t which stops the ”fucking landlord” chasing ‘the market’ as far as rent setting goes,

                      He solves this little problem of intransigence of a tenant He knows he can no longer bump up the rent on by putting the place ‘up for sale’ and issuing an eviction notice,

                      Once the tenant packs up and leaves ‘off the market’ comes the property and the process starts again with the next tenant,bump,bump, bump up goes the rent to the Nth degree ‘chasing the market’,

                      My mate down the street has for the moment ‘fucked’ this pricks little game with a novel means of having the real estate people scarper as if the place is the source of the Black Plague, i won’t describe this novel means because we plan to use it elsewhere,

                      My mate tho knows His days are numbered, with being tapped out to that Nth degree requiring Him to get both the maximum Accommodation Supplement and a Special Benefit WINZ have told Him He will have to move to somewhere cheaper, and, we don’t for a moment think that this ”fucking landlord” will not in the end simply evict him under the 90 day provision,

                      Having just wrote all that Red, yeah i think your right, a class war it is…

                    • RedLogix

                      On the other hand bad12 we never ‘bump’ the rent.

                      Never.

                      Long term vacancy and someone who looks after the place is far more valuable to us than your ‘fucking landlord’. Who sounds like a total idiot.

                      The only time we have ever needed to increase the rent is in between tenancies; and then to meet the median rent for the area as listed on the DHB website.

                      The core of the affordability problem has nothing to do with the renting business. It has everything to do with housing overall being far too expensive, whether you occupy it or lease it.

                      My point is this; it’s easy to hate on your landlord because he/she has a face. The cause of all property bubbles is of course excess credit creation by the banks and that has nothing to do with me.

                      What we know about this ”fucking landlord” that is in the first big sell off of the States Housing stock in the 1990′s

                      Ah yes . That would have been a National govt. that sold them.

                      PS. We built, yes hands on built, three of our homes. Three others were substantially renovated and another was a fixed price contract because I was working full-time by then. One other we bought recently from a lady dying of cancer at well above QV in order she could fund her daughter into a home.

                      So no I didn’t buy up cheap ex-Housing NZ stock. Nor would I. You too are letting hatred cloud your thinking.

                    • bad12

                      Red, again you take what i say as an explanation about another landlord and apply it to ‘You’, i neither insinuate nor imply in that explanation of ‘a fucking landlord’ that ‘you’ have or do manage your portfolio as this particular individual does,

                      i find your little explanation of the cause of ‘property bubbles’ to be quite a laugh, sure the banks play their part but for them to do so there must be a willing seller of credit, the bank,and, a willing buyer, now who might that be,

                      Reading the article Duncan Garner penned, along with the list you find so abhorent, He points out where the root cause of the ‘property bubble’ was and still is,

                      Open slather immigration created demand, simple as that, once demand was created every man and his dog piled in, including MP’s from across all the parties in the Parliament,

                      Governments both Labour and National have played their part in fostering this demand and the simple answer, admittedly far too late as the horse has mostly bolted, would have been for any of the Governments of the past 25 years to have said to potential immigrants ”sure you can come,build a house tho befor we will allow you too”, and, for every immigrant allowed in other than those who had the means to build that house, in my opinion, it was and is the duty of Government to have had the foresight to have caused a house to be built for each of them,

                      Add to Garners little list any politician in the last 25 years who has also indulged in this game of monopoly, the property bubble, and you begin to see why any Government has been loath to do anything at all…

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Redlogix, the problem is that a surfeit of easy credit pushed prices beyond what our low wage economy can support in rentals.
                      I did not say all landlords are creaming it. But if the returns are not at the desired level, why start slagging off at tenants, and criticising their lives and purchases?
                      An investor can be both greedy and imprudent, so I don’t accept that dichotomy.
                      For an alternative, perhaps try a balanced investment portfolio?
                      I do not know, but I don’t accept the argument that economic necessity justifies participating in an overpriced market that landlords demand taxpayers subsidise through supplements and renters through paying a disproportionate amount. The solution is political, and that is why there is public interest if MPs have a conflict of interest through owning multiple houses.
                      This, at a time house ownership has fallen below 50%. Home ownership is not about figures on a balance sheet, or shoring up one’s retirement. It is about community cohesion, equality, a stake in one’s country.
                      I suspect most MPs share your mindset on this – they know things aren’t right, but feel there is no alternative, and they might as well seek security and comfort for themselves and their families.
                      Doesn’t make them bad people – but it’s not right, and I’m glad commercial radio of all things is highlighting this crisis.

                    • miravox

                      This…

                      I don’t accept the argument that economic necessity justifies participating in an overpriced market that landlords demand taxpayers subsidise through supplements and renters through paying a disproportionate amount. The solution is political, and that is why there is public interest if MPs have a conflict of interest through owning multiple houses.

                      This, at a time house ownership has fallen below 50%. Home ownership is not about figures on a balance sheet, or shoring up one’s retirement. It is about community cohesion, equality, a stake in one’s country.

                      Thanks Ergo Robertina – in a nutshell.

    • lurgee – I am not sure. The Property Investors Association would like to see a tax deduction. But there has been a generous taxpayer funded subsidy for insulation and heat pumps for the last five years and relatively few landlords took it up. I think it is just time to set minimum standards for decent housing and be done with it.

      • phillip ure 6.2.1

        good on ya for having the balls to pop up here..(under yr real name..)..

        ..and more importantly to answer questions..(not just crap and leave..)

        ..getting some of yr colleagues to do the same..

        ..wouldn’t hurt..

        ..eh..?

        ..maybe you cd go back and tell them..

        ..’see..!..it didn’t hurt..!’..

        (oh..!..and by the way..fuck the property investors association..

        ..eh..?..

        ..give ‘em nuthin’..

        ..except grief..)

      • Tracey 6.2.2

        Fair comment. If the carrot didnt work, then the stick?

        • lurgee 6.2.2.1

          I think a combined approach would be preferable.

          On the one hand, many landlords won’t take advantage of a subsidy / improvement deduction unless compelled to.

          On the other hand, if landlords are forced to comply with this legislation, and make expense improvements to the property, they will increase rents and not let to poorer tenants. Who will then end up sleeping in garages and cars.

          Currently, landlords can claim tax deductions for maintenance / repairs but not for improvements. What counts as maintenance and what counts as an improvement is not clear cut and is one reason why accountants exist. Putting in insulation where there was none would clearly be an improvement, though, so a landlord would have no real incentive to do it. We can talk righteously about how it will save $5 for every $1 spent, but that’s not much use to the landlord forking out the money so others can save. They have to be given the incentive to improve their stock, without making it unaffordable for low income tenants.

          And yeah, major kudos to Mr Twyford for showing up and commenting.

          • lprent 6.2.2.1.1

            Currently, landlords can claim tax deductions for maintenance / repairs but not for improvements. What counts as maintenance and what counts as an improvement is not clear cut and is one reason why accountants exist. Putting in insulation where there was none would clearly be an improvement, though, so a landlord would have no real incentive to do it.

            That is a good point. Obvious. Can’t remember it coming up before either.

            • RedLogix 6.2.2.1.1.1

              It’s a point I’ve made many times before, these kinds of improvements finish up being a benefit to the tenant, but cost to the landlord.

              So there isn’t a market driver to get it done.

              • lurgee

                I think Lprent may have been giving me a slight tap with the Sarcastic Stick.

                Even if it is blindingly obvious, no-one had adequately addressed it when I mentioned it up thread – just lots of uncertain waffle.

                There are some scum landlords – the ones who operate dozens of properties and don’t particularly care what is going on in them as long as the rent (usually paid by WINZ) is coming in. There are also lots of landlords who may have only a couple of properties and who are not running them for profit – people who have decided not to risk their money in our dodgy and erratic banking system, or who are hanging onto their first home to pass on to a child, and renting them out to simply cover costs. They would ,might be interested in upgrading, but the rules as they stand are a disincentive. If ecological or health improvements were covered as a tax deduction, that disincentive would be removed.

                The problem with markets is, if you have them, you have to play their game. The solution to the slums can’t just be diktat. It has to be made financially more attractive to the supplier. Subsidies don’t really work as they are just another hassle (and simply inflate prices, as the Australians found).

                • geoff

                  Symptomatic of a perverted system.
                  I don’t think the healthy homes bill is a complete solution by any means but it is a step in the correct direction. No single magic-bullet policy is going to fix the wrongs of 30 years of rogernomics, anybody who expects to do so is being naive.

                  This is where the left wing parties should be working together to project a united front to the media as they have so much common ground. The overlap in the suite of policies that Greens, Labour, NZ first and Mana have should form the basis for a coherent leftwing pre-election stand point. Not a coalition but just an agreement that these are the sorts of things that need to done and National is not doing them nor planning to them.

                  If you could get DC, Russel, Winnie and Hone up in front of the camera together all saying that they have agreement over the failings of National and broad agreement on how to fix those failings, I think that would have a strong positive boost for the left.

                  • lurgee

                    Indeed. But it would have to be a policy platform that landlords would support, not oppose. Telling them they are going to be compelled to shell out thousands of dollars isn’t going to do that. At best, you’ll increase the cost to the state as landlords pass on the expenses via WINZ; or, less optimistically, you’ll create nice house that will be rented out to middle class people who can’t afford to buy, but can afford the inflated rents, while the people who were living in those houses will be sleeping in garages and cars.

                    I don’t like reality, but I try not to deny it just because I don’t like it. Unlike too many on the left.

                    • geoff

                      30% of kiwis are now renting.
                      What sort of solution would cost neither the government or landlords in some way.
                      I prefer the greens housing policy where ( i think) the government would build state houses that occupants could rent to own. If that were to happen it would have a detrimental long term effect on landlords as they couldn’t compete with the state. Does that mean we shouldn’t support a policy like that?

                    • lurgee

                      I agree we need more state houses. Absolutely. And high quality, well maintained ones, to force landlords to raise their game.

                      As for the problem of motivating landlords, I think the simplest one is to allow certain improvements to be tax deductible, the way maintenance is. there’s already a lot of uncertainty about what counts as what. Allow installing solar power and insulation and better boilers and what not to be tax deductible, back it with a credible inspection / certification regime, and landlords will do it. Try to force the latter on them without the former, and they will resist – and all those crucial middle class votes will go to National.

                      Yeah, it means there will be more rich accountants, and some impact on the tax take – but it is a simpler system than offering subsidies (as it uses a pre-existing mechanism and can be used to the landlord’s advantage) without tempting tradespeople to inflate prices grotesquely.

                    • bad12

                      Geoff, my understanding is that home ownership via the census figures is now somewhere in the vicinity of 48% with around 52% renters,

                      i could have those figures wrong,(and should have checked befor i commented),i would suggest that little will be done vis a vis the shrinking number of State Houses until such time,(10 to 15 years at a guess),that the renters/owners figures go 60/40 or bigger in favor of the renters,

                      Obviously this shift in demographic as far as housing goes will eventually transpire into political party membership and a rise in demand from those members of political parties that action is taken to provide affordable rentals,

                      Like you i see the Green Parties policy on the rent to buy, with a paydown based around what the ‘owner’ believes She/He can afford as ‘smart housing policy’, but how much of such housing will ever be provided is in a large part up to how much Labour will concede in a coalition negotiation…

                    • geoff

                      bad12, it’s more like 65% of households own their home so which means around 35% rent (some live rent free).

                      The stat you’re referring to is individuals over 15 that own their own home which is 49.8%

                      http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/document/pdf/201412/QuickStatsHousing.pdf

                • greywarbler

                  lurgee +1 Good thinking. Maybe it’ll catch on.

            • Herodotus 6.2.2.1.1.2

              Search the ird for capital vs maintenance
              Heat pump would be capital, replacing insulation maintenance.
              http://www.elevateca.co.nz/property-repairs-maintenance/
              http://www.hayesknight.co.nz/home/news/news-items/2012/7/13/when-are-repair-and-maintenance-costs-deductible.aspx
              https://www.ird.govt.nz/property/property-rental/deductions-you-can-claim/
              “any repairs and maintenance that go beyond replacement and are in fact improvements to the property”
              Improving a property, even if maintenance adds value, so should rental rates not increase the landlord still benefits when the property is sold.

              • lurgee

                Sadly, not very clear cut. From your second link:

                “The cost of insulating a rental property that was previously insulated is likely to be held on revenue account on the basis that the work only restores the property to its former condition and the repair does not change the character of the asset. Therefore in this case the insulation would be tax deductible.

                “Note that the outcome may differ depending on the materials that are used to repair an existing asset. Where a material that is required for repair work is no longer available or is no longer able to be used due to regulations, then using a comparable or equivalent alternative may still be held on revenue account even though a newer, more modern material is used i.e. spend is tax deductible . If a taxpayer simply decides to upgrade to more durable material in place of the existing material which is readily available the expenditure may be held on capital account as it changes the nature of the asset i.e. spend is not tax deductible .”

                So replacing old sub-standard insulation with modern substandard insulation is repair/maintenance. Putting in better insulation is improvement. That needs to be changed.

  7. tc 7

    Great start Phil, opposition from the nact needs to be framed as greed, self interest and a lack of humanity.

    there are many nact supporters making a tax free rock solid return on their rental dives, I used to rent from one. A nasty piece of work who would not discuss kitchen extraction or smoke detectors to name a few and whined on and on about her minimal obligations.

    • lurgee 7.1

      “Great start Phil, opposition from the nact needs to be framed as greed, self interest and a lack of humanity.”

      Disagree. That’s a good way of alienating a lot of small property investors and prompting them to defend the status quo.

      Respond to opposition constructively, build consensus and come up with a solution that includes carrot and stick.

  8. RedLogix 8

    Oh and just for the record.

    Just got an email informing us that a tenant has badly trashed one of our homes. We spent over $15k just before we left fully insulating and heating the place. Warm and dry with spades on. We are still paying the bills.

    Now it looks like the place may well be a total loss. I mean total. In the worst possible way. The plan to finish upgrading the last of our older units is not going to happen.

    Until the whole tenancy business in this country is properly tightened up to dramatically improve security and risk management for both owners and tenants I think you’ll find not much progress will be made in this sector.

    • lprent 8.1

      Urrgh. Impossible to track them or get recompense either based on my parents experiences. Eventually they just shifted into shares and places that were local and they could inspect themselves.

      No help if you’re offshore.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        I was always aware of the risk and because we managed the places ourselves so far we’ve been pretty lucky.

        As soon as you are not about things start to go wrong.

        I can’t help contrast this with how very different things are over here in Aus. The whole business of applying for tenancy is far more stringent and talking to the tenancy management people here they tell us that while they always encounter some level of problems locally – they shake their heads in disbelief at the situation in NZ.

        I guess that’s my point. The latest stats show more than 50% of kiwis are now renting. It’s important to a LOT of people on both sides of the business. It’s now the dominant element of NZ housing and there is one hell of a lot more govt should be doing to lift the game.

        • Ant 8.1.1.1

          From my experience as a tenant, laws have generally protected bad tenants more than good ones. Not enough security or protections for a good tenant, just enough security and protections to be lethal for a bad tenant with little to lose.

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.1.1

            Yes that expresses it well Ant. Worse still all the good tenants (and the vast majority are) eventually finish up paying for the losses incurred by the bad ones.

            I think NZ could do very well by examining how it’s done in Australia.

        • bad12 8.1.1.2

          Insurance Red???, i am ignorant as to the availability of such from insurance companies for landlords,

          As a cost wouldn’t such insurance be a tax write off…

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.2.1

            Yes we are insured – haven’t really even started to think about this, but I’m skeptical about exactly how useful it will turn out to be.

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    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA
    New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Reflecting on Elections Past
    There are a number of past elections that can give the left in New Zealand guidance and hope. Two major points though. Major parties require leaders who can bridge the political divide through strength of personality, vision of what it...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – The Reptile Room
    I stress, at the outset, that I’ve got nothing against reptiles. Some of my best friends are reptiles. Some say I am one, but I’m not really. I just emulate that ability to sit, stationary for hours in court, eyes...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • The success of right-wing counter messaging in the election
    One of the reasons National won the election was due to its success in counter messaging – and the way so many media commentators ran with th the right-wing spin. Here are some examples. Dirty Politics The original message was...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New Flag competition
    New Flag competition...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • No time for self-pity
    After 23 meetings across the largest non-Maori electorate in the country – almost all of which went fantastically, approx 4,500km on the odometer, positive MSM and social media coverage, and polling well, I admit my team and I headed to...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • The 30 second speech that could have saved the Moment of Truth
    As the dust settles and we struggle to understand what the bloody hell happened on Saturday, many point to Kim’s failure at the Moment of Truth to present his evidence. I think that Kim was poorly advised and that politics requires a...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • Internet MANA and the 2014 election
    It was always going to be a hard task for Hone Harawira to hold onto his Te Tai Tokerau seat when the political establishment united in a coalition to defeat him and the chance for Internet MANA to bring more...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose”
    “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose” – Chris Hipkins Labour Senior Whip I would say to all of the caucus and all of the members let's actually hear the arguments from the people who want to be leader,...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Campaign to make Murder of Unborn ”Safe and Legal”
    The IPPF have launched an international campaign through its 161 affiliates including the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA] to make the murder of the unborn safe and legal and accepted as a human right. This is an acceleration of...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Grant Robertson Labour leader hopeful on TVNZ Q+A
    “Look I think what we need to be is relevant, clear and consistent with New Zealanders about the Labour Party's values,” said Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson on TVNZ’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour Needs to Get House in Order Before Deciding Leader
    Ex Labour party leader and possible repeat contender David Shearer says the Labour Party is going about the post-election period in the wrong way....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Hate merchants at it again with smear tactics
    “It’s disappointing to see the hate merchants at it again with yet another attempt to smear and silence a health professional who’s doing research they disagree with,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Women’s group heartened by response to promo girls
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand is heartened by the strong response to the inappropriate use of bikini-clad girls at a technology expo....
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Owen interviews Jim Anderton, Helen Kelly and Selwyn Pellet
    Lisa Owen interviews Jim Anderton, Helen Kelly and Selwyn Pellet ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto
    Lisa Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Prime Time on Labour
    Mike Smith - former General Secretary of the NZ Labour Party Jim McAloon, Assoc Prof, Victoria University of Wellington History Department (currently writing official history of the Labour Party) Rob Salmond, consultant to Labour Leader's office and...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau – Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 September 2014
    Saturday 27 September 2014 | One million people voted for National in last week’s election. Another million didn’t vote at all. In Kia Korero Mai this week, Eru Morgan talks to political commentator Henare Kingi about the figures and what...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • On The Nation this weekend: Labour, National, The Media
    This weekend on The Nation… Labour’s had its worst election result in 92 years, so what happens next? We’ll talk to former Labour president Jim Anderton, CTU president Helen Kelly, and tech entrepreneur and past donor Selwyn Pellett about the...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Red Cross, Pacific leaders prepare for cyclone season
    The New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Advisory Group, met for the first time this week, to develop a disaster response plan for the upcoming Pacific cyclone season, which is forecast to be severe....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Teachers support PM’s call for solutions to child poverty
    NZEI Te Riu Roa is pleased to hear that the Prime Minister is calling for new ideas to address child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • First batch of household protection kits arrives in Liberia
    Kits containing protective gear will equip a network of community-based Ebola care centres nationwide...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Dr Paul Hutchison praised for work to reduce child poverty
    The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has thanked retiring National MP Dr Paul Hutchison for his work to reduce child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Bag snatch hero deserves a medal – McVicar
    The Justice Spokesman for the Conservative Party, Garth McVicar, is calling for the woman known as the bag-snatch hero to be awarded a medal for bravery....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Police Remembrance Day
    This week, Police staff and others have been wearing the distinctive huia feather-shaped Police Remembrance Pin as they reflect on those who have lost their lives in service to the society they swore to protect. Police Remembrance Day falls on...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Affordable Auckland Attacks Creeping Apartheid
    Affordable Auckland Leader Stephen Berry is disturbed by developments increasing the number of local body regions choosing racially based representation. The Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils already have Maori wards, while New Plymouth...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Dairy Strategy Proving to be a Disaster
    The intensification of the dairy industry is proving to be a disaster, says SAFE. This comes after the forecast 2015 milk price payout was cut 12% by Fonterra this week. “Last year, the government effectively gave the green light for...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Where Next for the Left?
    26 September 2014 A discussion of the post-election prospects for radicals, facilitated by Fightback. 6pm | Monday 28th September | 19 Tory St [ Facebook event ]...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
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