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Kiwipolitico: The housing problem isn’t a housing problem; it’s a regional development problem

Written By: - Date published: 3:07 pm, May 28th, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: Economy, housing - Tags: , ,

Kiwipolitico-squareLew at Kiwipolitico raises an interesting issue about the current housing cost issues in the major urban centres by looking at the regions. There are some well-considered comments there that are worth reading. But we asked if we could repost here to get a wider audience.

I have noted with growing despair the xenophobia which is becoming a political commonplace this election cycle. On the left it’s about house prices.* But this post is not about racism; it’s about development.

The national median house price is $415,000, a figure skewed substantially upwards by the extraordinary cost of housing in Auckland. But you can buy a three bedroom house inTaumarunui for $26,000, or for $67,000 in Tokoroa. These are extreme examples, but for considerably less than half the median price you can buy a charming colonial villa inTapanui ($149,500). For a little more than half the median you can buy a newly-renovated house on an acre in central Gisborne ($225,000). Similar houses are available for not very much more money in larger regional centres like Dunedin and New Plymouth, and that’s without considering many apartments, townhouses and more modest types of dwelling.

There are houses out there: there just aren’t jobs to go with them.

The chart above shows income and employment growth by region, and this is why the houses are so cheap. The growth is just not there. (From the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Regional Economic Activity Report 2013).

Opportunity
It’s not just jobs, though; there’s more to life than work. People need confidence in their opportunities in a new place before they will, as Jolisa Gracewood says, buy shares in that community by owning or renting a house there and settling down. They need schools and hospitals and civic institutions and a sense of belonging, they need certainty about their community’s future, and their future within it.

The community likewise needs needs certainty in its new arrivals. A gold rush or an oil boom might provide jobs and cash, but it doesn’t provide certainty for either group. Certainty — and opportunity — comes from deep and sustained development. The fly-in/fly-out mining towns in Australia are a good example, and while that industry has been instrumental in maintaining Australia’s robust economy, its direct value to the regions has been limited — trickling down, lifting all boats — without the adoption of targeted development initiatives such as Royalties for Regions, which seek to return a share of the proceeds of industry to local communities.

As Eric Crampton said about the census income growth figures, increases in average wages across much of the South Island have been coupled with decreases in population, as people on low incomes move in search of better-paying work. Rob Salmondagreed, saying:

The regions with the supposedly highest median income growth also had some of the worst records in population growth, while the areas whose populations grew the fastest had relatively little change in median incomes.

Returning to the MBIE chart above, notice the regions in the top-right quadrant: the West Coast, Waikato and Taranaki. These are distinguished by two characteristic sectors: dairy, and mining, each of which provides a relatively small number of well-paid jobs within a narrow sector, skewing up the income levels but not necessarily changing the overall development picture very much. As crucial as the dairy industry, in particular, is and will continue to be to New Zealand’s economy, a complete solution to development it sure ain’t. Which is why you can buy an enormous Moorish-inspired villa for $220,000 in the middle of gas and dairy country.

Diversification and specialisation
The object of a regional development policy must be to promote structural change, to create industries and communities that are sustainable in their own right — neither transient nor exhaustible, and which attract people whose commitment is likewise neither transient nor exhaustible. These jobs need to go beyond the traditional churn industries like tourism, hospitality and service; though, of course, these jobs will be needed, they should be incidental to development, not its purpose. They need to be high-value and export-led — unlike, for example, our timber industry, and our wool industry. One of our key advantages here is our reputation for being clean and green — demand for premium food, the safety and quality of which can be assured, and including organic and sustainably-produced, is likely to grow strongly and we seem ill-prepared to meet this opportunity, as just one example. Another example is the potential of Māori business, which is as yet terribly underutilised.

In New Zealand we talk a lot about the roles of government in distributing wealth, and in ensuring public access to health, education and other scarce resources. These levers are well-recognised and there is at least a moderate degree of bipartisan agreement on their use. This is not the case with regional and economic development strategies, where there are deep practical and ideological divisions between the parties. I can see why the noninterventionist technocratic right parties like ACT and National are reluctant to consider — or even recognise the viability of — the sort of robust, hands-on regional development strategy that will sustainable economic and community growth in regional areas and persuade the frustrated and overcommitted residents of our major cities to risk a change. It will require considerably more input than building roads, granting mining permits and water rights to permit the extraction of value directly from the land. It will require a lot more than public-private partnerships and white-elephant monorails through virgin rainforest. It very likely will require PPPs, roads, and mining rights, though, meaning the left will have to reconsider some of its positions as well. It will require thorough investment in infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure, and purposeful community-building, possibly funded by a deeper cut from mineral royalties, a localised share of revenues from key industries, or loans from the government. It will probably require considerable autonomy devolved to the communities affected, and the strengthening — rather than the weakening, as is currently happening — of local government. It needs to be a little bit New Deal and a little bit Think Big.

Diversity is resilience, and our economy is very narrowly based. That must change. Different regions have their own strengths — environmental and historical, in terms of personnel and capability — and this represents an opportunity to improve the national economy holistically, by strengthening each of its component parts, rather than by building one economic muscle until it threatens to throw everything else out of balance. In many cases these nascent strengths will need considerable augmentation, and some will need to be developed almost from scratch. That requires significant and sustained investment in research and development — contributions to which the National government cut during the time when it was most crucial; when talent needed to be incentivised to stay here, and when industry needed to prepare to take advantage of the recovery, when it arrived. Public-sector research agencies can be beneficial in quite unpredictable ways, and when it comes to blue-sky research, patience can pay off enormously. If you’re reading this over Wi-Fi, you can thank the Australian government’s scientific agency, the CSIRO.

People and places
One obvious and direct means by which the government can influence regional development is by decentralising — by relocating government departments or agencies to regional centres. At a minimum, governments could decline opportunities to actively dismantle regional industries — such as Invermay — for the sake of short-term cost savings or change for its own sake.

It is clear that having a critical mass of mobile public servants all located within a kilometre of each other can increase efficiency and cross-pollination in government and business. Some significant new businesses — such as Xero and Vend — clearly benefit from strong cohabitation and the development of their own start-up cultures. On the other hand, in the past decade telecommuting has become plausible for a large proportion of people whose work is predominantly reading, writing and talking on the phone, and the major reasons it is not more widely used are to do with middle-managers wishing to retain some measure of direct control over their staff, which they label “team culture”.

There are costs and benefits to decentralisation, but it is hard to shake the sense that government, and the public service, are growing increasingly remote from the people whose interests they ostensibly serve. The gap between the experience of living in Auckland or Wellington and living in the rest of the country is vast already, and is likely to grow. Over the long term, as regional development improves, mobility will increase, as the economic and cultural risk of moving to or from a major centre will decrease, and this seems likely to yield an even greater cross-pollination benefit than that sacrificed by decentralisation.

Political laziness from the left
The reason the housing markets in Auckland and Wellington are refusing to cool is because people — both internal and external migrants — want to live where there is opportunity, and Auckland and Wellington is where the opportunity is. Blaming foreigners for the continually-rising house prices in Auckland is counterproductive. It’s lazy populism for the opposition to monger fear on these grounds, and it’s clear why the government is perfectly willing to let them do so: first because it cuts against the left’s political brand, and second, because it frees them from responsibility for what has proven a poor regional growth strategy during their time in government.

Labour and the Greens have taken strong and well-articulated positions in favour of regional development and smart growth but they’ve also gifted the government an opportunity to reframe what is essentially an economic development debate as being about housing and migration, when the former is a symptom and the latter is all but irrelevant. As a consequence the whole discussion gets sucked into an unwinnable partisan slagging-match. This isn’t so much a failure of policy, but a failure of political emphasis. It should be relatively easy to correct: they mainly need to stop complaining about the yellow peril, and start talking about the future of a country where wealth and innovation is spread beyond its main centres.

Although I disagreed with his dismissive attitude towards the marriage equality debate, it seems likely that the once and future member for Napier, Stuart Nash, will be an important member of the Labour caucus in future. Late last year he argued persuasivelythat the regions are crucial not only for the economic wellbeing of the country, but for the wellbeing of that party, and so for the wider left. As he says:

If any party only holds seats in Akld, Wgtn, Chch and Dunedin, then they don’t have a particularly wide mandate to govern because they haven’t got MPs in caucus putting forward the views of the vast majority of geographic NZ.

To an extent it is understandable that this hasn’t happened yet. Development is hard. It takes a long time and a lot of money, and in a political context where governments change no less often than once per decade, it requires an uncommon degree of accord between increasingly diverse political movements. With the Greens now forming a substantial and apparently-permanent adjunct to Labour on the left, and the emergence of new climate-sceptic and anti-environmentalist sentiments within National and its allies, this is a big ask. But it needs to be done nonetheless. The regions aren’t going to develop themselves; they haven’t got the wealth or the people to do so, because it’s all tied up in tastefully-renovated villas on the North Shore and in Thorndon.

Downsouthing
This is not an entirely theoretical discussion for me. All going to plan, at some point later this year my family and I will move from the Kāpiti Coast to Dunedin. My wife is going to the University of Otago to work on the postgrad study she’s been wanting to do for 10 years. We’d have done it years ago if we could — every time we’ve been to Dunedin, we’ve said we’d move there in a heartbeat if only there was work. Mostly what’s changed now is that I can bring my work with me.

The reason we live out here is because out here is where we could afford to buy a house on one modest Wellington income. The idea was always to move into town at some point, but that has gotten more distant, not closer, over the past five years with Wellington’s housing market proving largely impervious to the recession. So off we go.

We anticipate significant benefits. My wife will be able to do something meaningful with her life other than raise our kids full-time or working as a rest home carer, worthy though both those tasks are. Commuting into Wellington would cost dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars a week, and at some point both of us would inevitably end up far from our young kids when they needed us. But not least among the advantages is the regional arbitrage of continuing to bring in something like a modest Wellington income while living in a place where houses are, very conservatively, $100,000 cheaper.

But there’s the thing: unless you’re privileged enough to work in a field where you can telecommute (and bosses who’ll let you), or unless you work in a literal field, moving from Auckland or Wellington to pretty much anywhere else in the country is a big risk. (In Christchurch, the case is much more complex.) You can move, but for many people, the opportunity is just not there, and the risk of giving up what you have is very great.

The government that raises those opportunities will find favour with those who want to move, those in the regions whose economies and communities are boosted by new growth, and those in the main centres who wish to stay, or must stay, who will have richer opportunities for doing do.

L

  • On the right it’s more about asylum seekers (National) and internal threats to the colourblind state (ACT). The only party that seems clean of this is United Future, for which Peter Dunne should be congratulated.

41 comments on “Kiwipolitico: The housing problem isn’t a housing problem; it’s a regional development problem ”

  1. Tracey 1

    The child poverty action group have a report out. On nine to noon a representative was talking about transient children, moving school several times a year as their parents chase seasonal work and cheaper rents.

    There is a far deeper problem than people not being able to buy their first home, its the huge rents being demanded.

    There is some evidence that the more a child changes schools the more negative the impact on their learning and development.

    Families sleeping in cars, garages and whole families in one room of a boarding house to make ends meet.

    You can listen here

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11262891

    And read it here

    http://www.cpag.org.nz/resources/publications/

  2. Philj 2

    xox
    Don’t forget the ‘rock star ‘ economy. And the ‘brighter future’! Pure magic, or fantasy?

  3. Ad 3

    Really enjoyed this post, particularly how personal you made it when you are considering real life-investment decisions that permanently alter you.

    Do you recall Jim Anderton’s regional economic development strategy, together with the whole GIF sectoral approach? It will be very difficult to develop that kind of momentum again. But that is what a new government should do.

    I don’t think you can dismiss dairy and petroleum as simply extended quarry-enclave economies. Both have sustained New Plymouth for over a century, and I think that counts as sustainable in terms of our history.

    Not sure why ppp’s would be against Labour policy – have they stated that?

    You’re right about the undercooked and weakening use of Mayors and local authorities as agents of Eonomic development leadership.

    The most low impact regional development infrastructure I have seen is the Otago rail trail. Lots of hotels upgraded, lots of tiny rural hamlets saved from decline. But they are largely low-paying tourist industry jobs – barring the expensive ones like the new Mt Cook to Oamaru 5-day trail. Other regions such as northland are trying out theIr own trails.

    In the regions with scenic pull like Queenstown-Lakes there’s a growing momentum of rich foreigners to retire there. I believe that’s an efficient way to get new wealth in the country that we haven’t been able to do by other industries. Wine and fruit and art- producing regions should service these rich retirees.

    The provinces that have nothing to offer other than logs are already rapidly depopulating. What is the point exactly of resisting that tide?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Not sure why ppp’s would be against Labour policy – have they stated that?

      Nope. they’ve stated that they will look for the best option and if PPPs are the best option then they will use it. The problem is that PPPs are never the best option. In fact, they always seem to be the worst option.

      In the regions with scenic pull like Queenstown-Lakes there’s a growing momentum of rich foreigners to retire there. I believe that’s an efficient way to get new wealth in the country

      It may bring money but not wealth. Meanwhile the countries wealth is removed from them and given to rich foreigners.

    • Lew (@LewSOS) 3.2

      Ad, I don’t think Labour is much fond of PPPs, but they’re not going to be favoured. And the Greens have historically been very opposed, for the most part.

      I agree with much of the general PPP critique that they’re a fine way of privatising profits and socialising risk in inherently-risky, high-stakes projects. but in some cases they are appropriate, and in some cases they’re the only plausible way forward.

      L

      • Lew (@LewSOS) 3.2.1

        Missed the edit deadline, but just to add: this sort of long-term development needs to be politically durable; i.e, it needs to be able to survive one or more changes of government without being scrapped due to a tactical need to balance a budget, or due to simple Not Invented Hereism. PPPs, for all their faults, are one way of ensuring that.

        L

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Public-sector research agencies can be beneficial in quite unpredictable ways, and when it comes to blue-sky research, patience can pay off enormously. If you’re reading this over Wi-Fi, you can thank the Australian government’s scientific agency, the CSIRO.

    The simple fact of the matter is that if you’re reading this then you can thank the US government for putting decades and billions of dollars (in today’s money) into developing the computer. Without that patient investment we wouldn’t have home computers today as the private sector would never have done the initial blue sky research.

    It should be relatively easy to correct: they mainly need to stop complaining about the yellow peril,

    Haven’t seen anyone complaining about the “yellow peril” but I have seen quite a few people pointing out that we have limited resources and thus unlimited growth doesn’t work.

    The regions aren’t going to develop themselves; they haven’t got the wealth or the people to do so

    Actually, they do – the problem is that the government keeps giving it to overseas mining consortiums etc, etc. What the government should be doing in many regions is financing, with 0% interest or even outright grants, cooperatives in the regions to exploit that wealth (ecologically and sustainably of course). And I’m not talking just about mining here but also processing manufacturing and the R&D to go with it.

  5. RedLogix 5

    A partial answer is the ‘linear city’ model. Instead of letting cities grow as big amorphous blobs it’s smarter to link a number of smaller centers together with high-speed, high availability rail.

    Rail commutes up to about 90mins are quite feasible – allowing the centers to be spread over say a +/- 100km distance from a central business district.

  6. andrew murray 6

    Hey this is not meant to be a grizzle as I enjoy your articles …but.

    While I don’t disagree entirely with your comments on xenophobia, I do with your assertion that blaming immigration is a matter of political laziness.

    There is a wealth of research on the neo-liberal appropriation of multiculturalism for the purpose of profit. The processes of gentrification and the banishment of incivilities such as begging and homelessness, as is currently occurring in Auckland, typify this type of appropriation.

    Central Auckland is being positioned as a global city capable of global real estate prices that will far exceed the capacities of NZ incomes.
    Have a look at Zizek or Ley,(Geographer) or check out Vancouver’s history in this matter.

  7. Populuxe1 7

    Oooh, where does one start? Well telling people they’re living in the wrong place is a neoliberal move. If you are poor, up and moving is often not an option because of relocation costs, trying to find somewhere to live etc. Also it’s a very “white” way of thinking about it – it would be insensitive to people from cultures where close extended families are the norm There is indeed a housing crisis in Christchurch because for the last three years ago there are several thousand fewer homes than there used to be while labour continues to flow in.

    And actually I don’t really buy into the xenophobia accusation for all cases. Looking at the experience of the UK, Europe and the Nordic/Scandinavian countries, you can either have a robust and generous welfare system or you can have relaxed immigration.

    I’m guessing you’re probably financially secure and don’t have a young family.

    It’s all a bit… glib…

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      Lol, you know nothing Pop.

      You could not be more wrong about Lew, about everything you reckon.

      I dunno if he’ll be on this thread though, so you might be safe, not that I think he’d give you more than about 3 words.

      • Populuxe1 7.1.1

        Meh, that would only be slightly fewer words than he devoted to Christchurch before handwaving it away as a special case, which is a wee bit odd because it’s the main service hub to the South Island with run on effects to all the South Island provinces.
        Even when there are jobs in the provinces, and actually there are indeed jobs in the provinces, you would actually have had to live there to understand why people leave there.

        And what’s all this baby boomer-style obsession with owning a home in the first place? Must be a generational thing.

        • Tracey 7.1.1.1

          If house prices are high due to lack of supply rentals are high too. So many are worried for the folks who cant buy a first home. I am worried for those having to pay hellishly high rents to enable others to have a nice retirement, whether the landlord is in nz or out.

        • Lew 7.1.1.2

          Christchurch is a special case on account of earthquakes and governmental incompetence, upon which I’m not qualified to speak — but plenty of other people are doing so. The general premises of the argument don’t obtain there. Yes, housing is in very short supply, and very expensive — but that’s not due to the same socio-economic factors at play in Auckland and Wellington.

          L

    • Lew (@LewSOS) 7.2

      Popluxe1,

      I’m guessing you’re probably financially secure and don’t have a young family.

      You just didn’t read the fucking article, did you?

      L

      • Populuxe1 7.2.1

        I probably glazed over near the end with the though that even if there were jobs in Gore or wherever I’d probably rather kill myself than live there. Ok, good for you, you can afford to move, support a family on one income so that your wife can study, have no elderly parents to look after or whatever, and your personal interests don’t require a large urban population.

        Good for you.

        Let the ethno-economic cleansing begin.

        • Populuxe1 7.2.1.1

          Though fair warning – I lived in Dunedin for eight years, six of which were spent on Prozac because there is literally nothing there other than the university and half the year it’s a ghost town.

          • Lew 7.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, good for me. It’s not for everyone, but as things stand, it’s not for hardly anyone because the lack of opportunity precludes such a move even for most of those who want it. I’m not talking about the end of cities — I’m talking about viable alternatives for those who want to opt out of them, or who aren’t fussed.

            As for finding things to do and living in a ghost town — well, I’ve lived in Paraparaumu for five years. I’ll cope.

            L

  8. greywarbler 8

    I heard this discussed on the radio. When the idea of encouraging people to move to the regions and encourage business along with jobs there, the Auckland people seem to be negative. They do like to say that Auckland is the power house of the NZ economy and when it is flourishing all NZ benefits. I think that this time it was Penny Hulse delivering the sermon.

    There is a disjunct between the desire of Auckland to have everything going their way, and the need to have a balanced economy and people happily housed wherever they live. It seems that Auckland is a jealous god, there shall be no other gods. And they are in a position to fight with Wellington for resources and against regional subsidies of some sort. Thanks ACT. The Party that screws you, and leaves you with an aftertaste to savour.

    • lprent 8.1

      The problem for aucklanders is that we have mostly heard talk about developing regions when the basics required to run a city, like a effective public transport system or motorways, have been deprioritized. It would be a whole lot easier for us to tax ourselves for things like the CRL. But after we finally got it, National removed it.

      • Tracey 8.1.1

        yes. Hamilton is about an hour forty from auckland by car. Faster by decent train. Then you have all the places in between.

        Satelite towns are a good idea but require decent transport. National and labour build motorways.

        If people canget to work on a decent reliable train in an hour to an hour twenty, do some work on the train on the way, go home to somewhere a bit quieter and calmer than a city but have better access to it when they want it, why wouldnt they.

        The important thing about housing problems is the poverty it creates, the ill health and the desperation

        Getting people out of auckland is about transport networks back in because i see no silver bullet to change the imbalance.

        Nz has a population the size of melbourne but spread way wider, resources far more stretched.

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          Putting the public transport systems inside Auckland would be preferable since they aren’t that useful at present. More bus only lanes, more park and rides on the train/bus/ferry routes, and above all – more double track trains to act as the longer distance links.

          There is no particular need to build outside of the existing urban areas. Building inside them is a hell of lot cheaper in providing services.

  9. Brendon Harre 9

    I have a friend who married a Finn and moved to her home town -Vaasa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaasa. Population 66,000. They have their own university funded from their own taxes. My friend lectures there. He says every single department has some sort of connection to the two big private employers -Wärtsilä – diesel engines and ABB Strömberg – industrial and power electronics and automation equipment. That these public/private ‘connections’ are why Vaasa has two high paying high tech industries.

    My friend says Finland has a ‘education will help you succeed’ -both individually and collectively ethos. It very methodically puts in place all the needed public and private institutions needed to succeed. I think an important part of this is that the ‘connections’ are built from the bottom up.

    The lesson for NZ is we should have more Dunedin’s and they should have more independence so they can build their own ‘connections’. Regional developments needs to come from the regions. I think a Ministry of Regional Development is an oxymoron.

    • greywarbler 9.1

      Brendon Harre
      The Finns sound more practical and hard-headed than NZ in developing their regions with good synergies and outcomes realised. NZ regions can often be dominated by rigid, yet fanciful thinking. Rigid results in narrow thinking, often of just being service centres to one industry, and fanciful when they undertake projects which they have decided should be successful carried forward by wish-fulfilment.

      Perhaps Queenstown with its international airport could be an example of a region going ahead in the way you are thinking. Yet again there are fanciful ideas cropping up that will act to destroy the benefits to the area and its attractions if they proceed. (I’m thinking of the plan to speed tourists through the area to destinations and the destruction of the landscape and the by-passing of Wanaka that is part of one plan.)

      Talking about Dunedin, note how it has built a beautiful white elephant stadium because of an obssession amongst city leaders and councillors about rugby, and it’s past history. But it is being paid for by taxpayers in the present and future. So that’s the future history of Dunedin and its able and far-seeing impractical and irresponsible councillors, have not achieved a viable business with employment opportunities. Add to that their investments in resort development etc carried out by their busyness arm. They have to be seen to be striding the area ‘Doing Important Things’, and have chosen to risk Dunedin’s taxpayer money on speculative development spending and not even in Dunedin itself.

      That’s what you can get in regions, a tide or current that moves forward which can flood objections about viability and practicality, just as you can get mismanagement from central government. In Christchurch the central government has taken over regional entities dealing with water, already biased against sustainability, seeing rainbows everywhere (from irrigation units firing water into the air with abandon).

      So with regional councils trying to be major businessmen, and possibly turning out like Hubbard, we need better thinking and planning to achieve what the Finns did. NZs have to be realistic about the lack of quality of business thinking in this country and be canny, (though not absolutely dead against regional spending on other things than drains which approach ACT has sponsored) but I have heard the comment that we have a gold rush mentality. And Dunedin has never got over being the golden heart of NZ back in the old days.

  10. BM 10

    If you consider income vs expenses you’d probably find a lot of people in the low growth, low income areas are actually better off then the ones in the high growth,high income areas.

    It’s not how much money you make, it’s how much you’ve got left over once the bills are paid.

    • Tracey 10.1

      i think you are

      A. Deluding yourself
      B. Wrong
      C. Not aquainted with families earning 630 per week in take home pay in auckland

      You are confusing those wasting money with those without enough money.

      • felix 10.1.1

        Nah there’s a kernel of truth in what BM says. 630 is shit anywhere, but it’s more doable in a small provincial town than it is in Auckland.

        • BM 10.1.1.1

          Especially with a mortgage.
          If you have a good income and don’t buy a house you’ll live pretty well in Auckland.

          • greywarbler 10.1.1.1.1

            “If you have a good income and don’t buy a house you’ll live pretty well in Auckland.”
            That sounds very Brash. He took an ice-cold economist’s view that a house was merely an investment and people shouldn’t spend so much on their home.

            Stay foot-loose and fancy free and spend all your money in the consumer economy was his idea. Which was practical from his point of view and ideology as housing was to be used as merely another service business. The consumer-led economy was a large part of GDP in our country where business and the taxes and the synergies it creates has been casually killed off by competitive imports undercutting NZ prices and economic structure by poorer countries with just-survival wages.

            • BM 10.1.1.1.1.1

              You have to remember Auckland has become an international city and therefore has international city pricing.

              Unless we crash the economy and close the doors to the rest of the world people renting permanently is inevitable

              If you’re not on a great income and want to buy a house, Auckland is not where you want to be, your only option is to move.

              • Tracey

                move to where there is no job and then get vilified by people like you for living where there is no job. And requiring welfare support.

                • BM

                  If someone just quits a job and moves to a small town, they’re a complete arse.

                  You find a town you like then keep an eye out on the jobs vacant or take a week off head down and ask around.

                  Once you find a job rent for a bit before you commit.

                  • felix

                    Again though, you’re not actually talking about people with low paid jobs BM. On min wage or near it you simply don’t have the option of “taking a week off”.

              • dave

                Auckland has become an international city!!!!!! with badly built leaky homes pumped up on spluge of cheap credit and decades of bad planning reality will hit one day and tears will flow

        • Tracey 10.1.1.2

          Unless half of auckland suddenly moved to those low growth low income places which seems to be bm solution, which then, wouldnt be a solution.

  11. DH 11

    “The housing problem isn’t a housing problem;”

    This is horseshit. It would take at least a decade of development to get any meaningful population drift to the regions. Right now the housing problem is a housing problem and it needs immediate solutions.

    David Cunliffe made some very reasonable and rational statements on housing and immigration. They weren’t xenophobic, they weren’t racist.

    Unlike the writer I live in Auckland. Us jafas have borne the brunt of the last few decades of immigration and we need a rest from it. Our roads are clogged, our infrastructure is bursting at the seams, the cost of everything just keeps going up. And they still keep pouring in. Don’t fucking call us racists or xenophobes.

    • Lew 11.1

      And why do you suppose people are settling in Auckland?

      L

      • DH 11.1.1

        It doesn’t matter why they’re settling here. What matters, right here and now, is that they have, they are and they will continue to do so for the forseeable future.

        What do you want us to do, ignore the problem and have house prices double again before any regional development takes effect?

        And btw; check the rates on those ‘cheap’ houses in the country. $2114.31. It can also get cold as hell down in Taumarunui and that’s The Lines Company territory so the power bill won’t be pretty either.

        • Lew 11.1.1.1

          “It doesn’t matter why they’re settling here.”

          This attitude is exactly why we’re in such a mess.

          L

          • DH 11.1.1.1.1

            Piss off with the out of context quoting. You know exactly what I said, and meant, there and your playing diversion tactics here just shows how shallow your argument.

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