Labour’s popular housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 3:40 pm, January 10th, 2013 - 122 comments
Categories: david shearer, housing, labour - Tags:

I’m delighted to see that over 70% of respondents to a recent Herald poll, published today, think Labour’s 100,000 houses plan is “a winner for Labour”. The plan was announced by David Shearer at Labour’s November conference.

I’d also like to thank Olwyn for asking some questions about Labour’s policy on housing in response to Zetetic’s post – they deserve an answer.

Olwyn asks: “Does Labour share Zetetic’s concerns about the state house sell-off?” These concerns were also expressed in the Herald by Metiria Turei.

Of course we share the concerns; here’s what Labour’s 2011 housing policy said:

Labour is committed to increasing and upgrading Housing New Zealand’s state housing stock. Labour also remains committed to the policy of income related rents for state house tenants.

We need to invest in housing. The last Labour Government spent nine years repairing the damage caused by a National Government that oversaw a fire-sale of nearly 13,000 state houses, carried out no modernisation whatsoever, and introduced market rents plunging tens of thousands of families into poverty overnight.

I think that’s pretty clear.

Olwyn asks again : “Will it(Labour) do things differently? Build more state houses for example?” Labour’s policy again:

Labour will focus on new builds for any state house acquisitions, rather than purchasing existing properties, to increase the overall housing stock. Where possible new state houses will be built in accordance with the disability sector approved Lifemark standard for accessible, adaptable lifetime design.

Once again from Olwyn: “Is the same caucus able answer the question about affordable housing?

The current policy on housing affordability, approved by the Caucus and Party Council, runs to seven pages in the 2011 election manifesto, and starts thus:

The road back to housing affordability

Getting the New Zealand housing market back on the path to affordability will take time and structural change in our economy. Only a Labour government has the plan to do this.

You can read the full policy here; it runs for 12 pages, 287-299.

Olwyn goes on to say: “If Labour will not answer such questions, then surely this gives you a clue as to why these days Labour is being criticised by the left almost as much as National is.”

As I hope I have indicated above, I don’t think Labour has a particular problem answering the questions. I do accept that there are problems with Labour’s communications, as well as in left perceptions of Labour. So those of us who do support Labour have a responsibility to explain the policies as well as engage in the policy debates.

However I do also think that some on the left sometimes do not give Labour credit where credit is due. Housing policy is a good example, as it is one of the litmus policies where the distinction between Labour and National is most clear.

The best example of that distinction is also mentioned in the policy above. In 1999, Labour campaigned on a promise to change state house rentals from so-called market rents to income-related rents. Labour did this in government, and it made a huge difference to state home renters.

Labour promised to pay for this policy by increasing the top rate of income tax from 36% to 39%. They did this too. As far as I am aware this is one of the few times any social democratic government has campaigned and won an election on a promise to increase income tax. There’s nothing right-wing about any of that.

And I think the fact that Labour’s 100,000 houses policy is so popular gives the best answer to David Shearer’s more virulent critics. The poll was taken at the beginning of December, so the policy will have been widely discussed over the holidays.It is a big idea, it is very Labour, it is very different from National, it goes alongside Labour’s commitment to state housing.

It should get the new year off to a good start. I’m optimistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

122 comments on “Labour’s popular housing policy ”

  1. Steve H 1

    So instead of saving money, living to the bare minimum to get a deposit and pay off a mortgage, you should be able to not save, spend as much money as you like on nice food, alcohol, takeaways and V8’s, and not make a sacrifice whatsoever? And still get a decent house too?

    I’m in, workings over-rated.

    • McFlock 1.1

      …spend as much money as you like as long as the amount you like to spend on those things is infinitesimal to the point of purely imaginary.. .

      FIFY

    • burt 1.2

      Work is what other people do to fund your lifestyle – this is socialism : Other peoples money is yours for the taking … all you need to do is vote for the party that promises it to you !

      • xtasy 1.2.1

        burt: Welcome to another disciple of divide and rule by applying injustices across the board. And perhaps put the boot in next time to beneficiaries, whom you will despise, as they are from your view “not pulling their weight” (as if there is one class of permanent beneficiaries, while in fact there is very much movements out of and also into benefit dependence).

      • McFlock 1.2.2

        So in the marketplace we should act according to our own self interest, but when voting we should act according to the interests of other people?

        That right there is the con that lets non-millionaires vote national.

      • One Tāne Huna 1.2.3

        burt, it’s called a free market: we freely decided to take all your money and spend it on poor people, because you don’t deserve the benefits of the society you despise.

        This just in: no, wait, we didn’t, we just required you to pay your taxes, cry-baby.

      • mike e vipe e 1.2.4

        burt you should form the suckers party for those sucked in by simplistic short term thinkers such as yourself and SH .
        most major companies in NZ were started on the back of govt investment of one type or other!
        You could all advocate to go back and live in Dickensian times!

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      In the 1970’s and 1980’s it was quite possible to do what you suggested Steve H. Too bad successive Right Wing governments have ruined the chances for so many after them.

      You can’t save anything worthwhile on less than $45K pa. and even if you did, no bank would loan you a mortgage sufficient to buy a house anywhere other than Ashurst, Bulls or Ettrick.

    • xtasy 1.4

      Steve H: You apparently have not read much about Labour’s housing policy!

      The Kiwi Build policy will require people to save and pay down a deposit, and they also must fulfil other criteria, so they cannot get an “affordable” home and simply sell it on straight afterwards, making a nice tax free gain.

      And for state housing, have you ever enquired what your circumstances need to look like, before you ever even get onto a waiting list for a state home?

      With house prices at what they are here in Auckland now, where most choose to live due to better job-availability, you have to be a big earner to be able to save anything for a home. Labour want to ease the pressure on the market with their ideas.

      The major issue I have so far with Labour’s plans is the unanswered question of where the cheap land to build on will come from. Mike does not appear to address the major shortfall here.

      More is needed, and Labour will have to work through the Kiwi Build plan again, addressing some flaws in it.

      But they are certainly doing a heck of a lot more than this government!

    • mike e vipe e 1.5

      D#*k head a labour govt are going to sell guaranteed bonds into the market to start the ball rolling
      some of New Zealands most prosperous times were when in the past the govt stated housing programs they were times of very low unemployment as well!
      Young families have very little chance of getting started and having a stable place and community.
      Young families Can’t afford to live it up like you say I’m still bringing up 2 teenagers on a very respectable income and it ain’t cheap!
      No doubt there are a few irresponsible out their but they are few and far between and are unlikely to save a deposit or have kiwisaver in place!
      You are just being an ignorant bigot by victimising poor people!

  2. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2

    I notice those polled think Labour’s 100,000 houses plan is “a winner for Labour”.

    I wonder what the answer would have been had they asked whether it was a winner for home buyers, or taxpayers. I would have answered “is it a winner for Labour?” in the affirmative, and I think it’s a fucking stupid idea. I just happen to think political parties promising free shit to people is always a winner with the people being offerred free shit. Paul’s always thrilled about Peter being robbed.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      That isn’t something you noticed, it’s something you inferred. The article says the respondents approved of the policy, and the journo said that makes it a winner for Labour.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2.1.1

        Well, I inferred it from this:

        I’m delighted to see that over 70% of respondents to a recent Herald poll, published today, think Labour’s 100,000 houses plan is “a winner for Labour”.

        And I think it is the only inference you can take from what the author wrote.

  3. burt 3

    OK folks, the gummit wants to send you a message – don’t worry – vote Labour : Everything will be fine and the coalition with the Greens will provide the freshly printed money to create wildfire inflation build houses.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      What’s the difference between printing the money into the NZ economy and borrowing it into the economy from China?

      • You_Fool 3.1.1

        One is a Green/Red policy and the other is Blue…. and Burt’s favourite colour is blue so therefore that one is obviously better

    • bad12 3.2

      May i be so impolitee as to inquire if your name is by any chance f**k-head, the US has printed trillions of dollars, is still printing the stuff and according to their Prez will continue to do so untill such time as unemployment has fallen to a suitable level,

      Before you start on the ‘run-away inflation’ idiocy i suggest you check the current rate of inflation in the US,

      Dumb f**ks like you make me angry beyond what’s good for me…

      • infused 3.2.1

        The US will be gone by then. Because retards like you have no clue.

        • bad12 3.2.1.1

          And you think that what you have just posted is intelligent debate??? fuck off back to the slimy fucking hole you just crawled out of you piece of shit…

    • mike e vipe e 3.3

      Burt where’s your evidence every major trading block has printed money(no infltion problems in any of their economies) that’s why our balance of payments is so bad you idiot we wouldn’t have to borrow $52 billion of other peoples money. (Where’s all the inflation there you numskull, read some thing about economics not your homespun Act BS” ACT <than 1%support")
      You Right whingers keep reeling out this economic diatribe without any evidence but are happy to support a govt who spends other peoples money by borrowing and paying more people to be on welfare funny that!

  4. Lightly 4

    but what’s the answer for the 40% of families who can’t afford KiwiBuild? Why is Labour only subsidising the top 60%?

    • Steve H 4.1

      Because its nice to get something that isn’t just “for the poor, poor people who don’t have to work”?

      Something for the middle class that isn’t just another tax increase?

      • Lightly 4.1.1

        a) I think that the bottom 40% includes quite a bit of the ‘middle class’, most of them are working – in fact there are only about 10% of families with kids who don’t have any work income
        b) there’s already lots of middle class spending eg Working for Families. There’s also 270,000 kids living in poverty and sharply falling homeownership in the lower income brackets.
        c) If you assume that the top third of families by income can’t get KiwiBuild, because surely we’re not subsidising the wealthy here and the bottom 40% can’t afford it and about half the rest already own a house…. are there even 100,000 eligible families out there?

      • Colonial Weka 4.1.2

        Do you really believe that the bottom 40% of families don’t work?

    • burt 4.2

      Why is Labour only subsidising the top 60%?

      Because that’s enough to get the levers of power…. It’s not about good long term outcomes, prudent fiscal policy, better outcomes for NZ people – it’s about being popular enough to get the levers of power !

      Hell the numbers don’t even stack up – how will Labour build houses for hundreds of thousands less than is currently possible… who cares… enough stupid people in love with other peoples money will vote for it !

      • Lightly 4.2.1

        $300,000 homes are possible. There’s lots of them. The problem is that there aren’t enough and they’re being snapped up by property investors.

        • The Al1en 4.2.1.1

          Who invest to on sell and pay no taxes on huge profits.
          If WFF is middle class welfare, housing portfolios are legalised tax rorts.

          Will DS promote a CGT with such vigour as ‘his’ new homes package?
          Will he legislate for a minimum standard of habitability, and pledge no more families living in garages?
          Will he signal that landlords are responsible for problem tenants, and made to pay fees for noise control/policing as a consequence?
          Will DS clearly (See what I did 😉 ) express his solidarity for the party core constituents and make a huge impact on their lives, or will he appease middle class voters to win back their votes?

          The right always tell us no-one should get something for nothing, so why slumlords and party leaders?

  5. Steve Wrathall 5

    Hope your number comes up and you get the discounted house. Immediately flick it onto the market and trouser $100K. Labour’s Lotto housing policy is a “winner” all right. But like Lotto it has many more losers.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I guessed your twisted money grubbing mind would come up with this idea

    • mike e vipe e 5.2

      One small problem Silly Wanker they have to hold the house for 10 years minimum and pay back homestart and kiwisaver !

      • Steve Wrathall 5.2.1

        Borrow against future windfall. Thank you sucker taxpayer. Learn some economics.

        • Chris 5.2.1.1

          Just so we all have a solid understanding of how you understand the economics of this:

          The government will be build a large number of houses in one area and sell them for $300,000. Once this first tranche of houses are built, they will build some more presumably in the same area and sell these ones for $300,000 also. Yet somehow you are going to find a buyer who is willing to pay $400,000 for a house readily available for $300,000.

          Or do you mean you will sell it in ten years for $400,000 giving you a princely return of 2.9% p.a.

  6. Matt 6

    I think the response would have been very different if the question had been, Are you happy to fund 100,000 houses for people that can not be bothered to save and buy their own home?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      How about: are you happy to tax property speculators and slum lords out of the market so that ordinary families can afford decent housing in Auckland?

    • Blue 6.2

      Pretty sure these houses are not being given away for free. There was something on that pesky press handout about having to have saved your own deposit to get one. And you have to either get a mortgage like everyone else or have $300k lying around to buy it outright.

      The quality of RWNJs is really decreasing.

      • Steve Wrathall 6.2.1

        Who said they were being given for free? Names please

        • Blue 6.2.1.1

          That’s generally what’s implied when Matt claims these houses are being ‘funded’ for people who “can not be bothered to save and buy their own home”

          If they don’t have to buy it, then it must be free.

    • xtasy 6.3

      Matt: You have no clue, it shows! To get one of those 100,000 proposed new “homes” (not necessarily all standalone “houses” on sections), a deposit will still be needed! So how does one get that? Santa Claus has been and gone, but I got no deposit from him. Lotto maybe a tough chance too. So what is left? Work and earn it. Stop distorting the true facts of the plan.

      • Matt 6.3.1

        How is that distortion Xtasy? What about the people who have already had to fork out and buy houses at the inflated prices what mechanism will be in place to protect their existing investment and ensure they don’t fall into negative equity territory?, I do not have a problem with a hand up however I don’t believe that people should be receiving a hand out.

        It would appear that some of the commenters here get fairly feral pretty quickly and are prone to slagging people off its not really becoming for the party is it?

        • xtasy 6.3.1.1

          “What about the people who have already had to fork out and buy houses at the inflated prices what mechanism will be in place to protect their existing investment and ensure they don’t fall into negative equity territory?”

          By that logic you are in favour of ever increasing house prices!

          This is acceptance of the divide and rule mentality we are getting from the National led government, in virtually all areas of government and policies.

          How do you know whether, and by how much prices would fall for other homes, if the 100,000 new homes get built within say ten years? You are making mere speculations. With population growth projections and expected additional migration, the homes will be needed anyway. And even with a stable population, there is not much need to expect that prices for homes in Auckland and Christchurch will drop due to more housing being built for affordable prices.

          Forget also not the leaky home fiasco, which has left thousands of homes with damages, many of them unsellable. Others face huge repair costs, even after legal court action settlements – or accepting the government’s offer.

          Some will have to be demolished over coming years, leading to more shortage of homes.

          What will happen if the homes that Labour proposes do not get built? Hey, bingo, that may be what you and a few others want, as it will ensure prospective gains for homes that exist already, and that do not meet the increased demand.

          Also do not forget, that there are many thousands on waiting lists for Housing NZ homes, which the government never offered. Do you want them to spend the rest of their lives in caravans, in garages, living in over-crowded homes with others, or staying in boarding houses or even sleeping rough?

          • Steve Wrathall 6.3.1.1.1

            Actually the massive increase in house prices occurred under Auntie Helen

            • Colonial Viper 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes it did; Cullen refused to reign in bank lending during that period. Bad mistake. Bank lending should be reigned in now. And a big fat stamp duty placed on anyone buying a speculative property.

        • Blue 6.3.1.2

          What about the people who have already had to fork out and buy houses at the inflated prices what mechanism will be in place to protect their existing investment and ensure they don’t fall into negative equity territory?

          An ‘investment’ can go up and down in price. An informed investor takes that into account when buying and realises there are never any guarantees that they won’t end up losing money.

          If you buy it, you take the risk.

          Welcome to the market.

  7. Populuxe1 7

    Where is the land coming from? Can Labour guarantee this won’t cause a Bill Clinton-esque real estate bubble. Isn’t this just putting a bandaid on Auckland’s top heavy overpopulation when a more farsighted and lasting strategy would be to encourage relocation to other centres. etc etc

    • Saccharomyces 7.1

      +1 to that P1. I don’t see how this can be achieved without having unintended consequences.

      I also agree on relocation, the problem is how do you encourage that relocation? Do you have any ideas on that? The only one I can think of is bettter infrastructure between centres…

    • ad 7.2

      It’s never easy, but the first place you look is current Crown land holdings and go through the offer-back procedure. There’s a fair old bunch of them, often wtihin brownfield sites.

      The step after that, if you followed the preferences of the Public Works Act, would be for central and local government to act in concert together, for the public work of housing.

      Or go it alone. Where it can get to the Land Valuation Tribunal. It’s harsh business, and the results are never perfect in retrospect, but that are better than what was there. Good examples of it in the last two decades can be found in Te Atau Peninsula, Hobsonville, Point England, and New Lynn.

      The PWA is a tough Act to be on the other end of, but that’s what a market intervention looks like. That’s how you get the land.

  8. ad 8

    Well, good to see Mike back. It’s the best positive policy Labour has had in years; so much of what Labour has proposed has been defensive and reactive. Nor do I mind that it supports real estate capitalism; it’s a major part of what New Zealand is and would take at least two full Labour/etc terms to keep to a steady simmer rather than binge-purge cycle.

    I haven’t heard much about how Labour would enable the big City councils to partner with them. Auckland’s great public housing selloff a generation ago was a major driver of the nasty price/ownership sorting mechanisms Auckland now has going. Barring some exceptions, Auckland Council is largely relying on its Unitary Plan to simply set a framework for the market rather than actively making the market (which is the way to change it).

    We now have pretty much no mezzanine finance for housing, few developers other than the real majors and a few boutique practices, and a still highly conservative banking system post GFC. So public-public partnerships are necessary, and they would also blow on the dying coals of the whole civic realm. Labour needs to think beyond Central Gvoernment’s instruments.

    It also needs to reaggregate and de-corpratise the Housing Corporation, and make it simply a sub-Department of Work and Income. The structural splintering over two decades has encouraged real abdications of responsibility from the public sector and huge devolution in to NGO-Corporate hybrids. Labour needs to take back the idea of the public in public housing, for the public sector and the public good.

    Mike I would just encourage you to get the actual housing spokesperson on this site to promote policy. That’s what they are employed for.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Gosh the chunder bucket has been urgently and well employed on this one.

    Fulfilling social needs?-the right don’t like it up’em that’s for sure. Clue for Labourites-become left social democrats again, house, feed, care for and educate citizens (rather than individuals) and you may get somewhere.

  10. Colonial Viper 10

    I don’t understand why Labour is not proposing building these houses via a Ministry of Public Works, instead of funneling huge contract and profits to corporates.

    • burt 10.1

      Because they want the glory – not the risk !

    • ad 10.2

      It’s not going to come back unless you aggregate the civil build back together again for the central public realm, which just to start with would mean:

      – split off Kiwirail operations from track and station assets,
      – aggregate Kiwirail track and station assets with NZTA’s motorway assets, and run their Asset Management Plans jointly
      – get rid of NZTA to split off those motorway assets, so NZTA is just a revenue generator and distributor
      – decorporatise Housing Corporation and have a monopolitistic single-supplier construction contract
      – and unwind Transpower into a Department again, along with any unsold power generators

      … much of which would require legislative change to the State Sector acts…

      and then
      – have a really good talk with whomever governs monopolies these days

      …and having done all of that, all you’ve done is form another corporate – this time a public one.

  11. Pete 11

    Home ownership also brings with it a number of positive social benefits. People are more rooted in their communities and have a greater stake in them. Children are more likely to perform better at school if they’re not moving around every few years, and there’s greater political engagement on the local and national level.

    • karol 11.1

      Actually, I think home ownership can lead to political disengagement, as people get focused on ensuring they retain their property, upgrading it, DIY etc, etc, more concern they maintain their foothold, rather than focusing on what’s happening in society at large, and especially disconnecting from what’s happening with the less well-off.

      • felixviper 11.1.1

        Very true karol. Who was it who said “people with mortgages don’t go on strike”?

        I also agree with Pete about the wider benefits of being secure in a stable community, but that doesn’t – or shouldn’t – have to be related to home ownership.

        • Mary 11.1.1.1

          It’s about the consequences of the breakdown of what was a far more caring and inclusive society. State assistance for first time home buyers was originally available to everyone because of “the wider benefits of being secure in a stable community”. Labour’s current policy reminds me of the food in schools debacle where almost everyone said let’s “feed the kids in deciles one to three”: yet another band aid response to a far deeper problem, and creating further divisions. Nothing wrong with food in schools, but only if it’s across the board with objectives based on social cohesion, “the wider benefits of being secure in a stable community” etc, rather than a knee-jerk response to inherent inequality.

      • Come on ! Karol I expect better from you than daft statement like the above.
        Mt wife and I bought our house through the SA.loan scheme and we are the proud owners of our “Little palace” I can assure that because it was possible to own our own house,an impossible
        dream in our first years of marriage , has made me more socialistic than ever . To me making it possible for a low paid working family to own their own home is the true meaning of Democratic
        Socialism . Plus one of the reasons the Labour Party was started.

        • karol 11.1.2.1

          It’s not daft. And the original Labour Party didn’t start to enable home ownership by workers. it focused on Labour policy and state housing.

          Yes, many people have benefited, especially the upper working classes. But those on the lowest incomes suffer, and it has got increasingly difficult for those on upper working class incomes to buy their own homes.

          I am glad to see you have remained very socialist/social democrat. But, I don’t think it’s true of all people, working class or otherwise, who became home owners. And not all working class people have been able to become home owners. How do you explain the increase of working class support for National or who stopped voting over the decades? More importantly, what about the impact on more sustained political activism (eg union activity), beyond voting every few years.

          • Colonial Viper 11.1.2.1.1

            TPP deliberately referred to democratic socialism…much cooler than “social democracy” if I may say so 😉

    • burt 11.2

      Pete

      As noted succinctly by felix, people have a vested interest in keeping a cash flow when they have a mortgage. With or without a mortgage they have a vested interest in looking after their property and improving it’s value. That’s not always true of renters.

      Greater political engagement … do you have a link for this study you reference ?

      • Mary 11.2.1

        You’re misrepresenting what felix said, which was that security in a stable society can come from home ownership but that that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. An example, I’d say, would be how state rental housing used to help bring such stability. There are also other factors unrelated to housing, of course, but I think the point felix is making is that security and stability is crucial to participation, rather than home ownership.

        • felixviper 11.2.1.1

          Exactly Mary, much better than I had put it 😀

        • rosy 11.2.1.2

          “security and stability is crucial to participation, rather than home ownership.”

          This hits on one of the tenets of the neo-liberal turn. A flexible labour market is not simply a contracted rather than employed labour market. It is a mobile one.

          Neo-libs don’t like state involvement in housing just because it’s crowding out market signals but because it does build help build a stable and secure society (if it the state support is widespread, not just for the economically deprived portion of the population) through long-term fixed rentals.

          Home-owenerhsip is a bit more of a conundrum. Felix’s ‘homeowners don’t go on strike’ is a powerful driver for capitalists to support home ownership over long-term rental.
          From David Harvey

          In the 1890s this trend starts as the business-class was wondering how to get lower-income populations stabilized and less restive. There was a wonderful phrase the business-class used to use, “Incumbent homeowners don’t go on strike!” Remember, people had to borrow to become owners. There’s your control mechanism.

          On the otherhand for neo-libs – the problem is that home ownership makes labour less mobile.

          The flexibility of a labour market, and its ability to handle bad times without costly spikes in unemployment, is based in no small part on the ease with which the economy can reallocate workers to growing industries in growing places. When home-owners become stuck, they make the economy as a whole more brittle.

          I see a conflict between making the economy more brittle and society more brittle. It seems to me that long-term rentals (5-10 years, maybe) need to be in the mix for building a strong, stable and secure society. I’m not seeing anything from any political party that’s linking in issues of future employment, social balance and housing tenure yet this combination is crucial, especially to those on the left.

    • Steve Wrathall 11.3

      Yes, taxpayers will be rooted by this policy

  12. Olwyn 12

    Thanks very much for your answer Mike. I hope that the 2011 plan regarding State Housing is retained, and perhaps even increased a little, as we approach 2014. I have just come back from the dentists so I have yet to read the 12 page document you have posted. I am assuming that the plan will end up with safeguards against both sub-prime bubbles and property developers. More vitriol from the right than the left on this occasion has to be a good sign.

    • Anne 12.1

      I have just come back from the dentist.

      Root Canal perhaps? If so, lucky you. Mine comes up next week. Having trouble concentrating on anything until the damm thing is over. 🙁

      Thanks for asking excellent questions.

      And thanks to Mike Smith for answering promptly. It augers well. Finally we might be starting to get somewhere – at least in this area of policy.

  13. karol 13

    I’m very pleased to see state housing being included in the Kiwibuild policy. Is Shearer going to make some public statement to that effect? Why hasn’t he made this explicitly clear before?

    Am I the only person who assumed that nothing in the 2011 LP election campaign policies was automatically going to be picked up by Shearer?

    I assumed he would continue with some stuff, but not with others (eg GST on/off fruit and veges).

    It goes to trust, and the continuing issue that I really don’t know what Shearer stands for – his under-lying political position. Trust needs to be strong as, once in government, a party can back of some policies they had prior to the elections (e.g. closing the gap).

    And I am still not seeing anything in Kiwibuild for us lifetime private renters. It still looks like a policy to ensure the children of the reasonably well-off can buy into the housing market, with some state housing tacked onto it. The housing crisis in Auckland is acute right now, especially for those on low incomes – and it needs addressing urgently.

    • Puddleglum 13.1

      This is a crucial point, karol.

      The 2011 election manifesto was under a different leadership and was part of an obvious play for the left-wing vote that manifested in the 2011 election campaign (apart from raising the age of super).

      If Labour can confirm that its Kiwibuild policy is in addition to the housing policies carried into the election and will not compromise, reduce, delay, dilute or make other substantive or substantial changes to the housing policies cited in this post then it would be a good sign and be a housing policy that sat naturally with a centre-left party.

      I’m a bit surprised, though, that the 2011 housing policy appears to have been endorsed, in part or whole, for the 2014 manifesto. I presume it has been endorsed given that it is being strongly implied in this post that Labour’s stance has not changed in this area and will not change in any significant way in the lead up to the election (hence it is – and will be – a distinguishing feature between the two main parties).

      I’m aware that other 2011 election manifesto policies appear to have been reversed (e.g., GST back on fruit and veges) so perhaps these ones have been confirmed?

      • Saarbo 13.1.1

        I was told at the Conference (by a member of Labour Council) that you can safely assume that Labour Policy is the last policy document produced unless a particular policy has been repealed.

        I think Labour need to make this more explicit on its website.

        • Puddleglum 13.1.1.1

          I suppose I knew that, but that’s a technical issue that does not seem to ‘do the work’ that it is being used for in this post.

          Specifically, the concern is that there may be a (further) shift rightwards under Shearer. Surely, it is what the policy ‘will be’, and how policies are promoted or prioritised, not what the last policy document on the website is, that would put to rest concerns about where the party is heading. Or am I missing something?

          As Jenny Kirk mentions below, such ‘current policy’ does not always seem to be determining the emphasis of public pronouncements from the Labour leadership as often as would be expected if, indeed, such policy ‘still stands’ and is what MPs should be asserting (unless and until some further policy document supplants it).

      • Jenny Kirk 13.1.2

        The current Labour Party constitution states clearly the Policy of the last general election remains Labour Party policy until it is changed and approved by the Party and the Policy Council. This has not yet happened. It is likely to happen at the 2013 annual conference in Christchurch.

        Therefore, the 2011 general election policy – available on the Labour Party website – continues to remain the Party’s policy at this time.

        Meanwhile , I find it difficult to understand why the Leader and other Labour MPs are NOT using the 2011 policy to make a stand on various issues as they arise. Perhaps this failure provides one of the reasons why Labour supporters are perturbed at the current direction of our Parliamentary caucus.

      • xtasy 13.1.3

        Puddleglum:

        “I’m aware that other 2011 election manifesto policies appear to have been reversed (e.g., GST back on fruit and veges) so perhaps these ones have been confirmed?”

        Your cautionary and sceptical notes are justified.

        Mike Smith is trying to warm up the left-overs of the last election manifesto that Labour released. Some of what they announced as part of that, prior to the last election, was last year reversed, or abandoned, as Shearer made very clear.

        As far as I remember the $ 5000 tax free first income, the GST off fruits and vegetables, the working for families tax credit (or what it was) to also be applied for beneficiaries, and some other things were “off-loaded” soon after Shearer took over.

        As for Labours 2011 housing policy, it rather resembles a potpourri of various proposed measures, with much remaining uncertainties, where Housing NZ was going to be maintained as state housing provider, but also “third parties” were going to be involved more in housing developments for poor, disabled and needy.

        Category C and D Housing NZ waiting list candidates were supposed to be getting continued assistance under Labour to find “alternative” housing – which means also Labour were planning to off-load them off the waiting lists, as this government is doing already.

        The Welcome Home scheme was to be kept and expanded, but also other measures were considered, in co-operation with local government. Crown land was to be made more easily available, and so forth.

        It was in large part sounding good, in other parts not much different from what the Nats are doing now, and otherwise it is full of intentions and much ambiguity and vagueness.

        So warming up old policies here does not convince me, I am sorry!

        More clarity and commitment is needed, will be expected and will be welcome. So, Mr Shearer, where is your clear statement re land for Kiwi Build, safeguards that first home buyers will stay in the homes, that building materials can be obtained more cheaply, and above all, where is a clear commitment to state housing projects, at least to a deficient level as in Manifesto 2011???

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.3.1

          Mike Smith is trying to warm up the left-overs of the last election manifesto

          I’m trying to decide if this was deliberate.

    • QoT 13.2

      Am I the only person who assumed that nothing in the 2011 LP election campaign policies was automatically going to be picked up by Shearer?

      You are not. I mean, maybe not nothing, but I certainly assumed that anything to be retained from previous policy statements would be explicitly spelled out. You know, the 2011 policy statement being the Old Testament to David Shearer’s Jesus Christ and everything … /snark

  14. ad 14

    One extra thing. It’s not enough.

    One good fresh non-reactive policy in six years.

    Even the image on the post of Michael Joseph Savage says: nostalgia is still the talisman.
    Give me policy and leadership that is a fresh vision, and yes, is better than historical heroes.
    Not aspiring to. Not as good as. Better than.

    Not good enough. Not by a long shot.

  15. bad12 15

    My questions for Labour’s housing spokesperson would be,

    (a) Put a number and time-frame to the ‘Labour are committed to building more state houses, 9 years of the last Labour Government did not return the Housing NZ portfolio, (75,000), to the size it was before National began to sell them to their mates,

    (b),The figure of 60,000 dollars in household income is being used as the benchmark by commenters with regards to qualifying for a mortgage so as to be able to partake in the KiwiBuild program proposed by Labour,

    If that figure is anywhere near correct then what of the decile of income earners below that, most of whom are now locked out of HousingNZ rental by dint of having an income above a benefit, are not the decile with earnings of 30,40,50,000 dollars more in NEED of Labour Government help,

    (c), Again with regards to the number of HousingNZ properties, with a population of 3.3 million we had a total of 75,000 state houses mostly tenanted by low waged workers, the population is now some 4.4 million with a current Housing NZ rental stock of some 69.000,(less the 500 odd the Tories have recently flogged off), the 69,000 are now in the majority housing beneficiaries with the low waged trapped in the private rental market which is the root cause of the demand and the un-affordability of housing for the decile above the low waged worker,

    On a population basis alone the numbers would suggest that we NEED at least 100,000 state houses…

  16. tracey 16

    For all those above who dont like this policy, do you accept there is an accomodation problem, particularly in auckland, and if they do, what do they see as a solution, please be specific not broadbrush. Thanks

    • karol 16.1

      The heat needs to be taken out of the (upper end) of the property market, asap. This means the primary focus should be on building more state housing first. Maybe also a CGT on housing.

      • karol 16.1.1

        PS: as the 1930s Labour government is referenced in the image on the front page for this post, as far as I can see, their solutions to the housing crisis at the time looks pretty much focused on building state houses – and they did more than just focus on one flagship policy, as listed on wikip.

        It’s breath-taking – a total change of direction.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1

          Auckland needs to be depopulated and people moved to other centres. Having 30% of the country’s population in 0.3% of the land area is a recipe for distress.

          Agree though Karol – what Labour needs to deliver to NZ now is a seachange in approach to the social-economy of this nation. Not just one ‘flag ship policy’ but an entire programme of political economic change.

          • karol 16.1.1.1.1

            Yes, CV, I think there needs to be more focus on de-centralisation. Unfortunately the long term Auckland Plan is focused on centering key cultural establishments and activities in central Auckland – makes it easier for tourists, you see. But for those of us out in the burbs, there’s a lot of travelling.

            Many of us have our reasons for staying, and availability of jobs is a biggie. I have been considering moving out of Auckland due to the cost of rents here. When I’m fully retired I maybe will. However, I grew up here, and have a strong emotional attachment to it. Also one of my long term interests is the history of Auckland, and there are a lot of heritage collections and sites here that I am interested in.

          • Coronial Typer 16.1.1.1.2

            That will never happen. For the last century its been quite the reverse. As a quick factoid on how irreversible the tide is, in every territorial authority in New Zealand except Christchurch, Queenstown Lakes, Auckland, and Hamilton, population will generally shrink and in a few cases about roughly stagnate, and this will accelerate in the next decade. I think this census will shock us somewhat.

          • Tracey 16.1.1.1.3

            it’s similar the world over… London? Paris?

          • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 16.1.1.1.4

            cv 16 1 1 1
            +1

      • bad12 16.1.2

        A capital gains tax would be slow and ponderous as people will just sit on their ‘investments’ so as not to be caught by the tax,

        Such a tax if the above occurred would simple punish those who need to move cities,(houses), for legitimate reasons,

        Build enough,(100,000) State owned rentals in Auckland and target their rental at the low waged workers in that city and demand for rental housing will plummet like a stone

        I will not bother tho to repeat the rumour of how many rental properties the previous Prime Minister owns, nor speculate how many of the current Labour MP’s in the current Parliament own, so despite my passion for the subject in some ways i believe i am wasting my energy upon such advocacy,

        My view is that State house rentals should be available to everyone regardless of income so long as as a tenant they pay 25% of household income as rent and ditch the upper limit,

        If all the low waged workers who WANT State rentals were housed at 25% of income the direct subsidy to HousingNZ from the taxpayer would drop dramatically,

        If after that enough State housing was made available to house all-comers no matter what their income at 25% of income with no cap of ‘market rent’ there would be no need for the taxpayer to be subsidizing HousingNZ at all and payment of the accomodation subsidy would largely be made redundant…

    • bad12 16.2

      As Karol says, ”the heat needs to be taken out of the buyers market”, the larger part of the over-heating is the seriously pampered middle-class buying ‘investment property’ as rentals,

      As Housing NZ’s rental stock has reduced in actual numbers while at the same time the population has grown by a million the number of those dependent upon benefits have also grown,as a large part of eligibility for a HousingNZ property is based upon income the decile of HousingNZ occupancy has changed from low paid workers to beneficiaries,

      Build 100,000 new HousingNZ tenancies in Auckland and demand for rentals for the decile of low waged workers who cannot ever expect to be able to afford a mortgage at current house prices and demand for rental accomodation in that city will drop dramatically killing the demand from the middle class to buy rental property and lowering the cost for those on the verge of being able to afford a mortgage,

      Housing the decile of low waged workers below earnings of 50,000 a year at 25% of household income will free up their income for use in the wider economy as most in private rental are paying 50% and above in private rental, and stop part of that income simply becoming a direct flow of capital along with any accommodation supplement being paid for private rentals to the overseas banking industry who hold the mortgages of most of this middle class game of monopoly which is what the Auckland housing market has become…

  17. tracey 17

    Isnt cgt a pillor of labour party policy?

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      CGT is useless at controlling Auckland real estate speculation. If you expect to make a 30% capital gain on an Auckland property over the next 5 years, giving 15% of that gain up in a CGT is very acceptable.

  18. bad12 18

    The Chinese have built whole cities,(admittedly all tower blocks) to house 250,000 people in places in both China and Africa,

    The whole build has taken them from bare site to complete city in 3 years, anything is ‘do-able’ it simply takes the ‘political will’ to do so…

  19. Herodotus 19

    However I do also think that some on the left sometimes do not give Labour credit where credit is due. Housing policy is a good example, as it is one of the litmus policies where the distinction between Labour and National is most clear.
    From my industry knowledge the policy has one major problem under the current market and that labour is to utilise private enterprise the policy is unworkable. Nothing much else !!!
    Land eartworked for high density sells for $400/m2 + gst add in council contributions $20k dwelling and you get for a 120 m2 house a section size required 270 m 2 so land cost is $124k and that is the lowest land available that I have come across in Auckland in the last few years. Add in the current market trends, inflation for building materials and to find enough available.
    Love to see any details and see how this is to be implemented and not become another empty broken government policy in trying to buy the votes from the middle and upper class

    • Rogue Trooper 19.1

      following on from your comments when this policy was first announced your costings are invaluable

    • mike e vipe e 19.2

      herodotus Multi story low rise buildings such as in Melbourne inner-city redevelopment

      • Herodotus 19.2.1

        So where is the land, to allow such developments to happen either town planning rules would be required to be rewritten, and if so the value of the land increases, or the govt buys the land under the current operating plan and either goes for a plan change or a variation to planning rules. Both take time and remember that there has been an estimate that the max the costs will be is $1.5b. These solutions take time and to cover 10k dwellings pa this solution should not suffice. Next valiant effort, at least mike you are trying to come up with solutions more than can be said for labour or its cheerleaders. And the sketch that came with the policy was a stand alone detached dwelling.

  20. Don’t believe anyone mentioned it, or can’t believe I missed it, but the picture of Savage in the thread title…

    What’s that all about? An attempt at well earned respect by association?
    No pics of Dave in front of his own appreciative crowd yet?

    At least we know if it’s all about spin, the promo group have one that didn’t turn and went down leg in their arsenal.
    Can’t wait for the flipper and the googlie.

    • karol 20.1

      Yep.

      I mentioned the 1903s Labour government & the image @6.15pm (16.1.1)

      Trust.

      • The Al1en 20.1.1

        You did too, and I feel no shame in being second 😆

      • bad12 20.1.2

        A bit off topic, but i had a wee look at your link and was struck by just how many of the names in that Labour Governments Cabinet struck a chord of me knowing the name, Mabel Howard for one, and 4 or 5 other’s, but i can’t for the life of me remember why i remember their names so well,

        John A Lee who is prominent by not being included i have read a lot of and Savage of course we all remember…

  21. bad12 21

    I don’t think the Herald poll at the center of this particular post is something for Labour to have a massive party over either,

    A poll where 500 people are enthused enough to reply with 70% in favor from a circulation area as large as what the Herald has aint exactly mass enthusiasm…

  22. millsy 22

    Steve H has obviously never heard of 3% housing corp loans, family benefit capitalization and the like.

  23. David H 23

    @ Mike Smith 70% of 500 is something to crow about??? Well that just goes to show you that the state of the Party is dire indeed, if you are going to crow about those pathetic numbers. Now what did the bosses say when you went back and told em’ we’re not going to play? did you get a pat on the head or a kick up the bum and told to go and try again???

    So Some questions.

    1 When is Shearer going to apologise to the membership for the shit he pulled after the conference?
    2 When is Shearer going to apologise to all the beneficiaries for the roof painter bullshit?
    3 When is shearer going to stand down and have a DEMOCRATIC vote?
    4 When is Shearer going to fire the Dinosaurs that are the cause of most of the problems in Caucus?
    5 When is Shearer going to PUBLICALLY apologise to David Cunliffe?
    6 When is Shearer going to learn to speak?
    7 When is Shearer going to have the Balls to come in here and face us instead of sending the messenger boy?

    And Will Mike Smith even bother to come back and answer the next load of criticism, because NO ONE else from Labour is allowed to, by royal fucking decree of the megalomaniac Shearer.

    • xtasy 23.1

      “7 When is Shearer going to have the Balls to come in here and face us instead of sending the messenger boy?”

      Maybe he can’t find “the Ba**s”, because he may have none?

  24. Tracey 24

    “70% of 500 is something to crow about???” It’s about the same size as the nightly sample the PM views to work out what to do/say the next day!

  25. Bill 25

    So hang on…this whole post is based on a readership poll that is undoubtably heavily weighted by people who actually have some money or who have prospects of having some money.

    And then 2011 Labour Policy; policy that may no longer actually be Labour policy seeing as how everything (from memory) was up for review, is being used to promote the good side of a completely different 2012 policy announcement?

    Is that about right, or am I missing something here?

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      As Trotter just said, it appears that Labour’s housing policy is a nice big Private-Public Partnership. What we need next is a military policy which is a nice big Private-Public Partnership.

  26. DH 26

    I’m a fan of the policy but I think it’s important for people to rationalise why they like or dislike it. I like it only because it will significantly slow or even halt inflation in the housing market for a good few years. That should lead to more investment in productive sectors of the economy

    House prices go up for one reason only; demand exceeds supply. The choices for halting housing inflation are to intervene in the market to either reduce the demand or increase the supply (or both). An increase in the supply of this magnitude will seriously affect the housing market, which to me is a good thing.

    It’s not so good for those who rely on capital gain to protect their investment or those who might end up with negative equity in the overpriced home they recently bought. The collateral damage is a concern.

    Renters should be happy with it. This will take 100k plus people out of the rental market and the consequence of that is easy to work out – much less demand for rentals and subsequently lower rents. That will indirectly benefit lower income earners.

    Unfortunately though I don’t see it as any kind of solution to a long term problem. It’s more of an election bribe.

    That’s my 2c FWIW

    • bad12 26.1

      Doesn’t negative equity tho only really effect a home owner at the point of sale, admittedly those who’s house price dropped would still be paying the same amount of mortgage on the property BUT, must already have the income to be able to service that mortgage,

      As far as the private landlord’s being left holding the sticky end of the spoon goes i have no sympathy, these people have been pampered by successive Governments policies for far too long…

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        If you are underwater, the bank can usually demand the difference to be paid in full, immediately, or take the home from you.

        House prices go up for one reason only; demand exceeds supply.

        No no no

        You arent wholly incorrect, but you also haven’t factored in ponzi expectations of asset price appreciation.

        • DH 26.1.1.1

          “You arent wholly incorrect, but you also haven’t factored in ponzi expectations of asset price appreciation.”

          Of course I’m correct, it’s economics 101. Demand is all the people who want and who can buy a house. Why they want to buy is irrelevant in that context, whatever their reasons it’s still demand. The ponzi speculators just add to the demand which consequently exhausts the supply and perpetuates the inflation.

          This scheme will burn property investors bigtime. Many new-home buyers chasing existing housing stock, which is their only choice at present, will go instead for the cheaper houses which will lead to a reduction in the demand for second-hand houses. That slowdown in demand will lead to a further reduction in demand by speculators and investors as they see future capital gains dwindling.

          The large scale of this scheme guarantees that the inflation ratchet will be broken for the duration, should easily last an extra 2-3yrs past that before prices start ramping up again. Land makes up over 60% of the house value in many areas of Auckland, it’s not inconceivable that this scheme could lead to a very big crash in the price of houses.

          • Rogue Trooper 26.1.1.1.1

            we hope and pray. Transmission Gully’s an interesting PPP anchor pulling dirt uphill according to Sue Kedgley.

          • Colonial Viper 26.1.1.1.2

            Of course I’m correct, it’s economics 101. Demand is all the people who want and who can buy a house. Why they want to buy is irrelevant in that context

            I can see your reasoning. I’ll say however that justifying anything as Economics 101 usually means it’s highly suspect from my perspective, as the “science” of orthodox economics as it is taught is basically completely wrong.

            Your purely “supply side” solution matches your philosophy of economics but I would also carefully analyse and deal with the demand side as well, particularly that associated with ponzi speculation and ponzi financing.

  27. GeoffC 27

    Kiwbuild. A govt economic stimuli package designed to create a controlled housing bubble and on flow growth. With a boost to GDP multiplier its will directly and indirectly create jobs.
    The commodity flow on effect will be a massive stimuli to the economy.
    Aimed a demographic who can provide the minimum deposit and mortgage repayments.

    My suggestions.
    QE bonds to kiwi bank to onsell as cheap mortgages for kiwi build home buyers.
    Use cullin fund as investment platform to provide a building company. See Z strategic energy provider.
    Provision for govt to become involved in the purchasing and sourcing of materials and or contracts to third party nZ companies to provide bulk consumables for kiwi build homes.
    Examples where the market dos that now…see Lockwood stone wood jennian home etc.
    Minimise profit taking at all levels of the initiative.
    Housing nZ contracts for refurbishments of state houses are very very stringent and tight on private sector margins.

    Entire object is govt initative to control and stimulate the economy via housing…brilliant.

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