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Nat housing policy panned

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, August 13th, 2013 - 31 comments
Categories: housing, labour, leadership, national - Tags: , ,

National’s “housing policy” – the centerpiece of their weekend conference – is a dog.

poll-nat-housing-planAll it does is reverse their previous cuts and tinker with the limits on loans in a way which only benefits a few — as Eddie described it yesterday “by giving cash to people previously considered too well-off for the subsidy”. And that at the “sting in the tail” cost of a much higher deposit requirement.

The (unscientific) Stuff poll to the right suggests that we the public are not impressed.

The Greens call the policy “polly filler”:

National’s housing policy just poly filler in face of crisis

National’s just released housing policy throws a bit of money at first home buyers but does nothing to address New Zealand’s wider housing affordability crisis, the Green Party said today. …

“National’s announcement today is a cynical attempt to look as if it cares about the housing affordability crisis before the next election rolls around,” Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today. …

“John Key wants to give the impression he is facing up to the housing affordability crisis but is not brave enough to implement measures that would actually address the fundamental drivers of the housing bubble,” Dr Norman said.

National’s ally, Peter Dunne, isn’t buying it:

Dunne no fan of KiwiSaver deposit plan

The Government shouldn’t use KiwiSaver as a “slush fund” for popular policies, former Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says.

Mr Dunne, a Government ally and Revenue Minister until June this year, says he doesn’t support the plan to make it easier for first home buyers to use their KiwiSaver funds for a deposit.

“KiwiSaver was established to boost New Zealanders’ retirement savings, given our notoriously bade track record in that regard,” he said on Monday.

“Weakening it by extending it to home ownership detracts from its original aim and establishes a precedent for adding other items it can be used for.”

The best that any friendly analysis could come up with was this:

New housing policy a ‘marginal development’ – expert

…Auckland University’s Professor Larry Murphy told TV ONE’s Breakfast this morning that he can’t see that the changes will actually help many prospective buyers.

“I think it really is a marginal development, it is important for those who are just on the edge of entering the market, and it will assist them.

“[But if] it constitutes a big enough group to actually have a big enough impact in the market is questionable,” he said.

Here’s the bottom line:

Housing policy won’t halt bubble – experts

Changes to schemes aimed at helping Kiwis buy their first home won’t do anything to solve the affordability crisis, according to property experts.

The Government yesterday unveiled changes to the Welcome Home and Kiwisaver schemes it said would help more Kiwis get onto the property ladder.

Notably absent however were any policies aimed at halting the seemingly inexorable rise in property prices – in fact, by increasing demand at the lower end, there are fears the changes could actually push prices higher.

Labour and The Greens are clearly setting the agenda with a strong focus on housing affordability. National are struggling to catch up. But they are going to have to do a lot better than this.


31 comments on “Nat housing policy panned”

  1. Plan B 1

    My worry is that the plan will do exactly what it was designed to do. I wonder if the plan is a kind of ‘dog whistle’ plan. It tells people that National will do whatever it takes to maintain/grow the value of homes- So a plan that is supposed to be about helping first time home owners is actually about telling existing property owners that National is the party you should vote for if you want to get tax free capital gains.
    Meanwhile labour greens are actually saying they will do things taht might stop the tax free capital gains.
    It could be that vote wise National are on the right side of this one. Strange as it seems.

    • Skinny 1.1

      Right you are (no insult intended) of course it’s a dog whistle. Kiwi’s, especially (the young) in Auckland, need to be yelling from the roof tops of their landlords over inflated rental properties, ‘why’ isn’t this Government helping us?

      Instead.. Key later today is announcing a ‘bold’ plan to combat child abuse. Yes great & about time too, however, I’ll be cynical and call this a distraction to divert attention. Just like the fishing quota red herring. 

      How about a public rally in Auckland, a march up Queen Street, a march of disgust against the inaction of this National Government to address affordable housing with a BOLD new plan! 

  2. tricledrown 2

    Tax free capital gains.
    Tax free income.
    While bashing benes
    These tax free people are the bludgers like rio tinto scf .

  3. Rogue Trooper 3

    a relevant summary Anthony.

  4. Sable 4

    All sounds like Germany in the 1930’s. Concessions to distract the masses in economically tough times whilst at the same time slowly and slyly eroding human rights.

  5. Tom Gould 5

    How is allowing some people to access their own money a subsidy? The MSM were falling over themselves to spin this up for their master, Johnny Sparkles. Not sure it works as well as it used to, though. One even tried to run the line that the National and Labour housing policies were mirror images, because both had the figure 10,000 in them. Labour building 10,000 affordable homes a year for 10 years, and National estimating 10,000 first home buyers would access their Kiwisaver funds.

  6. Greywarbler 6

    This morning on the radio – a social support group saying that families are living in cars. Probably they can’t find garages to live in! We need more garages. And Habitat has numbers of people to poor to fit their criteria, they are too far into debt.

    And the loan sharks are round, helping people out – like which way did you come in? Labour couldn’t bring themselves to establish a base line interest rate – economists advise against it as it establishes a moral hazard as people try to get round the interest price floor. So better to do nothing. We are too moral a country to allow such a situation to develop, goodness no.

    Something has been done along the way I think to try and protect the needy public from these arseit strippers but not enough. Just a lot of waffly people talking about ‘financial education’. There is no doubt that prosperity churches will replace the government as the entity that people are committed to because our governments have deserted the ordinary people, and gone back to identifying with the landed gentry and nouveau riche just like the Brit that our forefathers and foremothers came to NZ to escape, and Parnell sounded the trumpet for the ordinary person. Now all we hear is the Last Post.

  7. geoff 7

    According to Kathryn Ryan, Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams, you’ve got it all wrong. Housing apparently isn’t a big issue for most, just young people.

    Listen for yourself (or don’t, if you value your sanity) to Ryan and Williams all nodding along with the Hooton as he basically brushes aside all the major problems that NZ has as non-issues.


    It was crystal clear that none of the three of them had any personal experience with spiralling housing/rent costs and so it just wasn’t a ‘big deal’ for any of them.

    Hooton is actually advocating that the housing bubble be allowed to grow because negative equity for homeowners would be ‘disastrous’. Apparently only the disasters that effect him actually qualify as disasters.

    Anyway that’s Hooton so I expect that kind of crap from NZ’s pre-eminent ‘academic, right-wing, neo-conservative ultra (ultra?? wtf does tht mean??)’ but the continued agreement from the likes of Mike Williams with everything that Hooton says is sickening.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      In Hooten’s world, parents don’t care about their children’s futures. They also don’t care if their grandchildren grow up in Oz instead of NZ.

    • Skinny 7.2

      Cut it out Geoff! Mike Williams & Kathryn Wilson both got up tight with Hooton over his bulshit comments about very few people unhoused.

      • Skinny 7.2.1


        • Greywarbler

          You are probably thinking of Mary Wilson on Checkpoint in the early evening. Kathryn Ryan in the morning.

          • Skinny

            Thanks GreyWarbler I heard part of the morning show, Hooton was rambling on longer than he should have been allowed. Yip I do get mixed up between the 2 broadcasters. Mary Wilson called me out of the blue once for comment. Amazing how they get your private number? Who needs the GCSB when your’ve got radio nz? It will be the first asset flicked by Joyce if Unitednact get another term.

      • geoff 7.2.2


  8. Lanthanide 8

    If you want to make a kiwisaver change to help address overheated housing market, allow people to withdraw their savings for the purpose of building a new owner-occupied house.

    At the moment the only way to withdraw your savings is if you:
    1. Have never owned a home before.
    2. Are financially in the position of someone in #1 above, which is defined as earning less than $100k as a couple and having less than some amount of assets in the bank.

    This means people such as myself, who are eyeing up building a new house (thus increasing supply in the market) to live in but already own one, cannot get money out of kiwisaver.

    Banks require 20% deposit on new builds, so if there’s all this hoo-hah about the reserve bank limiting high LVR loans, this same situation has always applied to new builds.

  9. Adrian 9

    Yeah but it’s Kiwisaver for retirement, not Kiwifirsthome, sure it’s tough but the whole scheme would get seriously eroded if say 60% of the young take the money out to buy a home. When do they start re-contributing?

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      Owning your own home in retirement is one of the best investments you can make. Financial advisers also say you should pay off any debt, such as a mortgage, before you start investing in things like the share market.

      $40,000 isn’t a lot of live off if you have to pay rent or a mortgage. But if you’re mortgage free, $40,000 goes quite far to sustaining a retirement lifestyle.

  10. blue leopard 10

    It would be better that policies were set up to address the issues about wealth disparity, working conditions and unemployment. These problems are ignored and are being worsened by successive governments through refusing to adjust to technological changes that have occurred.

    Going into debt to own a house, when the financial system is on its knees?

    Is this really the way forward?

    I shall be looking for a party to vote for that is aiming at addressing the real problems in society.

    Wealth disparity, the lack of jobs and decent working conditions are more important problems and when addressed could also help solve this one.

  11. johnm 11

    “The Reserve Bank is worried that soaring house prices in Auckland are unsustainable and will leave many buyers over-exposed if prices crash.”
    Nats first home help is really a subsidy to keep the housing market bubble going at its extreme inflated levels.(A subsidy for banks and landlords in effect) If they really wanted to help first home buyers they’d impose an 80% CGT backdated for 15 years on all property other than the family home and a bach. That’d pop! the housing bubble smartly (The proceeds could be gifted to our young couples to buy their first homes at the much diminished new price level, say $40,000 a couple) but would leave many current genuine home buyers with mortgages well in excess of the actual market value of their property.
    Housing bubbles make a Nation poorer as a whole while enriching the few! Just think of all that inflated currency, principal plus interest pouring out of NZ from hard working people’s pockets ( And beneficiaries supported by the state in housing paying off the landlords’ mortgages to enable later self reinforcing capital gain) to enrich Australian banks which can’t be spent here in NZ due to the ludicrous cost of housing! Course Key would support banks first wouldn’t he? In other words Banks make a killing from an inflated bubble market all that interest and repossession if you default! Heads we win tails you lose! Our vital housing stock should not be abused like green toy houses on a monopoly board!
    That’s Neoliberism for you a socialist mixed economy as the UK had up to the Thatcher catastrophe would regulate the market to ensure everyone had a fair go.That’s a mixture of excellent social housing plus measures to stop bubbles happening, CGT, and the GREED machine kicking off again. Buying houses for Capital Gain would be stopped in its tracks. There’s enough for everyone’s need but not for their greed.

    • blue leopard 11.1

      +1 Johnm

    • Skinny 11.2

      Yes and the problem is houses are at least 30% over valued, even higher in the big city’s. A capital gains tax is needed. National refuse to address this issue, so Kiwi’s ( especially babyboomers) are shit scared of a L/G gaining office. Reflected in the polls. L/G should drop it in their housing policy, and do a National and dump it on them when in power, fuck it Nact have done this with the GCSB bill.

  12. Saarbo 12

    My prediction is if you have a mortgage and it is floating, then consider fixing it soon. I reckon that Auckland house prices are going to soar in the summer…National are clearly wanting their voters to feel wealthy come election 2014. The Reserve bank is going to push interest rates up pretty hard to put the brakes on…then the media will blame Labour/Green for the possible intro of CGT if elected…all very predictable.

    National don’t give a rats about affordable housing.

  13. bad12 13

    True this post has got it right, chucking more money in the boiling pot of housing affordability will accomplish nothing in the Auckland and Christchurch housing markets except add more would be buyers to the mix,

    That will simply lead to even more house price inflation, while that reads like a criticism you really have to have a deep think about the ‘real motive’ behind Slippery’s National Government undertaking such tinkering,

    What they do get out of this is (a) some will be fooled into thinking that ‘they’ are actually doing something, (b) house price inflation helps Bill from Dipton crow about ‘growth’, and (c) the banks get to pour even more of the monies magic-ed into existence as part of the process of the Financial Crisis into New Zealand while grabbing a slice of ‘actual earned monies’ at the same time,

    i have said this befor, ‘they’ could open up all the land between the current boundary of Auckland and the current boundary of Hamilton for development and the ‘housing crisis’ will remain much the same as there is one important ingredient missing in the equation,

    The missing ingredient of course being labour, a lack of builders qualified to build the amount of houses in the time-frame necessary to get on top of the supply side cause of the present ongoing housing inflation,

    That would pre-suppose that the present Government really cares about such inflation, they don’t…

    • Greywarbler 13.1

      Also the houses built have to be at a high enough price that will allow all the ticket clippers to make their rake off. Left empty they are an inflating asset that can be leveraged off for other investments on the cheap. It’s not just simple supply and demand, that’s what they teach you at school, so you can turn out a half-educated pliant citizen trying to live to a NZ recipe that is no more, no longer ‘Sure to rise’.

  14. Mary 14

    National won’t have to do too much more at all. It’s lies and untrue rhetoric are enough for the average person to tick the housing box and vote Keys straight back in. Easy.

  15. aerobubble 15

    National did nothing, done nothing on housing affordability, and no policy will have any effect anytime soon. So National job is all about making the public think its concerned and doing something, even the wrong things. The purpose of the opposition is to demand why we needed to change to Key when nothing has changed.

  16. Darcy Haas 16

    Labour’s policy of banning foreigners was equally panned by large sections of commentators and experts alike. I suppose balance in editorials is a little too much to ask for?

    [lprent: Is it too much to ask guests to this site to read the about and the policy BEFORE making silly comments about how it is run. Let me point out the obvious in summary.

    1. The authors on this site are from the left – see the about.
    2. We don’t have an editorial policy, authors write what they feel like – see the about.
    3. If you don’t like our views and policies then piss off and create your own blog where you can set your own style, rules and collect your own audience – see the about. In all likelihood you will turn out to be a complete failure at it because who wants to read and discuss the ravings of a fool who pontificates without bothering to look at the subject (like you just did telling us how we should run our site).
    4. Having fools like yourself not read the rules of a site is one of the more stupid actions that any brainless newbie can do – see the policy under the generic description of “darwin awards”.
    5. I could warn you about such foolish behaviour – see the policy. However with your attitude of faux concern it seems unlikely to penetrate the solid bone that fills your brain. Moreover in my experience, bone-headed pedants of the Mrs Grundy persuasion like yourself who use this tone will seldom read and deal with responses to their comments.
    6. So I’m just going to add you to auto-moderation until you confirm that you have read, understand, and accept the purpose and rules of this site – the foremost of which is to not waste the moderators time with things you can read in the about and policy.

    And BTW: the ravings of a few business analysts worried about their own businesses and a pile of fools on right wing blogs is hardly expert or convincing. Nor is not linking to the people you are talking about. Dumbarse. ]

  17. tracey 17

    These are not policies but soundbites. Seems to work for them.

  18. If there is a program to artificially control or lower home prices, will not this cost someone else. Even if we build new subsidized homes. That is if a home that costs $500,000 today is rejigged to enable lesser income earners, or lower capital asset people, we would need to accept that this is a new form of gifting.
    I don’t mind CGT but to artificially enter the housing market is full of peril.

    And Darcy Hass above, so loud, aggressive, so stupid

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Nothing of what you say makes logical sense. It’s a cheaper house built using lower costs, including lower cost of financing. “Gifting” has nothing to do with it, unless you want to rewrite the definition of the word.

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