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More bold intervention needed

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, July 17th, 2016 - 71 comments
Categories: greens, labour, national - Tags: , , ,

The curious convergence of Labour and National towards major housing market intervention is quite something as a principle.

The National government has proposed installing Commissioners to replace Auckland Council if they don’t see sufficient growth capacity in Auckland’s draft unitary Plan. They have also specially designated areas for developers with low regulatory oversight.

Labour is proposing even greater intervention – I don’t need to outline their policies when you can read them here.

As are the Greens’ policies here.

It’s good to see both sides of the house preparing to limit, regulate and funnel housing capital. Few except landlord interests dispute the risks housing represent to the whole of New Zealand.

But there are two more massively distended risks to market failure ripe for government intervention, because their collective risks are almost as great to us as housing.

The first is the vulnerability of the rural economy to dairy commodity prices. A future Labour-Greens government risks few votes in revisiting Fonterra’s governing legislation. Simply mitigating the risks of Fonterra’s market power hasn’t been enough to benefit the whole of New Zealand’s rural society in any sustainable fashion.

It could have been. From the purpose:

to promote the efficient operation of dairy markets in New Zealand by regulating the activities of new co-op to ensure New Zealand markets for dairy goods and services are contestable …”.

That purpose now looks weak.

Fonterra’s approach to commodification has rendered our export economy and rural communities far too vulnerable. It hasn’t responded to our country’s needs. Its core aim should be to gain the highest export dollar for the least environmental impact. It’s also by far our largest company and highest R&D investor. Fonterra is a creature of statute and it needs a sharp reminder of that fact from Parliament.

It’s time to intervene in the dairy market as boldly as in the housing market.

The second is the growing vulnerability of the urban and rural economy to cars. Politicians from both sides of the house like to think about transport through mode-shift and ribbon-cutting. That will always have a place. But our car fleet is old and getting older, hence dirtier and more unsafe.

A market intervention to upgrade whole generations of cars with massive subsidies for pre-2000 cars towards electric, hybrid and non-petrol options would be an efficient use of public capital. It would have a far faster rate of return on safety, pollution and efficiency grounds than any 100 metres of motorway or rail you could name. And it is a sure-fire vote winner with big and tangible redistributive effects. It’s good politics.

A winning 2017 government would see the sustained low oil price as a window in which to act with least societal impact and greatest short and long term benefit. Only housing ranks higher in terms of our desire for ownership and autonomy – and with that desire goes political desire.

As parties on both sides start writing bold policy bids towards next years’ general election, Labour, the Greens and National have signalled it’s time to revive the moribund muscles of the state towards our common wealth. 1987 is dead. The main players agree that 2017 demands a high benchmark of intervention and redistribution.

Housing has set that new modern benchmark. It’s time for more.

71 comments on “More bold intervention needed”

  1. Paul 1

    Bernard Hickey: Imagine a massive price drop

    Brace yourself and imagine Auckland house prices falling 55 per cent. Former Reserve Bank Chairman Arthur Grimes proposed deliberately making the Auckland housing market crash 40 per cent by building 150,000 houses over six years to make housing more affordable……

    Politicians of all colours and lobbyists for landlords may talk about housing like some sort of bomb under the economy that cannot be dismantled, but would such a fall kill the economy, and the banks for that matter?
    Luckily for us, we don’t have to imagine. The Reserve Bank has done a test of just such an scenario, and quite recently.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11675913

    • dv 1.1

      If you have a mortgage that you can afford, how does a value drop affect you on the short-term to medium term.

      You still have the same cash flow, and if you keep up to date with your payments the bank is unlikely to foreclose, because the asset is worth less.

      You won’t be able to leverage more properties though and you won’t feel so wealthy.

      • Pat 1.1.1

        thats all true provided your equity level is acceptable to the lender….however if the lenders decide the market is more risky it can lead to a premium (interest rate increase) and/or a withdrawal of available funds….both actions which can accentuate the problems.

        in any case doing nothing is not an option as these events will occur anyway

      • Jay 1.1.2

        Because rents will drop.

        • dv 1.1.2.1

          I was thinking of home owners, not investors.

          • Pat 1.1.2.1.1

            if the mortgagee maintained the payments the bank may not foreclose an underwater mortgage, would depend on a number of factors….however could the homeowner maintain those payments with reduced income, interest rate increase and increased costs?…..all very real possibilities with property price deflation.

            • dv 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes the situation is not always simple.

            • Graeme 1.1.2.1.1.2

              Also that once the property has negative equity it’s the bank that takes the hit in a mortgagee sale. So they will try and keep the borrower going to keep the payments, and profit coming in. Gets tough for the borrower, but they get to keep the property, at a huge cost, if they can keep up the agreed repayments.

              It’s one of the swings with the full recourse system we have. It also holds property values up in a downturn, or more they plateau. Homeowners with reasonable equity that have to sell are the ones that loose out, they have to take what the market will provide, and if no one wants to buy because you can’t make 10%+ a year, ouch.

    • ianmac 1.2

      Just read that Paul after reading Rodney’s jumble in the jungle.
      Bernard, “It ran a “stress” test with banks late last year to see what would happen to their balance sheets if house prices fell 55 per cent in Auckland and by 40 per cent nationwide.

      It found the world would not end. Banks would not force everyone to sell their houses. Most home-owners have vast amounts of equity to fall back on. Those in negative equity would neither send their keys back to the bank in the mail nor be turfed out without warning…..”
      And,
      “…..Why are politicians of all colours so afraid? And whose interests are they protecting when they say such falls are “crazy”?

      • Jono 1.2.1

        I believe they are protecting the banks profits by keeping prices high. higher prices more debt = more profit…

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          +1

          Everything that our governments have done over the last thirty years has been to protect the wealth of the richest. They do this by putting ever more costs on the poorest and doing it in such a way so the rich get ever higher profits from those costs.

          This is what privatisation is all about.

      • Pat 1.2.2

        “t found the world would not end. Banks would not force everyone to sell their houses. Most home-owners have vast amounts of equity to fall back on. Those in negative equity would neither send their keys back to the bank in the mail nor be turfed out without warning…..”

        no the world would not end…..but it could potentially change quite a bit for the worse and sending the keys back in NZ does not wipe the debt.

        a rebalancing of the economy involves a deliberate crashing of parts of that economy and carries the risk of feedback loops ….the trick is to keep the changes within acceptable parameters….i.e. drop house prices without creating capital flight, interest rate increases, currency dive and widespread recession.

        • Pat 1.2.2.1

          and consider where a lot of the churn in economy is coming from….funds obtained by borrowing against increasing property prices…..take that out of the economy and what happens?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2.2

          …sending the keys back in NZ does not wipe the debt.

          Yep, that is something that we need to change. It’s the bank that’s taking the risk, not the people buying the house. As it stands the banks are protected from those risks that they take with the full amount being put on the home buyer.

          Personally, what I’d like to see is a law that limits mortgage repayments to be whichever is the lesser of the agreed amount or 25% of household income. Total number of repayments to remain the same.

          • Pat 1.2.2.2.1

            “Personally, what I’d like to see is a law that limits mortgage repayments to be whichever is the lesser of the agreed amount or 25% of household income. Total number of repayments to remain the same.”

            and watch all the banks withdraw from the residential mortgage market or at the very least severely restrict who thy will lend to.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2.2.1.1

              Yes and watch as both their profits shrink and house prices tumble. After all, the people most likely to be affected are the people who over-extend – otherwise known as speculators.

              • Pat

                yes their profits would shrink but the ones most likely to miss out in the long run would be the lower paid trying to obtain a mortgage for a home rather than the speculators who generally have far more options and asset backing

      • Nic the NZer 1.2.3

        A large run of mortgagee sales is likely to see NZ home ownership rates fall, not rise. Its also at least possible that investors snap up properties as a result.

    • Nic the NZer 1.3

      A brief list of financial institutions which passed stress tests (shortly before failure). Lehmans, fanny and freddy, AIG and the failed Icelandic banks. Are the RBNZ tests better?

      I believe a 55% fall in prices over less than 5 years would surely see bank failures in NZ.

  2. ianmac 2

    Politically Key especially is not brave enough to cause a drop in value. He fears the blame voters would direct at him. “But what about my capital games!”

    • ianmac 2.1

      Come to think of it, Key’s reluctance to deal with air pollution/climate change has the same fear of the voters. Leadership? Courage? Integrity?

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        politicians are followers, not leaders. Has Little whispered any plans to drop house values?

        • bearded git 2.1.1.1

          If Little said he wanted house prices to drop 30 per cent the Nats would use this against him day after day in the election campaign. Little knows this so is being careful what he says. Smart politics.

          • leftie 2.1.1.1.1

            Exactly Bearded Git, and I’m pretty sure Colonial Viper does know that too. It’s so obvious.

          • Chuck 2.1.1.1.2

            Likewise…do you think if Key came out and said he was “dropping house prices by 30%” that Little would say A/ good job Mr. Key or B/ use it against Key?

        • leftie 2.1.1.2

          But wouldn’t that be a logical consequence of a big housing build plan, Colonial Viper?

  3. Jack Ramaka 3

    The problem is there is not a lot of companies of private investors in NZ with the capital or the horsepower to get involved in mass building programs, however Key does not appear to be interested in getting the Government directly involved in the building process, his approach is more hands off leave it to the market.

    Bankers like making margins but do not have the capacity to create and actually do things, it’s all about ideology and beliefs.

    • dukeofurl 3.1

      Thats right, we are cursed with the ‘franchise building model’ where virtually all the companies building are thinly capitalised ‘husband & wife’ type operators who operate under a more well known brand.

      The biggest franchise operator in Australia, GJ Gardiner is around 9 or 10th in the volume of homes built. Here they are the largest.

      The exercise with the SHA areas shows so far 52000 possible ‘home sites’ approved in Auckland but its only a paper approval with around 2-3000 built or under construction.

      A labour government could easily just go to those holding resource consent for SHA but no money to go any further, and could develop the sites for 5000 homes a year without making much impact on the overall backlog

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Now we want the government to spend billions subsidising the environment destroying manufacture of new personal cars?

    How about policies which allow people to ditch personal vehicles and their costs altogether?

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Right up till the 70s state houses never had driveways or garages provided.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Interesting. Didn’t consciously realise that although it makes sense now you point it out. They walked to the polls to vote us in, they drove to the polls to vote us out…

  5. Jenny 5

    “What other policy areas are there where the parties can agree on active state intervention?”
    ADVANTAGE

    Well, Duh!!

    Climate change for one.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-concentrating-solar-tower-is-worth-its-salt-with-24-7-power/

    “We can ramp up electricity generation for utilities based on the demand. We can turn on when they want us to turn on and we can turn off when they want us to turn off,”
    Kevin Smith SolarReserve CEO

    What if Australia were to do this?

    https://www.originenergy.com.au/blog/about-energy/energy-in-australia.html

    “Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square meter of any continent in the world.4”

    Could New Zealand have a role to play?

    “Australia worst carbon emitter per capita among major western nations”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/19/australia-worst-carbon-emitter-per-capita-among-major-western-nations

    If there is any country that is crying out for this technology it is Australia.

    ANU Poll reveals nation worried about climate change
    “Australians view global warming as the most serious threat to the future well-being of the world and see drought as the most immediate environmental problem for Australia, according to the findings of the third ANU Poll.”

    Political parties that dither on tackling climate change do so at their own electoral peril if two polls out this week pointing to rising voter concern are any guide.

    The Lowy Institute’s annual poll on Australian Attitudes to The World surveyed 1202 adults earlier this year and found support for taking action to curb global warming “even if it involves significant costs” to be at its highest since 2008, up 17 percentage points to 53 per cent after hitting a nadir in 2012.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/federal-election-2016-polls-point-to-rising-support-for-climate-change-action-20160620-gpn6si.html

    We could make a difference.

    Australia and New Zealand are close cultural cousins, both majority white settler countries, with a common language, and a shared history of British colonialism, both with an indomitable native population, living close to and imbued with strong ethos of respect for nature and the environment.

    Even our flags look the same, and despite what John Key says. What New Zealand does, does matter on the world stage.

    Maybe New Zealand could build one of these above power plants to shame Australia into doing it.

    How would we go about it?

    Northland might be the perfect place. Higher average sunshine, at the far end of our electricity grid, crying out for a needed jobs boost.

    Northland has long ignored by government, compared to other regions for energy investment projects.

    Northland is very sunny with well over 1,900 sunshine hours recorded annually.

    Situated at latitude 35°, solar PV in Northland makes a lot of sense …..

    “North’s jobless rate NZ’s highest”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11071546

    THINK BIG!

    As an example to world and in particular our close cousin across the Tasman.

    Northland needs to become the 21st Century Renewable Energy capital of Te Ika a Maui.

    The powerful energy tail that will drive us over the coming rapids.

  6. Jenny 6

    Because private investment proved not to be up to the task. A good template for state intervention for the change to renewables, (Before the desperate forced shuttering of all fossil fuel plants and replacement with renewable energy becomes a matter of survival), is the heroic electrification of this country in the 20th Century by the state.

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/hydroelectricity/page-2

    • Jenny 6.1

      Don’t be on the losing side of history.

      “Solutions exist. The race is on. My challenge to all political and business leaders, all concerned citizens and voters is simple: be at the head of the race. Don’t get left behind. Don’t be on the losing side of history.”

      Ban Ki-Moon

      “We have big decisions to make and little time to make them if we are to provide stability and greater prosperity to the world’s growing population. Top of the priority list is climate change.”

      Ban Ki-Moon

      “All around the world it is plain that climate change is happening and that human activities are the principal cause. Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that the effects of climate change are already widespread, costly and consequential – from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the poorest countries to the wealthiest. The world’s top scientists are clear. Climate change is affecting agriculture, water resources, human health, and ecosystems on land and in the oceans. It poses sweeping risks for economic stability and the security of nations.”

      “We can avert these risks if we take bold, decisive action now.”

      Ban Ki-Moon

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/06/climate-change-affects-all-solutions-new-york-summit

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        ““We can avert these risks if we take bold, decisive action now.””

        Well, that’s a lie for starters.

        If we were to end all fossil fuel use today – and hence collapse western society globally – we would still probably race past 3 deg C warming. Which means global disaster over the next few decades.

        • Nic the NZer 6.1.1.1

          I don’t think that is backed up by the science at all. To my knowledge that says that reaching zero (net) emissions today results in another degree of warming as the planet reaches thermal equilibrium. That means 2 degrees since industrialisation.

          Whatever the facts FAILING TO ACT WILL BE CONSIDERABLY WORSE.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            Hi Nic the NZer.

            The concept of a thermal (or energy) equilibrium is certainly the correct approach.

            I invite you to check out these additional factors.

            1) Global dimming from particulate pollution which is currently applying a cooling force providing us with 1 deg C to 1.5 deg C of temperature reduction. When we stop using fossil fuels, these particulates will settle out of the atmosphere within 6 months and we will get the full hit of this warming.

            2) Current global warming cf pre-Industrial baseline is 1.0 to 1.2 deg C. This is up from 0.8 deg C warming just 10 years ago.

            3) It takes approx 30 years for us to experience half the warming due to emissions. So half the warming from 1980s emissions are still to happen. We have experienced very little of the warming from the last 10 years worth of emissions.

            Whatever the facts FAILING TO ACT WILL BE CONSIDERABLY WORSE.

            I would tend to agree, except I think that Mother Nature is going to take the steering wheel out of our hands as positive feedback loops kick in above 2 deg C warming.

            Bottom line though YES we do need to take extreme measures to reconfigure our economy and we do need to take extreme measures to prepare for the impacts of climate change, which will be severe and soon IMO.

        • Jenny 6.1.1.2

          Hi C.V.

          At least Ki-Moon’s statement is better than our government’s position, which apparently is;
          “We can avert these risks if we take no bold, decisive action now.”

          But Ban Ki-Moon is only the head of the UN, what would he know.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            Yes I agree that his statement is better than most politicians. Still hugely underplays the situation, but it is better.

            • Jenny 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Cue; Green Party Dream Sequence.

              /open-mike-11062016/#comment-1187068

              @35:08 minutes
              “I want to give New Zealanders a better vision of the future, it’s a future where on your weekends away you will go to sleep at night safely knowing that the same beach you are enjoying now will still be there for future generations unthreatened by rising seas….”
              James Shaw

              https://www.greens.org.nz/

              The Greens “Centrepiece Campaign” is “Swimmable Rivers”.

              That’s nice.

              But “Swimmable Rivers” will not be much use without a “Survivable Climate”.

              There are no signs, (so far), that the Green Party will be launching any “Centrepiece Campaign” or any other sort of campaign launch for a Survivable climate.

              Livestream – LIVE UPDATES From LINCOLN

              Unfortunately it seems, the words “bold” and “Green Party” don’t go together.

  7. Jenny 7

    One project that is crying out for ‘bold government intervention’ is Hauauru ma raki.

    Eric Pyle Chief Executive of the New Zealand wind Energy Association claims that it will take only a tiny tweak of government “policy settings” to get this stalled project up and running again.

    “The project is fully consented and with the right policy settings it could be built in stages over time.”
    Eric Pyle

    The government need to put in place the “The Right Policy Settings” That Eric Pyle, says will be necessary to create hundreds if not thousands of permanent jobs in the wind industry sector.

    Jobs worry as coal fired power station “storage” nears

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9220191/Jobs-worry-as-storage-nears

    “Genesis had earlier planned to mothball the more than 30-year-old generating unit by early 2015, but has moved that forward because it made “commercial sense”.

    About 120 people work in the plant side of the power station.”

    Heartbreak for Huntly East miners

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/business/9048873/Heartbreak-for-Huntly-East-miners

    “When corporate mismanagement and depressed global coal prices trickle down to the Huntly coalface they turn another screw into Darren O’Connor’s family.

    They crush Steven Lamb’s plans to own his marital home in north Hamilton and they send a pissed-off Ross Vernon in search of work across the Tasman.

    They cast a cloud of bad news and worry down Huntly’s Main St.”

    Despite all this, the government refuses to intervene to allow the Hauauru ma raki wind farm to go ahead, creating hundreds of jobs just down the road from where the Huntly coal mines laid off dozens of workers.

    Hundreds of Jobs lost as Waikato wind farm cancelled

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/9066601/Waikato-windfarm-backtrack-costs-hundreds-of-jobs

    A move by Contact Energy to back out of a windfarm on the Waikato’s west coast has blown away hundreds of potential jobs in a move described as another disappointment to a region buffeted by lay-offs.

    The Hauauru ma raki venture, planned for the coast between Port Waikato and Raglan, was expected to inject $180 million into the regional economy, including $115m of household income over a five-year construction period. It was also tipped to create an estimated 1033 jobs once operational and generate enough power for around 170,000 homes, with its 168 turbines dwarfing the 28 turbines at the region’s next biggest windfarm at Te Uku.

    But Contact Energy, after years of indecision on the project, yesterday announced in its annual result that it would completely pull out of the project, leaving its future uncertain.

    Waikato Chamber of Commerce CEO Sandra Perry said the news was just another disappointment for the region, especially for those in the energy sector following last week’s Huntly Coal Mine lay-offs.

    After the announcement that 93 jobs were to go at the Huntly Mine, Ms Perry was hopeful that some of the younger employees facing redundancy could retrain and head into new jobs – like the construction and maintenance of the windfarm.

    “Here was an opportunity for them to retrain in the skills needed for constructing the windfarm and that’s gone now, so it’s another disappointment for the region,” she said.

    The government needs to stand with the unemployed working people of Waikato and Huntly, an area, where even before the coal layoffs, was labelled a blackspot for unemployment by WINZ.

    Eric Pyle has outlined the necessary political action needed to restart the Hauauru ma raki wind farm and revitalise the region hit hard by job losses in the dying coal industry.

    The Government has proven its ability to intervene to protect and subsidise the fossil fuel companies, with a $250 million bail out of Solid Energy. (which failed).

    There can be no more excuses….

    The government need to take the same sort of “bold intervention” that they did for the fossil fuel sector, for the Renewable Energy Sector.

    • gsays 7.1

      hi jenny, you have clearly put some work and thought into this.
      i have some reservations about large scale wind farms.
      i live up wind of 2 wind farms in the manawatu and live off grid with a 1 kw turbine and solar array.

      moving parts and.. what about geo thermal or the solar farms you reffered to earlier?
      i realise geo thermal has moving parts however the amateur kiwi engineer in me says geo thermal would be easier to make happen than huge towers in the wind. plenty of steam for jobs in the waikato, too.

      anton oliver wrote a great essay a year or two back. the listener i think.
      one of his points was how they only get built because there is a big balance sheet incentive in these developments (tax write offs and other activities of haruspices).

      i am all for getting off the fossill fuels but i think wind ain’t the way to go.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    A market intervention to upgrade whole generations of cars with massive subsidies for pre-2000 cars towards electric, hybrid and non-petrol options would be an efficient use of public capital.

    No it wouldn’t as cars happen to be uneconomic and unsustainable. Far better to push for full electric public transport that free to ride for everyone at all times.

    Only housing ranks higher in terms of our desire for ownership and autonomy – and with that desire goes political desire.

    At least a large plurality, if not an outright majority, of people in cities don’t even want to own cars. That’s why as PT capability in Auckland is increased it’s full straight way. Cycling is increasing as well across Auckland.

      • Jenny 8.1.1

        How about making public transport free at the point of use?

        People love free stuff.

        Start giving out free stuff and see for yourself, people will take free stuff even if they don’t want it.

        And before you stop laughing consider this: In cities overseas where it has been trialled free public transport has been runaway success.

        Ridding cities of traffic congestion and negating the need for more motorways,
        Making public transport free, once you take out all the costs that car manufactures and oil companies have been able to externalise onto us, as well as being more efficient at moving tens of thousands of commuters, is actually cheaper.

        Fare Free New Zealand

        http://farefreenz.blogspot.co.nz/

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          Making public transport free, once you take out all the costs that car manufactures and oil companies have been able to externalise onto us, as well as being more efficient at moving tens of thousands of commuters, is actually cheaper.

          Once you do a resource use to resource use comparison it’s obvious that public transport is far cheaper. It’s this type of comparison that shows that the present system is completely delusional.

          Why would anybody ever think that using more resources is cheaper than using less?
          The answer seems to be the excuse of economies of scale and the only way that would work is if they’ve got the calculation badly wrong.

          • Jenny 8.1.1.1.1

            I don’t think the calculation is wrong.

            If you were thinking of the most inefficient and most wasteful, most polluting, but most profitable way of moving people around, you can’t beat the private motorcar. All the infrastructure and related costs, Like motorways, roads, pollution, congestion, car accidents and injuries, mechanical maintenance, registration, licensing, insurance, are all covered by the public and the taxpayer and not by the oil companies and car manufacturers.

            These powerful industries have made that calculation and that is why they have made powerful lobbies to keep it that way.

            • Jenny 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Parking meters, garaging costs, cleaning costs (and time), traffic and parking fines, traffic jams, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.

              https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Cadillac_Ranch.jpg

              I am so over it.

              • dukeofurl

                When I drive past you walking or biking- Ill give you a wave. You are describing a 1930s style economy, wishing it wasnt so is ridiculous.
                After all we had roads and bridges with horse traffic too

                • Draco T Bastard

                  When I drive past you walking or biking- Ill give you a wave.

                  In the mornings while biking to uni I will pass hundreds of cars stuck in traffic.

              • Jenny

                And coming down the road like a stressful head on approach with an 18 wheeler on a narrow road; Congestion charging and road tolls. (accompanied with intrusive electronic monitoring of your movements)

                http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/why-congestion-charging-great-auckland-gs

                Freedom of movement in Auckland will be something only for the well off.

                (No wonder Gareth Morgan loves it).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Congestion charging doesn’t apply to train or bicycle. Bus should also be excluded but that’s probably going to have to wait until we get better bus lanes.

                  • Jenny

                    And a hell of a lot more busses.

                    • Jenny

                      If nothing makes our political classes decide they need to take bold action against climate change, they need to listen to this address.

                      In the many essays and books I have read, and lectures by leading experts that I have watched, detailing the current effects and destruction caused by climate change and extrapolating climate change’s even worse future effects…..

                      None have affected me emotionally as much as this one.

                      For some reason that I can’t explain. I found this dry, measured and calm, klutzy low tech, low key, address delivered by a tired looking US Senator, one of the most chilling that I have ever witnessed.

                    • Pat

                      think the duke can park his car up pretty soon….and we won’t have to worry about the finer points of economic theory….our hands may be a little full

  9. Nic the NZer 9

    Maybe unsurprisingly (if your paying attention) AD has miss characterised housing comissoners as a state intervention. What its actually however is a replacement of council planning (a state intervention, somewhat decentralised somewhat democratic) with more central planning and likely the comissoners will favour developers and more leaving it to the market.

    Conclusions about cross party support do not follow from there.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      +1

    • Ad 9.2

      I certainly don’t imply cross-party support between National and Labour.
      National has explicitly ruled out cooperation with Labour, Green and Maori Party’s housing crisis investigation that is now underway.

      But the point is intervention. Your politics may not like the kind of intervention, but it’s a long long way from the National Party of Jenny Shipley and Ruth Richardson.

      Joyce is already actively seeking to outflank Labour and the Greens on how much intervention is going to occur.

      And hence Labour has drawn them into a game that National cannot win.

      • Jenny 9.2.1

        I assume that this post was driven by the announcement that Nick Smith was considering intervening in the market to compulsorily acquire land for new housing projects.

        But how far did that go?

        Less Bold Intervention Needed?

        ”A big call”

        Smith was reported as telling reporters on the fringes of the National Party Annual conference in Christchurch after Key’s announcement that Cabinet would consider whether to use the acquisition powers of UDAs to buy back land off land-bankers.

        “Obviously the issue of overriding private title for development is a big call, but my view is if we are going to get the quality of urban development, particularly in the redevelopment area where you can often have a real mix of little titles that makes doing a sensible development difficult, in my view it’s one of things we’ll need to consider,” he said.

        https://www.hivenews.co.nz/articles/1311-hive-news-monday-smith-eyes-using-uda-powers-to-compulsorily-acquire-land-off-land-bankers

        Of course, being an MP in the political party that looks to the interests of speculators and property developers, financiers and landlords, Nick Smith later backtracked and said that the policy would not be used to target “Land bankers”.

        “The Productivity Commission recommended that the urban development authority have that specific power. That is something for Cabinet to work through over coming months,” Dr Smith said.

        Overriding private title for development was a “big call”, he said.

        “Yes, we are the National Party, but we have responded in a very pragmatic way to the challenges in Christchurch. And that has involved overcoming some of those pure views about property rights.”

        Dr Smith told the Herald such a move would not be aimed at landbankers. “You can have an area of redevelopment where there may be 50 or 100 titles, and the bulk of the landowners want to be part of the redevelopment but you can have a small number holding out.”

        When it comes to solving the housing crisis this is just the sort of “bold intervention” that Nick Smith and his advisors and other politicians know are needed, but are reluctant to implement, in case it offends their political backers and party funders.

        Which shows that they are not really interested in solving the housing crisis at all, especially if it entails “intervening” to curtail the worst effects “of the market”.

        And so the crisis will be allowed to get worse.

        The ACT Party which is even more openly pro-market than National was aghast that a National Minister could even consider such a thing.

        That prospect has horrified National’s support partner, the Act Party.
        “It gives some bureaucratic authority the ability to make a subjective call and take someone’s property,” Act leader David Seymour said last night. “It’s Venezuelan.”

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11668163

        Labour MP and Mayoral hopeful Phil Goff was also quick to poo poo the idea. Suggesting that the $1billion funding available to the UDA would be hardly enough to compulsorily buy back the land off the land bankers. (If that is what it was used for).

        • Jenny 9.2.1.1

          What if the $1billion allocated by the government plus the powers of the UDA were used to compulsorly acquire some of the 33 thousand ghost houses at government valuation.

          How many houses would that provide?

          What if we went even more “Venezuelan” and bought up all of them at a price set by the government that did not exceed the $1billion allowable budget?

          Now that is what I would call a bold intervention.

          Until then families will be left to shiver in cold garages and cars parked on the street.

          “Ghost homes – properties lie empty in spite of crisis”

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11676319

          Greed is good. The market is sacrosanct. Houses must be left empty. Children must suffer for the market.

          Hoo Ra

  10. Takere 10

    It may be a simplistic approach to solve this problem (and many more) but how about a change of government in 2017?

    • Jenny 10.1

      An interesting and novel approach.

      In my opinion for this to happen the opposition party contenders for government will have to offer radically different alternatives to the current lot.

      Vaguely different won’t cut it.

      Sanders and Corbyn have shown how wildly popular Left programs can be. And this despite unrelenting universal condemnation from the MSM and establishment politicians from all sides of the house.

  11. Jenny 11

    33,000 ghost houses lie empty and the wealthy scum who benefit the most from this situation do this.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/-inhumane-auckland-city-businesses-drenching-homeless-with-water-q01872

    These monsters need to be jailed. Yet they parade around freely.

    Statistics show 30,000 Kiwis don’t have adequate housing, with half of those living in Auckland, most in the doorways of central city shops.
    Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said homeless people could be intimidating and were not good for Auckland.

    “It’s the mess they leave behind, it’s that filth that they’re left with, and then when confronted they intimidate staff … it’s not good for Auckland, it’s not good for businesses,”

    Michael Barnett

    In my humble opinion, Michael Barnett’s words are more descriptive of himself and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

    These insane maniacs lobbied hard to get the government and council to spend $6billion of our money digging a motorway tunnel under Auckland Harbour when according to the Green Party Ministry of Transport figures, indicate that the entrances are in danger of being inundated by sea level rise.

    It was the members of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce who were the main organised lobbyists behind the flag referendum at over $27 million. Money that could have gone someway to housing the homeless.

    These heartless scumbags are very generous with our money for their pet projects. No matter how crazy their stupid schemes are.

    And there can be little doubt this over privileged intimidating filth are among those making speculative fortunes out of the housing crisis. The victims of which they cruelly douse with water in mid winter while sleeping in the open.

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    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
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  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
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    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
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    2 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
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    3 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
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    3 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
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    3 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
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  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
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    4 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
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    4 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
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    5 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    5 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    5 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    5 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago