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Labour ban letting fees

Written By: - Date published: 6:33 am, March 23rd, 2018 - 134 comments
Categories: housing, human rights, phil twyford, tenants' rights - Tags:

More from RNZ,

“The letting agencies are working for the landlord, but in this case they’re charging the tenant and I don’t think there’s any good reason for it.”

From Stuff,

“Letting fees are an unjustifiable tax on renters” Twyford said, describing them as a method of “gouging renters”.

“I don’t know of any other area of the law where two parties can contract for a provision of services but then charge a third party.”

The legislation should happen by the end of the year, and is part of a larger review of the Residential Tenancies Act. Which is just as well because it looks like some landlords need some special attention,

Abolishing letting fees is a no brainer, so good on Labour for getting that one sorted.  With the rest of the reform it’s hard to say where Labour will fall between centering the human rights of tenants and protecting the investor classes,

“This review will examine a range of changes to make life better for renters and will include looking at limiting rent increases to once per year. It will also consider other initiatives to improve security of tenure and better allow tenants to make their house a home. The review is expected to result in legislation being introduced to Parliament by the end of the year.

It’s all very familiar. Labour will do good, enough good to keep those who are ok feeling good about it all, but it’s unlikely that those most affected will be given the security they need. I’m curious to see what Labour come up with having heard rumours that Twyford might be listening better than expected. So perhaps there is an opportunity here for the left to further organise around tenancy rights and hold Labour accountable.

134 comments on “Labour ban letting fees ”

  1. AsleepWhileWalking 1

    And the threats to raise rent begin


    “…if the bill became law about $4m could be returned to renters.

    However, Tremains Rentals general manager Ruth Shannon said rent would probably have to go up to compensate.

    “Rents may likely rise as the costs for the letting fee cannot be solely absorbed by companies. We are talking between 10 and 20 per cent of income being wiped off property management companies. No business can take a hit as such as this.”


    • Lara 1.1

      Or… they could charge the landlord. The person who contracts with them and who benefits from their service. Who should pay the fee.

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.2

      It’s absolutely ridiculous to claim rent would need to increase because of this. Letting fees are one-off fees intended to offset advertising costs, and should never have been charged to tenants in the first place. As Lara says, if the real estate companies can’t eat the costs, they should be passing them on to landlords instead.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    Law of unintended consequences applies here big time. For instance:

    1. Letting firms charge landlords. Landlords put up their rents. So, tenants still pay, but it is a lot less transparent as an upfront fee. So tenants could end up paying more and not even know it.

    2. Letting firms charge the fee to Landlords. Landlords can’t recover the fee, so they become more choosy about who they rent to due to the increased risk.

    3. Letting agents come up with some other fee. For instance, a fee for handing over the keys, a priority fee to get put up higher in the agents priority list etc etc.

    4. Of course, the main consequence is that Landlords view the rental environment becoming increasingly unfreindly so they get out of the market. Private enterprise stops building houses for rent. Thus, the government’s house building plan (if it ever gets started) achieves little because it is offset by loss of rentals in the private market.

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      Well, it is a rort to charge letting fees to tenants, when they agents work for the landlords.

      There therefore needs to be other measures, like rent caps or caps on the amount rents can be raised.

      Some landlords DO need to get out of the business because they are profiteering and offering a poor service/product.

      There need to be a massive state housing build, rather than relying on the private market.

      Housing is a basic need and shouldn’t be a market.

      • tsmithfield 2.1.1


        Unless you want the government to build every rental house in the country, the environment needs to be attractive enough to encourage investors to invest in property for rent.

        Rent controls and the like would have the absolute opposite effect to its intention and make it even harder for renters to find properties.

        Where I think the government could help is to create incentives for landlords to rent long-term to clients so they don’t need to worry about finding new locations every few months or years.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Exploding rents have not produced an explosion in construction.

          More direct intervention by government will be far better than letting the market run amok. All the market is doing here is allowing people with capital, to gouge people without capital.

          • AB

            The sooner middle NZ is taught that their material comfort cannot be predicated on other people’s misery, the better

          • Wayne

            People may not be building specifically to rent, but many investors buy properties that may have been previously occupied by owners. That is one of the reasons why there is a big increase in new home builds, at least in Auckland. Virtually all new homes are owner occupied, though perhaps not so true of apartments.

            So the total housing stock increases. Obviously immigration pressure in auckland makes it hard to keep up. Also the cheap sort of group home built in the 1970’s and 1980’s (Reid built, Keith Hay, Beazley) no longer exist. Maybe Phil’s plan is to bring that type of housing back into the market, presumably better designed than 40 years ago.

            Obviously landlords will seek to recover through increased rents. At least the tenant does not have the immediate sticker shock of having to come up with the fee, and his effectively paid over time. At present the typical renting return is 3% on capital. Of course there is also the capital gain, but I suspect that is quite limited at the moment.

            Typical of socialists to believe they can solve things by rent controls (and price controls generally). All history indicates that will fail.

            Of course the state (Housing NZ) can build houses and massively subsidise the rents (as in fact they do now). Taxpayers at large pick up the cost as a $1 billion or so item in the budget. Most home renters of course will never qualify for rent subsidised Housing NZ houses. They are aimed for low income NZers, mostly these days on some form of benefit, which I guess has been the case for the last 40 years..

            • tracey


            • Carolyn_Nth

              Typical of socialists to believe they can solve things by rent controls (and price controls generally). All history indicates that will fail.

              Citation needed. Actually if it’s “all history” then probably multiple citations are needed.

            • weka

              “Typical of socialists to believe they can solve things by rent controls (and price controls generally). All history indicates that will fail.”

              Typical of capitalists to believe they can solve things by letting the market run free. The right in our faces, out of control housing crisis shows that is a direct fail even as we speak.


            • andrew murray

              I wonder Wayne,
              do you think there is any correlation/causation between the amount you suggest the state subsidises rents and the amount working people are required to subsidise the economic business model ??

              • AsleepWhileWalking

                There is a definite correlation between rental subsidy and increasing rents.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          I know a number of landlords – including some who have massively increased rent on tenants.

          Not one that I know has ever been involved in building a house. Always just purchased existing, and pumped up the capital gains.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Rentals are almost never new or even semi-new properties despite exploding demand, so why would “attracting new investors” even be necessary? They’re already considered a tax dodge, which is basically the best way to get investors, and yet somehow we don’t have enough rental properties to rents at livable cost in our large cities. It’s almost like we need the government building their own houses to rent them out as a competitor, and some tighter regulations around what prices landlords can charge and what conditions they must provide, in order to keep the market fair and its social externalities (eg. cost to the health system in asthma cases, etc…) under control. The government is taking easy steps that sound good, but fundamentally doing nothing to control the market and bring it to heel at prices that are actually livable at current wages.

          First thing we need is a limit in yearly increases in rent to smooth out dramatic changes in the market- Wellington in particular suffers from periodic event-related or simply simultaneous rent spikes, such as what occured when the student allowance amount was increased.

        • Delia

          Properties were rented for years without letting fees. It was an extra cost dumped on tenants. Respect to those landlords who never charged it.

        • AB

          Sigh. So how come it’s the investors who have the money that’s needed to ensure the houses get built? Why haven’t the people who actually need the houses to live in got the money?

      • reason 2.1.2

        100%+ agree there needs to be better regulation Carolyn_Nth … and I’d add specific taxes to penalise empty houses / flats … and to take the profit out of housing speculation.

        As another ‘The Standard’ contributor posted ,,,, John Key made more money from the rise in his Auckland property values than he received as his Salary for acting ( literally ) as Prime Minister…. to which I’d add he also opened the floodgates to ‘Dirty’ money …. As our involvement in the Malaysian 1MDB frauds ( with murder ) …. and Maltese high level money laundering ( with murder ) …. and Russian high level theft ( with murder ) … show. https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/08/new-zealand-companies-offices-612mn-money-laundering-snooze.html

        The Malaysian forestry companies holdings and operations in NZ are in many cases founded on crime and corruption, in both their home country … and more recently Papua New Guinea and elsewhere …. involving theft, murder, displacement of villages & tribes etc . http://www.stop-timber-corruption.org/resources/BMF_Taib_family_report_2012_09_20.pdf

        I’m waiting for a politician or law enforcement official …with the ethics and principals …. to initiate asset forfeiture under our proceeds of crime laws….

        By doing ‘the right ‘ thing NZ would benefit from a trifecta of ….
        Fighting corruption …. bringing some justice ….. while unlocking and providing the Timber we need for a large scale home building program …

        The Key / English Government actively worked against NZ housing needs , fighting corruption and social justice…. there are many benefits along the way of putting this right.

    • Tricledrown 2.2

      Tsm think of the worst case scenario .
      But don’t put any other scenarios.
      Landlord’s sell all their rentals flood the market house prices go into free fall plebs and peasants can afford to buy.

      • tsmithfield 2.2.1

        Maybe the case. But those people will have a deposit of some kind, so could afford a letting fee anyway. It won’t help those for whom renting is the only option.

    • Steve Reeves 2.3

      Yes, the ending of many abusive relationships is hard, and has consequences…but that does not mean they should not be ended.

      This is an abusive relationship because it’s an abuse of power—landlords pass on this charge because they can. They have the power.

    • Lara 2.4

      1. Possibly for many landlords. But how much rent they can charge is more a function of supply and demand. It’s currently in favour of LLs at this time, but not in all parts of NZ. And it won’t always be in their favour in the future. Supply and demand shift.

      2. BS. LLs are already choosy about who they rent to. And to a large degree they need to be, it is after all a lot of capital tied up and it needs to be looked after.

      3. Key money is illegal. I do hope you’re not a LL. If you are then knowing your responsibilities and what you can not do would be a good idea.

      5. LLs are not on the whole creating rental properties. They’re buying up existing stock and then renting it out. Very few LLs are building new properties to add to existing rental stock. LLs getting out of the market may mean more property available to first home buyers to purchase.

    • tracey 2.5


      ” Property Investors Foundation Andrew King also didn’t think rents would necessarily rise in response.

      “It will in some areas but it is extremely difficult one to predict,” King said. “

      • AsleepWhileWalking 2.5.1


        Prohibiting letting fees was removing choice from those tenants prepared to pay and get “a step ahead of some other tenants,” King said.

        “By paying the letting fee they have a wider choice of property and less competition from tenants unwilling or unable to pay.

        “It is possible that those tenants previously willing to pay a letting fee may turn to offering a higher rental in order to put themselves ahead of other tenants. So we could see an increase in rental auctions initiated by these tenants,” King said.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 2.6

      letting fee is 2% of the years annual rent.

      2% gets added to all weekly payments. because rental weekly figures look silly ending in cents, round up to nearest dollar. still looks silly so round up to nearest $10, what starts as potential 2% rise to cover lettting fees potentially becomes 2.5 – 4%

      Landlords profit thanks to government regulation and consumer behaviour based around perceptions.

      • Carolyn_Nth 2.6.1

        That assumes that every tenant moves at least once a year.

        In my apartment block most of us have been here for several years. The longest tenancy here is getting close to 20 years. So, none of us have paid a letting fee in the last year or two.

        Why should the landlords need to raise our rents to recoup a letting fee none of us have paid for a few years?

        Mainly, in my experience, landlords watch what other landlords are charging, and fall into line with that.

        Most don’t seem to consider whether they are raising rents above the rate of incomes or how much the landlords actually need – it’s just about what they can get away with charging.

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury

          You aren’t wrong, I agree with you that most tenancies are longer. But given most people will only sign a one year lease for housing (I’m not even certain what is the legal non / max here) the landlord prices the fee in based on the lease term. This provides this word of the week, certainty.

          And you’re right on your other point about market forces. So if one landlord undercuts and has solid tenants, others may do so. But that landlord may not like leaving money on the table and when tenancies switch may mark up

          • Muttonbird

            Using your model the tenant should then get a rebate or rent reduction of 2% in the second and subsequent years, should they stay.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 2.6.2

        You write that ignoring interest on the letting fee.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.7

      So we can expect that, when we look at countries (and US states) around the world, the ones with rent controls will have the highest levels of homelessness.

      That’s the obvious conclusion of your deeply held reckons, eh. But is it true? Erm, no. Any thoughts?

    • McFlock 2.8

      Are you saying that landlords aren’t already charging as much as they think they can get away with?

    • paul andersen 2.9

      charging a renting fee is very similar to being a pimp. last I heard that was still frowned on.

  3. UncookedSelachimorpha 3

    Letting Fees are just tinkering at the edges.

    Rent controls will indicate Labour is serious about disadvantaged people and the problems in the rental market.

    Simply limit rent increases to CPI, and at the same time, build houses.

  4. Brigid 4

    “Unless you want the government to build every rental house in the country”

    Yep. I’d prefer that. Massive house building has been done by the state before theres no reason why it can’t be done again.
    And no we don’t need investors.

    • Wayne 4.1

      Possibly the the most economically illiterate thing I have read in The Standard. Yes, you could ban all private ownership, but it would be crazy (and the government would be voted out at the next election).

      The state can never anticipate the multitude of needs by various renters. Investors fill their needs. For instance people on transfer, people who need a house in a particular place for a year or so, new immigrants, students, people with respectable incomes needing to rent close to work while they save, etc, etc.

      The state’s role should be limited to providing housing for the most economically disadvantaged, and no-one else. That of course still might require a substantial increase in the Housing NZ stock.

      • weka 4.1.1

        “Possibly the the most economically illiterate thing I have read in The Standard.”

        Somehow I doubt it.

        Most of your subsequent points are assertion rather than backing up the claim that it wouldn’t work economically. How is the govt owning all rentals going to affect supply differently than private ownership of the same infrastructure?

        Besides, you realise that most rentals are currently provided by the market and we have a massive housing crisis right? If that isn’t an economic failure I don’t know what is.

        I think it’s more realistic to say that housing needs a very good overall strategy and drop all the ideological bollocks on all sides. Myself, I have no problem with private rentals. But I think we should have rent caps, and local and national govt should take charge of building houses and rent them out at low cost. That will take care of the investor classes ripping off NZ when what we need are actual homes.

        • Wayne

          You have to be basically a socialist to believe what you have stated. The government is simply incapable of meeting all rental needs, (or indeed of any other complex market). Bureaucrats simply don’t understand all the needs of the market. They are best at providing commodity style goods. Thousands of state houses all of similar design, or electricity for instance.

          My “assertions” are based on the views of just about every economist understands of market economies, and even mixed economies with a mixture of state and private ownership.

          • solkta

            “Bureaucrats simply don’t understand all the needs of the market.”

            But “mum and dad” investors do? You have to be basically a wingnut to believe what you have stated.

          • weka

            “The government is simply incapable of meeting all rental needs,”

            Yes, and I said I have no problem with private rentals. What didn’t you understand about my comment?

            “My “assertions” are based on the views of just about every economist understands of market economies, and even mixed economies with a mixture of state and private ownership.”

            Wayne, we have a fucking housing crisis. YOUR WAY DIDN’T WORK. You were all wrong. I’m sure you believe that because lots of professional people think the same it means they have to be right, but the evidence is right in front of us. Massive, massive failure.

            If you were doing anything other than asserting ideology you would have been able to answer the question,

            “How is the govt owning all rentals going to affect supply differently than private ownership of the same infrastructure?”

          • tracey

            Like every economist disagreed with Joyces asserted hole. Those economists?

            Homelessness and housing shortages suggest the market failed. But then National only ever, finally, addressed one side, supply. Blindly refusing to make an changes to dampen demand.

          • tracey

            How odd when Bill English was a bureaucrat and he got to be Minister of Finance

          • McFlock

            You have to be basically a socialist to believe what you have stated.

            Socialism (to greater or lesser degrees) is not an uncommon belief within the broad labour movement. Calling something or someone “socialist” is not actually an argument against it.

            • weka

              snort, I missed that calling me socialist was meant to invalidate my argument, lol.

          • Brigid

            You’d have to be a socialist..

            Oh noooes

            It was Socialism that gave YOU free primary and tertiary education, free health care , sudsidised milk and bread, housing and public transport Wayne.
            And having been lucky enough to have received this, you greedy greedy person, you now don’t think that this generation are noble enough to receive it as you did.
            Because while the generation previous to yours paid for all of this out of their taxes you don’t think it’s necessary for you to do the same for this one.

            Why is that Wayne?

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            “My “assertions” are based on the views of just about every economist understands of market economies, and even mixed economies with a mixture of state and private ownership.”

            And look how well that is working out. Housing crisis, people living in cars, midwives paid nothing, water quality degradation.

            It doesn’t have to be that hard.

        • tsmithfield

          “Possibly the the most economically illiterate thing I have read in The Standard.”

          “Somehow I doubt it.”

          But would have to be in the top 10.

        • AsleepWhileWalking

          Rent caps have been rejected by the minister, but I think at this point without them the govt is self flagellating.

      • tracey 4.1.2

        How is the current state of affairs not an abject failure of the market?

        • tsmithfield

          “But “mum and dad” investors do? You have to be basically a wingnut to believe what you have stated.”

          Mum and dad investors put up their own money, and take the risk that they may lose it all if they don’t offer up a house that meets the needs of the market.

          Unlike the government who happily play with other people’s money without any personal risk whatsoever.

          So, I would trust the mum and dad investor over the government every day of the week.

          • tracey


            • tsmithfield

              Replying to Soltka above sorry. Replies don’t seem to be landing in the right slot.

              • tracey

                All gd. Thought my head was going to explode working out how it related to what I wrote 😉

          • solkta

            We were talking about a bureaucrat who’s career would depend on making good decisions. Your argument is as stupid as saying that a company executive or an investment fund manager could not make better decisions than ‘mum and dad’ investors because they “play with other people’s money” rather than their own.

            • tracey

              Especially when many chief executives get paid to leave after making mistakes

            • tsmithfield

              Tell me the net worth of the fund manager or company executive and I will tell you whether they are qualified to manage other people’s money.

              It makes me laugh when I see people who set themselves up as fund managers or business coaches for instance. If they were actually any good at those things then they wouldn’t need such a leeching job.

              • solkta

                So if a bureaucrat was independently wealthy they could do a good job?

                • tsmithfield

                  If they were making decisions with their own money, yes. However, there is a malaise that creeps in when there is no personal risk in decision making. For instance, if you knew you could crash into things without hurting yourself, anyone else, or causing any damage, do you think you would drive as carefully?

                  • solkta

                    So what you are saying then is that there really shouldn’t be any public companies at all? sounds like some kind of Anarchism rather than Capitalism.

                    • tsmithfield

                      I think that those companies should be run by people who have a proven record of success. Also, they should commit some of their own wealth into buying shares in the company they are directing.
                      Thus, they stand to lose personally if they don’t perform well for shareholders.

                    • KJT

                      Well that removes most of the “old boys club” that run most of the private companies and SOE’s in New Zealand.

                      However, “success” in private business is no predictor of ability in running public infrastructure. Grey cardiganed engineers, on middle incomes, ran the power supply competently for decades before the epoch of overpaid “managers”.

                  • UncookedSelachimorpha

                    There is also a risk of destructive selfishness, when people act solely in their own interest and forget about others.

                  • Sacha

                    “there is a malaise that creeps in when there is no personal risk in decision making”

                    Like when somebody is already wealthy enough that losing their salary or personal stake does not threathen their existence much?

                    Didn’t work that well for Fletcher Building or Fonterra now, did it?

                    • tsmithfield

                      Success is never a sure thing in any venture. Hence the phrase “risk and reward”. The fact there is always risk means that the risk event can sometimes happen. But that is the joy of capatilism. A lot of the richest people in the world have been bankrupt a few times.

                    • KJT

                      A lot of the richest people in the world, are rich because they have transferred the costs of their failures onto staff, tax payers and sub contractors. Hardly an advertisement for “taking personal responsibility”.

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      You can’t compare the public to the private sector directly.

                      The private sector sole imperative is profit built on the notion that everyone has their own selfish interests at heart.

                      The public sector has to consider social and political impact.

                      The notion that the public sector should operate the same way as the private sector is risible.

                      It’s why we see ridiculous power prices in small places like Taumarunui – because a cross-subsidised social good in what should be a state utility has been discarded for a supply/demand profit motive.

                      Everyone knew that putting state house tenants into the private market would increase demand and drive prices up. It’s basic supply and demand along with greed and racism – putting rents up keeps brown people away as they can’t compete due to lower incomes.

                      State housing dampens demand.

          • AB

            “may lose it all if they don’t offer up a house that meets the needs of the market”
            Lol – in a market where people are sleeping in garages?
            Mum and Dad investors in this case are out for a windfall of free money from capital gain and really don’t care if that makes other people’s lives a misery by bidding up house prices and rents.
            If being a landlord was treated as what it actually is – a low-level, semi-skilled service job – and rewarded accordingly, that would remove one of the drivers for the current crisis. It is the lure of free money that has put us in the sh*t

            • tsmithfield

              No such thing as free money.

              Look at the Japanese housing market and how that fell.


              Nothing is a one-way bet. Especially at the moment when the market is so high. People getting in at the moment are taking huge risks IMO.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                “No such thing as free money.

                Look at the Japanese housing market and how that fell.


                Nothing is a one-way bet. Especially at the moment when the market is so high. People getting in at the moment are taking huge risks IMO.”

                Sounds like a bit of state regulation could help, then.

                • tsmithfield

                  I don’t think regulation would help at all, if by that you mean price controls.

                  One of the examples pointed to in economics classes is the effect of price controls on the recovery from Hurricane Hugo. Eg:


                  While I am not a fan of the government building lots of houses, it at least will deal to the supply side of the equation where the problem actually is.

                  The problem with price controls is that they don’t deal to the root of the problem which is usually lack of supply. Price controls only cause shortages.

                  • UncookedSelachimorpha

                    Price controls could limit gouging and harm in the interim, while the supply side gets worked on.

                    Note that ‘price control’ does not necessarily mean the value is moved so far that a shortage results. It may just encourage an asset to generate moderate returns, instead of unsustainably high ones (such as house prices doubling in 5-10 years etc).

            • KJT

              Hardly a risk when the Government will simply open the immigration tap, if MP’s housing portfolio drops in value.

        • tsmithfield

          “How is the current state of affairs not an abject failure of the market?”

          Have you traveled much around the world? If you have, then you might have a different perspective on whether there is a housing crisis or not.

          • solkta

            Oh fuck, EVEN the new Nact leader has admitted that we have a housing crises – “at least for those who are affected”

            • tsmithfield

              But nothing like what exists in many countries. So, it is perspective that defines it as a crisis or not.

              So, when do you think the current government will have solved this “crisis”.

              Not too many houses built yet I see.

              • solkta

                The perspective is that of a small wealthy country.

                In those countries that you say are worse, is this a result of market failure or state intervention failure?

              • Brigid

                “But nothing like what exists in may countries”
                Countries like Norway? Denmark? Sweden?

                • tsmithfield

                  I was thinking maybe Venezuela as a paragon of the success of socialism.


                  • tsmithfield

                    Here is a tasty quote from the article just referred to:

                    “Runaway spending, price controls, nationalization of companies, corruption and the end of the rule of law — it’s been a master class in how to destroy an economy.”

                  • McFlock

                    When the worst thing you can say about a failed market is ‘butbutbut venezuuueeeelllaaaa‘, you need a better political ideology.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Show me anywhere that a truly free market operates.

                      That is the problem. Not the market.

                      Rather the fact that every situation I know of politicians think they can make things better by interfering but inevitably making things worse. Look at the US for example. If anyone thinks that is a free market then I have a bridge to sell them.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, you guys don’t really have a libertarian paradise any more now that the power structures in Somalia are beginning to solidify.

                      edit: oh, apparently some of Libya has a vibrant market economy unfettered by regulations.

                  • KJT

                    Venezuela is failing, for the entirely capitalist reason that oil prices dropped, and the short sighted oligarchs previously in charge had failed to have any other economic underpinning.

                    Meanwhile shall we mention the triumphs of free market capitalism, like Haiti, Chicago, Appalachia, et al.

                    And remind you of the lack of poverty and economic success of “socialist” new deal America and Post war New Zealand.

                  • reason

                    Venezuela has suffered from u.s.a aggression, with a failed attempt to overthrow their democratically elected government ( moderate rebels ? ), and has been hit with the usual destabilization / economic warfare and propaganda from them since .

                    The u.s.a do this a lot and it tends to fuck up their targets https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcV6NTqoyAc

                    But for you tsmithfield …. or for the racist warmongering cock Wayne …a challenge … to back your words up.

                    Accidental research lead me to discover the performance of a socialist country whose statistics beat any trolls fake arguments about ‘capitalism’.

                    The facts and statistics I came across ….. showed a country which went from one of the poorest nations in its continent into the richest nation….it also gained the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality and the highest life expectancy.

                    So Put up or shut up is my challenge…..

                    Here’s Some more specific real world stats for the rw trolls to fail and flail against…

                    “Health care is [was] available to all citizens free of charge by the public sector.

                    infant mortality rates had decreased from 105 per 1000 live births in 1970 to an Infant mortality rate of 14.0

                    Confirmed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), undernourishment was less than 5 %,

                    Took literacy from 25% up to 87% with 25% going on and earning university degrees.

                    University education was free.

                    Gross primary school enrolment ratio was 97% for boys and 97% for girls (2009) .
                    (see UNESCO tables

                    The pupil teacher ratio in primary schools was of the order of 17 (1983 UNESCO data)

                    It Went from a country beset with cholera and unsafe water problems …. to a very low percentage of people without access to safe water (3 percent), health services (0 percent) and sanitation (2 percent)

                    With regard to Women’s Rights, World Bank data point to significant achievements, “In a relative short period of time … passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law… In secondary and tertiary education, girls outnumbered boys by 10%.” (World Bank Country Brief,

                    From the early 1980’s until 2003 it was placed under crippling sanctions by the US and UN.

                    The Government [was] substantially increasing the development budget for health services.

                    Unfortunately this country was destroyed by NATO / Clinton / Obama.

                    Its name is Libya ….. its socialist achievements as recorded by WHO, world bank , the UN etc, show a country which had the greatest improvements for its people in the shortest period of time ….

                    It went from one of the poorest impoverished countries in the world up to No 67 in little over a generation …No ‘free market’ capitalist country comes anywhere close to it.

                    Wayne and the Nats will be studied in the future …. as they made things worse for the citizens they governed … the quickest.

                    Wayne even contributed to cannon shell evictions in Afghanistan …. a vindictive fuck-up which killed and injured women and children.

                    Sick man.

              • reason


                “Washington has caused enormous damage to Venezuela in its relentless pursuit of “regime change” for the last 15 years. In March, President Obama once again absurdly declared Venezuela to be an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” and extended economic sanctions against the country. Although the sanctions themselves are narrow, they have a considerable impact on investment decisions, as investors know what often happens to countries that Washington targets as an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security. The sanctions, as well as pressure from the U.S. government, helped convince major financial institutions not to make otherwise low-risk loans, collateralized by gold, to the Venezuelan government.”

      • Brigid 4.1.3

        So Wayne, how was the building of the original stock of public owned rental stock financed? Stock that your government and all governments since 1990 have been selling off to private investors.

        Willful economic illiteracy is the hall mark of your government Wayne.
        And you’re proud, in spite of the obvious failings, of your illiteracy/philosophy.

        • Wayne

          Economic literacy was the core competency of the National government. An essential necessity to get through the GFC and get one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD.
          Greece and Italy demonstrated the opposite. That is why they have unemployment of around 20% and NZ has unemployment of around 4%.
          Not so much evidence of economic competency in the current government.

          • Barfly

            Massive importing of low skilled people to inflate GDP isn’t “economic competency” Wayne it’s just fucking stupid.

          • Anne

            Economic literacy was the core competency of the National government. An essential necessity to get through the GFC and get one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD.

            And who laid the groundwork that enabled the government to carry NZ through the GFC? Michael Cullen it was.

        • KJT

          Either lying through you teeth, Wayne. Or even more ignorant than I thought. The myth of National’s economic management has been totally exploded many times.

          Just as well National were not in charge pre GFC. They would have removed Cullen’s buffer, Keating’s banking regulation and the public ownership of services which enabled us to weather the GFC.

          Even with that, National required the stimulus of natural disasters, excessive immigration and cutting services, to pretend to be financial managers. Joyce’s hole, said it all.

          National. Bunch of fucking greedy vandals, who would sell their grandmother for a cushy retirement pay, from the private companies, they have advantaged by stuffing up everything they touch.

          • Wayne

            Even Jacinda admits the overall economic competency of National in government.

            And don’t call me a liar just because I have a different opinion (in my case based on facts) to you. If you can’t debate properly, why do you bother.

            • KJT

              Anyone who calls National a competent economic manager are either ignorant, or lying.

            • KJT


              On what planet, is managing to have a quarter of the population below the poverty line, in one of the most resource rich, per capita, countries on the planet, “competent economic management”?

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.1.4


        “The state’s role should be limited to providing housing for the most economically disadvantaged, and no-one else. ”

        ==Pure ideology, without a shred of evidence or argument. Like most of your comments on this thread, IMHO. Your criticism that something is “Socialism” – is not the ultimate winning argument you seem to think it is, you are on the wrong site for that to work. Remember – ‘sharing is caring’

        Previous state schemes to assist housing more widely didn’t seem to go so bad. Have a look at the documentary Who owns New Zealand Now?

      • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.5

        Well no, you tried to defend Steven Joyce, so I think you still hold the record for least economically literate statement on this site, Wayne, as you and Joyce doesn’t even seem to get that government budgets aren’t the same as household budgets.

  5. Lara 5

    About bloody time. I’ve long hated letting fees. When rentals have sat empty in the market I’ve tried as a tenant to negotiate the letting fee, but the agents rarely consider it. They’d rather leave the property empty for a while and get their $$ from someone else. And they probably don’t tell the LL a tenant is there but wants to negotiate the letting fee. Or they do, and the LL is too stupid to negotiate.

    I know it’s a relatively small thing for some people, but for poorer families having to find an entire extra weeks rent + GST every time they have to move really does add up. It makes moving unnecessarily expensive. And it’s simply unfair.

    I don’t think this is just tinkering about the edges at all. I think this is an important step, albeit a relatively small one.

    And I’m a land lord as well as a tenant. And I think this is fair from both sides. And no, it does not mean I’ll be increasing my rent to my tenant.

  6. Lara 6

    Too many tenants are forced to move too often. The landlord wants to put the rent up again… kick out existing tenants and get new ones at higher rent. Land lord wants to have family move into the property… kick out existing tenants. Land lord wants to use it as a holiday home for Christmas… kick out existing tenants (I’m in Mangawhai Heads, this happens every bloody year). House gets sold… tenants get kicked out.

    Moving on average once a year or more often means letting fees add up. It’s already hard enough for people to save a deposit without extra costs like this.

    And there’s the issue of simple justice. It’s inherently unjust for a land lord and an agent to contract together for the agent to supply the landlord with a service, then make the tenant pay for it.

  7. JohnSelway 7

    Letting fees are/were bullshit

  8. timeforacupoftea 8

    Surely, Landlords will increase the rent at rent review time by the amount they are charged by the Letting Agent.
    I have heard the letting fee is around $700 for each new tenant.
    Plus the management fee of 10% per week. I would assume the man agreement fee would already be included in the weekly rent.

    I reckon the increase rent per week would be $13.50 – then I think the dam GST tax would be added onto this as well.

    • KJT 8.1

      Don’t have much faith in capitalism, do you.
      Under capitalism prices should reflect supply and demand. Not how much the landlord likes to make.

  9. David Mac 9

    We may well have state houses for everyone that requires one in the future, this is surely decades away.

    The problem that the rental housing situation faces today is a severe lack of available rentals. North of Kawakawa, an area that includes Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Paihia, Kaikohe, Doubtless Bay, Ahipara and all points inbetween there are currently 23 rentals listed on Trademe. Up until about 4 years ago this number fluctuated between 90 – 100.

    Market forces are at play and rents in this district are sky-rocketing. Property managers are receiving scores of applications within days of listing a property. No job? Forget it. Got a pet? Forget it. More than 2 kids? Forget it. Less than a glowing credit history? Forget it. Attended a tribunal hearing? Forget it.

    Work and Income have been advancing those in need total move-in costs including the letting fee for several years.

    Right now, today, I think Twyford should be doing all he can to grow the number of rental homes available, not diminishing the stock. In doing so, demand would ease, weekly rents would follow suit.

    I’m of the opinion capping rents, axing letting fees, insisting on heatpumps etc is something to look at when there is an abundance of rentals. In a bid to look fabulous and ‘Doing something about the situation’ I think Twyford is applying beautiful plush fabric to the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    • weka 9.1

      That’s a fair point, although afaik Labour have no intention on capping rents. If they did, we might actually see an improvement. I agree that increasing the number of rentals available is the imperative but it has to go hand in hand with rent control otherwise we will just increase the numbers of homeless at the same time. At the moment far too many people can’t afford rent and this is going to impact deeply across society. Think increases to health care costs from people living in cold houses because all their money goes on rent not power.

      • David Mac 9.1.1

        Hi Weka, I think making a rental property a less attractive investment option will raise rents and increase homelessness. Mums and Dads will look elsewhere for their superannuation plans.

        Capping rents is a poor solution when it prompts a sell-off and there are 500 applicants for every reasonably priced empty rental.

        House prices might come down but those in the most need don’t have deposits to purchase a house.

        Right now, today, I think the best solution is the reverse of the path Twyford is on, make owning a rental house a fantastic idea, not a dumb one. Let the market pull prices down and quality up.

        • weka

          “Mums and Dads will look elsewhere for their superannuation plans.”

          That’s not a problem though. Investment culture, esp retirement investment, is the reason we have a housing crisis.

          “Capping rents is a poor solution when it prompts a sell-off and there are 500 applicants for every reasonably priced empty rental.”

          Only if that’s the only thing you do.

          “House prices might come down but those in the most need don’t have deposits to purchase a house.”

          Renter’s rights shouldn’t be held hostage to that and should in fact be more of a priority. If you prioritise house ownership in a society where house ownerships as investment is driving the crisis, then you just make it worse.

          “Let the market pull prices down and quality up.”

          That is impossible. Left to the market house valuations will just keep going up. And without govt intervention, quality will go down. Why bother improving your rental if there are tenants who will live in it without improvements because they are desperate. This is exactly what is happening now.

          • KJT

            Caps are to open too rorts.
            Rental subsidise simply push rents up.

            The only solution. Which is already proven, is a large supply of State houses.

            Anathema to National who like making private landlords rich on tax payers money. Their sole answer to everything.

            • weka

              What rorts?

              “Rental subsidise simply push rents up.”

              They do without a rent cap.

              Will a large supply of State houses bring down private rental rents?

    • Matthew Whitehead 9.2

      The problem with that hypothesis is that the only time it holds valid is if *new* houses going into either the rental market or the ownership market are reduced. We already never get new houses entering the rental market, so either the low-end properties currently used for rentals get sold, cooling the ownership market and hopefully arresting cost of housing to some degree, which would leave more policy space to take action on rentals, arresting speculation and building at the top end of the market to some degree, or the rentals get held onto despite real estate agents or landlords creaming less money off tenants, and nothing changes in terms of the rental demand situation at all, but tenants aren’t fleeced of as much.

      The thing is, neither rental nor investment properties are owner-occupied, so the only alternative is that owners hold onto them with no direct profit, which in the case of low-end properties usually used for rentals is an irrational decision without some externality to the market model coming into play. In short, people won’t turn up an opportunity for a quick buck just because it’s less of a quick buck than it was yesterday.

      • David Mac 9.2.1

        Hi Mathew, immigration aside people moving into new builds release potential rentals. New builds indirectly increase rental stocks.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Sure, but your argument that banning passing on letting fees to tenants will decrease rental stock would rely on investors no longer buying houses to rent- something that likely isn’t going to be an issue for some time given the government has no imminent plans to rationalize taxes on property, so currently being a landlord gives you a tax advantage that makes virtually any legislation on landlords economically meaningless.

          The effect you mention in this reply would only make letting fees relevant to decisions to rent a house if people didn’t want to put a rental back on the market after a current tenant moved out because of advertising costs, a position which to be honest is pretty bizarre. Sure, if real estate agents decided to pass the fee onto landlords instead, they’d have to invest a little to get the same profits as they do now, but I doubt they’d want to stop collecting rent because of it, and there’s no way any smart real estate agent is going to go out of business because of this change.

  10. Sacha 10

    Is there any other example where I sell you something and also hit you directly with the cost of marketing it?

    Nice shoes, maam, and with only the cost of one magazine advert added. Bargain!

    • David Mac 10.1

      The Costco Warehouse chain is booming. Can’t buy anything there until the purchaser has bought a $60 or $120 annual membership card. Over 90% renew their cards each year.

      The pre-delivery charge on a new car buys a wash and a pair of number plates screwed on.

      • Matthew Whitehead 10.1.1

        Neither of those things are charges for marketing costs, however. You’ve explicitly stated what you pay for with pre-delivery charge, and Costco Membership is basically most of their profit margin, meaning you pay the membership fee and get something like wholesale prices rather than paying full retail prices at checkout.

        • David Mac

          Yeah….but a letting fee is not paying for the advertising either, it’s for a wash and screwing on number plates.
          Agency run property management divisions are barely profitable, letting fees are a rip off add on to make the business viable. I think they’ll find another way to extract $ out of owners or end users before closing the doors.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Reimbursement for advertising costs is what they’ve always been sold as, David. I agree it’s likely padding the margins for property management businesses, but they should simply build a better margin into their businesses rather than moving costs onto clients. The problem here is the expectation that rentals will be guaranteed money boxes.

  11. Mark 11

    I don’t disagree with this, but it won’t make any difference- the landlords will pick it up somewhere else.

    • Muttonbird 11.1

      It does make a difference. Two weeks’ rent up front instead of three at a time when people have bond increases and moving costs to deal with.

  12. Muttonbird 12

    Quinovic don’t charge letting fees. Doesn’t seem to have hurt them.

  13. Lurker 13

    Labour need to slow down, work through their policies, and have all angles covered before announcing things.

    As is this policy is meaningless for the renters, and could even hurt them in the long run.

    The intentions are good, but intentions do not help people.

    • Muttonbird 13.1

      As stated above and in the op, it is not meaningless for renters. They no longer have to pay a week’s rent for the privilege having a credit check done on them.

      • Lurker 13.1.1

        Yes, instead they pay higher rent.

        The issue remains that they will pay a shitload of rent, even higher than before, in the guise of helping them.

  14. Delia 14

    Yes. It was a scam and should have been sorted from the time it started.

  15. Descendant Of Sssmith 15

    Don’t forget too that the baby boomers are starting to die off and will do so at an increasing rate.

    That will help in some areas.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 15.1

      Just thought I’d add some figures to that. Number of deaths for those aged 50 or more. There’s a definite acceleration which will get faster.

      1990 23166
      1991 23139
      1992 23994
      1993 23997
      1994 23991
      1995 24684
      1996 25140
      1997 24402
      1998 23340
      1999 25314
      2000 23904
      2001 25194
      2002 25377
      2003 25299
      2004 25728
      2005 24342
      2006 25671
      2007 25812
      2008 26571
      2009 26328
      2010 25890
      2011 27594
      2012 27699
      2013 27327
      2014 28821
      2015 29361
      2016 28986
      2017 30990

      • David Mac 15.1.1

        There is a population bubble in that age group. This is why retirement villages are popping up everywhere and governments are looking for ways to contain the superannuation spend.

        Most rentals are owned by Mum and Dad investors. 90% of them have just one.

        Twyford is steering these people that are preparing for when they no longer work into buying Ryman and MetLife shares rather than 30 year old houses in Glen Eden to let out.

        I feel that there being nothing to pay a letting fee on is about to become a bigger issue than letting fees themselves. People buy investment houses because they don’t feel the government is going to meet all of their needs in their old age. The government telling these people how much they can charge for their asset will see them abandon the investment sector in their droves.

        In the short term I think we need to be wary of fixing a sore toe by cutting it off.

        • solkta

          The government telling these people how much they can charge for their asset will see them abandon the investment sector in their droves.

          When has the government done this? All they have said is that the letting fee is a cost that belongs to the landlord not the tenant as the agent is working for the landlord.

          Landlords often lose a couple of weeks rent when changing tenants anyway, so a weeks rent is not a big thing.

          You are correct about the bubble, what we need to do is do something about the inter-generational theft that is occurring.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith

          “Most rentals are owned by Mum and Dad investors. 90% of them have just one.:

          I’m not sure whether this is as true as people state and would be interested in how much of most is most – there’s a big variance between 51% and 99%.

          Why can’t we actually give a figure that reflects something more realistic than most.
          Even just seeing my children rent they have inevitably rented from people with multiple rental properties.

          Most of my peers that have rental properties have at least two, with one having 22 – that by the way her son will instantly sell upon her death as he has no desire to be a landlord.

          To my knowledge no one is actually collecting data on this – it’s not a census question e.g. how many rental properties do you own and IRD don’t track how many properties you own in their data – just the income from these.

          I’d like to know really how anyone actually knows how many rentals are owned by Mum and Dad investors.

          The other question is how to exclude those that have set up a trust but are renting to themselves – that’s not a genuine rental situation in the context being talked about i.e. they are not providing a rental for the public but are using the structure for asset protection/tax advantages etc. but are living in their own home.

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