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Armstrong demolishes Nats on housing

Written By: - Date published: 10:13 am, May 18th, 2017 - 28 comments
Categories: housing, national, useless - Tags: , ,

John Armstrong is still out there, and he is not impressed:

Government’s handling of housing crisis lurches from chaotic to shambolic

National’s persistent and longstanding refusal to acknowledge that the Auckland housing crisis is a crisis has been a textbook example of the kind of self-inflicted muddles that bedevil long-running governments and which ultimately destroy them.

By this stage of a government’s life-cycle, long-serving ministers start believing in their own omnipotence regardless of the cold, hard fact that in National’s case an election is just around the corner. Ministers are always right. Everyone else is wrong. As the crisis worsens, ministers subscribe to short-term fixes and patch-work solutions in the hope those measures will do the trick.

They rarely do so. And never when the problem is as deep-seated, complex and intractable as the Auckland housing shortage. To admit there is a crisis is to admit to failure. To refuse to admit there is a crisis is to leave yourself open to ridicule. The upshot is that National’s handling of the shortage of affordable new homes in Auckland has run the whole gamut between the merely chaotic to the utterly shambolic.

The stumbling and bumbling has put National very much on the back foot on the no.1 issue in a metropolis where elections are won and lost.

It is also the one area of policy where Labour has come up with a clear and coherent package of interlocking policies, the intent of which are difficult to criticise.

Labour’s leader won deserved plaudits for flagging the removal of what amounts to a subsidy which not only fills the pockets of those in least need of receiving it, but which has also seen billions of dollars shunted into the property market at the huge expense of productive investment. Such tax write-offs are indefensible regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum.

Labour first promulgated its KiwiBuild scheme back in 2012. Its objective is the construction of 100,000 affordable houses nationwide over ten years for first-home buyers. At the time, National almost drowned in the sound of its own scoffing at Labour’s plan. Five years on, National is now copying it. And shamelessly so.

The urgent need to build more social housing to accommodate the poor also raises questions about Bill English’s mad-scientist experiment in creating a free market for state housing. The programme had the unstated intention of running down Housing New Zealand. If anything, the apparent boost to social housing cited in the Crown Building Project would seem to give the state housing agency an enhanced role.

If you are looking for ideological consistency from National four months out from a general election, however, you can forget it.

Go read the full piece for plenty more.

28 comments on “Armstrong demolishes Nats on housing ”

  1. michelle 1

    Adding to the above bills programme had the unstated intention of running down our SOEs so they could then justify flicking them of cheaply to foreign corporations
    does NZ Post ring a bell

  2. tc 2

    Ahh the winds of change, bit late from the beltway trougher.

    Armstrong was a key sycophant who played his part in grannies national party propoganda.

    • Yes,… a bit rich from Armstrong,…. a fictitious $100 , 0000 bottle of wine and a certain Chinese businessman springs to mind during Cunliffes campaign , still , … it seems like hes found his truth serum bottle again regarding Nationals drive to privatize everything…

  3. AB 3

    Typical wilful blindness from Armstrong – attributing the mess over housing to 3rd-term fatigue rather than an inevitable outcome of corrupt right-wing ideology.

  4. Reality 4

    Whatever his past “sins”, John Armstrong has this time written an excellent and blunt summation of National’s “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” dogma re housing. The run down state of Housing NZ properties, the vacant properties, and the vacant land sitting there for years, have been amoral and plain wrong, together with the dividend which could have been put to such good use.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    And never when the problem is as deep-seated, complex and intractable as the Auckland housing shortage.

    It’s deep seated because for decades we’ve been taught that we should own our own homes. That’s also what makes it intractable.

    It’s complex because:
    1. We allow people to own more than one home
    2. We’ve put in place rules that allow and encourage speculation
    3. We allow the private banks to control our money supply and create money upon demand with a massive incentive to create far more than what’s good for society
    4. We allow people from offshore to own homes

    Perhaps we need to get round to that ban on offshore ownership that we need but the politicians are in denial of and only allow people to own one home. That would put paid to the speculation and homes sitting empty.

    Five years on, National is now copying it. And shamelessly so.

    Copying it and seriously reducing it to the point that it would be entirely useless. And, given the effect of their other plans to encourage more homes to be built, there isn’t any real hope that it will work.

    The urgent need to build more social housing to accommodate the poor also raises questions about Bill English’s mad-scientist experiment in creating a free market for state housing. The programme had the unstated intention of running down Housing New Zealand.

    The free-market has never actually worked. That’s why we’ve always had government programs.

    Saying that it worked has allowed the governments of the last few decades to wind back those successful government programs so as to get a few people rich.

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      Dont often agree with you, but essentially you are right
      The banking system is designed to drive up the prices, the size of the mortgage and the revenue for the banks
      You could say its the supermarkets who are behind the obesity crisis, as they stock food and products that arent good for us but bring in a good income for shelf space fees. Explains why vast spaces given over to surgery drinks , breakfast cereals with dubious benefits and things like candy masquerading as cereal bars ( another big space user)

      • WILD KATIPO 5.1.1

        Ha ! – I live off chilli beans and corn , eat em mixed and cold- love em. And tuna and salmon and Sardines , almonds and brazil nuts, raw garlic and onions and some spag. Red wine , coffee and green tea.

        I call it the ‘ SASQUATCH ‘ diet.

        I should write a book.

        I can just imagine a gym full of hairy wild bastards giving the two fingered salute to the bankers.

        Sasquatch Genome Project Press Conference – YouTube
        Video for sasquatch genome project youtube▶ 2:13:09

    • David Mac 5.2

      “The free-market has never actually worked. That’s why we’ve always had government programs.”

      A combination of state and corporate owned enterprises seems to work best. It’s the ‘Who does what’ where we seem to have the most friction.

      With the exception of food, I think most of life’s ‘Got to haves’ require considerable state intervention. Housing, police, education, health, power. As a general rule of thumb I think the ‘Nice to haves’ are best left to market forces.

      I don’t want a state made car or clothes or to be restricted to listening/watching state radio/tv broadcasts. I don’t want to holiday at a state owned resort, I want to go to one that is trying desperately to out do their competitor. Capitalism brings choice, I like that choice, we all do. Choice = freedom.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        With the exception of food, I think most of life’s ‘Got to haves’ require considerable state intervention.

        The government should guarantee that everyone gets enough to eat of a good range of healthy food. The best way to do that is through government farms supported by taxation.

        Anything beyond that could be supplied via the ‘free-market’.

        As a general rule of thumb I think the ‘Nice to haves’ are best left to market forces.

        I could agree with that but here’s a question:

        In the 1950s, before computers became obligatory, should the government have pushed their development?

        I don’t want a state made car or clothes or to be restricted to listening/watching state radio/tv broadcasts.

        You shouldn’t be able to afford a car – climate change proves that. businesses and government don’t really need a choice.
        All of the NZ TV programs and many of the movies made here are funded through NZOnAir – i.e, they are ‘state’ programs and broadcasts.

        Choice = freedom.

        Well, no it doesn’t. Ask the people who can’t feed themselves if they have a choice. When I connect to the internet what choice do I have? Does it come in different colours or is it just a choice of which set of bludgers are getting rich from providing exactly the same service? Does having that choice actually make me better off?

        The answer to that last question is that it doesn’t because it also costs a hell of a lot. Those bludgers really do cost us more and then there’s the duplication in bureaucracy that each corporation represents.

        • David Mac 5.2.1.1

          I think you’re placing too much faith in my work ethic Draco. When we’re both lifesavers at Club Kiwi and I get the same pay as you if I’m surfing or working, I’ll be surfing.

          Yes, the hungry person has no choice, they don’t have the freedom to choose. Choice = freedom.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1

            I think you’re placing too much faith in my work ethic Draco.

            Only if you insist on being a boring bludger like all those shareholders. They certainly don’t have any work ethic.

            Choice = freedom.

            No it doesn’t.

            Having a choice of name brands doesn’t give any freedom. Having a choice of colours on the car doesn’t give any freedom.

            Freedom comes from being politically active and having your say in how your society runs and we don’t get that. Our representatives don’t represent us but business.

      • Thinkerr 5.2.2

        The thing with the free market, David, is not as simple as the difference between a BMW or a Lada.

        What the so-called free market (I say that because in my opinion it made slaves of at least one generation) is is a shift away from a culture of sharing and looking after your neighbour – which New Zealand was world famous for – to a culture of greed, such that even if I have enough today, I want what you have, because I might need it tomorrow, or because I don’t mind if people go hungry as long I don’t have to meet them and, anyway, I deserve a bigger boat.

        The world today is more complex than pre1984, and there’s no going back to how things used to be, but it seems to me from what I read – even in the Herald, when its conscience pricks it – is that New Zealand used to have a lesser distinction between rich and poor, then it shot past other countries to have one of the fastest growth rates of inequality in the world.

        Check out Robert Reich’s film “Inequality For All” if you want to understand the issues further.

        • David Mac 5.2.2.1

          Hi thinkerr,
          Dividing all the money up so that we all have equal shares would see the status quo smartly returned. Being wealthy isn’t about winning Lotto, we’re either accumulating wealth or we ain’t.

          The equality that matters is an equal chance for everyone, the equality of opportunity to be the best we can be and rewarded accordingly. I think that’s the best we can hope for. Life ain’t fair. Just ask the skinny lion, 27 and a virgin.

  6. weka 6

    Good on Armstrong. But ffs, can people please stop talking about the Auckland housing crisis as if we don’t have a nationwide crisis or that the Auckland issues don’t also affect the rest of the country. The focus on Auckland is stopping us from looking at the real causes and better solutions.

  7. mary_a 7

    Armstrong had his opportunity to play fair and be truthful. But instead he chose to play Natz dirty game of lies, deceit, cover ups and in the process discredited David Cunliffe at the last election, thereby keeping golden boy Key in business, along with his equally greasy, disreputable and corrupt MPs and cronies.

    So now I don’t give a fig what Armstrong says or does. He was culpable in preventing a fairer government getting into office, possibly making NZ a more equal and better place for all Kiwis!

    Too little too late John Armstrong!

    • Yes , … we seem to have our own home grown version of Benedict Arnold fast forwarded a few hundred years…

    • michelle 7.2

      Now if we are going to start blaming people for the mess we are shouldn’t we start with those that voted this lot in and what about the lot that continue to think the sun shines from the gnats backside when it doesn’t it never has and it never will unless its a cows bum

      • WILD KATIPO 7.2.1

        Mate,… have you ever looked into a cows eyes and seen that peacefulness? I’m sure you have.

        That is a far cry from the dipshit’s that continue to support National and drive past beggars and homeless people and watch videos at night as other family’s adjust the pillows in their vans for the young children to sleep their fitful slumbers…

        With you 100 % .

    • edgil 7.3

      Yes, totally correct mary_a.
      Armstrong is not in any position to criticise this government, He is one of them.
      Bring on the rat Mike Hosking, even more culpable.

      • Halfcrown 7.3.1

        “Bring on the rat Mike Hosking, even more culpable.”

        Don’t insult rats by calling them Hosking

  8. The National Party is constipated and needs a good dose of the salts.

  9. SMILIN 9

    the 1930s remind anyone of what we are in and will be until landed gentry national leave office

  10. mordecai" 10

    It is quite entertaining watching Labour supporters faux outrage at the housing crisis, and then Andrew Little’s own goal on his Wellington family home. Add this to a house building policy no-one believes, his crowded house stunt (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=), a deputy that is polling higher than the leader, immigration numbers that he can’t explain…

  11. North 11

    @ 10 – Mordecai mouthing off
    “I don’t give a shit about any crisis or how it affects this country now and into the future….”. Must you display your foolishness, your shallowness, so gratuitously ?

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