Labour announcement: Labour will require Housing Corporation to use dividends to build state houses

Written By: - Date published: 2:40 pm, July 9th, 2016 - 348 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, housing, labour - Tags:

Andrew Little-1

Andrew Little has announced at the Labour Party’s 100 year special conference that Labour in Government will require Housing Corporation to instead of paying dividends to instead build houses.

From Radio New Zealand:

He said National had used Housing NZ to profit from the most vulnerable, and turned it into a glorified property management company.

Mr Little said the National government took a $118m dividend in 2015/16, which would be enough to build 1500 state houses.

He said not having to pay the dividend would also give Housing NZ money to invest in fixing cold, damp homes.

National has reduced the number of state houses by more than 2500 since 2011.

Mr Little said Labour would stop National’s state house sell-off and commit to substantially increasing the number of state houses.

There is a further policy announcement tomorrow in New Lynn. Clearly Labour has been putting a lot of thought into how to address this crisis and deal with this current scourge on New Zealand society.

Update: There is some comment about the figures in Radio New Zealand’s article. The speech itself did not contain specific figures. Stuff records the speech in these terms:

At Labour’s centennial conference in Wellington, Little announced his party would abolish the requirement for Housing NZ to pay a dividend to the Government each year, changing from a corporation to a ministry to focus solely on providing enough state houses.

Little also said his party would build at least 1000 new state houses each year until there were enough to meet demand, while it would halt the Government’s sell-off of existing state houses.

Last September, it was revealed Housing NZ would pay the Government a $118 million dividend for the 2015/16 financial year – the largest in five years.

Little said the Government was using the state house provider as a “cash cow”, when it should be focused on helping people in need.

“At the moment, the way it’s set up, the way it’s operating, it seems to see itself as just a glorified property manager.”

Changing Housing NZ into a public service, rather than a corporation, would give the organisation more money to ensure existing state houses were warm and dry, while building more houses to meet demand.

“We’ll take away the incentives in the structure and say your job, you’re a government ministry, you go and look after the most vulnerable to provide them housing, which is what the Labour government did 80 years ago.”

Update: The 1,500 figure relates to the total dividend for the last five years, not the last year:

National has taken $523m of profits out of Housing New Zealand, including $118m dividend for 2015/16. That’s enough to have built over 1,500 state houses.”

348 comments on “Labour announcement: Labour will require Housing Corporation to use dividends to build state houses ”

  1. save nz 1

    Great news! +100

    How about a training scheme to go with it, to get the unemployed to learn how to build the new ‘state houses’. Just like they did post war. Providing, jobs, skills and houses!

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    A step in the right direction and long overdue. Fisi can’t claim this was Gnat policy – though even the RB called for it.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      I am sure the Government is now thinking about how much of the dividend it can use for building state houses and contemplating if it can swallow a dead frog and do something it has no ideological appetite for.

      Meanwhile Labour will just get on with the proposal.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        Well it could re-open the two that are boarded up on the way to New Lynn. Surely the Marae would have two families eager to move in.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.2

        It makes a neat line for Labour at the next election, too:
        “People don’t want a taxcut that will see them better off by $1,000 a year. People want houses that are $100,000 cheaper that they can actually afford to buy.

        National: tax cuts
        Labour: houses”

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        The government can’t use any of the dividend as they’ve already spent it on tax cuts and subsidising Rio Tinto, etc, etc.

      • AmaKiwi 2.1.4

        It feels like a trap.

        Is it possible that after 8 years of slick neo-liberal economic date rape and cover-ups the Nats are making no effort to escape from this housing trap?

        I hope I’m not dreaming.

  3. Ad 3

    Get some blood running through the old sinews.

  4. BM 4

    What happens with the $118 million at the moment?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Probably goes into the Crown’s general fund or whatever they call it nowadays.

      • Sacha 4.1.1

        Along with other dodges, it’s used to give a semblance of ‘surplus’.

        Also part of the standard neoliberal SOE model where all agencies are forced to make annual cuts to keep their managers ‘disciplined’. DHBs etc face similar shenanigans.

      • seeker 4.1.2


        Used for the wretched ‘surplus’ and/or to make up for the huge 5% tax cut we have lived with for the past 6 or so years.

        Our National debt is $110 billion plus at the mo.:

        Ironic that it is called ‘National’ debt for it is indeed National’s debt that it has created thanks to a crap virtually non existent economic policy and a greedy desire to cut taxes for the wealthy (themselves) and obtain a ‘surplus’, no matter how many lives it costs, as long as it’s not their own.

        • BM

          Which means the money is already accounted for.

          What Andrew Little really meant is he’s going to spend another $120 million of tax payers money on state houses.

          • Ad

            Yes, he will have to find the loss of consolidated funding from elsewhere.

            My personal favorite for cuts would be Defence’s stupid shopping list.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Defences shopping list isn’t stupid. Under funding and poor spending previously was which resulted in higher necessary spending now. Hell, what National have mentioned probably isn’t enough.

              As for covering the extra $120 million – a rise in taxes on the rich and come down hard on tax evaders. That’ll bring in ~$7 billion or so.

              • Ad

                You want to be a leftie defending their $21 billion wankfest, be my guest. Brownlee awaits your call.

                My kind of government would help them figure out that this is a social and environmental transformation government, not generals and poorly judged toys.

    • Rae 4.2

      Slush fund

    • Chuck 4.3

      I am sure most commentators on this site would say it goes into John Key’s retirement fund!

      However it is reinvested for the likes of R&M for said state house’s. Which to put some numbers on it, was a total of approx. $400 million.

    • Stuart Munro 4.4

      It’s used to fund ovine aviation research.

      • Incognito 4.4.1

        Porcine aviation research rather into Sus volans or a study into sightings of Elephas rosa? John Key only cares for pandas, snapper, and Moonbeam.

    • maninthemiddle 4.5

      Whatever happens to it, it is crown revenue. So this is another in a long list of expensive policy commitments Labour have to fund by stealing more money off you and I.

      • McFlock 4.5.1

        In other words, MITM would prefer to have an extre $50 in his pocket every year and let homeless people die in cardboard recycling compactors.

        • maninthemiddle

          There are no homeless people dying in cardboard recycling compactors. The homeless in NZ are homeless because they chose to be. There is plenty of help available, and no excuse.

          • McFlock

            Well, that seems to be a pretty comprehensive denial of reality, given recent events.

            You must be thinking about life on planet key.

            • maninthemiddle

              Can you provide references to the story of the homeless people dying in cardboard recycling compactors?

              • McFlock

                Can you provide references to the story of the homeless people dying in cardboard recycling compactors?

                Yes I can. Have you been living in a cave in the last couple of weeks?

                • maninthemiddle

                  Yep, he’s the only one I’m aware of. Now where are the others? (You said ‘people’). By the way, Daniel Bindner fits my description exactly. With due respect to his family, Daniel had a drug habit from the age of 15. He was laid off in June, got anther job straight away and failed a drug test. Daniel had been living on the streets for 2 weeks. Daniel is not homeless. He chose to live rough largely because of depression. No government could have prevented his death. Its sad you would think they could.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Meanwhile, on Earth, Tory trash are wilfully ignorant of the way inequality and mental health go hand-in-hand.

                    There’s no excuse – their incompetence is indistinguishable from malice because they’ve had their faces rubbed in the facts so many times even anonymous blokes like me have noticed.

                    Say it with spittle, not lamp-posts.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      Mental health is a very complex animal. Inequality may or may not effect it, but inequality is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, providing the overall nations wealth increases. Which is what is happening.

                  • McFlock

                    “due respect”. Yeah, fuck off.
                    Especially as you claimed to be aware of his case, and yet still said “There are no homeless people dying in cardboard recycling compactors”. He doesn’t count as a person, to you. And now you’re arguing he chose to live rough because of depression, yet this isn’t the same as being homeless even though according to you it’s a direct result of untreated mental health issues.

                    What’s sad is that you’re a fucking sociopath desperately looking for reasons to not care about people dying. Fuck you guys, you’re pieces of shit.

                    Fuck sake, even ONE is too many, do you not fucking understand that? Does it not enter into your head that he should have had help for his addiction years ago, a social worker and mental health support team when he lost his job and his home, and a warm place to sleep other than a recycling bin? How difficult is that for you to comprehend, you goddamn cylon?

                    • maninthemiddle

                      Daniel wan’t ‘homeless’. He was living rough by choice. If you could park your emotion and engage your brain for 30 seconds you’d actually see the real tragedy in this case. But no, it;s much easier to blame the government. Blame me. Blame anyone except the person themselves.

                      Do you seriously think any government can stop a drug addicted, depressed human being from making these kinds of choices?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      It’s all you’ve got when you’re completely shit at being a government.

                    • The lost sheep


                      McFlock and OAB and some others here do seriously think that the Govt. is responsible for the actions and outcomes of all individuals, and there is no such thing as self responsibility.

                      Er. That is with the exception of people who are not classed as lower socioeconomic and/or who hold what they deem to be Right Wing views, in which case they are completely responsible for every action they take and it’s effect on those who utterly lack self responsibility.

                      Yes. I know. But that’s the great thing about a parallel universe eh? Anything is possible.

                    • ropata

                      by that logic the state is not responsible for disasters like pike river, or chch earthquakes, or for leaky homes, or for helping anybody in a housing crisis CAUSED BY govt policies

                      why do we pay tax again?

                      oh that’s right it’s to buy Saudi sheep farms and publish lots of marketing material about how great John Key is

                    • McFlock

                      If you could park your emotion and engage your brain for 30 seconds you’d actually see the real tragedy in this case

                      You have bugger all of either.
                      If you had one you wouldn’t try so hard to justify our doing nothing to prevent this.
                      If you had the other you’d realise that us taking responsibility via the government for our part in this tragedy doesn’t mean that he had no responsibility in the matter. Just that we all collectively watched a man go off the rails and ie horribly, doing nothing.

                      That’s the wider tragedy of our society: even if you or sheep were intelligent enough to understand that distinction, you’re both incapable of understanding why you should even care. We have so many broken people like you, sometimes it seems like we’ve trained a generation of socipaths.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “But that’s the great thing about a parallel universe eh? ”

                      Thanks TLS. I understand, but I still like to engage…every now and again I manage to get one to see sense.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “by that logic the state is not responsible for disasters like pike river, or chch earthquakes, or for leaky homes, or for helping anybody in a housing crisis CAUSED BY govt policies”

                      How was the Chch earthquake caused by government policies? Anyway, your point is nonsense. Daniel living rough had nothing to do with the housing issues. Nothing. He made his own choices – to be a drug user, to bed down in a compactor. Sad, but true.

                    • Draco T Bastard


                      …but I still like to engage…every now and again I manage to get one to see sense.

                      If they’re agreeing with you then they’re not seeing sense but pure bloody delusion.

                      You have neither logic nor facts on your side.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Mental health is…

                    What would you know about it, trash: your every utterance is a study in self-aggrandising mendacity, and you lack the intelligence to understand why.

                    Spare us your gobshite.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Maninthemiddle: your Sheep has no insight into what I or McFlock or anyone else believes. You will swallow his rote-learned facile smears and parrot them, as though you suffer from some sort of sympathetic incontinence.

                    Off you go, sewer pipe.

                  • miravox

                    “…He was laid off in June, got anther job straight away and failed a drug test”

                    So he was not laid off because he was an incompetent worker? First layoff was a financial decision by his employer – fair enough. In the second job it seems he was laid off because his new employer chose to use a drugs test. Given he appeared to be able to do his job, if that test was to measure competency, it was the wrong test to use. If it was to measure drugs use regardless of competency it was a morality test.

                    Hard to imagine what that run of bad luck does to a person. That’s not homelessness by choice. That’s homelessness by (im)moral judgement.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      What ‘run of bad luck’? He was laid off from one job, then failed to secure a job he was offered immediately because he failed a drug test. The former has happened to many people. The latter was entirely self inflicted.

                    • ropata

                      He had also suffered a relationship breakdown and obviously had mental/emotional health problems. But in Key’s brighter future, we don’t need mental health services. So he probably smoked some weed or drank some booze to escape the pain. Then he got booted from his job and no doubt Winz treated him with contempt and left him to rot.

                      I am ashamed of NZ at this point. We failed another vulnerable person and left him to die alone. Pray it doesn’t happen to you MITM.

                    • Pat

                      “if that test was to measure competency, it was the wrong test to use. If it was to measure drugs use regardless of competency it was a morality test.”

                      while the morality aspect is valid there is also a competency/safety aspect involved….but if we were treating drug dependancy as a public health issue then we would likely get better results for society as a whole…i wouldn’t want to be relying on or covering for someone drug incapable(although ill admit i have in the past) we need to address the underlying causes and they are many and sometimes not necessarily individually solvable.

                    • miravox

                      ” competency/safety aspect involved….”

                      Hi Pat, Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want people who are impaired through partaking their drug of choice operating vehicles, heavy machinery etc., working with animals and making important decisions. Health and safety of the individual and people around is crucial.

                      His former employer said “He was an obliging worker… who would pitch in on all farm jobs. He milked all the time, was a regular worker, loved his kids.” This suggests the guy wasn’t and incompetent or unstable worker.

                      My view is that this is where the moral argument comes in. Is the employment environment (note I’m not making this about individual employers) accepting of some drugs that can (but not necessarily at the time of the testing) cause impairment, but not other consumables or situations that may cause impairment? I don’t think we have this employment situation right yet.

                      “but if we were treating drug dependancy as a public health issue then we would likely get better results for society as a whole…”

                      Yes. Absolutely agree, and if this were so, Daniel Bindner and many others, might still be alive, working and caring for their families.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “He had also suffered a relationship breakdown and obviously had mental/emotional health problems. But in Key’s brighter future, we don’t need mental health services.”
                      Nonsense. NZ has always needed mental health services, and we have those services today. Daniel chose not to seek help. Tragic.

                      “So he probably smoked some weed or drank some booze to escape the pain. Then he got booted from his job and no doubt Winz treated him with contempt and left him to rot.”
                      He began taking drugs at the age of 15. He was made redundant, and offered another job immediately.

                      “I am ashamed of NZ at this point. We failed another vulnerable person and left him to die alone.”
                      Who failed Daniel? Not the drug rehabilitation he didn’t access. Not the employers who gave him work. Not the emergency housing providers who could have given him accomodation. And not his family, who would surely have taken him in.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.5.2

        Stop whinging and pay your taxes like everyone else, you ungrateful little prick.

  5. tinfoilhat 5

    Can we still build state houses for $78,000 each ?

    • stunned mullet 5.1

      According to mayor brown and his mendacious council 1.5 million each is a reasonable cost.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        $1.5K per square metre if you are absolutely cheaping out on it. Plus section costs.

        • weka

          Gone are the days of the three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. It just wouldn’t sell. When clients ask me, “How much will my house cost to build?” Then I must ask “How complex do you want it, because complexity costs?”

          A basic answer can, however, be given and it goes like this: The last house I finished cost $1440 per square metre. It was of average complexity, had four bedrooms and three bathrooms, with landscaping and fences included. It was on a flat site with easy access.

          My emphasis. There’s a lot of bullshit going on in builds these days. If you aren’t building for financial investment, the costs change. There’s also a rort going on in NZ over supplies. Best bet would be for the government to have its own dedicated department to build houses and sort some of the neoliberal crap out.

          The council rorts too,

          • Lanthanide

            I think really, what he means is the builders would have to charge a price high enough to make a profit, that 3 bedroom 1 bathroom wouldn’t be comparatively cheap enough to the other options, that it wouldn’t sell.

            There are simply a lot of minimum fixed costs when you build a house. Putting all those fixed costs onto a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom house makes it un-competitive, and in any city where the land is a significant proportion of the total value (which probably means everywhere bigger than Dunedin), it’s not cost-effective to build a house that size, unless it really is a postage stamp ~350m section, which means you get very little in the way of garden / privacy.

            Now, if the houses didn’t need to be built at a profit, which is possible for the government, then those houses could be built at an attractive enough price for the market to buy. But that in itself would but the squeeze on private businesses who wouldn’t be able to compete.

            • Colonial Viper

              What is most cost effective and the most profitable, ain’t necessarily what the renters in the community most need.

              A lot of new builds today consider ~200m2 the minimum floor size worth considering financially.

              It’s nuts and it’s overkill when you consider mum, dad and 2 kids used to lead their lives just fine in 90m2 of house.

              • weka


                If the house doesn’t need to be sold, the whole ball game changes.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And notice how the old state houses, all of them fairly compact in size, are quickly bought up by private investors, given a mediocre do-over, then sell just fine in the property market making the investors a pretty $$$.

                  • weka

                    Yep. We need to focus on people having homes not investments opportunities.

                  • Ad

                    My first house was an ex-state in Mt Albert.
                    Polished the floors, did the kitchen, did the landscaping.

                    It was a great solid house, and a great leg up into the market.

                    That’s been the push tens of thousands of Kiwis have got and needed.

                    • weka

                      How nice for you that you got to climb on the backs of others to get where you are Ad, and then leave them behind. Because that’s how your comment just came across.

                    • Ad

                      Weka you need a better understanding of the relationship between the state and capital formation in New Zealand. Housing has been the central instrument to redistribution.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      Unfortunately times have changed. Today’s state house occupants often don’t treat their taxpayer funded accomodation as you no doubt did, which has resulted in the massive R&M bills we face every year.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Let’s assume for a moment that Maninthemiddle’s low-life hate speech is true. Why do so many more people want to smash things under National?

            • Draco T Bastard

              But that in itself would but the squeeze on private businesses who wouldn’t be able to compete.

              If private businesses can’t compete then tough biccies.

              Isn’t that the capitalist way?

              • Lanthanide

                Generally it’s not good for the economy to put a lot of people out of work.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  But, but, but, isn’t the creative destruction of capitalism then supposed to immediately produce new work for those workers to do?

                  Or are we just looking for another excuse for the government to prop up a failed system.

                  • Ad

                    construction “system” is working just fine.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’ve mentioned before that I have family in construction. They tell me what’s happening and it’s pretty much not working at all.

                • Craig H

                  Agreed, but in this case, the work will still be available as houses will still be constructed. The owners may have to adjust their business models, but the general builders won’t be out of work.

              • KJT

                The original State housing started Fletchers, for one.

                The builders them selves will probably make more for their work than they do under the current model, of housing companies charging lots and paying the builders as little as possible.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  IMO, Fletchers is a really good example as to why a state should never engage private contractors to do what they’re quite capable of doing themselves.

                  Turn HNZ into a government department and hire the builders directly. Get lots of good apprenticeships going across all fields of the building industry.

                  Do it that way and you don’t get a private monopoly that ramps up prices at will and the private sector get well trained people to work with once the initial push ramps down to it’s natural level.

                  • KJT

                    Fletcher’s are now using their monopoly power as the Government lead contractor in Christchurch.
                    To keep wages down and their prices up.

                    However using a whole lot of small building companies and sole tradespeople, works differently.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      However using a whole lot of small building companies and sole tradespeople, works differently.

                      The problem being that the government won’t do that. They’ll contract a large employer, probably Fletchers, to handle the whole lot and simply hand money over.

                      That’s what happened in Christchurch where, as you point out, the workers are being screwed and we’re getting seriously substandard work because of the massive cutbacks that Fletchers insist upon.

                    • KJT

                      Yep. Christchurch will be the next leaky building scandal.

                      At least partly because experienced builders stopped going down there for less than they can get building in Auckland, and much less than in Brisbane.

                      Shows the inflated cost of building materials in New Zealand too.

                      When in Aussie a builder can earn twice as much, and the house costs the same amount of dollars.

          • Lloyd

            My experience is that when someone says that an inexpensive house design won’t sell, in Auckland, they are wrong. There is such a need for housing in Auckland you could rent out a large dog kennel.
            Developers who don’t read the district plan (admittedly a complex task) and don’t follow building code complain the Council rorts when they get pulled up with their infringing applications. If they do it right they get their consents. If they put in an application that exceeds the rules the Council costs soar. Most building consent applications producing shopping list requests for information from the Council because the developers missed out stuff they have to include.

            • KJT

              Unfortunately both the building code and the consent process work against innovation.

              When a plefora of engineers reports are required for any deviation from standard.

              Keeps engineers employed however.

      • Sacha 5.1.2

        Yes, let’s blame the councils. The Nats want their line back.

    • Chuck 5.2

      Andrew Little wants the public to take him seriously??

      1,500 new state houses from $118 million? At $78 k each…not even the most rabid lefty could with a straight face say its doable…

      Surely there was more to Little’s announcement? otherwise a primary school pupil could drive a bus through this.

      • Sabine 5.2.1

        yes dear.

        • Chuck

          thanks dear!

          I see an update has just been posted by MickySavage…

          It seems the $118 million is only the deposit for 1000 + state houses a year. As BM points out the $118 million is already spent, so Little is having a couple of goes spending the same $.

          • Jenny Kirk

            From the Labour website:

            National has taken $523m of profits out of Housing New Zealand, including a $118m dividend for 2015/16. That’s enough to have built over 1,500 state houses.

            That’s quite a bit more than a state house for $78,000 ! $523m for 1500 houses.

            • maninthemiddle

              Your quote shows just how deceptive Labour are being. The money from HC dividends is used for other Gvt spending. If the HC dividend is used to build more state houses, the state services it was previously spent on still have to be funded. Can you inform us which health, education, etc services yo are prepared to cut to build more state homes. Or are you simply going to raise taxes?

              • KJT

                Plenty of slack with the 2 billion National are using at the moment to subsidise private landlords.

                • maninthemiddle

                  Subsidise? You mean compensating landlords for providing state house capital? That actually makes much more sense than using taxpayer money to build more houses.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Stop whinging about taxation, ingrate.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      I’m not. But I’m not paying any more to build houses for other people to trash.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I’m not paying any more to build houses for other people to trash.

                    Too funny: you vote for a government that trashes everything from water quality to the social contract, from Cameron Slater to Cabinet Club, then expect that citizens won’t follow suit.

                    You’re a walking expression of Grey’s Law.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      The government doesn’t trash anything. People do. State house tenants are notorious in some areas. I’ll happily contribute when jail is in prospect for trashing state owned handouts.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Too funny again: I’ll rephrase for your Libertard sensitivities, you feeble shrinking intellectual gimp.

                    The people in the National Party and the scum who fund them trash everything from water quality to the social contract…

                    Please consider my utter contempt for your opinion to be the default response to everything else you write unless I actually answer you.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      When did NZ start measuring and regulating the standard of water quality? That’s right, under this government. Did Labour do that? No. Your opinion means nothing to me.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    The provision of capital being a virtue only reflects its status as a scarce resource. Of course the philosophers who, like Adam Smith, came up with such a definition operated in a specie economy in which precious metals were indeed scarce – to the point that by our standards those economies were permanently depressed. The reason present day interest rates are approaching zero in many countries is that, far from being a scarce resource, capital, which is now created at a keystroke, is no longer scarce. So landlords are not providing a service of any value by putting up capital – they are mere rentseekers like pay TV. In a couple of hundred years I expect the economists will catch up with present day reality – and impose its invalidities on the prevailing issues of their time.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                When did NZ start measuring and regulating the standard of water quality?

                Two questions that you don’t know the answer to – when the measuring started and when it was first subject to regulation.

                Shall you attempt to reduce your ignorance before I rub your face in the facts, or will you continue to be the sewer pipe for your glorious leader’s lies?

                Your call, trash.

                • I admire your elegant demolition of Man-Pretending-to-be-in-the-Middle, One Anonymous Bloke. Poetry. In . Motion.

                • maninthemiddle

                  I’ll make this easier for you, as comprehension is not your strong suit. When did NZ start setting water quality standards? Not under a Labour government, eh OAB.

                  I’ve seen this behaviour from you before, OAB. Try to bully a combatant out of highlighting your ignorance. You’re about to get owned on a few scores, my friend.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    For example, NIWA commenced their fresh water monitoring program in 1989. I’ll leave you to discover who the government was at that time.

                    Then, I’ll educate you in the history of water quality regulations, just to slam your face into the ground.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Meanwhile, on Earth, in this context “measuring” and “monitoring” are exactly the same thing. The Resource Management Act, for example, has many sections devoted to water quality.

                    Yes yes, I know you are determined to look like a gullible fuckwit, and you swallowed the National Party’s lies.

                    That’s because you’re low life trash, just like them. Choke on it like the filthy water their bribe-givers have inflicted on the country.

                    *cough* Dairying and Clean Streams Accord 2003 *cough*. Go on, spew out another impotent little tanty, shit-stain.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      Run, rabbit, run.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Just pointing out that the first water quality regulations were introduced decades ago, and naming some of their antecedents.

                      You can do your own Google searches though: I don’t work for shit-stains and even if I did you couldn’t afford it.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “Just pointing out that the first water quality regulations were introduced decades ago, and naming some of their antecedents.”

                      The first national water quality standards were introduced by National. Run, rabbit.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Meanwhile, on Earth, wading quality is a gross admission of failure. The corruption at ECAN is a gross admission of failure. The Trashional Party is a walking shame-fest.

                      Dr. Jan Wright’s recent report can educate you about the history of water quality regulations. You won’t read it.

      • Stuart Munro 5.2.2

        People want to live in them, not drive buses through them Chuck.

        Key’s had three terms to produce something – anything – and all Nick Smith has to say is that it’s terribly complicated.

        If you’d learned about Savage in primary school you might have a clue how he’ll do it.

        You are not ‘the public’. You are the far-right troll so obnoxious you insist on lurking on moderate left sites.

        • Chuck

          Living in a dream world that we are back in the 1930’s says to me Stuart that you smoke way too much weed.

          I accept you are and properly always will be a rabid leftist (the degree of hard left you are, only you can answer that).

          There is a spot somewhere between the so called left and right of politics…that’s where I am.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Well, the 1930s were a hell of a lot better than the 1530s where you RWNJs want us to be.

          • Incognito

            It is not just the Left that allegedly is living in a dream world; Trump wants to make America great again and UKIP longs for the Britain that once was and want their lives back [to how it was before].

            I agree that this kind of nostalgia is as sound basis for making political decisions in modern times as listening to Beethoven’s 5th, which happens to be a masterpiece of timeless beauty – certain values and principles withstand the test of times.

          • Stuart Munro

            No Chuck, you are not a centrist – you’re well to the right of Genghis Khan – who was a proto-democrat and perfectly comfortable with toppling non-performing elites.

            We pay the government to serve us – not to pretend to be a business. If they’d succeeded at all we might’ve humoured them, but they’ve proven too corrupt. $120 billion in debt proves they don’t have a clue.

            They elites are going to wear it hard for fucking over the last generation, or the last generation will be homeless on the streets. Don’t think they fancy that myself.

            • Chuck

              Interesting…I think now I can understand where your anger comes from Stuart. You view at least half of NZ voters as far right…not worthy of the oxygen they use.

              Calm down it’s only your over active imagination comrade!

              • Stuart Munro

                You don’t represent half of one percent of New Zealanders Chuck – and by your nickname you’re probably an import in any case.

                The Gnat’s Potemkin economy has been found out and the only thing stopping us going the same way as Greece is that most formerly first world countries aren’t in much better shape.

                You are living in a revisionist moment – “on the cusp of something special” as we like to say. Don’t tremble at the shadow of the guillotine now – embrace it. This is the future you chose.

                • maninthemiddle

                  That’s hilarious Stuart. NZ has record low interest rates, close to zero inflation, solid economic growth, and record levels of employment. The economy you’re describing is Venezuela.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Venezuela – that’s all you know to say you useless prat.

                    Show me the money – “man in the middle” show me median wage growth, show me the jobs – and a real job is one that lets someone buy a house and support a family.

                    But you can’t of course – because the Key kleptocracy has not produced these.

                    You grasp these spurious statistics to your shriveled breast as if they mean something in the real world, but all they mean is that your idol is so useless he had to shift the goalposts and you’re too idle to care.

                    Here we care, and not caring marks you out as a contemptible RWNJ. Congratulations! You’re another psychopath! You just make more work for Dexter.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      Venezuela is an excellent example of what happens when the sort of economic policies you advocate get applied.

                      “show me median wage growth”
                      Why cherry pick? Here’s some real data for you, showing the wage growth NZ’ers are enjoying under National:
                      “Labour force participation at all-time high, Employment growth still strong, Youth NEET rate rises, Annual wage growth remains steady, Wage growth remains above consumer price inflation”

                      “show me the jobs – and a real job is one that lets someone buy a house and support a family.”
                      Your entitled to your own opinion, but not your own definitions.
                      “Employment in New Zealand has increased by 180,000 or 8.3 percent over the past three years.”

                      Real wages are growing. Employment is at a record high. The economy is in very good shape.

                    • KJT

                      Venezuala is a very good example of what happens when a capitalist country dependent on one commodity fails, when the commodity price drops.

                      Funny how we always hear about Venezuala?
                      Not the “Free enterprise” paradises of Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, Somalia, Iraq, Egypt etc.

                    • KJT

                      Venezuala is a very good example of what happens when a capitalist country dependent on one commodity fails, when the commodity price drops.

                      Funny how we always hear about Venezuala?
                      Not the “Free enterprise” paradises of Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, Somalia, Iraq, Egypt etc.

                      And. National changed the definition of unemployed to at least ONE hour a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    • KJT

                      Venezuela is a very good example of what happens when a capitalist country dependent on one commodity fails, when the commodity price drops.

                      Funny how we always hear about Venezuela?
                      Not the “Free enterprise” paradises of Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, Somalia, Iraq, Egypt etc.

                      And. National changed the definition of unemployed to at least ONE hour a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Actually M.i.M., I am entitled to my own definitions – as long as they are not deceptive.

                      And that’s the problem with the new ‘unemployment numbers’ – not that I am exercising idiosyncratic revisions – but that this government is.

                      As a citizen of this country I require a job that enables me to support myself and my dependents – and anything less is not a job. The recent revision of unemployment numbers is dishonest. Intentionally dishonest.

                      These numbers you produce are spurious – they are not reflected in the real economy, the economy of things.

                      I suppose you imagine yourself an economist of sorts – but if you want to be treated seriously you must work hard to retain the objectivity of your data. As soon as you start lying to yourself, as Bill English does by falsifiying the employment numbers, or you have by wheeling out that spurious nonsense about 180 000 jobs “cleverly” omitting to mention the jobs lost, or that the “jobs” are one hour a week or more or similar deceptions you have lost the right to participate in discussion.

                      It is people like you from whom we get the definition of an economist: A fellow that in the company of mathematicians pretends to be a philosopher, and in the company of philosophers pretends to be a mathematician.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “I am entitled to my own definitions – as long as they are not deceptive.”

                      Ah, and there we have it. For example ‘median wage growth’. You’re another Grant Robertson…unable to recognise good news, so you move the goal posts to some irrelevant data set. It’s deceptive. Dishonest. But I’m sure your leftie friends are impressed.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “Venezuala is a very good example of what happens when a capitalist country dependent on one commodity fails, when the commodity price drops.”

                      Venezuela is not a capitalist country.

                      ” Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, Somalia, Iraq, Egypt etc”

                      “Honduras has had one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America over the past few years. ”

                      The economy of Costa Rica is very stable,[citation needed] and depends essentially on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports.

                      “According to a study conducted by ADEN Business School (which included 18 other countries in the region), Costa Rica is the fourth most competitive country in Latin America in 2012 and is part of a block of countries rated as having a “very good competitive level, with advances and developments in infrastructure, technology and macroeconomic stability”.[6] The nation scored a 71.8 out of 100 on a study which measured competitiveness based on 10 criteria. ”

                      Seriously KJT, you are a dimwit.

                    • ropata

                      MITM ever heard of the GFC? something to do with capitalism I hear.

                      But NZ workers have had a much longer crisis, since around 1984


          • maninthemiddle

            Good response. Stuart always gets nasty when he’s struggling to understand the issues.

            • Stuart Munro

              My little fruitbat is learning to troll! I’m so proud of you! Keep the Ad Hom coming – maybe no one will notice you have nothing else to contribute.

              • maninthemiddle

                You do make things so easy, Stuart. Keep up the bad work.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Content M.I.M. – content. Or go back to Whaleoil where you belong.

                  • maninthemiddle

                    I’ve given plenty of content.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Your content is shite.

                      There is no good economic news in NZ – that’s why we have people living in cars. I’ve been in Cameron’s Britain which by god is a fucking miserable place but NZ is much, much worse. (I even met an Afghan refugee in London who was going back – there was no better life in Britain).

                      So you’re dumb enough to swallow what Bill sends you – congratulations.

                      As I said show me real growth not these farcical bullshit stats. You don’t have any of course – Bill didn’t get $120 billion in debt by having any sane idea of what he was doing.

                      Now – your lamebrained little munters on Whaleoil might fall for your nonsense, but the objective empirical evidence is right in front of us every day. We live in the economy – you cannot hide your failures from us.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      Lowest interest rates in forever.
                      Lowest inflation rates in forever.
                      One of the highest growth rates in the OECD.
                      Record employment figures.

                      Shall I continue? How about you explain why record numbers of people are voting to return to NZ, when under Labour record numbers were leaving.

              • locus

                chuck and maninthemiddle are cheerleaders for a government that has completly shut its eyes to the increasing difficulties that half of all New Zealanders face in trying to afford a home.

                Because people like chuck and maninthemiddle have benefitted from the divisive policies of 8 years of this government they are now running scared of a socially concerned and urgently needed policy on housing, because it will gain traction with voters of all parties, and ultimately be a key factor in Labour removing the Nats in the next election

                It’s no surprise to me that one-eyed commentators will frame, use revised basis statistics that can’t be reliably compared to earlier stats, will sneer and use ad hom tactics to deflect from what is a brilliant step in the right direction by Labour.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I like the policy – though I understand CV’s concern that it’s not enough. My take is that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – and this step is in the right direction. May it be the first of many.

                • Chuck

                  Close you eyes and repeat what you have written over and over if it comforts you Iocus.

                  I don’t know maninthemiddle…so I can’t speak for him/her.

                  I can for myself, and your are so wide of the mark its not funny.

                  Of course National will lose an election at some stage, its the nature of politics…I have voted Labour on more than one occasion. If they can convince me they are worthy of my vote again…I would give it to them.

                  Your maybe tribal? (hard core Labour or Greens) I am not in any direction. However I do admit that at the moment I find the opposition piss poor.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Of course Chuck – all RWNJ trolls used to vote Labour before Little/Cunliffe/Shearer/Goff/Clark/Lange/Kirk/Fraser/Savage cocked it up. The bastards.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      I voted for Lange and Clark. Too young to vote earlier. The Labour Party of today is a sad shadow of the days of Savage etc.

                    • Chuck

                      Stuart that is why Labour is now a shadow of its former self. Hardcore lefties like you don’t understand most of the voting public don’t give a toss about left or right politics (they will vote either way).

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Firstly Chuck I wasn’t always very left – I’ve been radicalised by living under Rogergnomics and watching my friends die. And secondly, I actually know a thing or two about Labour and its discontents and do not need to take instruction from RWNJ trolls.

                  • locus

                    Well to answer your question Chuck – I’ve voted four different Parties over 30 years and so I’d not call myself tribal, but my preference has always been to support Parties with policies that genuinely try to build a better more egalitarian society.

                    This utter shower of unaccountable tax dodging dinner party dirty politics government we have at the moment is almost unchallengeable because they have stroked and fed the hand of those who have power, money, influence and control of the media.

                    When I see the media ‘choosing’ to buy into the framing and lies and ‘forgetfulness’ of these divisive self-serving leeches sucking the decency out of NZ society… well then hey I can’t wait until comfortable middle New Zealand wakes up.

                    Frankly there are dozens of politicians in the opposition parties who will do a better job than any one member of this government.

                    Instead of blaming the opposition for not being the’quality’ of opposition that you desire, why don’t you Chuck, make an effort to challenge the current self-serving career politicians who are not being called to account for their failures?

                    I reserve a special disgust for those who have demonstrated ‘piss poor’ performance of their responsibilities for managing, building, providing and planning for housing… this hydra includes Bill Engish, Nick Smith. Paula Bennett, Gerry Brownlee and the National party as a whole for its total mismanagement of the multiple causes of the spiralling and unaffordable homes in Auckland….a socially divisive virus now spreadng to Hamilton and other cities in NZ

                    • maninthemiddle

                      That rant is precisely the reason the left wing vote in NZ is at it’s lowest level in, well, ever. You are so far out of touch with the realities of most NZ’ers you have rendered yourselves unelectable. Take a reality pill. Talk to a business trying to employ people. Ask a home owner how it feels to pay 5% on their mortgage not 11%. Ask a small business owner how it feels to be able to give someone a 90 day trial, rather than be stuck with some no-hoper who lied on their CV. Ask a young couple how it feels to have their weekly bills virtually static in cost, rather than facing runaway inflation. When you’ve done all of this, you’ll understand why National will win the next election.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Says “the majority”, then, curiously, cites the alleged (projected) opinions of home-and business owners in support of his flailing gibberish.

                      For your information, sweet object of my contempt, I am both a home and business owner. I utterly reject your blithering ignorance.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Man in the Middle – you could not be more wrong.

                    • ropata

                      “Most NZers” = small biz owners, home owners, and young professional couples?

                      MITM must be posting from either Planet Key or Fisi-Land, can’t decide which.

                    • ropata

                      Morgan Foundation:

                      “In 2010 the wealthiest 1% of Kiwis owned 18% of the wealth, the wealthiest 10% had 54%, and the wealthiest 50% had 96% of the wealth. In other words the least wealthy half of the population had 4% of the wealth. Around 8% of the population – 271,000 people had negative net wealth. In other words they owed more than they own; their average debt was around $27,300 each. “

                      Statistics NZ:

                      Since 1988, the proportion of the population in households with low incomes has increased
                      * In 2014, the proportion of the population with household disposable incomes below 60 and 50 percent of median income was 20 and 10 percent, respectively.
                      * The proportion of the population with low household disposable incomes increased steadily from 1998 to a peak in 2004.

                      Results of Rogernomics

                      Over 15 years, New Zealand’s economy and social capital faced serious problems: the youth suicide rate grew sharply into one of the highest in the developed world; the proliferation of food banks increased dramatically; marked increases in violent and other crime were observed; the number of New Zealanders estimated to be living in poverty grew by at least 35% between 1989 and 1992; and health care was especially hard-hit, leading to a significant deterioration in health standards among working and middle-class people. In addition, many of the promised economic benefits of the experiment never materialised. Between 1985 and 1992, New Zealand’s economy grew by 4.7% during the same period in which the average OECD nation grew by 28.2%. From 1984 to 1993 inflation averaged 9% per year, New Zealand’s credit rating dropped twice, and foreign debt quadrupled. Between 1986 and 1993, the unemployment rate rose from 3.6% to 11%.

                      And a couple more

                      That’s “reality” MITM, you ignorant clot

    • KJT 5.3

      Yes we can actually.

      Modular mass produced.

      Unitech already builds a reasonable house, one off, for $115.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Not bad overall. But two questions:

    Firstly, why is Housing Corp being asked to run at a profit? Getting more money off tennants than it needs, basically.

    Secondly, can you really build a State House for $80,000? I have serious doubts. Maybe 2 bedrooms 75m2 in Dannevirke.

    edit TFH beat me to it.

    • Sacha 6.2

      They would need to add more funding per year than 80k per house. Expect Nats to develop attack lines based on that. Though govt already build hundreds each year now.

      • mickysavage 6.2.1

        I am not sure where the RNZ figure came from. The language in the speech itself was much more vague and did not give specifics.

        • Sacha

          Mebbe Nat cronies are spreading garbage already? Would need to factor in current annual builds funded to arrive at a figure in any case.

        • Sacha

          So you’re saying he never said this in his speech or to an RNZ reporter?

          “Mr Little said the National government took a $118m dividend in 2015/16, which would be enough to build 1500 state houses.”

          Anyone got a link to the speech yet?

          • mickysavage

            Not sure what information they are relying on. He did talk about building thousands of state houses but did not link that to the amount of the dividend. Obviously a top up is contemplated.

            • Sacha

              Found the source of interpretative error:

              “National has taken $523m of profits out of Housing New Zealand, including a $118m dividend for 2015/16. That’s enough to have built over 1,500 state houses. ”

              523m/1500 = $349k
              118m/1500 = $78k

              I’m guessing Labour meant the former. A busy journo read the latter. Media releases etc must be totally unambiguous.

              [Thanks Sacha. Have amended the post to include this reference – MS]

              • weka

                nice one Sacha .

                • Sacha

                  Cheers. Those proofreading instincts never leave ..

                  • weka

                    always good to save us the half day of arguing about something that turns out to be wrong 😉

                    I mean, when I see a report, in the media, that implies Labour are saying they can build a house for $78,000, I assume there is a mistake somewhere. As critical as I am of Labour, they’re not actually stupid in that way. It makes sense to get the actual numbers before we go to far down that track, and I get a little sick of how many people here just argue over whatever is put in front of them without applying critical thinking.

                    (and if I were to be criticial of Labour today, it would be that yet again there is nothing up on their website within 4 hours of a major announcement. This is such a simple thing to get right).

                    edit, they’ve got this up now, but still no transcript of the speech, and no detail


  7. mauī 7

    Yes, let’s bring everyone onto a more equal footing, rather than sweeping sections of society into the rubbish bin.

  8. Jenny 8

    Yes. More State Houses, this is what is needed.

    If anyone thinks that the average homeless family living in a car or garage or doubled up with relatives, because they can’t afford the high rents being asked, can afford to buy even an “Affordable” home, (minimum sticker price $300,000) then they are dreaming.

    Just as it was a hundred years ago, a State House building program is the only proper response to homelessness. Forget all that talk about “Social Housing”. Social Housing is only a euphemism for private charity, as an excuse and cover for the privatisation and the sell off of the State Housing Asset, most of which has not been going to “Social Housing”providers at all, but instead to private development companies.

  9. weka 9

    Green Party policy has some more detailed figures,

    The Green Party plan would allow Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, freeing up $207 million in the next financial year to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state homes.

    According to estimates provided to the Green Party by independent economist Shamubeel Eaqub, about 450 mixed-density homes could be built with $207 This is based on an assumption of cost per square metre of $2,100, plus $60,000 per unit of infrastructure and other costs. The kinds of houses that would be built would be those that are currently in the highest demand: one, two, and five-plus-bedroom homes. About 75 percent of the homes would be of the smaller variety, while 25 percent would be larger.vii The houses will be built on existing Housing New Zealand land or on Crown land in the areas of the country with the highest need. All of the homes would be warm, safe, dry and energy efficient.

    That’s $460,000 per house.

    I’m guessing that that m2 cost is commercial and I would expect that if the government had its own deparment building houses it would be cheaper.

    • BM 9.1

      It’s own department, LOL.

      • weka 9.1.1

        absolutely stunning argument there BM, one of your best.

        • BM

          Do you honestly think the left could create from scratch the largest house building company in NZ?

          Just have a think about that for a second and ponder what would be required to make that happen.

          • weka

            I’m not suggesting that the left do that.

            • BM

              What were you suggesting?

            • Sacha

              History shows that is *precisely* what the left have already shown we can do in government, anyway. Pathetic argument.

              • BM

                Give me a bit of a run down of how modern Labour would go about doing this?

                What sort of money, labour, skills, time frames are we talking here?

                • miravox

                  “Give me a bit of a run down of how modern Labour would go about doing this?”

                  Labour may be looking for best practice in places where suburb-loads of state housing is still built. Somewhere were there is a whole housing research and development department that has had decades of experience in putting developments with significant amounts of affordable, state housing together.

                  Nordbahnhof Development – inner city

                  Seestadt Development – brownfield town fringe development

                  A brief history

                  • Ad

                    Closer in, just check out Hobsonville.

                    Or Tamaki Transformation Company.

                    Or Christchurch .

                    There’s good bits and bad to take from a vast history of state building.

                    • miravox

                      Yup… now to the welcome addition up the state rentals ingredient in the recipe for these housing projects…

                • Sacha

                  Don’t ask me for details. I have no relationship with the Labour Party – just ask them. 🙂

                  It is not hard to imagine a successful state-organised building programme if you have not slurped the neolib koolaid that governments always perform worse than profit-oriented companies. And if you honour this nation’s own history.

                • locus

                  BM, I’m not surprised you’re asking for how Labour would build houses – given the utter incompetence of this right wing government on every aspect of housing in NZ .

                  Are you looking for a shoot-from-the-hip politically framed response – in keeping with the slightly arrogant know-it-all timbre of your question?

                  First of all it’s great to see that Labour has an inspirational goal and I’m very sure they will take time to develop a well-considered plan. Neither of these characteristics have been forthcoming from National in 8 very long and depressing years of right wing government

                  I imagine once Labour win the next election, they will look closely at the best state housing developments around the world and work out exactly what’s required to make a success of this kind of large scale long-term program. They will also focus their energies on making homes more affordable for New Zealanders.

                  Labour not only has the future housing needs of New Zealanders as a central element of their policy – they will make this happen when they are in government – because unlike the right they believe that affordable housing is part of a good society.

                  • BM

                    So we might see some houses getting built in 6 years or so.?

                    All that planning and thinking, creation of new departments, etc.

                    By the time anything gets started National will be back in and probably can the whole thing.

                    Be a complete waste of time and money.

                    • Ad

                      Vote them in and you’ll find out.

                    • Sacha

                      How about later this year, after the snap election?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      A snap election might’ve been a real thing if Hone and Laila were in Parliament right now, adding a net seat to the left. Of course, Labour being short term thinkers, cut Mana off at the knees.

                      The Greens should take note.

                    • dave

                      BM we need to ask you ,why after 3 terms of rule under super key and the gang why is super key not delivering on housing or anything for that matter can you explain ?????

                  • Chuck

                    “I imagine once Labour win the next election”

                    Not possible, Labour is not capable of winning an election anytime soon…between Labour and the Greens they will cannibalize each others votes.

                    Best case is Winston Peters will decide to support a Labour/Green offering . His price will be huge…the Greens will have to accept their fate once again.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Chuck 9 July 2016 at 7:42 pm:

                      Labour is not capable of winning an election anytime soon…

                      Naive comment; National is eminently capable of losing an election as Northland has unequivocally shown us.

                    • locus

                      Chuck, you haven’t quite caught on to what’s going on in NZ now have you….try to keep up

                      A majority of New Zealanders: Greens, Labour, NZ First, and probably a fair chunk of National are all in accord that there’s a housing crisis.

                      Many NZers right across the political spectrum agree that this PM and failing Ministers have not been called to account, and have under-performed in so many aspects….

                      Christchurch city rebuild, spiralling Auckland house prices, 3rd world overcrowding of houses in poor suburbs, atrocious living conditions in some state houses….. not to mention that even middle income NZers’ kids won’t be able to afford to buy a home in the future

                      In the next election Green and Labour voters won’t make mistakes in cancelling each others’ votes out in electorates where the National candidate has less than 40% of the vote

                      – and I think you’ll find a lot of young voters will choose a better way forward than voting for another 3 years of complacent uninspiring control by a party that’s done little for them or to build a better New Zealand over the previous 9 years

                    • True, National losing is much more likely than Labour winning. Don’t read Northland as indicator though – voters traditionally use by-elections to send a message to the government. Plus the regional situation lends a unique factor from which there is no general national pattern to be presumed.

                      Currently, the seemingly inevitable 4th term for Key looks uncertain for the first time. The small leftward drift of the swing-voters in the last poll may escalate due to the housing market moving against him increasingly.

                      I think Chuck is interpreting the next election on the basis of the last one. I’m not: the game has changed, the expectations of key players likewise. Watch for collaboration in planning to accompany the electoral competition!

                    • Incognito

                      @ Dennis Frank 9 July 2016 at 8:47 pm:

                      I believe this was a reply to my comment.

                      I agree that the Northland loss is neither an indicator nor a predictor of national election outcome or sentiment even but it exemplifies the fact that a seemingly unbeatable ‘team’ is quite capable of losing; even the AB’s winning streak will come to an end one day.

                      I believe the game is changing continuously and has been for some time but that the signs have been missed, misread & misinterpreted, or manipulated & obfuscated (denied), locally (NZ) as well as globally/internationally. To use an analogy: the tectonic plates move slowly, too slow to detect by unassisted human senses, but when the pressures release shit hits the fan. The question is whether political earthquakes can be better predicted, or avoided even, than real ones.

                      Looking to the future it seems that anything is possible and simply (…) the consequence of our choices; looking back it is often tempting (lazy?) to view historical events as inevitable given the decisions and choices that were made. This paradox sums up well IMO the predicament of the Left in New Zealand and the Western world for that matter and is perfect for the 100th anniversary of NZLP.

                      I agree that collaboration, in the true sense & meaning of the word, is crucial.

                    • Chuck

                      Incognito – “Naive comment; National is eminently capable of losing an election as Northland has unequivocally shown us.”

                      I did not mention National…rather I pointed out that Labour is not capable of winning an election.

                      Locus – “In the next election Green and Labour voters won’t make mistakes in cancelling each others’ votes out in electorates where the National candidate has less than 40% of the vote”

                      You are forgetting its MMP – the party vote is all important. Being a Labour list MP come 2017 will be a scary ride.

                      Dennis Frank – “True, National losing is much more likely than Labour winning. Don’t read Northland as indicator though”

                      Agree 100%. And would add that Northland was a very badly run campaign by National. Like them or loathe them (National) will have learned from their mistakes in Northland.

                    • Incognito

                      @ Chuck 10 July 2016 at 11:25 am:

                      Simply repeating the same argument does not make it a better argument.

                      Arguing that the Northland loss was due to “a very badly run campaign by National” completely misses the point that National had ignored & neglected it and other regions for years. Your comment is akin suggesting that the ABs lost a game because they poorly performed the pre-match haka; the strategy for success (AKA ‘winning’) involves lots of consistent hard work and preparation.

                • John shears

                  BM could you please change your handle to BORING?
                  Thank you.

          • Ad

            “Could the left create from scratch the largest house building company in New Zealand?”

            It did.

            Moron. Learn to read.

            • BM

              Different times bozo.

              You can’t compare 1930’s NZ to modern day NZ, it’s a completely different kettle of fish.

              Also Savage used private companies to build all the houses they weren’t built by government workers.

              • Ad

                The left has been making companies every time it was in power.

                Good to see you’ve figured out how governments co-opt capital.

                You’ll be getting used to it.

              • Lloyd

                Let’s not forget that Fletchers would never have become the large company it is now without all the Government Housing contracts it got from Labour governments.

          • KJT

            They did in the 50’s. Called Fletchers, these days.

        • Chuck

          weka you do understand that $207 million “being freed up” has already been spent?

          Its not free $ floating around just waiting to be grabbed and spent.

          So the question is…which other government dept is the $207 million going to be cut from? OR how are the Greens going to raise another $207 million for new spending?

          I know small details…its easy to make promises when one does not have to balance the books.

          • weka

            What was it spent on?

            • Chuck

              Hospitals, Police, Welfare, Pensions, Infrastructure, State Houses etc…

              • weka

                So when Labour take office they will have the dividends etc from that year to use right? And the years they are in office.

                • Chuck

                  Yes correct.

                  However on the other side of the ledger will be less $ for other purposes, so some one miss’s out. Its a “zero sum game” some one wins and some one losses.

                  Unless Labour either a/ borrow the money or b/ increase revenue from else where (tax increase for example).

                  • weka

                    I think you are stating the bleeding obvious, which is that different governments prioritise their income differently.

                    btw, How much did National spend on consultants on how to sell off HNZ stock? Or was it how to hand over HNZ to the private sector? Or both. I think righties forget to take into account the sheer amount of waste in National’s budgeting.

                • Sacha

                  its all in the bookies’ notebooks, eh.

          • Jenny Kirk

            What ARE you going on about, Chuck ?
            Labour isn’t talking about money that has already been used.

            They’ve just told us all that $523m has been taken out of state housing since the Nats came in, and that $523m could have been spent on state housing – therefore, we would have no homelessness or housing problems if the money had been used for its proper purpose – rather than bolstering the images of a surplus.

            • Chuck

              Jenny I was referring to wekas post 9.0.

              Green party will “free up” $207 million. Its not free $ as its already been spent / allocated.

              The pot of money available to spend is $x without borrowing or increasing tax’s some one miss’s out.

              • Colonial Viper

                Unless the Government issues its own credit or currency via the RBNZ.

                • Interesting possibility. I agree that the option ought not to be rejected in principle. However a new government would have to change the RB legislation to enable it, right? They’d also have to hire a governor sufficiently expert to understand how to make it work in practice.

                  It’s a good option to run by folks like Reddell & Hickey for a viability appraisal – I suspect both have an open mind along with professional grasp of the scenario. I’ve not seen any sign that Robertson could cope with it though. I don’t get why Labour thinks that fronting with a guy who lacks the requisite skill-set is likely to be anything other than a handicap to their endeavour.

                  Also, the traditional aversion to lateral-thinking and being clever that Labour always exhibits would have to be overcome to implement such a radical solution.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    funny thing is the First Labour Government did very similar to fund its housing policy in the middle of the Great Depression. In theory it shouldnt be radical at all.

                    Or maybe it’s the status quo which is radical.

                    Robertson is not going to survive the debates with English.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Or maybe it’s the status quo which is radical.

                      It’s the status quo that’s radical, in fact, it’s completely delusional.

                      Here’s some of the places and times where government money creation worked well.

                    • Looks like a site worth taking the time to examine. Thanks, Draco.

                      CV, the issue with being radical for Labour is psychological. Mainstreamers are too scared. Labour selects only mainstreamers.

                      I agree that reconnecting to their source tradition ought to be possible and doing so via govt finance is what Little seems to have suggested – it’s just the transition from current orthodox economic policy to a radical one that worked in the Depression era that may be a bridge too far. No institutional learning left from that time.

                    • ropata

                      Great link DTB. Digging in further,


                      In 1935, the new Labour Finance Minister, Walter Nash, wanted to use the RBNZ to help stimulate aggregate demand, increase employment, and get the economy going again. According to NEF (2013), the primary goal of the RBNZ was to undertake “credit creation for the real economy”.

                      The central bank was to primarily use its money creating powers in two different ways. Firstly, it would guarantee the prices of agricultural produce, where “shortfalls between market and guaranteed prices met by its (RBNZ) advances”. Secondly, Nash instructed the RBNZ to make £5million of loans available for the construction of social housing – aimed at providing low cost homes to poorer households.

                      NEF (2013) further suggests that the RBNZ also created credit to help finance a number of other public work projects. From 1936-1939, the RBNZ created roughly NZ £30 million (equivalent to around 5-7% of New Zealand’s GDP). According to NEF (2012) over this 4-year time frame, real GDP grew by 30%.

                      Time for the government to “get some guts” and do it again.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    I believe the present reserve bank act can accomodate such action. I think the govt can simply insist loans be provided directly for one thing. For another the minister can adjust the policy targets to meeting govt spending requirements (for 12 months). Otherwise parliament may need to pass some actual legislative change.


                    • Colonial Viper

                      Chur. Its the push back from the BIS and others which is an issue.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Dont think that actually. In many ways this is similar to QE and the BIS has little push back there (admittedly large economies involved) but what can the BIS do? NZ is sovereign anyway.

                • Chuck

                  Problem with that is we may need to use a wheel barrel to carry our $$ to the supermarket to buy a loaf of bread…the Fed reserve can do it because the $ is the defacto reserve currency of the world (oil $).

                  Maybe instead of using say the gold standard (not an option) to underpin the NZ$ we use a pint of milk? 🙂

                  • Nic the NZer

                    Umm, Chuck nz did this and no such wheelbarrowing followed.

                    Von mises (i think) made a similar prediction for England on leaving the gold standard which prooved to be equally foolish in fact.

                    • Chuck

                      “Von mises (i think) made a similar prediction for England on leaving the gold standard which prooved to be equally foolish in fact.”

                      That was leaving the gold standard to fractional reserve banking I believe.

                      My wheel barrel comment was directed at a Government printing new money = risks inflation. Which would also result in a big fall in the NZ$ increasing cost of most goods in NZ.

                      This is a horribly complicated subject, which if I understood correctly the intention above is for the NZ Government to “print free money” (not borrow it) and then use it to build say 20,000 new house’s. This would have many unintended outcomes…inflation one of them. Another is everyone’s cost of borrowing will increase, as buyers of our bonds will demand better returns.

                    • KJT

                      This is a bit comical when all the Western economies have relied on Chinese “money printing” for the last decade.

                      “It must really piss off the Capitalists, that they have to rely on the “Communists” to prop up the economies they have destroyed.

                      Why didn’t we have “wheelbarrows full of money in the 50’s?

                      Or the USA when they were printing money for the “New Deal”?

                      The places where “printing money” resulted in “wheel borrow full of money” already had collapsed and failing economies, before the “Money printing”.

                      North Dakota still “prints their own money” through a State bank. Hasn’t done them any harm.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Actually Chuck its very simple. Your comically incorrect in your prognosis of what will occur.

                      Printing money and then dealing with the resulting impact on the central bank interest rate in accounting terms results in the same thing as borrowing the cash before spending it. They are identical. That makes it a simple choice borrow or let the OCR and cost of loans fall. Many countries have been running low or even zero (or negative) interest rates with no pick up in inflation resulting. Simply put your wrong, comically so and this is already demonstrated by example.

                    • Chuck

                      Nic you are confusing a economy in financial crisis (Quantitative easing) verse printing money in an economy like NZ has at the moment.

                      An economy has a certain limit (normally based on its GDP) to “print money” once that is breached inflation and worse sets in. That is why its not as simple as you make it out to be.

                      The countries running low / zero or negative interest rates have deep underlining reasons why they do so. Japan for example, one reason why they can is the massive savings of the population, savings invested into UST bills for example.

                      To suggest NZ can do the same is wrong.

                      And you seem to be switching between “printing free money” and “borrowing money via Govt bonds” they are not the same.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      It is as simple as i make out Chuck.

                      The same hyperinflation prognosis were made about Japan. The same prognosis were made about the US. They simply didn’t occur and on a similar vein no such threshold exists for NZ.

                      There is a real GDP constraint of course but then (as i already pointed out) the constraint is on the real resources harnessed by govt spending (or non govt spending btw) and has nothing to do with how that spending is created.

                      Your also wrong in your causation about Japan. Govt debt is private sector savings. In Japan they have significant available savings and so have a high savings rate. In NZ the govt is frugle and (low and behold) NZ has a low savings rate (who knew). If the govt increases debt then the savings to fund it will be there.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      And just in case you are really interested in why i dont acknowledge the difference between “money printing” and “bond issuance” its discussed here. There is little difference and its unimportant.


                      Thats also why your ‘theory’ of hyperinflation has already been debunked in practice. (Appart from the fact NZ already did this in its history).

    • Sabine 9.2

      yep, that is what is needed, smaller houses/flats for people without children and then some decent larger sized one for those with larger or intergenerational families.

      # Weka: All of the homes would be warm, safe, dry and energy efficient.

      This should be a must in any new building. Looking at the houses build where i live, i don’t see this happening.

      And yes, its own building department would be good, it could also set the standards for what is a ‘master builder’, apprentice programmes and building costs.


      • locus 9.2.1

        and 100m2 can be plenty of space for a family of 5 if the design is right

    • DH 9.3

      Looks like they need to do more research weka. The Kaitangata deal is for a 130m2 3brm house. Price on site, on piles – $185,000 (GST inclusive) That’s $1423 per square metre. High density housing should cost less than that, Auckland costs less for materials than Kaitangata and other discounts are available so it should be easily achievable to build a 2-3brm for under $150k.

      • weka 9.3.1

        Yep, I think the GP m2 price is high. But I think $1400 is high too.

        • locus

          I think Labour should add ten times the financial commitment of ‘house build’ costs to a good housing vision for NZ. This is essential if large scale housing developments are to have world class infrastructure – as they should.

          Major cities around the world have recognised that extensive, well-planned infrastructure investment in public transport, schools, hospitals, recreational areas, integrated community shopping and business premises etc., is what makes these programmes socially as well as financially successful

      • Craig H 9.3.2

        Bear in mind that modern housing footprints include attached garaging, whereas older houses generally either didn’t have a garage, or it was a separate building, so is not included in the floor size. The old 90m2 house is reasonably close to the modern 130m2 equivalent when that is taken into account.

  10. JNZ 10

    Why is this being announced as a Labour policy, when the Greens had it in the media on 19 May?

    “Housing New Zealand wouldn’t pay a dividend to the Government and instead use the money to build new state houses, under a Green Party policy.”

    • Sabine 10.1

      the Labour Party already had a housing policy “Kiwi Build” in the last election, so with both parties working together now why not mesh the two policies together to create one that would upheld the principles of the Green Party of NZ and the Labour Party of NZ.

      And i guess with Labour having a conference and a hundred year anniversary they might thought it would be good to introduce this policy?

      Personally i am very happy with this policy, and I am very pleased that it is now out in the open.

      Surely enough of the National Bots will tell us why it can’t be done, as they have learned over the last 9 years that nothing can get done under a National Party led Government, cause they don’t deal to well with ‘challenges’ (that would be work, and work is hard n stuff) while obviously the Green Party NZ and the Labour Party NZ would like to show us that YES, we can!

    • weka 10.2

      Why is this being announced as a Labour policy, when the Greens had it in the media on 19 May?

      They’re two different parties with similar policies. What’s your problem with that?

      • JNZ 10.2.1

        Because it’s damned odd.

        Labour and the Greens just announced a historic partnership agreement. To announce a policy whose main “aha” is EXACTLY THE SAME as the Greens policy announced in May, without in any way acknowledging the Greens but saying Labour this and Labour that and accepting all the kudos flying around here in the Standard due to inattention, is a political bitchslap, not a partnership.

        • weka

          I don’t see the MoU as meaning they have to work together on any one thing. This is a key policy theme for Labour (housing), and they’re announcing it at their 100th Anniversary AGM, so it makes sense to me to keep the focus on Labour. The working together thing shouldn’t overshadow that.

          I’m a GP member and voter btw. I know that most good policy comes from the Greens 😉 It doesn’t bother me that Labour have a similar one. It’s strengthens parliament and the left to have two parties with something the same (we’re just not used to it in our adversarial system).

          I doubt that the Greens see this as a bitchslap. I’ve be highly surprised if they didn’t know beforehand (the no surprises bit in the MoU). The Greens have enough mana to let Labour do what they need to do and not be phased, and they seem strong enough to not be worried that Labour might be slighting them. I think the real tests will come later on different things, and mostly it will be because of the media or dirty politics shit stirring. Post-election will be the real test (and of course the MoU doesn’t cover that).

          • KJT

            As a Green I do not care who enacts our policies.

            Making NZ work better for people and the environment are the aims, not power.

          • JNZ

            The Greens are constantly disrespected by the public for their perceived single focus and lack of economic acumen. Giving full political credit to Labour for the HousingCorp dividend promotes this ignorance about the Greens.

            Like when a woman proposes an idea in a meeting, and nobody pays attention until a man repeats (steals) the idea.

            There’s only so long that you can say “Well, the important thing is that the idea was accepted,” before acknowledging you’re being screwed.

            • Enough is Enough

              I couldn’t have said it better JNZ.

              The media is a bit to blame as well. They portray this as almost something revolutionary where in reality it is old policy with new red gift wrapping on it.

              It becomes annoying as the real leaders and creators of bold new policy never get the credit for it and as a result never get the poll results they deserve.

              The Greens deserve all the credit here

              • JNZ

                Indeed, Enough is Enough. None of the media outlets reposting the Labour press release can remember what they reported six weeks ago?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Have the Green co-leaders appeared or spoken at the Labour event yet?

                  If people truly think this housing policy is good, credit will go to Labour, and they wil get the votes, even though it is Green policy.

                  I appreciate all those Green supporters magnanimous enough to be good with this.

                  • KJT

                    If Labour pinches Green party policy in it’s entirety, they are welcome, so long as it gets done.

                    I don’t give a shit who does what is necessary. If National did it, I would be happy to give them credit also.
                    As I do for raising the minimum wage, even if the amount was way too small to make up for the backwards steps since the “Mother of all budgets”..

  11. mary_a 11

    Brilliant. Well done Labour. One small step towards becoming an egalitarian state once more perhaps? Looking forward to more policies in a similar vein.

    Obviously part of the MoU with NZ Greens, with Labour becoming more focused on what it once stood for and who it represented … giving every Kiwi the opportunity of a fair deal. Can’t argue with that.

  12. “Changing Housing NZ into a public service, rather than a corporation” is a good idea, but I bet the Labs just want to return to the past. This policy, to be effective, will require muscle.

    The reason is that nobody has taken the public service ethic seriously since it first became generally seen as a joke during the ’70s. Thus a cultural transform is required to induce new expectations: one from sham to authenticity.

    I suggest a bilateral strategy. First, employment contracts for public servants with a specific clause that they contract to provide appropriate service to the public via their personal performance in their job. Second, operational charters for each government department that direct it to produce public service outputs.

    You could see this proposal as implementing the Green Party Charter principle of appropriate decision-making, but don’t expect our parliamentary leftist greenies to suggest it (or you’ll die waiting – from old age).

    • KJT 12.1

      “the public service ethic”.

      You obviously haven’t tried to get “customer service” from a telecom lately.

      Makes the “gliding on” days look positively efficient and helpful.

  13. ianmac 13

    A great plan. In addition to training more people to build new State Houses, how about involving prospective tenants to help restore existing houses? You know a builder supervising a family to do the work. Like those team building programs on TV.

    • Sacha 13.1

      Even better, a PPP with Mediaworks beckons. 🙂

    • Sabine 13.2

      Habitat for Humanity is pretty good at that too. Volunteers building houses for others and accrue at the same time working time for their own property later.

  14. mac1 14

    In 1968 I think it was, I heard John A Lee speak in Room C in the History Department at the University of Canterbury. What an amazing orator, with a great projection.

    He spoke then that what was needed in NZ was a building programme because as well as building houses it gave useful work to many- as he had experienced in the first Labour Government.

    Time for a good idea to come around again.

  15. Colonial Viper 15

    By the way Labour is just shuffling the same deck of cards around.

    If you make Housing Corp spend the $100M on new houses instead of giving it to the government, then the government has to either borrow an extra $100M to make up for the loss of the Housing Corp dividend, or it has to cut its spending into the economy by $100M.

    • Pat 15.1

      not necessarily…though as far as Im concerned that wouldn’t be an issue in any case….the government a spending around 2 billion a year on private rental subsidies (Key on RNZyesterday) as it is…..more state houses can equate to less private rental subsidies.

    • Lanthanide 15.2

      Sure, of course they’re just shuffling the money around.

      But it’s the optics of the situation. Learning that we have massive waiting lists for state houses, and that the government is selling houses, AND taking money out of housing NZ, just looks incredibly stupid.

      It’s pragmatic, smart politics to rectify the stupidity.

    • Ad 15.3

      Your second conclusion is the one.
      That’s what the budget is for. It’s ain’t hard.

      • Colonial Viper 15.3.1

        Hi Ad,

        So simple eh?

        So is Labour going to borrow more, increase taxes, or cut other areas of expenditure?

        The only reason it is “simple” is because Labour has only showed the nice looking part of the picture.

        • Ad

          Of course.
          The ugly part is the bit where Departments get their nuts cut off in December every year. And the relevant Ministers spin and smile, like they should.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Maybe Labour could skim something off the proposed Nat budget of $20 Billion for defence spending, and use it on the greatly needed housing instead.

          • Colonial Viper

            Great idea until NZDF service personnel die in the field.

            • KJT

              Take away the requirement for operating with the USA to support war crimes, and we could half those costs without risking service personnel.

          • dukeofurl

            They was just an invented figure. There is something like $600-750 million per year in the defence budget for new equipment. taking that out over 20 years gives less than $15 billion. Its clear we cant afford everything we have now to be replaced – nor would we want to, so choices will be made, just like getting rid of fast jets, amoured force were in years gone by. Sub hunters are not a necessity anymore , if ever and artillery for army has changed to large mortars and guided missiles now.

        • ropata

          Sacrifice one of JK’s holiday highways or Brownlee’s white elephant vanity projects in CHC

    • Draco T Bastard 15.4

      Or it could raise taxes, cut subsidies to Big Business, come down hard on the present tax avoidance that’s costing us $7 billion per year…

      It’s not a simple black and white choice no matter how much the RWNJs will want to paint it as such.

      • Ad 15.4.1

        It’s really easy.

        The stupid thing, the thing to kill any good idea, is to raise taxes. Or ‘cut subsidies; of any kind. Accept that most business in New Zealand is as codependent upon the state as most of its citizenry. Key has.

        Kill the government budget line you hate the most. Make your own list.
        Better known as ………………………………. government.

        • Colonial Viper

          So have Labour accept the basic economic and budgetary framework that National does. Which is orthodox monetary and economic theory.

          No wonder you think this is so simple. It’s always simple when you stay inside the box that everyone else stays inside.

          • Ad

            Your way is one term.
            It needs at least three.
            That is a real box.

            • Colonial Viper

              You really think LAB/GR/NZF are going to be the government next year?

              I have them at 4:1 against, mainly on the basis that Winston will find it politically impossible to go with a Labor Party getting under 30% in the election.

              If he is willing to support a Labour under 30% then OK, LAB/GR/NZF could very well hold power next year, by 3-4 seats.

              • Ad

                Housing is going to take 10 seats off National.

                Housing is the Zombie apocalypse to the Nats’ Pride and Prejudice household. Proletarian virus infects the bourgeoisie, and the Undead rise.

              • Chuck

                I agree, Winston knows what’s best for NZF. And its not being part of a LAB/GR/NZF government.

                Its up to National if they require Winston, to make it happen. He will go with the largest party (National by far)…but of course extract his pound of flesh.

                I do concede National could tell Winston to fall into line…which opens up a LAB/GR/NZF alliance. But it would be a one term wounder (if not implode sooner).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  If NZ1st go with National the government will implode within 6 months. That’s how much difference there is between National and NZ1st.

                  Winston’s aware of that and so is the rest of NZ1st.

                • What you aren’t including in your analysis, Chuck, is age and ambition. Peters probably only has one more chance to become PM before he retires. The Nats will only offer him Deputy PM.

                  So, presuming the electorate gives him the choice once again, do you think he’ll be happy to do the deputy thing again – under JK? Can’t see it, myself. There’s plenty of word that he doesn’t like or respect the guy.

                  So he has the chance to play statesman in the formation of a center-left government. If the voters provide a sufficient mandate for a three-way power-sharing government, the party leaders will be forced into an unprecedented collaboration. In such a scenario, a rotating-PM deal becomes feasible. A long hard road – now he deserves the reward…

    • Nic the NZer 15.5

      If they are borrowing the housing policy they could also borrow the savage governments mode of funding it. Simply spend the money and don’t do the optional part of borrowing it back so no additional government debt is required.

      The negative trade off part is purely optional.

      • Colonial Viper 15.5.1

        But but but but but where would the Government get the starting electronic digits from to “move” from their own bank account to the private sector’s bank accounts.

      • Xanthe 15.5.2

        Yes you have it, borrowing money that someone else has made up is optional….. and stupid, and corrupt,

        • Nic the NZer

          Don’t think i would suggest its corrupt. We do this so that the OCR and general interest rates don’t fall towards zero.

          Bill English frequently says that the NZ govt is limiting spending so that ‘pressures’ don’t develop to push up interest rates. But at any time they can have an OCR of zero just by not borrowing govt debt to match spending. Its really his choice that people are paying the current interest rate anyway.

  16. Rob 16

    Let’s get this happening I reckon and old Tracy fake it Watkins reporter due out with other rwnj yeeha.

  17. Karen 17

    While there has been much written about homelessness in Auckland the situation in many other cities is also dire. This article about Hamilton is heartbreaking. Meanwhile state houses all over NZ are being sold off or left empty to be vandalised.

  18. adam 18

    Am I the only person who is vexed by this?

    That people are exultant at a rottenly low number of houses being offered to be built?

    Are expectations so depressed?

    Have we entered a world where the crumbs, are what people get happy about?

    Are you really that browbeaten?

    Is it you are held by your fears?

    Or, are you so use to oppressing any hope or desires for something better…

    That the pitiful looks like plenty?

    • weka 18.1

      I don’t see anyone being exultant adam. Labour are a centre left party, this is a good move from them. I’d like something more radical, but I don’t expect it from the centre left.

    • Ad 18.2

      This is not 1930, 1940, or 1950.

      There is no grand muscular state anymore.
      There never will be.

      It’s gone, and the best to expect is to start gently exercise long-wasted executive muscles. As is being proposed.

      It’s kinda boring that people like you expect the Cossacks to start dancing over our countryside again. Take your bloated expectations out the back and just shoot and bury them.

      • adam 18.2.1

        Who’s arguing for a expansion of the state? I know I never have.

        Dancing cossacks? Wooh dude, take a chill pill. Relax, you’re over thinking my very soft criticism.

        I’m just saying, 1000 house is not many, when we actually have a crisis in housing. Plus, if the labour party of the last 35-40 years is anything to go by, we will be lucky to see that many built in three years.

        As for your incrementalism, not my cup of tea. As I find that approach to politics, is just another excuse to move further and further to the right. Lesser of two evils, is still evil.

        • Ad

          One statist workout at a time, one muscle grows.
          There’s no statist steroids.
          I can understand your frustration though.
          In case it’s not obvious, I have had my expectations lowered. It’s good for sanity.

        • Sacha

          Seems they are proposing this alongside their 10,000 house building policy for private sale.

    • Pat 18.3

      Is a very valid point… even to get back to a ratio comparable to the 1980s we need 30,000 additional state houses today…..we could probably increase that by 10,000 by the time any building program is producing at any substantial level.

      Having said that even the underwhelming proposal from Labour (assuming theres not more to come) is vastly superior to the National governments policy of reducing the number of state houses and pretending theres no need for state intervention.

      • Ad 18.3.1

        there is more to come.

        and not just tomorrow.

        good to see you hungry for actual policy.

        • Colonial Viper

          With commentators so easily satisfied by crumbs, I’m sure you’ll find tomorrow a policy feast.

          My prediction – Labour gets a 3% bump in the polls from this, for 3 months.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.4

      Am I the only person who is vexed by this?

      Nope, because they’re going to do the one thing that’s absolutely needed. They’re going to turn HNZ back into a State Department with, apparently, it’s own ministry.

      And 1000 homes per year is pretty good when it’s on top of the 7 to 8 thousand per year that the private sector produces.

      And remember, there’s the actual physical economy to take into account. It’s not just money.

      • leftie 18.4.1

        Thousands of plus 1’s Draco T Bastard.

      • Colonial Viper 18.4.2

        And 1000 homes per year is pretty good when it’s on top of the 7 to 8 thousand per year that the private sector produces.

        Is that just the houses for Auckland? Which is expanding at 30,000 population per year.

        An extra 9000 houses per year in AKL will be just enough to keep up with that.

        • Jenny Kirk

          You are forgetting that Labour will decrease immigration CV – that, too, has been an announced target in recent months. So fewer people into NZ, more houses being built – both for state rental, and for buying ….. this is good news.

          • Enough is Enough

            We are going to need immigrants to build the houses.

            The industry is at full capacity now. There are no builders sitting around awaiting their next job

          • dukeofurl

            His population figures are wrong too

        • Stuart Munro

          There is the matter of building to the need – the shortage is basically not in developer’s median market dream but in practical one or two bedroom units and larger 4-6 bedroom models – possibly even built communities if they’re on the ball. The market model hasn’t even tried to fix things, the state can do better.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The market-model can’t fix anything as it’s entirely reactive. Need to be pro-active to fix things. In other words, it needs planning – just like a good business in fact.

            • Stuart Munro

              In Asia, governments talk to the main sector providers and say “we need this done” if companies produce what was specified they have a large financially secure customer. And if not, the government takes it’s money back, sometimes breaking up the companies concerned or creating new companies to provide the competition without which any talk of markets is piffle. Markets can work – but not under weak corrupt governments.

              Another Asian trope is the construction of markets as a form of regional development – large areas where stall holders may operate with basic facilities for a pretty nominal fee. NZ has no market culture, which is one of the reasons our managerial class are so useless. Never faced competition in their lives in most cases – our large businesses enjoy local monopolies descended from the days when the state established them. This is how you get a bunch of tools who mistake a commodity like milk powder for the next big thing, slow expensive internet and some of the most expensive electricity in the world.

              That said I know of a bunch of recent engineering grads dying to roll out a tiny house model for urgent or temporary housing. No capital to speak of and few customers because the NZ economy is left pretty cash strapped by Bill English’s criminally stupid austerity pogrom.

              • Draco T Bastard

                In Asia, governments talk to the main sector providers and say “we need this done” if companies produce what was specified they have a large financially secure customer.

                That’s remarkably close to how the US Federal research is done as well – except for the tearing non-performing companies to bits.

                NZ has no market culture, which is one of the reasons our managerial class are so useless. Never faced competition in their lives in most cases – our large businesses enjoy local monopolies descended from the days when the state established them.

                Even our small business managers are pretty much useless and they are (supposedly) exposed to competition.

                That said I know of a bunch of recent engineering grads dying to roll out a tiny house model for urgent or temporary housing.

                Bet they’d be able to find enough customers even in NZ who’d be willing to have good quality tiny homes as a permanent solution to their housing needs. Not everyone needs, or wants, a massive house on a massive section.

  19. NZJester 19

    Labour policies will struggle to fix the damage that National have done in their time in office so I see this as one of the first small steps needed to turn this country around. I would also like to see Labour do a PAYE and GST swap back. Most wage earners lost out big time on the lowering of PAYE but increase in GST tax swap that National did while claiming GST was not a tax even though the T in its name stands for tax. The extra money in most workers pay packets in no way made up for the increase in the cost of just the basic necessities like food, electricity, transport and housing.
    It was one of the main contributors to the increase in the working poor.
    For those in the higher wage brackets, however, the tax swap was a great windfall.

    • Ad 19.1

      I would love to see any New Zealand government wean themselves off GST.

      • Sacha 19.1.1

        You will be voting Green then. Tax pollution, and things like wealth that you want to share more evenly.

        • Ad

          What I would love to see is highly unlikely.
          I’d want to see that removing GST with a new tax will be better for the poor that GST.

          In fact I’d want to see that a new tax to replace GST would be better than simply not having the tax at all.

          Replacing that budgetary loss would be the government’s problem.

          • Sacha

            Taxes on wealth accumulation and waste can easily replace GST, totally.

            • Colonial Viper

              Of course it can. A capital tax. And an FTT.

              Or just issue Government credit directly, reducing the need for taxes.

              • KJT

                Gareth Morgan is heading in the right direction.


                Though not a new idea.

                Adam Smith was one of the first to write about it.
                “Ground-rents, so far as they exceed the ordinary rent of land, are altogether owing to the good government of the sovereign, which, by protecting the industry either of the whole people, or of the inhabitants of some particular place, enables them to pay so much more than its real value for the ground which they build their houses upon… Nothing can be more reasonable than that a fund, which owes its existence to the good government of the state should be taxed peculiarly, or should contribute something more than the greater part of other funds, towards the support of that government”.

                Taxing rents and wealth, rather than work.
                Tax the things you want less of, such as wasteful use of resources.
                Speculative financial transactions. Pollution?

            • Andre

              I’m really starting to like the idea of Financial Transaction Taxes.

              • Nic the NZer

                Taxes like a FTT may be a positive thing but they can’t be seen as revenue gathering exercises. The point of them is to prevent the underlying activity being taxed from occurring so if they are gaining significant revenue they are failing in their goal and should be raised or replaced with effective measures.
                Same goes for carbon taxes. We should have them they should stop carbon pollution and they should not gather much revenue because we want the harmful pollution to stop.

  20. Colonial Viper 20

    I’m amazed at all the people cheering this policy on when it probably rates a bare 6/10. And won’t do a thing to fix the housing crisis. Although it will somewhat slow the rate at which the system is falling behind.

    • NZJester 20.1

      The problem for Labour, however, is they must look at what they can afford to do. Unlike National who come up with policies we can not afford and borrow this country heavily into debt to implement them, Labour actually finds a way to fund their policies before they offer them to the public. This is a first small step to working out how they can undo the financial and physical mismanagement of the country by National.

    • Jenny Kirk 20.2

      Forever negative, CV. Can’t you get over it ?

      edit – this is to CV @ 20.

    • Stuart Munro 20.3

      We want to see signs that Labour are responding to real issues. More than left or right, the problem with Key is lousy governance. The lying is only cover for it – we’re getting less bang for our public buck than ever before. The first step to rolling that back is to deep six the neo-liberal credo that business knows best. We’ve had three and a bit decades of it proving it’s useless and can’t be trusted.

      Penny has dug up a piece of research that should be replicated in NZ…/reports/2011/co-gp-20110913.html

      Time for public audit of quite a few neo-liberal assumptions – and it should end with reclaiming our stolen electricity assets. The rule for PPPs is that they must pay off for the public – most of them don’t and are living on borrowed time.

    • KJT 20.4

      Baby steps, CV.

      • Colonial Viper 20.4.1

        I understand the argument about not scaring the horses. But Auckland population is growing by 30,000 per year.

        At $349,000 each, Labour’s plan will add 300-400 houses a year i.e. one house for every 85 people of growth. And let’s not even mention that Auckland starts from a base of being short of many thousands of houses. Baby steps is fine politically, if you’re not going to deal with the reality and scope of the problem.

        This reminds me of our political approach to climate change.

        We’ll do as much as is politically convenient even though that guarantees well over 3 deg C warming and a hard crash to society in 30-40 years time.

        But baby steps.

        • dukeofurl

          Auckland s population is increasing by around 20,000 per yer ( 1.3% pa)

          • Colonial Viper

            30,000 population increase due to births, 60,000 increase due to migration, for a total of 90,000 population increase in NZ 2015.

            Only 20,000 of that going to Auckland seems low.

            • KJT

              Lower births than deaths.

            • dukeofurl

              Thats the Stats NZ figures 1.3% pa. Only Wamakariri district is on 2%pa

              The figures are a mash of ‘real migrants’ and students, students are more evenly distributed around country- accommodation costs affect them too.

        • KJT

          3 degrees plus is a given already.

          It is actually big steps, for our current parliamentary Labour party, to reverse any of the Neo-liberal “free market” religion they have been following for 32 years.

          Much as I would like to see “real” Labour policy, that is going to have to come from the Greens, when in Parliament.

          • Colonial Viper

            ” 3 degrees plus is a given already.”

            I think that is likely. Certainly our civilisation won’t make the absolutely massive changes needed in the next 5-10 years to give us any real chance of avoiding it.

  21. Graeme 21

    “Joyce says Labour’s plan would ‘achieve nothing'”

    This from the man who gave us MBIE and all the boondoggles that are falling out of that esteemed organisation. Is that Dildo speaking from recent experience and admitting that the great amalgamation was a total waste of time and how much money?

    How many houses would that have provided…

    • Incognito 21.1

      Claire Trevett’s article should have been entitled Joyce can’t fault Labour’s plan.

      Joyce claims that it “would achieve nothing beyond slowing down the house building programme while the changes were made” but does not provide any supportive arguments, which is typical; hollow & empty claims and unsubstantiated assertions.

      Labour leader Andrew Little announced on Sunday Labour would turn Housing NZ into a public service department [my bold]

      Trevett is getting her days mixed up, obviously.

      He [Joyce] said HNZC was now spending $500 million a year on building and buying new houses, heading up to $1 billion.

      The memo must have clearly stated to get “billion” in the MSM again. No further details necessary, obviously.

      To compare the $118 million dividend with HNZ’s total worth (book value?) of $19 billion is a red herring; it should be compared with $500 million spending. BTW, it would never occur to National to privatise any of HNZ’s portfolio, would it?

      Furthermore, Joyce claims that HNZ won’t be paying a dividend for the next few (?) years and states “So he’s [AL] not proposing any significant change.”

      If this is the best (or worst?) that Joyce and National can come up with I think that NZLP’s policy is in very good shape indeed.

      Labour – National: 2 – 0

  22. Craig H 22

    It’s a nice plank of a greater housing policy. It can be paid for with orthodox means e.g. a small increase on top taxpayers, so shouldn’t scare “middle NZ” (insofar as there is such a thing…). Granted, we could simply create the money (fine by me), or fund it through other taxes, but that might scare the voters.

  23. Greg 23

    Joyce admits NZ housing is the Titanic:

    “Basically they’re saying let’s stop and rearrange all the deck chairs and do something different with very little benefit.”

    • Stuart Munro 23.1

      The thing that brings the Key government down will not be Labour’s cleverness (though it doesn’t hurt) but Key’s visible failure to govern. At the end of the day there had better not be a housing crisis, and the Gnats have done none of the things that would’ve prevented one. When it comes they’re toast.

      • KJT 23.1.1

        The Nats will keep the immigration tap on, for as long as it takes, to make sure it is the next Labour Governments problem.

  24. mikesh 24

    Little seems to imply that if HNZ doesn’t have sufficient income to pay a dividend then these other things will not get done. But it seems to me me they should be done anyway, regardless of HNZ’s dividend capabilities. Still, I guess the notion of spending dividends on housing needs does have a certain propaganda value.

    If they want HNZ to do these things they should be promising to provide them with the necessary funding, whatever the source of that funding.

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