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Where is National on house prices?

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, January 16th, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: economy, housing, labour, national - Tags: , ,

Plenty has been written on the damaging effects of NZ’s house price inflation. It prices young families out of owning their own home (slowly destroying what has been part of the social fabric of the country), it sucks investment out of more productive sectors of the economy, and so on. And – it’s out of control again:

$389,000 to buy a Kiwi dream

House prices have reached new heights, with the median price for a Kiwi home $389,000 – but to buy your dream home for that amount, you may need to move to Oamaru.

Latest data from the Real Estate Institute shows the national median house price reached a record $389,000 last month, up almost 10 per cent from the previous year.

Ten percent in one year is insane! It’s a massive increase in a cost that every new family faces, and it isn’t reflected in the (therefore artificially low) CPI and the linked measures that depend on it.

Just as a reminder, Labour has policies which address the most damaging aspects of the house price binge. KiwiBuild, to increase the supply to first-time buyers. Capita gains tax, to redirect investment. So where exactly is National on this issue? What is their policy? I know I know, leave it to the market. That worked so well in America…

41 comments on “Where is National on house prices?”

  1. Mike 1

    House prices are included in the CPI – ‘Purchase of newly constructed dwellings (excluding land)’ makes up around 4% of the ‘basket’
    Arguably this isn’t fully representative of house price change though

    • DH 1.1

      What do you mean ‘arguably’. It’s not arguable, it doesn’t represent house price changes. That covers only the material & construction cost of building a new house and tells us only that house prices have been rising considerably more than the cost of building them.

      The 4% weighting is a good indicator of how useless the CPI is for measuring real inflation too. If the cost of building a house doubled in a year it would add only 4% to the CPI.

  2. vto 2

    National leaves everything to the market, except the following;

    1. Property owners in central Chch.
    2. Farmers in greed of more water.
    3. Hollywood and Peter Jackson.
    4. Stephen Joyce’s ex-business Mediaworks.
    5. Quota issue in the fishing sector.
    6. The New Zealand sharemarket.
    7. (please add as appropriate)

    They are a fraud.

  3. vto 3

    Every time house prices rise so too does the amount that our economy pays to the banks. I don’t see no benefit to it.

    Should take a leaf out of Foodstuffs book and work to limit the capital value of pretty much everything. High capital values have no benefit, except to the banks

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    “So where exactly is National on this issue? What is their policy? ”

    I seem to recall that they fixed this shortly after being elected by step-changing the economy with some tax changes or somesuch.

    • QoT 4.1

      I remember that, it was completely fiscally neutral and took the sharp edges off the recession.

      • tracey 4.1.1

        LOL @ Pascal’s bookie and QoT

        It’s okay though, English says there isn’t a crisis and they will build a thousand houses in a year or two. Can’t get much more detailed on policy than that!

        Interestingly when Labour announced their housing plan the Nats criticised it by saying where will these houses be, on the outskirts of Auckland (insert scoff here). Yet the “opening up of greenspaces” will also be n the outskirt, unless he means Cornwall Park???

  5. bad12 5

    There are 2 housing problems inherent in the New Zealand economy, one is of affordability for first home owners, the other is the cost of rental accommodation in the private sector sucking 50%-80% of income from the pockets of tenants thus denying those monies their normal transit through the economic cycle of the local economy,

    The answer to the first problem of ‘ownership’ has been addressed by Labour and we await the ‘numbers’ to be provided by Labour to address the second problem of ‘rental costs’,

    As far as National goes we await nothing as that is what National has as policy and Hell will freeze over before we see National adopt any rational solution to either of the housing problems facing us be that in the owenrship or rental market,

    The answer to both of the housing problems, rental and ownership, is of course to build, such building to address both issues creates employment and economic activity of an ongoing nature as the number of households increases and rentals decrease more monies are released to the local economy…

  6. DH 6

    Gareth Morgan has quite a good article on it here;

    http://garethsworld.com/blog/economics/rigging-of-housing-market-is-deliberate-policy/

    The major problem with housing is successive governments have allowed the market to go down a one way street and turning it around isn’t going to be easy. From an investment perspective a rental property has to return more than a term deposit and without capital gain and/or tax breaks rents would need to go up a hell of a lot (or house prices fall considerably)

    At current term deposit rates a $389,000 house needs to return an investor about $450 per week after expenses & before tax so if they got rid of capital gain & removed all the tax concessions you’d be looking at rents of over $500 a week on that median house. Labour & National have both really made a mess of it.

    • bad12 6.1

      This is the basic math at the heart of the housing ‘problem’,

      At it’s height HousingNZ had 75,000 rental units it rented out to tenants for a cost of 25% of the tenants income with a New Zealand population of some 3.3 million souls,

      For a population of 4.4 million of us HousingNZ now has only 69,000 homes to rent,

      Just those numbers alone would suggest a demand for low cost rental accommodation of at least 100,000 HousingNZ rental’s,

      the fact that Governments both Labour and National have not kept building HousingNZ homes at the pace the population has risen and instead relied upon the market to provide such housing is the root cause of the current housing ‘problem’…

      • DH 6.1.1

        Yep. They’ve let house prices rise so much that capital gain & tax breaks have become an entrenched component of the return on investment. If the market was forced back to a standard investment portfolo where rents comprised the sole return on investment we’d see a massive increase in rents well beyond what many people can afford to pay. That would drive low income earners further into poverty.

        Labour’s housing policy won’t help much there. A $300k house still has to return a good $450 week and $450 in rent is far too much relative to real wages in this country. It’s not solving the core problem.

        • bad12 6.1.1.1

          You seem there to be suggesting that Labour’s ‘fix’ Kiwibuild will simply become rental accommodation????,

          The ‘fix’ for affodability of housing is as it always was, State Housing en masse rented out to the tenants at 25% of income, build enough of them and demand for rental accommodation will drop like a stone as will the actual price of housing for those wishing to buy,

          As Gareth Morgan has pointed out, the ‘investment in private rentals’ is suppressing any investment in private sector business,

          The higher rents payed by tenants in the private sector (50%+ of income), as opposed to what they would pay as State tenants (25% of income) is also acting as a major factor in the local economy where as demand increases for rental property more monies are diverted from consumption to pay rents,

          Bill English on RadioNZ News at 3 o,clock made the laughable assertion that National is doing it’s bit to alleviate housing inflation as it will have in a year or 2 according to Bill built the huge total of 1000 State houses in Auckland,

          That’s more than pathetic from the Finance Minister who has overseen the dismantling of parts of the Governments housing estate in Auckland leading to a loss of at least 500 State owned rentals…

          • DH 6.1.1.1.1

            No I don’t think they’ll end up as rental properties. I just agree with Karol’s assertions that a $300,000 house is still well beyond the reach of many NZers. The policy is an appeasement to the better-paid middle class.

            I do think it’s a given it will be watered down anyway once people realise the impact it will have. Houses don’t sit empty, 100,000 houses will need some 250-300,000 people to fill them. Unless they’re planning on ramping up immigration to match the increase in housing stock the property market would hit a seriously big wall if they put that many extra houses on the market in such a short space of time.

    • bad12 6.2

      We have to remember also that ‘investors’ in rental property are acting as agents for the banks which are the ultimate beneficiaries of the ‘Accommodation supplement’ paid to many individuals in private rental to the tune of $1.2 billion annually,(a quarter of the profits taken off-shore by banking organizations annually),

      I only disagree with Gareth Morgan on one point of His excellently written article, there is one fundamental driver in housing besides tax breaks as an ‘investment’ and that of course is demand for rental accommodation,

      My other comment covers the root cause of that demand…

  7. Tiresias 7

    Labour’s “policies which address the most damaging aspects of the house price binge” are a disgrace for any supposed Left-wing party, and simply buys into the ‘property-owning is king’ fixation of the Right.

    Let’s say it’s implemented. Is there to be any cap on the price to be paid for the land required? Presumably this will have to be close to town and cities, where any land with even the potential for building on is already worth more than if it had oil under it. Or is the labour Government going to push through re-zoning of green-belt and good agricultural land and then have to pay the new market-price for it in competition with private developers?

    Let’s say it’s implemented. Are you going to stop these new, low-price houses being gobbled up by private investors for rent by saying they’re only for “new families”, or “deserving Kiwis” or “persons approved by local screening panels” or can jump through whatever hoops the Govt of the time imposes? How are you going to deal with parents who might want to help their kids make such a purchase but want to hold the title against the possibility of future break-ups, or the death of their own kid and the re-marriage of their partner?

    Let’s say it’s implemented. Let’s say they’re all bought by honest, deserving Kiwis who do their best to service their affordable mortgages, and the rates, and adequate property insurance, and all the little costs of proper property maintainence, but lose a job, or have to take a pay cut, or Mum gives up her job to bring the kids up and suddenly there isn’t the money there was. What goes first? Repairs and maintenance? Insurance? What happens to the neighbourhood when even one property grows shabby and badly-kept, or is damaged by fire not covered by insurance?

    Let’s say it’s implemented. How are you going to stop these ‘new families’, deserving Kiwis’ or the locally approved poor flicking their nice new houses on to private investors for a small profit after six months – or putting them onto the market because job-loss makes it impossible for them to maintain even a modest mortgage, or their job/work prospects requires them to move, or they split with their partners, &tc?

    A socially responsible Government should be providing quality houses for rent so that it can set the rent appropriate to the occupier’s particular situation and social needs, incidentally driving down rentals in the private sector, and making property available where it’s needed so that when necessary to follow a job people can move with minimal difficulty and expense, and should maintain and insure the property out of the rent so that the ‘new family’ occupying it should be able to devote all their time, energy and efforts to keeping and improving their jobs and bringing up the kids instead of worrying about keeping a roof over their heads.

    When I grew up on a ‘Council Estate’ in the UK there was no stigma attached to renting. It was something you did while you got established and gave you a stable base to do it from. Going ‘upmarket’ and buying your own home was something you did when you had climbed the employment ladder far enough to earn a solid wage and the kids were no longer costing you a fortune. Now tho’ “owning your own home’ is apparently every Kiwi’s dream – a dream sold by estate agents, property developers, mortgage-selling banks and the Right. It’s Napoleon selling the cart and its harness to Boxer.

    Labour’s “policies which address the most damaging aspects of the house price binge” should be repugnant to everyone on the Left.

  8. tc 8

    Gareth Morgan’s got some good points, that one way street Oz blocked off with a CGT on a sliding scale along with compulsory super.

    We’ve allowed housing to become easy tax free wealth storage for the few who can get onto it and stopped building State houses.

    NACT have helped this along, Labour have looked good by default with their policy which is just left of centre enough without really fixing much.

  9. Fortran 9

    The problem with a CGT is the years it will take to be effective. The idea is good in principle but needs to be explained as to how it is to work.
    A start up Department will be required which over the first 10 years will cost far more than it gets. The starting date and database is the critical factor from where and when the tax can start.
    I remember when a CGT was introduced in UK many years ago, it took well over 15 years to balance income over expenditure, and the businesses started up to circumvent the tax did a roaring trade.
    It sounds good – a Capital Gains Tax but some explantion will be needed as to what and how it is to be covered, and the taxes implemented, and where this additional tax is to be spent.
    However, we need it to start asap.

    • Rich 9.1

      You wouldn’t need a new department, IRD would handle it. With all transactions (going back a long way) in LINZ, checking the capital gain would be fairly straightforward.

      However, I’d agree that CGT is an incomplete solution. What’s actually needed is a (negative) inflation target for house prices as we have for general inflation, and a range of control/revenue measures:
      – tax on mortgage interest
      – land value tax
      – transfer tax (aka stamp duty)
      – LVR maximums

      • Herodotus 9.1.1

        Just what these 100k new Kiwibuild owners want to see their investment into home ownership worth less than what the paid for, it what you are saying regarding -ve inflation for houses then should the govt then promote private landlords as they will be paying the cost and with property dropping also having to battle reducing rents?

        • just saying 9.1.1.1

          The idea is supposed to be that the buyers would be buying a home to live in rather than “making an investment” If they move home, the next home will likely be equally affected by deflated prices.

          It irks me that every aspect of life has been transformed into a function of the market, as opposed (in this case) to housing being primarily about, say, housing.

          • Herodotus 9.1.1.1.1

            The Kiwibuild IMO now fills is hole that has been created by the “market”. That being how to introduce new players in, as 1st home buyers are for all intense purposes excluded. (This os also the failure for the ability to earn a fair wage, as our pay packs have been suffering for many many years)So what happens ? there is govt intervention to fix this. So govt money is transferred to private coys and this neoliberal monster is feed.
            No I understand all the positive aspects that owning your house has (connection to a community, the feeling or worth etc)

  10. Chris 10

    I don’t agree with really any of that except your last point:

    – there already is tax on mortgage interest?
    – rates are a land value tax – if you mean additional levies from the government there is no way that will hurt anyone other renters or people on low – middle incomes
    – CGT essentially will be a transfer tax, having both will just confuse things. Far more effective and efficient just to have a higher CGT
    – Agree with this.

    • tracey 10.1

      Rates are pretending to be a land value based tax. I have a piece of land in Marlborough which I can’t sell, not even for 50% less than its rateable value. Yes, we have tried to sell it far lower than we purchased and its rated value. Rated values are a joke.

      Can people explain how to address the rental prices in Auckland without building more houses? I am genuinely interested in this.

  11. bad12 11

    The latest from Bill English on housing affordability is that Len Brown should commit political suicide by using the Auckland City Council’s planning procedures to restrict the size of houses built in that city,

    Your the f**king Government Bill, present the Auckland City Council with Legislation requiring them to restrict house sizes,

    Even if the Dull one from Dipton did that it would make not an iota of difference, the first home buyers would still be out-bid by the ‘rental investors’,

    There is in fact only one means of ensuring that first home ownership is affordable and there is only one means of making sure that rents become affordable and that’s for Government to simply by-pass the market and build the size and type of property that is needed for either sale or rental…

  12. bad12 12

    Bill, the dull one from down Dipton way who just happens to be masquerading as the Minister of Finance just makes things worse every time He opens His mouth,

    This time on Prime TV News Bill says there is no housing crisis despite what the Salvation Army say, Bill also says that He and the Salvation Army worked out ‘a plan’ for accommodation 3 years ago,

    Yeah sure Bill, you would know sitting in your ivory tower whether there was a crisis or not wouldn’t you, if the same bloke you were working with 3 years ago who being ‘on the ground’ would see the problem far better than you in your ivory tower says there is one then i for one am more inclined to believe Him,

    PS Bill, who would have thunk it, not you obviously, but, it appears ‘the plan’ hatched 3 years ago just hasn’t worked has it….

    • tracey 12.1

      Yes, Major Campbell seemed like a liar and a fraudster in the that piece, a guy with a vested interest to talk up a non existent crisis…

      Oh, and so much for keeping central govt out of local govt following the Super City creation. Now we see why they needed a supercity, they only have to bully one body instead of 8 councils.

  13. Housing is cheap anywhere in NZ compared to many places in the US. As for property tax, you can multiply by a factor of ten over what you pay in NZ. Pay $1,600 in NZ, you’d pay 16,000 in San Francisco Bay Area. You don’t have a housing crisis but you sure as shit do have an infrastructure crisis and a land supply crisis.

    • higherstandard 13.1

      Frankly that’s rubbish Monique – housing in many parts of the US is very much cheaper than NZ both in terms of new builds and existing stock.

      http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Did Monique also just miss the US$2T – $3T infrastructure run down which currently exists in the US? Power grid, roads, schools, subways falling apart and unused?

        I read that Eddie Murphy did recently sell his home for US$12M so maybe that proves that housing is more expensive in the USA than in Mt Wellington?

    • tracey 13.2

      I think using San Francisco’s Bay area as your example of american costs is drawing a longish bow.

      Do you also suggest that if some children are not living off garbage dumps (as in some poorer nations) they are not really poor or in need of help, until they are living off a garbage dump?

  14. infused 14

    Labours policy is yet to be seen.

    10% where? I’d say Auckland is pushing that up. It hasn’t moved around Wellington.

    • tracey 14.1

      …and National’s policy? Over 4 years now… they are anti assisting Auckland transport issues (other than more motorways) but now say they want to build on green spaces… that’s not policy that’s a cynical nothing masquerading something in response to labour focusing on housing and transport infrastructure.

  15. MrSmith 15

    People pump money into domestic housing because it’s a safe bet, we need a roof over our heads along with food and water.

    Over here on my ‘Right’ tho you have some other options, the share market, finance companies, businesses, spin the wheel, you can’t lose, huge profits, this is a once in a life time opportunity, all our investments are guaranteed.

    Until there is a safer place to put our money we’ll probably have to put up with high house prices, and the Right will have to put up with high finance rates for there ponzi schemes, unless they can find any more suckers.

    • tracey 15.1

      that’s why the Govt brings you an exciting opportunity to invest… in 4 power companies…

  16. Herodotus 16

    http://www.qv.co.nz/onlinereports/propertyvaluemap.htm
    http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Pacific/New-Zealand/Price-History
    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/keygraphs/Fig4.html
    So the increase of prices just returns the average house price to we’re it was ore GFC, some analysist could refer to this as a correction.
    “isn’t reflected in the (therefore artificially low) CPI and the linked measures that depend on it.” Glad someone else has spoofed this, pity this has been lost on all those who cheerleed the past govts performance!!
    And you are wrong in that the 2 policies of labour will address the issue. CGT as others have mentioned will take 10 + years to take effect (and what is thhe money raised to be put to ? As the $5k tax free threshold has Ben eliminated. And for Kiwibuild policy this will take the best part of the 1st term for any houses to be built, and that $300k build in today’s $ will be in 5 years time incur another 10% cost increase due to inflation-far better as many other thoughtful people have mentioned to increase HNZstock and reverse the dreadful labour policy of guaranteed rents to private landlords to cover the deficient HNZ investment.
    http://www.hnzc.co.nz/about-us/our-publications/factsheets/guaranteed-rent-through-home-leasing/guaranteed-rent-through-home-leasing.pdf

    • tracey 16.1

      and how would you address the “issue”? For what it’s worth we should be applauding a party prepared to look at long term policy instead of knee-jerk poll driven policy… not that I am saying this isn’t just that… But ten years to begin to impact shouldnt be the only reason to dismiss something.

      • Herodotus 16.1.1

        What has been suggested is part of a long term fix. But for the next 5-10 years there will be little to be seen.
        Build more HNZ stock. All those school closures that mallard and co announced use that land to build HNZ.( also any other govt closures that have a land component) (Unless there are treaty clauses to use this land to compensate for past wrongs)
        Reduce the banks ability to “create” money with capital controls, limit the amount of interest that can be deducted for rentals, if as some have commented that rates are a land tax, then do not allow this also as a tax deduction.
        John key is doing some of what he can to reduce the cost of property by having policies that result in 50k emigrating to Aussie ( from all over nz) problem is that these are replaced by 50k immigrants all wanting to reside in Auckland, which is where there is severe shortages and this is being reflected IMO stupid prices being paid(but then in 2004 I thought the same thing)and since the early 70’s nz has never felt any property downturn for any length of time.

  17. tracey 17

    “Build more HNZ stock”

    That will also take time, but I agree.

    There are also over 80,000 homes effectively out of the Auckland housing market because they leak, badly, and the owners cant afford to repair them or sell them, they canmaybe rent them but have to live somewhere themselves. That’s a lot of homes to take out of the equation.

  18. kiwi_prometheus 18

    Good stuff from Gareth Morgan:

    “…property prices here remain massive compared to household incomes on any international comparison.

    The two questions of course are whether our property prices should or will fall (or in economics parlance, “correct”)?

    When in Opposition the politicians are more prone to advocate the tax loopholes on capital ownership be closed, but when in power their conviction evaporates…

    …everybody is agreed about the disease, even on the causes of the disease. But we are either too intellectually lazy or politically cowardly to fix it.

    It will persist until this crisis manifests itself in a form that cannot be avoided…”

    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/62695/gareth-morgan-says-everybody-agreed-about-disease-are-too-politically-cowardly-fix-it-

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    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    23 hours ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    1 day ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    2 days ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    2 days ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    2 days ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago

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

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