A new state housing agenda

Written By: - Date published: 2:31 pm, July 21st, 2010 - 35 comments
Categories: Economy, Environment, health, housing - Tags:

The country is short about 10,000 houses and many of the houses we do have (mostly privately owned rentals) are unhealthy. The housing shortage was a driver of the last housing boom and is still keeping house prices excessively high, while poor quality housing means higher health costs, more sick days, and kids that are sick so often it disrupts their education. It would be sensible on every level to build the extra houses we need, and the government should take the lead role.

The government is the only body that can afford to put up that kind of capital.

I’m not talking about more endlessly sprawling suburbs. We need smart communities with good population density, local commerce and public transport into the main jobs centres. We need smart urban design that plans ahead at every level and we need smart housing as well.

The government should lead construction of thousands of eco-smart homes that use sustainable materials and are warm and energy efficient. In the 1930s, state houses set a new standard for housing for the working class, they should again.

Mass-produced designs using local materials could create thousands of jobs. And using something like HIB’s awesome modular system which recently won the prize to build green homes in tornado-devastated Greensburg, where the houses are assembled from giant hollow wooden ‘bricks’ that fit together like lego, could actually let the people who are going to end up living in the houses participate in their construction.

The next element, I think, is to use a massive state housing construction programme as a stepping stone to increased home ownership. Let tenants rent to own but place a stipulation on the title that, once a state house passes int private ownership, it can’t be leased out. That would prevent families being priced out of the market by hands of private landlords who, last time state houses were sold, bought up state houses at prices the tenants couldn’t afford and then let them fall into disrepair while charging high rents. Ideally, the government could could compete modern slum landlords out of the market like it did in the 1930s.

By building high-quality, healthy eco-homes, on-selling them to tenants who wanted to buy, and then re-investing the recouped costs in more houses, the government could dramatically improve New Zealand’s housing stock in a relatively short space of time.

35 comments on “A new state housing agenda ”

  1. vto 1

    A state-owned property developer … who would have ever thought?

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    I can’t add much beyond a resounding “hear hear”, Marty, and to note that the Australian Federal government invested hugely in building in order to keep the industry afloat during the GFC. And it worked.

    Unfortunately Gillard made an uholy mess of it, putting the money solely into school buildings and not housing (WA is officially building 5,200 homes per year less than is needed but I call BS on that… the waiting list for state housing is 6 – 7 years) and then getting ripped off by the builders who were charging $500,000+ for a one-room tuckshop.

    Investment in housing, properly supervised, is a different matter however. They could even outsource the supervision of the whole project to an NGO like Housing for Humanity.

    I’ve always believed proper housing, in which people have a stake (through sweat equity, cash investment or both) is a key to turning round a raft of other social ills.

    Here’s an idea just begging for Labour – who, as Marty points out, have a magnificant record in this area – to pick up. Will MJS’s inheritors have the foresight and guts, I wonder?

  3. bbfloyd 3

    an elegantly simple concept.the political required to implement these kind of farsighted policies doesn’t exist here. but i will continue to hold my breath. i could imagine, that within a decade of commencement, the government of the day could then remodel the redundant prisons that were built to contain the malcontents that didn’t eventuate, because the communities they came from were infused with a sense of ownership and pride.
    which, as most of us would acknowledge, is the worst possible environment for producing quality criminals.

  4. Herodotus 4

    And Marty land, town planning, services RMA etc this all takes time, friom experience about 10 years from farm land to a section being made available to the market. Building is amazingly expensive, a reative from Scotland (He hates the ref of UK or anything that ties into Mother England) was astounded at the price for housing within Auck burbs. When I explained that most spec houses are being sold at around cost to build, land developers cannot access finance (The Aussie banks are unwilling to finance, the 2nd tier have gone or are about to go).
    So Marty where does all this land to build 10k of house come from, and how long will this take?
    As Jafa land holds 1/3 of the pop I take it you would require 4k of houses, and not concertrated within a certain area as you have said. The cost is not only attributable tdirectly to housing existing services require upgrading e.g. roads, stormwater systems, sewerage etc. This as many within the industry will inform you of the slowness that councils and ARC move. Unless you desire that cent Govt just pass a law to subdivert existing practices and get heavy handed. Can you imagine the negative political capital in that. NIMBY.
    Also that state housing do not contribute to rates, though there are cent govt funds for roading and the like available. Also the time for cent govt to react to like education and the acquiring of land and building schools. The acquisition of land takes 2-3 years then there is planning and the construction.
    Everything takes time and more time than many think to accomplish.
    We are strating to realise ref NZ herald this week, NZ is a low wage BUT high cost of living country, even our cheep power (We have been told this over the years) is not cheep when compared to the UK.

    • Rex Widerstrom 4.1

      about 10 years from farm land to a section being made available to the market

      What’s the porimary reason for this Herodotus? Regulatory approvals? I suspect that’s a large part of it. That could be solved at the stroke of a pen… get rid of the enormous council / regional council bureaucracy, streamline their functions and make planning approvals that fall within preset guidelines virtually automatic.

      Building is amazingly expensive

      Partly a result of the skills shortage… which we could overcome with a NZ equivalent of a 457 visa, which Australia is using to import migrant workers to feed the building and mining industries without having to commit to supporting them on welfare if / when the boom ends.

      Partly the cost of materials. NZ builds houses out of wood – ideal for warmer climes but hardly practical in freezing winters and spends a fortune heating them, just because we’re surrounded by trees. Australia builds houses out of bricks, which trap the heat extremely well, then spends a fortune on air conditioning them, just because they’re surrounded by sand. A solution sugggests itself…

      • Ed 4.1.1

        Move our earthquakes to Australia?

        But the modular approach referred to in the article is worth considering, along with a number of other ‘cheap but efficient and environmentally friendly’ systems that we do not seem to take up well in New Zealand. The ‘stop-start’ nature of our building programme, and an aversion to anything other than individual houses doesn’t help.

      • Herodotus 4.1.2

        Councils preparation for a plan change takes 3+ years from conception of ther idea to being documention for public summission. From notification to hearing 3 months then there is the appeal process, Envir Court etc. But the majority is prep work for the plan change documention. As councils do not have the skills or funding it is left for the developer to provided the solutions e.g. roading, traffic movements, stormwater management etc. Then ther eis Transit/transfund who then require traffic solutions to the added traffic to motorways. It is al this claim counter claim. In summary the developer provides reasons for the solutions, solutions for councils issues, then community. How infrastructure to the new development dovetails into existing. All this pre 2001/2? used to be preformed by council and developers would work within or obtain a consent variation.
        Previously stormwater was piped and houses built ontop, now we have green fingers and open stormwater, as a rule of thump 25% of land was not able to yield lots e.g. roads etc not it can appraoch 35-40%. as sections get smaller drains that were ungrounded on boundaries are now wiithin building platforms so bridging is required that adds osts underground so the unknowing are unaware as to why costs have gone up.
        All this and in Auck I would be surprised if you can buy a piece of land for under $225k on anythnk greater than 400m. We also have a requirement for double glazing additional $5+k and council requirements re code of compliance and the increase in time to build. Previously from S224 you could build a 200m2 house within 4 months, now I would be surprised if you could achieve this within 8. So ther is additional holding costs on top of everything else. Like most industries that are costly, no one knows why it just is. Just as well we live in a high valued wage economy !!!

        • Rex Widerstrom 4.1.2.1

          Hmmm… a law which sets minimum times for these bureaucrats to process development applications and forces councils to recompense developers for delays beyond those parameters sounds like it might inject some vigour into grey shoe land.

          • RedLogix 4.1.2.1.1

            The problem with the planning and consenting process is primarily that Councils and TLA’s are generally under-resourced to do the job well. It’s not easy work, it requires good judgement and experience to do well, and doesn’t pay all that well.

            Councils usually under-staff the consent dept leading to high work loads, stress and high staff turn-over, which in turn creates delays and more stress.

            One fairly straightforward consent I completed recently went a whole year and $25k over budget, SOLELY because we went through no fewer than four, count’em….four different planners in that time. In the end they simply wound up approving pretty much exactly what we had proposed at the outset… now just $25k dearer for no added value. Each one did their best, but each one needed to be brought up to speed, each had a slightly different angle and each being very junior, needed to kick the decision upstairs.

            I’ve no problem with the planning and consenting process, it’s necessary and useful, the alternative is chaos and corruption… but the under resourcing of the process leads to pointless delays and understandable frustration all round.

            • Herodotus 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes we pay these guys peanuts and expect great things. Just as well we have the likes of Banks, the nort shore guy, Sir Barry Curtis (past MCC mayor) and the likes to lead us to the dark ages !!!
              Only thoswe directly involved know anything like how the system runs, like all bureausracies it is knowing how the system works and doesnt and working around. It is the unsuspecting public that bear the cost of this. As housing is market driven many do not know of the cost input that differentiates one house from the other. And for me many water tight houses built within the last 15 years (In Auck) are selling with great capital gains for the owner but well below replacement cost and many out there are so unaware just so chuffed at what they achieved with their selling price. What is worst how do Kiwis enter the market, and $350k appartment that offers nothng more than a roof over their head, and the prospect that in 15 years and a 50% mortgage that they could all going well afford their parents home.

              • Rex Widerstrom

                Sounds like, from what red Logix and Herodotus are saying, we are in desperate need of accountability amongst councils. Less overseas “sister city” junkets, less birthday parties at flash restaurants, and more (and better paid) planning staff… or compensate the developers you’re p***ing round.

                • loota

                  In Dunedin, the current city council has led the economic and population stagnation of one of NZ’s finest cities.

                  But we are getting a nice ~$200+M stadium with bread and circuses.

  5. Helen Kelly 5

    National cut almost all the budget for renovating state houses in the last budget – leaving poor quality housing as its legacy

  6. MrSmith 6

    The private sector could easily take care this problem, all they need is the banks to lower there interest rates and lending criteria.

    • loota 6.1

      New over-leveraged, speculative million dollar houses and apartment developments going up aren’t going to be of much help.

  7. bbfloyd 7

    @herodotus… grammatically correct, but shallow. does it not occur to you that the administration capable and willing to undertake a project of this magnitude would also have a firm grasp of the complexities and obstacles as well? applying current attitudes and circumstance to future realities seems to imply that time is a static commodity, and that nothing will ever evolve from today. in one way you may be right.

    • Herodotus 7.1

      From my dealings with cent govt both under Lab and current Nat neither display any ability to have any understanding of the matter, and neither does the MOE when planning for schools based on THEIR pop models. Unfortunately pop increased in araes within Auck not according to the models so we had situations of new communities occurring 4-5 years ahead of the MOE and land not being purchased until the area was already populated, let alone the idea of construction to take place.
      Most large tracks of land are either held in small land areas and disjointed ownership, so the acquistion of any large land areas would be difficult, most land being developed would have covenants re building mats, size etc already applicable to them. Many of the covenants have requirements exceeding HNZ requirements for the 10 year lease back.
      Land on the outskirts on Auck is generally difficult and would require extensive geotech solutions, and are expensive to build on re foundation requirements.
      Let alone the zoning issue.
      It all takes time and we only have a 3 year term of which only about 2 years is useful in setting up mechanisms to implement a policy. Then there is the issue of being voted out and the new regime not being as supportive or tinkering with it to suit their own political means.
      For developers there are 2 enemies, the bank(abilty to fund) but predominately time is the greatest of the 2.
      bbfloyd, we get some crap legislation form both NAt and Lab so if they can only cope in superficial solutions to many issues why would we expect anything different with this??

      • prism 7.1.1

        just a thought herod.. do you think a four year term would allow time for planning and implementing in full for projects that the 3 yr trm doesn’t?

        • loota 7.1.1.1

          One issue is that the voting public must begin to take a longer term view of things. Once that happens, pollies will be able to take a longer term view of things. However, neither the MSM or the pollies seem particularly interested in encouraging this development.

        • Herodotus 7.1.1.2

          3 or 4 year term or even 5 would not have he structural changes that I think bbflody was hinting at. As you stil have the 1st year to get acquanted with your new seat, and the last so as to distance yourself from the bad thing you implimented in years 2-3, with the promise ogf a sweetner in yr 4 budget to be reelected. y then another 5 years has been lost in the process.
          or me all that could be done is for a task force (Unfortunately) to be set up to examine the easily picked fruit in delay and make best for streamline these.
          Unfortunately we accept the high cost of housing as long as ther eis inflation because then we can make a killing by selling, and home ownership is in our blood,(Though this is being thinned out with the rapid decrease of homeownership %)
          Opening up zoning for everyone who owns land as some have touted would not for me work, as there is the issue of councils overall strategy and proviosion of infrastructure. In Auck we had in the 90’s a Growth strategy headed up by the ARC that targeted certain areas for growth, Flatbush, Long Bay, Hobinsonville, Helensville, Kumeu, Silverdale and a few other areas. The strategy was to cater for 50 yrs requirements, most areas have already proceeded and these are expected to be completed by 2025, 25 yrs thru a 50 yr plan !!!
          Possable soln ring fence Auck and state that 2m pop is max, or have a pop strategy (The Greens are the only party that I am aware of who has such) by cent govt and fund infrastructure and plan. For some this is to close to a China or USSR of past, or just letthe mes grow and put out the fires as they appear.

          • Ryan 7.1.1.2.1

            Good shot, so what if it is “China” or “USSR” thing. It’s based on solid facts and reality. Not that the “crisis” that we all seem to be paying for was based on reality. As far as I can see a derivitive is imaginary money used to blackmail governments into bailouts and austerity measures.

  8. just saying 8

    The pick of state houses in Dunedin are still being sold despite a substantial waiting list. Apparently the money goes towards state housing in Auckland. Since the massive cut to housing in the budget, this kind of shuffling is probably helping cover the extent of the gaping hole in public housing, particularly in Auckland.

  9. Nick C 9

    “The country is short about 10,000 houses”

    What is this based on?

    • jcuknz 9.1

      I would guess that it is an assessment of the number of homes which have reached their use-by date and are basically unhealthy hellholes that the unfortunate are living in.

  10. RedLogix 10

    By building high-quality, healthy eco-homes, on-selling them to tenants who wanted to buy, and then re-investing the recouped costs in more houses, the government could dramatically improve New Zealand’s housing stock in a relatively short space of time.

    As a small-scale builder/landlord myself I have to say a loud amen to that. That’s pretty much the standard of building I’ve done; this winter one of the tenants has got his power bill for a 125m2 townhouse (and two teenagers) down to about $150 per month while enjoying 20 degC temperatures plus all the time.

    I’d love to be able to on-sell some of my existing units to tenants and build some more…but as soon as I do that I get classed as a property trader and have to pay full income tax on any profit. Which in such a capital intensive business is totally unviable. Currently I’ve reached the limit of what I’m prepared to borrow (and what the bank is probably willing to lend in the current environment) so I’m stuck. Good idea, going nowhere.

    Even with good intentions the private sector cannot deliver at this time….only the state has the ability to drive the massive change in the building and housing industry that is so desperately needed.

    • Rex Widerstrom 10.1

      I’d love to be able to on-sell some of my existing units to tenants and build some more but as soon as I do that I get classed as a property trader and have to pay full income tax on any profit.

      Just thinking aloud… what about some sort of vendor finance / rent-to-buy arrangement? Would that help minimise the tax situation whilst providing an (albeit slow-to-build) source of alternative reinvestment capital?

      (As you can probably tell, my knowledge of tax law is worse than zero).

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        Yes, the basic idea is sound enough and there are a number of people in that game, but your instincts are basically right… its a complex area of tax law. Even the GST treatment is a bit of nightmare because you are mixing residential renting (zero-rated for GST) with development and trading which is GST liable.

        We thought about it, but at the time we felt it was for folk with bigger gonads than us. On the other hand maybe we could have another think….

      • Ryan 10.1.2

        The ONLY way not to pay tax is be a membership only incorporated society that is not for profit. And don’t accept donations. Otherwise you will pay tax.. Sounds outrageous doesn’t it?

  11. William Joyce 11

    Despite National once being a party that welcome increased home ownership as a means of giving people a greater stake in society and thereby solving some of societies ills, it prefers that we are all renters and especially to private landlords.

    Having once worked work for state housing, we identified a threat to our continuing to meet “serious housing need” (as defined by then minister Helen Clark), as being an alliance between National and the Property Investors Assoc (and their like). When National got elected in 1990, they immediately began selling off houses and closed down the loans side of HCNZ.

    National would not like Marty’s ideas….
    It would increase the size of the state.
    It smacks of central planning (something you can’t have in a capitalist economy – except for China of course – am I still allowed to use the word smack?)
    It would make the state a greater landlord and deprive Nat-ACT consituents of rental income.
    It would put the shit-covered masses in the neigbourhoods of the Nat-ACT supporters.
    It would change the voting patterns of places like Epsom.
    It would not provide the needed ghettos in the outer suburbs that Nat-ACT people drive past on the motorway and point out to their children as warnings against indolence and penury.

  12. Herodotus 12

    Home ownership is the easiest way to get the many to conform to societies norms. As they now have something that is costly and the fear that they could lose this tends to turn people to becomming increasing conservative, you now have entered middle class all that is required is a (married) partner 2.8 children and a dog!!!
    Beware you now have purchased a ticket to the rat race and there is no opting out !!!
    Both Lab and Nat spin drs like this conformity as they can now play on your fears!!!!!!

    • William Joyce 12.1

      I get your point and have sympathy with it. “Little boxes on the hill side” in “Nappy Valley Sunshine”.
      But we have people who feel that they have no stake in the country (in the world for that matter).
      How can we help them? Should we? Do we want people to find a role/place in society as “Convict”, “Welfare dependant”, “Home invader”. That disturbs my ability to be a clone.
      Home ownership is only one option and it not for everybody. I’m the last person who wants a docile populace because they are mortgage slaves. What I would like to see is more people build some capital for themselves – whether that is in their own home, a qualification, investments, family etc.I want them to have ownership in society – in what ever form that may.
      Any ideas?

      On another issue, for a number of reasons we need a landlord of last resort.

      • Ryan 12.1.1

        A completely referendum run government via computer use along with a free education dammit.

  13. jcuknz 13

    While I used to be and probably still am all with you Marty, originally I went even further with a concept of state housing being available for all with appropriate housing for one at various stages of life … single men’s accomodation with shared abolution areas onwards … charged at 30% income … that an incentive to move out into the relatively ‘cheaper’ private zone as you progressed in life, if you did.
    But the thought of the dreadful urban sprawl that has occured over the past eight decades eating up in many cases valuable farmland continues to concern me. The idea of mass produced kitset but well designed ecofreindly houses appeals but the big question is … where will we put them. Instead of the traditional quarter acre section or even the tiny ones people put expensive houses on these days … we I think need to accept the highrise city block. There I seem to remember reading about stacking glorified containers so maybe I am mis reading your intentions. Another thought, floating homes such as Hong Kong spreading out over the Hauraki Gulf, but would people be happy with Porta-Potti’s. I guess if it was ‘marina like’ connections and pumping would be possible.
    The first step I think is to upgrade our current housing stock by retrofitting or replacement. Bringing back the sensible Buiding Code of pre-1990’s which guided the likes of me with no industry experience to build two homes, for first my family and my retirement by replacing buildings past their used-by dates within the city. Better that than all the longwinded and expensive carry-on we currently have with regulations imposed by politicians scared of public backlash at problems caused by their past timidity..

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    Luxon says his government is one that is “prepared to make those hard decisions”. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has adopted the language of Ruth Richardson before her 1991 ‘Mother of All Budgets’ in arguing for benefit sanctions to bolster the Government finances, which ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Talking over the Silence.
    Please open the doorNothing is different, we've been here beforePacing these hallsTrying to talk over the silenceIf I was to describe what I do, or at least the way it sometimes feels, then talking over the silence wouldn’t be a bad way to do so.Not that there aren’t other voices ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL: National needs to go further
    Lindsay Mitchell writes – In today’s State of the Nation speech Christopher Luxon talked repeatedly about getting young people off welfare. It seems that National has devised a traffic light system which will use increasing levels of sanctions – welfare deductions – when beneficiaries fail to meet their ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National spreading panic about the economy
    It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is… Then how come ...
    2 days ago
  • The promise of passive house design
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Sarah Wesseler Imagine a home so efficient that it could be heated with a hair dryer. That’s the promise of a passive house, a design standard that’s becoming increasingly popular in the architecture community for its benefits to occupants and the climate. ...
    2 days ago
  • Deep in the Uncanny Valley of AI
    Hi,Before we get started, some very big fun Webworm news. I am launching a new journalism fund called Big Worm Farm!A really great thing that’s happened with Webworm over the last four years is that it’s grown. That’s great for a few reasons.Firstly — it means the work here gets ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 days ago
  • Introducing: Big Worm Farm
    Hi,I’m excited to tell you about Big Worm Farm.Put simply, the main aim of Big Worm Farm is to support investigative journalists from around the world to be able to devote dedicated time to research and report on a specific story, to be published on Webworm.The stories will capture the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 days ago
  • Why Massey is broke
    The Tertiary Education Commission has named the two universities it says are at high risk financially. They are Massey and Victoria. The Commission appeared before Parliament’s Education Select Committee yesterday and offered a revealing and rare insight into the complex world of university economics. Its Briefing to the Incoming Minister ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • You keep Luxin' when you oughta be thruthin'
    Christopher Luxon’s campaign to win last year's election continued yesterday with a speech.Channelling possibly Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he was all, I'm not going to dress it up, I'm going to level with you guys: the state of the nation is fragile.The thing he’s maybe missing is that it ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • The PM spoke of the need for tough choices – and then opted to beat a retreat when gays and Gaza a...
    Buzz from the Beehive The PM’s State of the Nation speech – according to a Newshub headline – was a ‘buffet of buzzwords’ and full of ‘nonsense’. Fair to say, the quoted words were attributed to Opposition politicians, who were unlikely to say the speech was visionary and inspiring: PM ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • Keynesian Wisdom.
    When the facts change, I change my mind - what do you do, sir?John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    3 days ago
  • BRIAN EASTON: Puffing policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. Brian Easton writes – In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Is 2.8% per year population growth too much?
    TL;DR: The Government is reviewing migration settings that produced 2.8% population growth last year and is looking at a longer-term strategy of matching population growth to the ‘absorbtive capacity’ of Aotearoa-NZ’s infrastructure.Our population grew last year at its fastest rate since 1947, when large numbers of troops returning from World ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Tough Choices & Tough Love.
    I've been trying to hurt youI've been holding you tightI've been learning to love youAm I doing it right?How are you still breathingWith my hands all over your heart?How do we start healingIf we can't keep out the dark?Yesterday the Prime Minister delivered his State of the Nation, for no ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Will the 2024 RLTP be yet another debacle?
    A couple of years ago, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport found themselves in court over the 2021 Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP). A non-profit alliance for transport decarbonisation, All Aboard Aotearoa, argued that among other factors, the RLTP was unlawful because it failed to give effect to the 2021 Government ...
    3 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #07
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, Feb 11, 2024 thru Sat, Feb 17, 2024. Story of the week Based on mission alignment, our Story of the Week is certainly Can we be inoculated against climate ...
    4 days ago
  • Immigration Issues.
    Help is comingI heard a whisperWhite caps turningThe breath of summerA distant drummingAnd liar birds callingEscape the anguish of our pastAnd prayOne of the major challenges of the the 21st century will be the mass migration of human beings around our globe.Some seeking economic opportunities, others fleeing repressive regimes, war ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Trust us, we know what we’re doing
    The best trick the National Party ever pulled was to fabricate their reputation as the responsible ones.This would be the National Party that denied us the New Zealand Superannuation Scheme that—Brian Gaynor wrote back in 2007would be worth more than $240 billion today and would have transformed the New Zealand ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • The Left’s Timidity
    It is not just Karl Marx – even the most enthusiastic supporters of the market economy (not least Adam Smith) will concede that its normal operation inevitably leads to a concentration of wealth in relatively few hands. Some, at least, of these enthusiasts will accept that such a concentration is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • OLIVER HARTWICH: Absurd – NZ courts can now decide on climate change
    Oliver Hartwich writes – The World Justice Project ranks New Zealand 7th out of 142 countries on its ‘Rule of Law Index’, narrowly ahead of Australia’s 13th place. However, Australia still has hope – if only because of a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Still waiting on that turnaround
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Friday: Week in review, quiz style2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Mihi Forbes and the great Atlas conspiracy
    Graham Adams writes — Last week, Mihingarangi Forbes made an extraordinary claim while interviewing David Seymour on Mata Reports, a taxpayer-funded current affairs programme which, she says, looks at events through an “indigenous lens”. She asked him about Act’s links to the Atlas Network, which fosters connections between centre-right ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    6 days ago
  • Puffing Policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we need the money’. He explained that no-excise-duty ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Luxon is one of three prime ministers pressing for a ceasefire in Gaza – but the two-state solutio...
    Buzz from the Beehive Two days after hundreds of people rallied outside the New Zealand parliament and the US embassy in Wellington to protest against what they maintain is genocide in Gaza,  Prime Minister Chris Luxon joined with the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada to express their  concerns that ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • All jellied up with possum grease
    1. Shane Jones, addressing the energy industry, called climate concern what?a. The only sane responseb. Undeniably valid c. Our last best hope d. A "religion" 2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. Gleeful ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Equality comes to Greece
    The Greek Parliament has voted for marriage equality: Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday's 176-76 vote in parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law would "boldly abolish a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  Iron in her soul.
      “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche   Chris Trotter writes – TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to Feb 16
    Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Stop Whispering.
    There's nothing to sayAnd there's nothing to doStop whispering, start shoutingStop whispering, start shoutingYesterday our government surprised a few of us by standing up for something. It wasn’t for the benefit of people who own holiday homes and multiple investment properties. Neither were there any tobacco companies or fishing cartels ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • “I'm Not Keen on Whataboutism, But What About…”
    Hi,Not sure how your week is going, but I’ve had a pretty frustrating one. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and I think it’s perhaps distilled in this message I got on Twitter:What got me a bit riled up is that it was a response to the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National passing bad policies under urgency
    If National really had faith in its welfare policies, it wouldn’t be ramming them through Parliament under urgency – a step that means the policies can’t be exposed to select committee debate, public submissions, expert commentary, media scrutiny and all the normal democratic processes that this coalition appears to hold ...
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 16-February-2024
    It’s Friday so once again here”s our roundup of some of the articles that caught our attention this week. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt looked at the Government’s war on Auckland. On Tuesday Matt covered the ongoing issues with the rail network. On Thursday Matt ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Dawn Chorus for Friday, February 16
    The six things to note in my view at 6.30 am on Friday, February 16 in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Iron In Her Soul.
    “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich NietzscheTELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP for Auckland Central is the odds-on ...
    6 days ago
  • Dig this
    Resources Minister Shane Jones yesterday told a breakfast hosted by Energy Resources Aotearoa precisely what they wanted to hear. “We campaigned to rehabilitate relegitimise and stand up for working families who derive their income,  derive their hope and derive purpose in regional New Zealand through a flourishing, growing, forward-leaning energy ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #7 2024
    Open access notables Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course, van Westen et al., Science Advances: Here, we show results of the first tipping event in the Community Earth System Model, including the large climate impacts of the collapse. Using these results, we develop a physics-based and ...
    7 days ago
  • A rejection of the rule of law
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Shrugging-Off The Atlas Network.
    Upholding The Status-Quo: The Left’s election defeat is not the work of the Atlas Network. It is not even the work of David Seymour and Act. It is the work of ordinary citizens who liked the Right’s stories better than they liked the Left’s. If the Right’s stories were made ...
    7 days ago
  • BARRIE SAUNDERS: Treaty Principles – all rather problematic
    Barrie Saunders writes – When ACT’s leader said they wanted legislation to state what the Treaty principles mean, my first thought was this will be controversial and divisive.  Clearly it is. The first reference to the principles of the Treaty were contained in the 1975 Act establishing the Treaty of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    7 days ago
  • Luxon Rejects The “Rejection Election” At His Peril.
    Fitting Right In: National retailed a reactionary manifesto of right-wing, racially-charged policies to the electorate throughout 2023. No talk back then of ignoring the overwhelming political preferences of the voting public and making a strong stand on principle. If Luxon’s pollsters and focus-groups were telling him that the public was ...
    7 days ago
  • Valentine’s Day went unnoticed on the Beehive website – but it is not “baa, humbug” to celeb...
    Buzz from the Beehive None of our ministers – a quick check with the Beehive website suggests – found cause to mention, let along celebrate, Valentine’s Day. But two ministers – Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson – ensured that National Lamb Day did not pass ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Are You A Leftist?
    Nothing To Lose But Our Chains: The emancipatory movement which the Left, understood correctly, has always been, cannot accommodate those who are only able to celebrate one group’s freedom by taking it from another. The expectation, always, among leftists, is that liberty enlarges us. That striking-off a person’s shackles not ...
    1 week ago
  • An unlawful directive
    An interesting question in the Parliamentary written questions feed today, from Jan Tinetti to the Minister of Education: Has she or her Office directed the Ministry of Education to not release Official Information Act material prior to the full twenty working days, if so, why? Given that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • I’ve been doing this all wrong
    Here are six words that are not easy to say but god it can feel good when you finally say them:I’ve been doing this all wrongFive years ago today I said to myself:What if I'm doing this all wrong?Five years ago today I said to Karren: I think I’m going to ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”
    This is a re-post from RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals ...
    1 week ago
  • Drawn
    A ballot for five Member's Bills was held today, and the following bills were drawn: Parole (Mandatory Completion of Rehabilitative Programmes) Amendment Bill (Todd Stephenson) Goods and Services Tax (Removing GST From Food) Amendment Bill (Rawiri Waititi) Income Tax (ACC Payments) Amendment Bill (Hamish Campbell) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Valentines from ACT.
    Some of us make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. We’ll buy the flowers, eye watering though the price spike might be. Say the things we should be saying anyway, although diminished by being scheduled for delivery. Some of us will even write long free-form newsletters with declarations of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Tax cuts paid for by 13k more kids in poverty
    MSD advised the government that the indexation change it passed under urgency last night is likely to put around 7,000 extra children (and potentially up to 13,000) into poverty. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government has reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Fuel Tax Fight and Rail Fail update
    The two stories we covered at the start of the week continue to be in the headlines so it’s worth looking at the latest for each of them. Regional Fuel Tax Mayor Wayne Brown promised some ‘argy-bargy’ over the government’s decision to cancel the Regional Fuel Tax and he’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • I don’t know!
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73411 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    1 week ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago

  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Government to address business payment practices
    The Government will repeal the Business Payment Practices Act 2023, Small Business and Manufacturing Minister Andrew Bayly announced today. “There is a major problem with large market players imposing long payment terms and routinely paying invoices late. “However, the Business Payment Practices Act is not an effective solution and would ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Finance Minister to meet Australian Treasurer
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to Australia today to meet her Australian counterpart, Treasurer Jim Chalmers.    “New Zealand and Australia have an incredibly strong trade and investment relationship. The Closer Economic Relations and Single Economic Market are powerful engines for growth on both sides of the Tasman.     “I will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • PM shocked and saddened at death of Efeso Collins
    “I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death,” Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to his family, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister congratulates NZQA Top Scholars
    Education Minister Erica Stanford congratulates the New Zealand Scholarship recipients from 2023 announced today.  “Receiving a New Zealand Scholarship is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the hard work and dedication the recipients have put in throughout the year,” says Ms Stanford.  “New Zealand Scholarship tests not only ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
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