Government announces watered down version of Labour’s Kiwibuild policy

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, October 12th, 2016 - 82 comments
Categories: bill english, labour, national, phil twyford, Politics, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , , ,

One day after the Labour-Green-Maori Party inquiry into homelessness’s recommendations have been announced and the Government is busily moving to implement one of the recommendations, or at least a watered down version of it.

From Radio New Zealand:

The government is going to become a large supplier of medium-density housing in Auckland, the Minister for Housing New Zealand Bill English says.

Mr English said once the Unitary Plan was in place, the government would be able to build tens of thousands of new homes in Auckland.

“We’ve got inefficient use of land in Auckland, we already own 27,000 houses there, we’ve now got the legal ability with the new plan to build another 30,000 or so, maybe more, on that land.

“We’d be silly not to do it when there’s strong demand.”

However, the Labour Party said the government was simply putting in place an ultra-lite version of its Kiwibuild policy.

Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford,said the government had spent years criticising Labour’s Kiwibuild programme, saying it would lead to Soviet-style apartment blocks, but it was now planning its own version of the plan.

“These guys are so humiliated by the abject failure of their housing policy to deliver actual houses that people can live in that they’ve now had to do an embarrassing u-turn.

“What Bill English is talking about is a government-backed building programme.”

A National lite version of a Labour policy is at least a start.  But it is appalling that this government responds only to political imperatives, rather than refusing to do what is right for the country because of its blinkered doctrinal adherence to neoliberalism.

New Zealand really should cut out the middle man and elect a Labour-Green Government.  The job will be done quicker and better.

82 comments on “Government announces watered down version of Labour’s Kiwibuild policy ”

  1. save nz 1

    My guess is from now until election National will announce policy to mimic Labour, Green and NZ First policy so when they are asked what they are doing, they have something to say that gazumps or seems similar to their rivals. The opposition then looks like they are nit picking when they point out all the differences which to the uneducated and MSM brainwashed sounds the same as National.

    • Muttonbird 1.1

      Most people do see the government as reacting to opposition pressure on social issues, just as they understand this is a reactionary government, but if the current meme sticks (promoted by Wayne Mapp here recently) which is that most people want this government to solve these ‘challenges’ instead of a change in government.

      It’s necessary for the opposition to point out to voters that it is the policies of this governments which have brought about these ‘challenges’ in the first place and only a change in government will fix them.

      The problem I suppose is that voters respond to positive policy alternatives which is what the opposition are doing only for Key to focus group for the most popular. As soon as Labour goes down the other route which is to attack government policy there are accused of being negative.

      • BM 1.1.1

        It’s the best of both worlds.

        Get a bit of left stuff, get a bit of right stuff, goes to show how flexible and unbound from political ideology this government is.

        • Muttonbird 1.1.1.1

          It’s the worst of both worlds.

          We have a government without a coherent plan to ‘lift all boats’ as rightwing people like to say. Instead we have the opposition governing by proxy and bits and pieces of reactionary legislation acting as a band aid.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.2

          Timeliness is important, though. If the government keeps dragging their feet, waiting for focus groups to tell them things are wrong, then the problems get worse and cost more to resolve than if they actually provided leadership in the first place.

          See also, reactionary changes to policing of burglaries. If they’d been more proactive earlier, there certainly would have been fewer thefts. The thieves kept doing it because they knew they could always get away with it and the police didn’t care.

          The health system is another generic example – screwing down the necessary funds to actually treat everyone, means people go with unmet needs that ultimately costs more to fix in the end, while ruining people’s quality of life.

        • Haha no. It’s only the “best of both worlds” if people actually believe this will fix the problem. The public has no faith in the government on housing, and I sincerely doubt this will dent that problem. All this does is cede the political argument to the Greens and Labour, who can correctly argue that the government wasted time arguing with their policy of building houses and even now is wasting the opportunity by trying to build too few. It’s a relatively easy PR exercise from here to paint them as too slow, and too ideologically opposed to state ownership to commit to a program that will actually make some difference in solving housing inequality, even if they have eventually had to admit they were wrong and adopt the correct policy that the Left have been advocating this whole time.

          That also implies that right-wing anything is ever “good,” which I’m generally highly skeptical of. If we want the best of both worlds with better social and economic policy, we should be electing a government that’s not just centre-left, but actually LEFT, as left-wing governments correlate more positively with a strong economy, and are obvious advocates of more progressive social policy. (Inevitably someone is going to claim that this is left-wing governments benefitting from right-wing policy, however if this were true you would expect shorter-term left-wing governments to have a more positive correlation with economic success, and longer-term right-wing governments to have a less negative correlation with economic failure, however the reverse is true and longer-term left-wing governments actually do better)

          The question is whether they can sell the line of attack, but this is one area the opposition has achieved good momentum on, so I expect even Labour to make some political ground with this.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.4

          No it doesn’t. It proves just how ideologically bound it is as it keeps doing the bad stuff from it’s ideology with a little bit of good stuff to try and prove that they’re not as bad as they actually are.

        • save nz 1.1.1.5

          Only BM they don’t do it. What about the SHA’s how many affordable houses built?? I know people who made a killing by being rezoned but then only a handful of houses ever got built. National’s policies are about making money for a small percentage, not actually helping society – like thatcher Natz don’t seem to believe in society.

        • AB 1.1.1.6

          I’m starting a Dictionary of ‘BM-isms”
          “Flexible” = cynical, unprincipled wanker
          “Unbound” = totally wedded to

        • adam 1.1.1.7

          You lie well BM. This is a deeply ideological government.

      • Leftie 1.1.2

        But it’s hard to be positive about all of National’s negatives Muttonbird.

    • Chooky 1.2

      people won’t be fooled…jonkey Nactional have done their chips

  2. mosa 2

    It is damage control by being seen to act just like the response to immigration, wherever they are vulnerable they will act to stem the blood flow.
    Public polling will keep them one step ahead right up to the election.
    Being seen to act but not doing anything.
    In government but not governing that’s Nationals approach and a fourth term is looking a sure bet.

    • Scott 2.1

      That is the difference between this iteration of the Nats and Labour. Labour would stick to their ideological ideals regardless, the Nats are willing to bend their ideological ideals to meet the current desires of the citizens.

      I understand that many here will see that willingness to bend as a sign of weakness, but it is actually core part of why this Government is doing so well. Likewise, the unwillingness to bend is a core part of why Labour is doing so badly.

      • Leftie 2.1.1

        How many of these big lip service announcements has National put out now? Don’t hold your breath for any real, meaningful changes in the status quo Scott. National is poll driven and is bending nothing, they are sticklers to their ideology, we have seen that time and time again when the Key government went against the will of the country. National thinks as long as they are perceived as “doing something” whilst “not doing anything” with, for instance, an occasional unrealistic bump in the Roy Morgan poll, they can get away with it and ride it out til the next election. That’s what John Key is banking on.

        • Scott 2.1.1.1

          Most people don’t want what I suspect you mean by “real, meaningful change in the status quo”. If they did why are Labour and the Greens not in government?

          Most people think we are doing okay, albeit with room for improvement (particularly in the housing sector, immigration, and child abuse). I think most people want tinkering rather than revolution.

          • Leftie 2.1.1.1.1

            The 2017 election hasn’t happened yet and where did you get that idiotic idea that:

            “Most people think we are doing okay, albeit with room for improvement (particularly in the housing sector, immigration, and child abuse). I think most people want tinkering rather than revolution.” ?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        the Nats are willing to bend their ideological ideals

        They’re not bending their ideology at all. They’re trying to make it look like they”re doing something while doing nothing and leaving all the same failed policies, which are a result of their failed ideology, in place.

        • AB 2.1.2.1

          Yep – totally cynical window-dressing. Though it may well be “why this Government is doing so well”.

    • Leftie 2.2

      Mosa, I don’t see it as a shoe in at all. I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for John key to rig his way into a 4th term.

      • mosa 2.2.1

        Leftie Key has already rigged his way into government and the last two elections and shows no sign of third term itis that Helen or Shipley had in 1999.
        Make no mistake this administration is well placed to stay on the treasury benches and is in a unique position, they are well funded, the media is in their pocket and they have a formidable public relations -spin machine and have influence in many areas in this country through patronage.
        Key , Joyce and English have kept the center ground where the votes are and a lot of them are feeling rich and comfortable despite the misery elsewhere.

        It will come to an end but still has a way to go before the country comes to its senses and demands a general election….were just not there yet.

    • Michelle 2.3

      I think the gnats will be gone Joyce has been quiet why ? because he is plotting their election strategies, waste of time as there is currently more poor people in our country now thanks to the gnats and more homelessness.
      Get a van and go pick the poor up. I am happy to do this in our area anything to get rid of the rot in government that are selling us down the toilet and maybe give them some money like the gnats did to get rid of Hone. Fight fire with fire give them a bit of there own.

  3. Ad 3

    Nothing National can do in housing from now until the 2017 election will alter how they will be evaluated by the voter.

    It’s just far too late now.

    • Siobhan 3.1

      Thing is, 64% of people own their own home, and potentially they feel a bit sad that the kids don’t, but they would rather eat tacks than see house values come down.

      In fact they would be rather put out if prices didn’t keep growing, especially if they bought their house in the last ten years, or own rentals which seem to be more about capital gains than anything else..

      Then, of the non home owning group, a good number of them probably envisage owning their own home eventually…and not just to own a home, but to make money out of trading property..again, they wouldn’t want any fundamental change to the current model.
      Nor would those counting down the days till they get their inheritance when the olds pass away.

      That is a lot of fairly motivated voters who might be a ‘bit worried’ about housing, and might even find the situation deeply unpleasant, but do they really want the level of change required to make a lasting turnaround on our ‘housing market’..

      As Phil Goff, can attest…you need to be very careful to keep homeowner voters on board …though I think he earned an accolade from Matthew Hooton back in 2011 for his Capital Gains ideas!!

      • Scott 3.1.1

        That’s where Labour have it better placed than the Greens. Although Labour won’t come out and say it, I think they agree with the Nats that the best thing would be if house prices just stagnated for a decade. The Greens on the other hand want to see a big devaluation to “correct” affordability.

        Maybe Lab / Grn will try to run both ideas in parallel, to appeal to both sets of demographics, but I don’t see how that will fly. It’s a potential problem for them.

      • Ad 3.1.2

        That 64% is falling fast, and is well below that figure in Auckland.

        Nationwide that remaining 36% have a lot to be worried about and will be looking for political answers.

        In Auckland we are at balloon-popping stretch in terms of price and capital – many major cities across the world attest to what happens next. We’ve seen it occur in Auckland at lest once a decade.

        National cannot do enough to avoid a market bubble pop.
        National cannot do enough to slowly deflate it with supply.
        And after nearly nine years that really is their fault.

        So those anxious voters you mention will look to a party who will address those anxieties the best.

        • Leftie 3.1.2.1

          +1 Ad, pretty sure John Key has figured that he has enough time to get him through to the next election before the big blow out.

          • Olwyn 3.1.2.1.1

            If Key ran off to some new challenge just as the bubble was about to burst it would be consistent with this work history. As it stands, it is to the opposition’s credit that National is no longer acting as if they have a permanent free run – even if they are only playing to perceptions, they are not calling the shots.

        • Anno1701 3.1.2.2

          “National cannot do enough to slowly deflate it with supply.”

          you couldn’t build enough houses anyway

          there are a whole s#*t-ton of wealthy offshore buyers looking for somewhere to park their loot , and they certainly wont be sticking to one house per millionaire will they ?

          I personally know of a once productive farm that have been sold for double its real value and is now sitting fallow , new Chinese owner arent really the farming type, and considering they stay in NZ just long enough for their residency not to lapse they dont really have the time for it…

          at this stage any additional supply is gonna add fuel to the fire IMO

          • BM 3.1.2.2.1

            If this is what I think it is (all state housing) then it’s a good idea and far superior to Labours Kiwi Build which is just more middle class welfare and expensive vote buying.

            Those 30000 homes will be built to house people who are currently struggling to afford rent, taking those people out of the private rental market should decrease demand on rentals thus pushing down the price of renting a property.

            This will also create a flow on effect which will cause the lower end of the housing market to drop in value as these houses will be less desirable to property investors creating more opportunity for first home buyers to enter the market

            • Stuart Munro 3.1.2.2.1.1

              8 years the Gnats have been wasting our time – 18 houses are all they have to show for it.

              Too lazy to govern – they should just fuck off.

              • BM

                Lol, 2021, more likely 2024, the left may get a shot, if they’re still around.

                • Stuart Munro

                  A corrupt and useless government that shits on its people.

                  Laugh it up.

                  • BM

                    You might want to relax a bit there old fella, you’re going to give yourself a stroke.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Not everyone is as complacent as you about the wrecking of our country. You sad sick apologist for New Zealand’s worst government ever. Have you no self-respect?

                    • Leftie

                      +1 on all of your comments there Stuart Munro.

                    • AB

                      Stuart isn’t the one giving himself a stroke – and I’m not talking about a cerebrovascular event.

                • Leftie

                  “2021, more likely 2024” ? Snigger… you’re dreaming BM. there is a strong likelihood, John Key, the drunken sailor, won’t be around after 2017.

              • Naki man

                “8 years the Gnats have been wasting our time – 18 houses are all they have to show for it.”

                Thats horse shit
                I think the number is 1342 from memory

                • Stuart Munro

                  Numbers numbers – how many homeless Naki? How many more homeless than when this lazy pitiful backward bunch of bozos lied their way into power?

                  >1342.

                  “Brighter future. Aspirational society.”

                  120 billion in debt – no progress on balance of payments – jobless everywhere – immigration not even thought about – housing going nuts – rivers turning to shit – if you had a dog as dumb as John Key you’d put him down.

                • AB

                  No Naki – 1342 is the target year in the Nats’ programme to increase inequality to the economically efficient levels of the past. Same number but different stat, ok?

            • Takere 3.1.2.2.1.2

              Not too fast BM.

              PM Pinokeyo sounds drunk? 18 affordable houses in 3 years … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGynsYVgnPY … …Caught the Muldooomism!

    • Michelle 3.2

      yes bye bye Gnats

      • stigie 3.2.1

        You guys see 2 funny polls that you think go in your favour and you do sordid things to yourselves. Why not pull back a bit and see if this trend continues.
        You will be making fools of yourselves if the next polls don’t favour your way of thinking.

        • Leftie 3.2.1.1

          Apart from you, who is talking about “2 funny polls”? Did the subject matter fly right over your head?

  4. Nessalt 4

    The Governments version, seeing as they are in charge with all the facts and figures, is more pragmatic and suited the nations mindset right now. Therefore this will help win them an election as it’s not pie-in-the-sky, wish-i-was-in-government, oppostion lite type policy as we’ve come to expect from labour

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      You betrayed yourself there by calling it ‘the government’s version’.

      • Scott 4.1.1

        I don’t see anything to be ashamed of in taking up some of the good ideas of others. To me that is good governance. They have just been in unfortunately scarce supply.

        In any event, this is a bit different to Labour’s idea. The Nats are talking about increasing something they have already been doing – replacing the state housing stock with housing that is more suited to current needs (see the reference to “on that land”).

        • Leftie 4.1.1.1

          That’s all bull Scott. This cynical key National government and their partners in crime have had over 8 years. This is nothing more than an pr exercise to take the heat off themselves.

        • Except they haven’t been doing that in any significant numbers compared to the ones they’re selling, and beefing up state housing part of what the opposition has been calling for, they just want to build even more housing on top of that.

          So no, it’s not “different than” what the Greens and Labour propose, it’s merely “less than.” As in not as effective. As in not enough. It’s merely a PR exercise to say they’re addressing the problem while doing as little as possible that lowers rents or property values, and without being willing to lower that equity/income, we’ll continue to inflate this bubble until it pops no matter what they do.

      • Nessalt 4.1.2

        oooooh, you got me. OMG i’m sprung.

        You’ve completely missed the point of my comment. I meant to point out it is the governments version of a policy. just as labours is a labour version of a policy. Do you honestly believe labour came up with all that on it’s own and that it’s all original content? it’s just a shit title on an amalgamation of ideas.

        At least i’ve got the grace to admit the government pinched the basics and refined it to make it palatable to voters.

        No doubt you’ll tear your hair out, blame CT, MSM, DP, all the usual suspects for the voters liking the governments one better than labours one.

        I’ll know it’s because the voters are exercising their democratic rights to freedom of thought and association. If i’m wrong about which one they like, then i’ll know it’s for the same reason.

        • Except it’s not about originality. It’s about leadership. Leaders don’t need to originate a good idea, they just need to be able to recognise it when its time has come. (in fact, it’s actually better if they’re honest with credit for where it came from) And Labour and the Greens both have very effective arguments that they recoginsed that a state building policy was necessary much earlier in this crisis than National did.

          You can’t claim to be an effective leader if you’ve been attacking a policy for years that you now admit was going to be necessary all along. It makes you look ineffective and that you care more about winning than doing what’s right. National has no real justification for why they thought this wouldn’t work, and now they’ll have to scramble to a plausible one to look like they haven’t just admitted that the opposition was right all along. (which tbh they were)

          • Leftie 4.1.2.1.1

            +1 Matthew Whitehead

          • Chris 4.1.2.1.2

            What about Labour’s lack of attention to improving the *incomes* of the poorest? Income and housing affordability are inseparable when it comes to the poor.

            • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.2.1.2.1

              Oh, I agree Labour isn’t a party for the poor anymore. If you want any serious attention paid to poverty you pretty much need to be voting either Green or Mana, and unfortunately we have no idea at this stage if a vote for Mana will even count, so… (Anyone want to clarify on NZ First’s stance? I’ve only heard them specifically talking about child poverty iirc) When the Labour Party talks about jobs it specifically means union and middle class jobs, not everyone’s jobs.

              Fortunately this is the advantage of actually having a coalition opposition. If one of the parties drops the ball on an important issue, you can shift your vote. I’m on record as a Green supporter and for my reasons why. (basically that labour is obsessed with the status quo)

              Best way to push up incomes for those doing the least well is a combination of a living wage policy (which the Greens at least nominally support, wanting at least an $18 minimum within the first three years) and raising benefits. (which they also support) As a side-effect it’s also great for the economy, in fact the Greens’ $18 policy, which I think is from last election, actually estimates that the increase will make $700million in net revenue for the crown, because of increased taxes offsetting the wage costs for government, so you don’t even need to want to end poverty to raise the minimum wage, even the people paying the higher wages are generally net winners too.

                • Chris

                  There is absolutely nothing there that addresses the actual incomes of the very poorest.

                  • Leftie

                    You would say that. Gosh Nat fan troll, have Labour, who are in the process of reviewing their policies (see web site) or any other opposition party completed their policies ahead of next year’s election?

                    What is the National GOVERNMENT and it’s co partners like the Maori party doing to address the actual incomes of the very poorest?

                    • Chris

                      In response to my claim that Labour is doing nothing to address the incomes of the very poorest, you throw up a bunch of links that prove Labour hasn’t got a policy on fixing the incomes of the very poorest. Then when that’s pointed out to you, you respond by agreeing, saying Labour’s “in the process of reviewing its policies”.

                      Well, Loftie son, if you’d been paying attention, you little fuckwit, you’d know that Labour has not said a word about the need to improve the incomes of the poorest since it reneged on its promise to reverse the the 1991 benefit cuts – not one single word, election or no election. There have been 7 elections since then and not once has Labour made it their policy to address the adequacy of benefits. What makes you think this election will be different?

                      History, Loftie son, history. Read and understand it, Loftie son, instead of bleating on blindly about how great your fucking Labour party is. Your mate Matthew Whitehead agrees “Labour isn’t a party for the poor anymore.” Why can’t you accept the bleedin’ obvious?

                    • Leftie

                      You can’t read. I did not agree with you. If you had of read Labour’s website you would know that Labour haven’t finished announcing more polices yet. I thought my point was crystal clear Nat fan troll, and the links show the direction that Labour is heading, they also show that Labour and the opposition parties are on the same page.

                      Quite frankly, judging by some comments you have made when “sitting comfortably looking out your window with a cup of coffee at hand, feeling all warm and fuzzy with the world” I question your sincerity and the sincerity of your so called “concerns”. I don’t think you really give a stuff about those bearing the brunt of this 3 termed National government. You certainly made that pretty clear that day.

                      Whilst bashing Labour, crowing that everything is all Labour’s fault, you are not discussing how the current National government are making Kiwis homeless and poverty stricken, and that they are being a “prick to the poor.”

                      What is the National GOVERNMENT and it’s co partners like the Maori party doing to address the actual incomes of the very poorest?

              • Chris

                Pressure needs to be put on Labour to take a stance on lifting the incomes of the poorest of the poor. They haven’t got the guts to do that right now. They won’t even talk about it.

  5. Leftie 5

    Can homeless people vote?

    Can working homeless people vote?

  6. BM 6

    I can’t seem to find any other information anywhere about this announcement

    I’m assuming these 30 000 homes will be all state houses ?

  7. Michelle 7

    Of course homeless people can vote check them into Paulas motel just before the election

    • Leftie 7.1

      Bloody good idea Michelle!! but unfortunately, Paula’s costly motel doesn’t have enough rooms.

      • Not unless they evict the existing long-term residents at least, lol!

      • AB 7.1.2

        But Leftie – if Paula’s motel is full Judith’s has plenty of rooms. They are somewhat basic and you may have to fight for your supper but there are 3 meals a day and a tv.
        If you are sexually abused our jokey PM will mock you by picking up the soap, but hey it’s all good, smell the flowers mate and take some happy pills.

  8. Peter 8

    . . . the government is going to build an extra 30,000 houses or so . . .

    Nonsense.

    Does the Government even own a hammer?

    Of course not. ‘The Government’ themselves are not going to build as much as a chook run

    The Government are going to call for tenders from private building companies to build these houses.
    Which then raises the questions – labour (already in high demand and short supply) and materials (costs already increasing there) .

    So these proposals are going to increase the price of new construction for everybody.

    Which of course then drags up the value of existing houses.

    • alwyn 8.1

      “The Government are going to call for tenders from private building companies to build these houses.”.

      Have they no shame at all? That is, of course, exactly the method used by the first Labour Government during their 1935-1949 term. It isn’t the only thing either. Yu realise, I presume, that the 30,000 houses is the same number that were built during their 14 year term in office.
      I also assume that a good chunk of the building will be done by Fletchers, whose founder was responsible for the 1930s program.

      I wonder if the rent will be at the same level? According to Wiki account they first tenants of the first one rented out paid just over a third of their income for the little house.
      “The first tenants, David and Mary McGregor, paid £1 10s 3d ($3.03) rent for 12 Fife Lane, about one-third of their £4 7s 9d ($8.78) weekly income”.

      Nothing much changes, does it? At least we know where the current Labour Party get their ideas from. They just recycle the ones the party had 80 years ago. Not a new thought between them.
      One thing that is different though. I don’t expect we will have the same apartheid that the first Labour Government espoused.
      “Māori were excluded, in part because they could not afford the rentals, but also because the government believed the races should be kept apart.”
      Bigoted little bastard was our Michael Joseph Savage.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_housing

  9. Nessalt 9

    What if the watered down version is more palatable to New Zealand voters than the full strength version? whose version is then correct?

    • 1) It won’t be, even National voters don’t think National is handling this issue correctly, and that’s what they’re really trying to address here. They’re in a catch-22 because most National voters don’t want the policies that will solve the crisis, but enough of them want the crisis solved that they also can’t afford to be seen doing nothing. This is about them trying to middle-way their way out of them problem, but ultimately it’s going to hit them with one group or another. (and of course, there’s a fair number that are in both groups at once and are going to less motivated to vote National regardless of what they do) National is still choosing their ideology over solving the problem, they’re just effectively upping their PR spend with this new state building program to try and make it through this election for one last term in government.

      2) Even if it somehow is palatable to anyone who isn’t already a National supporter, the issue is that they’re not aiming high enough to actually solve the crisis or even take a big bite out of it, so the issue will continue getting worse for them, and people will likely change their minds about wanting the watered down version. This is more about bringing them close enough to the opposition policy that people who already like other National policies are willing to jump back onto the sinking ship, and of course maybe to prevent non-voters from jumping aboard with the opposition.

  10. mosa 10

    Mickey the photo used in this post is missing a couple of important faces and should be used in the election campaign when it comes next year.
    A very poignant image of the current realities in our country.

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