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Andrew Little’s speech on housing

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 pm, March 16th, 2017 - 47 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, housing - Tags: , ,

Excellent speech from Andrew Little in Parliament yesterday, on the government’s willful blindness to the housing crisis.

ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition): I move, That the House take note of miscellaneous business. It is a great pleasure to speak at this particular point and ask the question that is on the lips of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders every day, and it is this: what is it about the housing crisis that this Government does not get?

Unlike the Minister of Finance, I get around a lot of New Zealand and a lot of places. Just in the last couple of weeks, hundreds of people turned out at Tauranga, and hundreds turned out at Whangarei—200 at Clyde last week alone. Everywhere I go, everyone I speak to, and everywhere I look, people are saying: “Why is it this Government does not get it about the housing crisis?”

Everyone is now affected by this Government’s neglect and negligence and dereliction when it comes to housing. It is not just about the out-of-control house prices in Auckland; it is also now about rents and rentals. It is not just rent in Auckland; it is rents right across the country, as people are finding. Hard-working New Zealanders are finding they cannot afford to pay their rent any more.

What a damning statistic—that we now find just 2 weeks ago that the average working family finds that what little pay increase it got last year was almost entirely eaten up in extra housing costs.

So New Zealand families last year were, on average, better off by—would you believe it—$2 a week. Just $2 a week, and that is before inflation. That is before the rising cost of food and other costs that households have to meet. No wonder we have people living no longer just in cars and garages but now in caravans.

And now it turns out that schools are so desperate they are going to teach kids in caravans. I do not what it is about this Government and caravans, and jamming people into places where they cannot live and cannot learn.

You know, this Government boasts that it is the social investment Government, and it says “We look at figures and we look at information and we have all the best data and we make a decision that answers the problem that we see.”

Well, what is it about the information about housing that this mob does not get? What is it about the one in five working New Zealanders who are now paying more than 50 percent of their take-home pay in accommodation that does not compel the Government to want to do something serious and meaningful about housing?

What is it about that figure about household incomes simply not keeping pace with the real rising cost of living that does not force it around that Cabinet table to say “You know what, Nick? You’ve got to do something else. You’ve got to do something better because what is happening now is not working.”?

What is it about 41,000 New Zealanders at least who do not even have a home they can call their own that does not make the Government want to do something different?

Well, Labour is going to come to the rescue. Labour has got the plan. Labour is here and we will build a hundred thousand affordable homes over 10 years, and we will build the workforce to go with it, and we will work with the landowners and the property developers, and whoever else we have to, with our affordable housing authority, and we build those homes.

We will get stuck into the speculators—the people who live overseas but want to own a home here because New Zealand is a fantastic place to own a home in even if you do not want to live in it. We are going to get stuck into them and we are going to do what many of our counterpart countries do around the world and say: “If you want to own a home here, you build a new home.”

And then we are going to go after those who get the tax break called negative gearing and we are going to say “You ain’t having that tax break any more.”

We are going to do something about that so that first-home owners, those struggling and striving to do what every New Zealander who has grown up believing they could do—that if they do the right things, work hard and save hard, they can buy their own home. They are going to get a look in, for once.

They are going to get a look in, because right now there is one party that is listening to New Zealanders right across the country. Whether it is Tauranga, Whangarei, Clive, the Botanical Gardens here in Wellington—everywhere I have gone there is one party that is listening to New Zealand, and it is the Labour Party.

New Zealanders are saying: “We want our dream back. We want our kids and our grandkids to have the opportunity that we had to own our own home, to have our own place, to put down our anchors, to have a place where we can raise our children with confidence, be part of strong communities, raise a strong family and live in a great prosperous, bounteous country that we are.”

That is the Kiwi Dream. It is the Labour dream, and we are putting it in place in September this year.


Labour’s housing policy

47 comments on “Andrew Little’s speech on housing”

  1. thechangeling 1

    Great stuff. Andrews looking very Presidential these days.

    • James 1.1

      Do you mean trump like ?

    • Chris 1.2

      I agree. Little was definitely looking and sounding like someone you’d want as PM. The only trouble is what the heck is Labour going to do to fix the housing issue? He’s right when he says things have widened to unaffordable rentals in the regions. Now that that’s happened Labour can’t sit on its hands when it comes to the incomes of the poorest. For as long as Labour ignores the social welfare benefit issue no amount of bluster in the House is going to solve a fucking thing.

      • mordecai 1.2.1

        Little was strong in the house, but it’s difficult to take him seriously on this.

        House prices rose faster under the last Labour government than they have under this government, and housing was less affordable then than now.

        Labour have pledged to build 100,000 affordable houses in 10 years, and yet if you read their housing policy (http://www.labour.org.nz/housing) they simply don’t have the substantive answers to just how they will do that.

        Much of their policy seems to be a mirror of what is happening already (cut through red tape, undertake greenfields projects etc). Other parts rely on the private sector mopping up apprentices when there is currently a shortage of people willing to take up apprenticeships. The policy also relies heavily on the private sector, yet there’s no indication of how they will get the private sector to build $500,000 homes when it generally makes more profit building $1,000,000 homes.

        Both major parties are culpable for the current housing problems, along with incompetent councils (particularly Auckland).

        • Barfly 1.2.1.1

          So….your message is ” they are the same…no point in voting?”… good try arsehat

          • Mordecai 1.2.1.1.1

            No, that is not my message. But housing is (rightly) a major policy plank of Labour’s, and my point is they simply lack credibility.

            • Barfly 1.2.1.1.1.1

              No you are trying to sell the meme that they lack credibility. National needs more voter disengagement.

              • Mordecai

                On housing, Labour do lack credibility. Think about it. Housing is a major issue for Aucklanders in particular, yet Labour’s polling remains dismal.

                • Brendon

                  Labour has a lot of credibility with the non-trolls. For instance this Australian economist -so probably a neutral party considers Labour’s housing superior and a real challenge to the government.

                  http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2017/02/nz-labour-throws-gauntlet-housing/

                  • Mordecai

                    I doubt they’ve even read the policy. I doubt they understand the fact that there are simply not enough people looking for apprenticeships.

                  • Mordecai

                    If Labour’s policy was a challenge to the government, the polls would reflect that. They don’t. Labour’s policy adds nothing of worth to current settings, and prices are already slowing in Auckland.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.2

          and housing was less affordable then than now.

          No it wasn’t. Housing has definitely become less affordable under National.

          I assume that’s the latest lie from National.

        • aj 1.2.1.3

          “House prices rose faster under the last Labour government than they have under this government, and housing was less affordable then than now.”

          Cite please?

          I call bullshit.

  2. Andrew and Jacinda certainly impressed the crowded hall at Glive, — midway between Napier and Hastings. Written comment above says 200 at Clyde. Hope they attract similar or even better attendances around the country .Great team.

  3. Good on you , Mr Andrew Little.

    You have the mandate from so many decent New Zealanders from all walks of life to thunder in fury on this issue.

    We don’t need smarmy theatrics or snide put downs of people who work in our social services from the Key era or the veiled contempt and insults from this current PM about a ‘drugged out’ NZ workforce trying to justify their out of control immigration or passing the buck to shift the blame in their complicity in creating this housing crisis…

    We need men and women of conscience and with the determination to remove this make -believe govt from the benches and instead put back in place fairness and hope again.

    You have the endorsement of huge numbers of people in this country to make this corrupt and inept govt cringe , – and then some. So do it.

    Well done.

    • James 3.1

      “You have the endorsement of huge numbers of people ”

      Really ? Huge numbers ? Endorsements? Labour got hammered last election- and in current polling are looking pretty dire this one as well.

      If you call his numbers huge – you must be awestruck at Bills.

      • DoublePlusGood 3.1.1

        Hundreds of thousands of people that vote for labour aren’t huge numbers? It’d take you most of the rest of the year for you to count that high.

        • james 3.1.1.1

          I was saying that relative to the people who endorse National – the numbers are not huge.

      • greg 3.1.2

        the real question should be why hasn’t national fixed the housing and where is my brighter future fucken cutting my super you need to explain James its not good enough James you guys need to do a lot better you have had 9 years you need to deliver now James you had your great leader but hes fucked off its not good enough to walk away form your promises James.

    • Long past beddy bise time james. toddle off, and dream ,or worse? of dear departed leader.

  4. saveNZ 4

    Labour need to broaden their housing messages past renters to win the election.

    65% of Kiwis own their own house so for the majority of Kiwi’s that is not their biggest issue of the election…. you need more than 50% of votes to win…

    That was the mistake Labour made last time….

    If you want change on housing you need a change of government, so blindly following an issue like housing shortages that doesn’t effect enough people and thinking it does, because politicians and lobby groups want it too, just doesn’t work.

    There’s a reason there is a housing crisis and that is due to demand of housing due to immigration. Do the Math. Incoming, outgoing…

    For the rest of the country it is low wages and temporary work contracts so they can’t pay rents let alone afford a house.

    If Labour want to use housing they need to broaden it past, just the rental market.

    Broaden their messages to all homeowners losing their houses due to climate change, high charges of rates and insurance, interest rates, state house sell offs, government stealing water and assets, interfering in councils and ECAN etc

    Unlike renters, if someone loses their house in an earthquake or flood, they can’t just move on to a better residence – they get stuck in limbo – sometimes for years fighting council, EQC and their insurers and have no roof over their heads, while still having to pay rates and mortgages… and rents while they wait.

    Look how poorly Labour did in Chch last election, they failed to empathise with people facing massive problems from Natural disasters.

    There were also massive floods in Northland and have been for years, now it’s spreading.

    In between all the floods there seems to be droughts, forcing farmers (and not all farmers are Natz voting dairy farmers) there are many small lifestyle blocks etc

    During this time, the Natz and councils have been giving water away for free and polluting the rest apparently.

    If a home owner loses their job or gets relocated, their hours cut, they also have the same issues – they have to continue to pay their mortgage and rates. They can’t just give 3 weeks notice to the banks when things go wrong.

    Sorry to be blunt, but I for one don’t want Labour and Greens to blow their election chances yet again.

    Labour’s housing policy is also pretty similar on the face of it to National’s – the main difference is that they are not selling off the state houses. However Labour can not build enough houses any way for the amount of people coming in and local people on low wages can’t afford to buy them (aka 100,000 over 10 years and affordable being $500,000) .

    So if you do not have a solid job with good wages, how the hell can you afford to $500,000 and therefore why would Labour’s housing policy mean something to you as a renter – tax cuts might be just as valuable to you?

    If you are a bit more savvy you would work out that the numbers and time frames on Labour’s policy don’t stack up either. Yep, better than the Natz who are actively stealing public assets and making people homeless as fast as possible, but still not really enough of a solution.

    So I’m not sure that the ra rah that Labour thinks it’s getting on the housing crisis is real and that is reflected in the polls. Labour’s messaging is still too one dimensional and fails to include why homeowners should support Labour.

    People are turning towards Labour, because they hate National, not because they believe Labour can solve the housing crisis.

    • greg 4.1

      new Zealand is not like the the USA there is no strategic default you cant pay the mortgage you loose everything if the house sale doesn’t cover the debt they take your kiwi saver the lot sooner or later large numbers of kiwis are going to default.the question is should we feel bad for them or take the attitude nobody made them get into debt iam having a real conflict over this part of me would like to see speculators get there just deserts and pay for there greed.my great fear is society will bailout the speculators at the expense of the people

  5. saveNZ 5

    To win the election Labour and Greens and their supporters have to stop the blame game on individual groups and push the responsibility back to the National government.

    AKA – blaming farmers for the water pollution, nope government and council policy and lack of enforcement is to blame.

    AKA – blaming foreign investors for buying up assets – nope if government yokels want to give away water rights for free and sell cheap land and assets to give foreign investors massive profits while giving them ample tax breaks, who is to blame investors for taking the opportunity!

    It’s the government’s fault pure and simple – they make the laws and they want this to be happening.

    National seem to have plenty of time to put through urgent laws about school lunches and mass surveillance for example, but their hands are tied when billions of water is being exported for nothing (and surprise surprise Natz cronies seem to be taking a share of the pie).

    Blaming speculators for the housing crisis, nope government has actively decided to massively increase the population and they don’t care who is coming in to do it – or whether there is any infrastructure in place to support it, let alone who’s going to pay for it, or how it is lowering the wages and ripping people off – again not migrants but the National party policy is to blame for the housing crisis.

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    You oust incumbents by telling people how horrible the incumbents are. But don’t be overly specific about your solutions or the incumbents will attack your proposals.

    By these criteria I rate this an excellent speech.

    Specific about National’s failures. Generalizations about Labour’s solutions. A winning formula.

    • james 6.1

      “You oust incumbents by telling people how horrible the incumbents are”

      LOL – Thats hilarious.

      That does not work at all. Labor have been trying for years and it hasn’t worked.

      In order for that to work – People have to believe you. You have to have credibility n what you are saying, and you have to have a plan.

      Labour just do not have the credibility, nor do people trust or believe Little – Well, Thats my take on polls.

      Just telling them things are bad and that the incumbents eat babies for breakfast just dosnt work.

      • DoublePlusGood 6.1.1

        Indeed, John Key could have eaten a baby live on national TV, and commentators would have raved about his technique.

      • AmaKiwi 6.1.2

        @ James

        You are wrong. Human nature: “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”

        Governments are ousted when the devil we know is a disaster.

        In 2008, Helen was ousted because share markets were crashing in the global financial crisis. People were scared as hell.

        Key got re-elected twice because he was a great salesman and the economy was doing reasonably well. In 2014, Labour tried to win with very specific proposals. National cut them to shreds. Key to Cunliffe during the CHC 2014 tv debate: “Labour will impose FIVE NEW TAXES!”

        In 2014, the voters decided, “The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t know.”

    • tuppence shrewsbury 6.2

      “We know whats wrong and we say we know how to fix it, but we won’t show you till after you vote us in because our opponents will attack the holes in our plans”

      FIFY

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    We are going to get stuck into them and we are going to do what many of our counterpart countries do around the world and say: “If you want to own a home here, you build a new home.”

    And hopefully, once they realise that that doesn’t work, they’ll offshore ownership altogether because that is the only

    And then we are going to go after those who get the tax break called negative gearing and we are going to say “You ain’t having that tax break any more.”

    It’s a good move but what’s it actually going to do?

    That is the Kiwi Dream.

    No, that is actually the nightmare.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Ok, I’ll clean it up:

      We are going to get stuck into them and we are going to do what many of our counterpart countries do around the world and say: “If you want to own a home here, you build a new home.”

      And hopefully, once they realise that that doesn’t work, they’ll ban offshore ownership altogether because that is the only

      And then we are going to go after those who get the tax break called negative gearing and we are going to say “You ain’t having that tax break any more.”

      It’s a good move but what’s it actually going to do considering the underlying problem isn’t being addressed?

      That is the Kiwi Dream.

      Home ownership, what they’re calling the ‘kiwi dream’ is actually the basis for the housing nightmare that we now have.

      Make having a home a human right and get rid of private ownership and the government will be able to provide enough housing. But as it is the government is forced to ensure that the speculators get to make a killing on the housing market for producing no value at all.

      That’s what private ownership does.

      • AB 7.1.1

        Draco – I agree in principle with treating housing as a human right associated with citizenship. (Another reason incidentally why citizenship shouldn’t be handed out willy-nilly like a lolly scramble, because it comes with important rights and responsibilities)
        But you will never sell electorally the idea of no private ownership or the government building most/all houses. The immediate mental image for most people will be Soviet-era tower blocks.
        I think it is better to allow some sort of properly regulated market to operate – but make it virtually impossible to use residential property as a speculative investment. I also think we need far more diversity in the type of housing to suit people at different stages of life and with different preferences about how they live. Different ownership models too – because the lifelong mortgage is a killer in terms of living a fulfilled of life. Instead you are tied to regular paid employment for 30-40 years and terrified of losing it. There is limited opportunity to explore your real talents and passions. I don’t think we will get that diversity with centralised solutions run by the state.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          The immediate mental image for most people will be Soviet-era tower blocks.

          And these are worse than the present capitalist era leaky tower blocks how?

          I think it is better to allow some sort of properly regulated market to operate – but make it virtually impossible to use residential property as a speculative investment.

          The market doesn’t provide what’s needed. In fact, IMO, its sole purpose is the enrichment of the few. In other words, speculation is part and parcel of the market.

          I also think we need far more diversity in the type of housing to suit people at different stages of life and with different preferences about how they live.

          Yes and I’m pretty sure that the state can do that better than individuals because the state actually has the information necessary to do it while the individuals don’t. The individuals are just guessing and getting it mostly wrong which is why the market generally fails.

          Different ownership models too

          Why have ownership at all?

          We can make it so that people who rent can have all the rights that owners presently have and be more secure because they’re not going to be kicked out either by the bank or by the landlord when they sell.

          I don’t think we will get that diversity with centralised solutions run by the state.

          You do understand that local councils and their wards are part of the state don’t you?

  8. Bill 8

    A Open Market Shared Equity scheme and a New Supply Shared Equity scheme could maybe help make Labour’s housing plan actually work in a market that’s priced most people out.

    The basic idea is that a home buyer buys a share in the property (from 60% to 90%) and the government owns the rest. When and if the house sells, the government recoups its share.

    Under the New Supply Shared Equity scheme, the Scottish Government gives grants to registered social landlords – normally a housing association or housing co-operative – to help them build or buy new homes for sale. The Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers: New Supply Shared Equity 2014 information leaflet is available for buyers (viewable in the contents section of the publications page).

    and on the Open Market Shared Equity scheme…

    The minimum equity stake that buyers must take in a property is 60 per cent and the maximum equity stake is 90 per cent. Lenders normally require buyers to provide a modest deposit.

    Social democracy. Gotta love it 😉

  9. New Zealand First actually does not allow property to be sold to non-New Zealanders.

    This is why I am voting for New Zealand First in September.

    http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/housing

    • AmaKiwi 9.1

      @ Robert Glennie

      Surprise! NZ set up this policy for the Cook Islands. Foreigners can lease land for a maximum of 99 years, but they can NEVER own it. Only native Cook Islanders can own the land.

      Similar laws are common in many nations around the world. Unfortunately for the Tahitians, it is not so there (they are a department of France). The Tahitians have lost every one of their public beaches to wealthy private owners! Neo-liberal colonialism.

  10. Cynical jester 10

    The only time I’ve ever seen him look like a leader was when jacinda was by his side. I perform all around the country and as a political comedian the message is always the same, they either don’t know who he is or they don’t like him. Traditional labour voters are saying they refuse to give this guys labour party two ticks. “Visionless,spineless,tired and trying to be all things to all people makes them nothing to anyone” are the usual comments from people who voted labour till 2014

    I suppose it doesn’t matter who the leader is because winstons going to demand the pm position from either party but I do believe if he were to stand down and jacinda were to take over labour would be at mid to late 30s.

    I can’t wait to see the back of Andrew, he’s only in there because of the homophobic unions and has had nearly three years and has had nearly zero traction. Labour either underestimates Bill English or is concentrating on 2020 and already throen in the towel for this year

    The fourth term of national is going to destroy the last remnants of the social democratic compromise of the 20th century and labour is either complicit or incompetent or both.

  11. Skeptic 11

    I thought from the text of the speech, that it was long on platitudes and generalities, but short on specifics. As the saying goes – “the devil is in the details”. How is Labour going to “get stuck into overseas absentee owners”? What exactly is going to be done about slum landlords? Who is going to build these tens of thousands of houses – and where? What exactly is Labour going to do about cooling the market – is there going to be a CGT – is there going to be enforced income related rent? These are just two things that could hurt landlords and make them think twice about multi-property ownership. If they decide to sell their over-priced, overvalued, over hyped properties, that too could go a long way to bringing the overall house values down. What about the conjoining issue – income? What is Labour going to do to ensure the average lowest 30% of wage earners get a livable wage that is genuinely inflation indexed and not some Treasury counterfeit?
    Like I said long on generalities and very short on specifics. We need to know these things before we decide who we’re going to vote for. If Labour doesn’t take on the Nats on BASE PRINCIPLES, then they’ve already lost, because the people I talk to – the builders, the cleaners, the road workers, the temps, the casuals, the “Labour Contractors”, the underpaid, overworked real working class!! – they all say the same thing – Labour has got to stop pandering to the trendy lefty middle-class wannabes and start looking after the real workers. When they do,with specifics about how they’re going to stick it to the Tories and their hangers-oners – then we’ll vote for them, but not before. That’s the message I’m telling this website. Get real and you’ll be in for three terms. Don’t and you won’t! The real working class have had a gutsfull.

    • Whispering Kate 11.1

      Skeptic – haven’t you realised this –

      National are empty of ideas, have no vision or creativity for the future of NZ, all they are good for is copying other parties ideas when they come up with realistic plans that will work, they then steal them and tweak these ideas to suit themselves. Bunnings are like this in another way, bring in the price of the tool you have seen in another store and we will match or lower the price for you from our stock. Easy that way, let others do the pricing so they don’t have to make the decision for themselves. They also remind me of the Japanese car industry many many years ago, they were fantastic at making cars but were not so good at creating car models of their own from scratch, so they used other countries ideas and modified their cars from them for the market.

      I can understand why Labour/Greens want to keep their policy for the future under wraps until they absolutely have to – they have been stung before by National – why give it away to the opposition – methinks they have learned from history so good on them for holding back pertinent policy details.

      • Skeptic 11.1.1

        Excellent point about copycatting, but …….. if Labour were to announce real policies, with details that cannot be anything but a smack in the eye for the ratbag landlords or the scumbag employers – I mean policies that are going to obviously hurt them in such a way that there can be no doubt that if they want to remain part of NZ society, then they are going to be forced to contribute fully to that society and not be subsidies by the lower class taxpayer – then I don’t think the Tories will copy those policies – not even half way with a watered down version.
        The type of thing I’m thinking of is a) an entrenched (so it can’t be altered) law requiring all income to be declared and published, and b) the lowest income to be a guaranteed livable income based on one seventh of the average of the top ten percentage. In Housing a series of policies a) entrenched law providing for income related rents at 25% of gross income maximum, and b) a set of building WOF with automatic confiscation without compensation for buildings not meeting those standards. Abolition of all private education and private health and dental care with these functions to vested permanently in the State by entrenched law.
        These four policies would never be copied by National – they’re far too hurtful for their supporters – but they are exactly what the original Labour Party stood for in the 1920s and 1930s. Why can’t Labour be Labour?

  12. Tanz 12

    And how many homes do Jacinda and Andrew own? Do they charge top rents as well? I wonder…

  13. Peter 13

    ” . . .will build a hundred thousand affordable homes over 10 years”

    How?
    The Government doesn’t even own a hammer – the Ministry of Works is long gone.
    So they will need to contract Fletchers (or someone similar) to build them.
    But all of the builders are flat out already (just try and hire a tradie right now, and see how long you have to wait).
    So each house that ‘The Government’ gets built will mean one less house being built in the non-Government sector.
    No nett gain there.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      Oh look: yet another can’t do Kiwi.

      It’s ok, no-one is expecting you to be able to do anything.

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