Key: Crisis? What me worry?

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, August 30th, 2016 - 34 comments
Categories: housing, john key - Tags:

John Key is defending his handling of Auckland’s housing crisis on the grounds that Auckland’s prices have only risen as much under him as they did under Labour.

So the prices that he said were a crisis in 2007, have risen by as much again, and thus… no problem?


John Key often plays dumb, and it’s never more condescending than when he’s doing it about money.  He knows money, and he knows his comparison actually comes off badly for National, but he spins it anyway.

It’s meaningless what it increased under Labour, and not just because it was 8 years ago (8 years in and still trying to say things aren’t his fault).  The increase all depends on what your starting point is.  In Key’s case it a point he’s acknowledged was too high… and then it’s increased lots.

So no crisis then.  Phil Twyford is obviously crazy.

He then tries to defend it by the old ‘some places are worse’.  Yes, Sydney may be less affordable (12x income instead of 10x), but this isn’t a table we should be trying to top.  4th in the Demographia housing affordability index is already pushing Auckland down the ‘liveable cities’ index that we are actually aiming to top.

Instead we have Nick Smith, Minister in charge of Claiming Black is White, getting constantly run over on zebra crossings while saying he can’t stop landbanking, and that he wants million dollar houses and a house-income ratio of 4x.

This government just needs to admit it’s out of its depth and move on…

34 comments on “Key: Crisis? What me worry?”

  1. AB 1

    On planet Key land banking is a law of nature, like gravity. Hence “there will always be land banking”.

  2. johnm 2

    Don’t worry be happy! God market will eventually sort it! 🙂

  3. McFlock 3

    As you say: 8 years to assess the problem, identify a range of solutions, and implement policies that will mitigate or avert crisis… And he’s done nothing except blame Labour.

    we need better government.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Key identified the problem back 2006 or 7. He was, of course, blaming Labour for it and Labour really weren’t doing anything about it. The signing of the FTA with China has obviously made it worse since then.

      Key and National haven’t done anything since then either and so they’re to blame now.

  4. Keith 4

    Key doesn’t care, it’s that simple. He’s filthy rich, has many homes and he’s betting enough greedy Nat suppoters either are like him or think they are. In fact he has got wealthier as a result and at the end of this game, that’s all that matters.

    Nice of him to throw Helen Clark under the bus yesterday, the cowardly prick.

  5. TC 5

    Key has offered up a stick the msm alone could beat him out of office with which they will not do being owned by the same backers.

  6. Gangnam Style 6

    Another day in John Keys Neo-Lib nightmare (hat tip to Paul) “69 & Living in a Caravan”

    & one of the comments “In all these cases,there is a problem of poor choices in the past,after two children we decided that was what we could afford,so snip snip
    Problem cannot bring unlimited children into this life and expect the state to feed then.” All? FFS.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    You have to understand what National’s PR strategy is here. It has taken them a long time to come to this one so one assumes they have tested it at length before rolling it out.

    National is going to try and make this ‘housing affordability crisis’ a wash between Labour and National. That’s the overall objective.

    Their short term aim is to constantly remind voters that Labour was more than happy to fuel rapid increases in house (and farm) prices during their reign, and to thus create the subtext that there is no reason or benefit in moving your vote to Labour now.

    At that point, Labour has few good responses if they choose to stay on the MSM approved playing field (National are counting on it). They boil down to variations on:

    1) Rapid house price increases were OK back then under Labour, but they aren’t OK now under National (because politics).

    2) Labour was very concerned about housing unaffordability back then too (but didn’t do anything about it except talk).

    3) Labour finally has plans to respond to housing affordability now, 10 or 15 years after it became a problem for most Aucklanders (and even then the plans only manage the edges of the crisis).

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1


      Neither National nor Labour are going to do what’s necessary which is the complete banning of offshore ownership.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        That’s really the answer. Current foreign owners are given 10 years to divest; if you are not a citizen you can lease NZ property for a maximum term of 20 years.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Can’t say I can see any need for offshore people to lease either or own businesses in NZ. It does nothing for NZ.

          Agree with giving present offshore owners time to divest.

    • McFlock 7.2

      4) Under Labour the market was running hot. Under national it’s about to blow up.

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.1

        OK this is true, but do you think that it is a response that Labour will really want to put out there?

        • McFlock

          As you say, national’s tactic is to establish an equivalence between them and Labour. One counter for Labour is to include fact that national’s inaction is additive, not parallel. The difference between a sauna and an oven, if you will.

          So yeah, that sort of line.

        • Pat

          couple of questions any potential voter needs to ask themselves are…if the housing unaffordability had proceeded under a Labour led gov would they have done anything differently in 8 years to address it?…and why are National selling state housing stock in the midst of a housing crisis?….there are your points of difference.

          • Colonial Viper

            I presume voters can see what Labour would have done in the form of KiwiBuild and opening up more public land for property development.

            • Pat

              theres that and the tighten CGT, restrictions of foreign ownership…..the point however is for 8 years as the issue has worsened the National Gov have done nothing to mitigate, indeed their actions have been to fuel it.

    • Hanswurst 7.3

      Andrew Little wasn’t part of that Labour government, so he can quite easily say that it’s nothing to do with him. If he clearly identifies himself with the issue and says that he has told his caucus to prioritise it, that should also bat away any queries about members of his caucus who were around at the time.

      The fact that National may have come up with this strategy, and that they may have been slow to do so, could, as you say, mean that it has been shown to be workable. Of course, it could also mean that, in the absence of any demonstrably workable strategy, this was the best they could do.

      • Colonial Viper 7.3.1

        I definitely think that National is reaching on this issue. Its definitely put them on the back foot but they think they can make the crisis a wash between them and Labour.

        Andrew Little wasn’t part of that Labour government, so he can quite easily say that it’s nothing to do with him.

        You mean apart from being the President of the Labour Party and being part of numerous NZ Council policy meetings?

        • Hanswurst

          President schmezzident. Nobody cares.

          • Colonial Viper

            I tend to agree, except National’s other main thrust of attack next year will be the complete lack of Cabinet experience of both the Leader and the Finance Minister during a time of global financial crisis.

            • Hanswurst

              You’re kind of drifting off topic there, and your point in that most recent comment strengthens my argument, rather than weakening it; lack of cabinet experience at the top smashes for six the argument that a new Labour government would mean a continuation of the previous one. If National try to present both arguments, they seriously risk being crucified. I know, many of their arguments are tortuous and internally conflicted, but those would just be a sitting target.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hmmmm I think it would play out in public better than you suggest, but you may be right and if they go down this road National could end up “crucified” (by whom though? Not the MSM).

                • Hanswurst

                  Probably not at an editorial level, but the current government, comically running about putting out fires of its own making on its own clothing, is starting to reach a point where the cheap column inches spent detailing its silly dealings are too easy to be had. It isn’t much, but it doesn’t need to be in order to sway the relatively small numbers required to see this government out on its ear. Advancing clearly contradictory arguments like the above would simpy feed into that.

                  Also, I don’t imagine the media see a particularly daunting prospect in a Labour/NZF combination (and where else are the Greens going to go?), so while they will support the current government to the hilt so long as it looks even moderately viable, once it looks like it’s seriously on the back foot anyway, they won’t hesitate to make hay while its sun don’t shine.

              • Garibaldi

                Aren’t you forgetting the deadwood still in their caucus from last time they were in? I would love to know that Labour can rise to the occasion with good policy but ,at present, I can’t see any real talent in there to deliver the goods( other than Cunnliffe).

    • Bill 7.4

      Someone could also just change the narrative…push the envelope. Yes, there are problems of accessibility and affordability in terms of both renting and buying, but…

      Just been reading some papers published by BRANZ that make for “interesting” reading. Seems they were looking at building in terms of mitigation and adaptation for climate change as far back as 2000 “Implications of Climate Changefor the Construction Sector: Houses” (pdf).

      From 2008 and their publication “Designing Homes for Climate Change” (pdf)

      There is now little doubt the climate change is a real phenomenon, one which will significantly affect humankind over the next 100 years. Society will have to adapt to its impacts in very fundamental ways. The built environment in which we live will certainly feel the effects of a changing climate. It is imperative that we take measures to modify the way we build now.

      So there’s a question to be asked as to whether all these unaffordable houses are even up to scratch. If they aren’t then people would be as well offering a sack of genuine Dutch tulip bulbs in exchange for them. Then there’s the further question as to whether all these “to be built” affordable homes for renters and buyers that Labour are proposing are going to be up to scratch.

  8. Philj 8

    The government needs to promote Ark building courses and kill 2 albatross’s, one brick at a time.

  9. Richardrawshark 9

    There is no simple fix for the housing crisis, there never was, to say or claim a solution is disingenuous.

    As far as I am concerned the issue with Auckland has been planning from the start and the geographical shape of the land constricts flow. It’s not an ideal location for a mass population. But everyone likes the weather and beaches are good, what can you do.

    What’s done is also done, like petrol the price goes up fast but takes three times as long to come down again.

    Somehow one has to move the main industrial area of NZ from a constricted area like Auckland, to perhaps Tauranga for the North Isl and only Auckland for cruise liners.

    But businesses would be aghast and it’s just a dream that. I imaging the compensation bleats would be deafening.

    Perhaps actually Key in his way is doing Auckland some good by making people move elsewhere and hoping the less workforce numbers there will make businesses move.

    His lack of action on homelessness and people living in cars, and action by Winz offering incentives to move and leads me to this conclusion, he’s got a plan and it’s to make Auckland unbearable thereby fixing population issues and transportation issues.

    If this is true it’s a long shot and very unlikely to succeed in the timeframe he requires.

  10. In Vino 10

    Repeating a query I just raised on previous thread, because if I am right, it should be on this thread too:

    Umm… Am I the only one who wonders about the use of percentage figures? Is Key a crafty liar?
    Prices were low (relatively) at the start of Clark’s time as PM. But now the prices are huge.
    So Key’s quote of bigger percentage increase is deceptive. 40% of modern prices is a far, far greater amount than 102% of a much lower price when Clarks Govt. started.

    Look at the flat $ amount by which house prices are increasing, and it is clearly the current Govt that is guilty of bigger increases.
    I haven’t done the maths, but I suspect that this holds true.
    Worth a try, just to annoy some trolls.

    • Pat 10.1

      Well i guess nobody bothered because Key is known to be economical with the truth….havnt seen his exact claim but using the available stats it runs as follows (roughly)

      2002 Auckland median house 266,000 at a household income ratio (HIR) of 4.84

      2009 median house 447,000 at a HIR of 6.6

      2015/6 median house 825,000 (yes I know) at a HIR of 10

      so as expected JK lies and you are quite correct In Vino

      • In Vino 10.1.1

        Cool. I like being quite correct on a hunch. Thanks Pat – negative responses will be less favourably received.

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