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National’s gonna National

Written By: - Date published: 8:25 am, December 2nd, 2020 - 73 comments
Categories: drugs, greens, housing, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, labour, national, poverty, same old national, stuart nash - Tags:

Two recent stories shows out of touch National is with the aims and aspirations of young people.  And given that young people voted in record numbers last election they could tactically be viewed as bad decisions, putting to one side the respective merits of the issues involved.

The first involves providing pill testing services at music festivals to make sure that pills young people are in possession do not contain the really nasty life shortening substances that some have contained.

I posted about this last summer and said this:

Summer is the season for music festivals, and kids doing what they have done for ever, experimenting with stuff.

Occasionally the results are catastrophic as a young person gets their life traumatically shortened either through a drug overdose or because they have tried a dodgy batch of something.

This is why the topic of allowing participants to test what drug they have in their possession has been topical and is important.

In Europe the service is regularly available.  In Portugal for instance the decriminalisation of the personal use of drugs has meant that this can be treated purely as a health issue.

In Australia there has always been this hand wringing about the issue with critics saying that it will normalise and increase drug taking amongst the poor.  But sense has prevailed and the first festival testing service has been conducted.  And the test suggests that the service provides educational as well as safety benefits.

Then Police Minister Stuart Nash supported the service.  But New Zealand First opposed the policy arguing that the policy represented some sort of slippery slope and it absolved young people from taking responsibility for their decision making.  Which no doubt dying from an ingesting a pill from a dodgy batch validates.

This was even though the youth wing of New Zealand First managed to get a remit supporting pill testing passed at their 2019 annual conference.  Young political activists rock.

Fast forward to now and with a majority Labour Government and support from the Greens, and good old libertarian Act as well as the Maori Party and passage of legislation introducing the service legally is pretty well inevitable.  Expert medical opinion is strongly in favour.  And the last time opinion was tested, as far as I can tell, three quarters of kiwis supported such a measure.

So what is National going to do?  Well oppose of course.

Each claim can be debunked.  The availability of the test is a reminder that drugs can be dangerous and rather than give a false sense of security it can and will save lives.  And it will cause young people to reflect on the downside of drug taking.  And drug taking amongst young people is trending down.

But out there in conservative land there is a social construct of what is happening that does not match reality.  And that has to be fed and nurtured.  So National’s response is not unexpected.

The second story where National is on the wrong side relates to the housing crisis.  Yesterday in Parliament Jacinda Ardern suggested that the Government was reviewing options to deal with the crisis.  From Zane Small at Newshub:

The Prime Minister is confident that exploring changes to the property investor tax – or bright-line test – is “absolutely the right thing to do” despite Labour ruling out a capital gains tax.

Jacinda Ardern was hit with questions in Parliament on Tuesday from Opposition leader Judith Collins over the recent rapid rise of house prices – up 20 percent on last year – and how the Government plans to tackle it.

Labour promised during the election no new taxes or any further increases to income tax except for a new top tax rate of 39 percent on income earned above $180,000. Ardern also ruled out introducing a capital gains tax or wealth tax.

But Newshub revealed the Government is not ruling out an extension to the bright-line test – the tax on investment properties. It means if a property is sold within five years, capital gains are taxed at the owner’s income tax rate. The family home is exempt.

“You’ll have seen during the course of the election that we were very clear that obviously, a capital gains tax was not in our consideration. We equally ruled out any measures around a wealth tax,” Ardern said in Parliament.

Ardern said anything beyond those taxes is “purely hypothetical” but she confirmed the Government has sought analysis on the impact the bright-line test is having in the market and whether changing it could help stabilise house prices.

“In this current environment, it is absolutely the right thing to do. We need to know what levers are and aren’t making a difference to house price increases.”

To be frank I do not think that a further increase to the bright line test will have much effect.  At 5 years it is already a long period.  Clearly people and companies have adjusted their behaviour to avoid paying tax by the simple process of holding onto houses for longer.

Clint Smith has thought about the issue and said this:

Grant Robertson has said the government will look at new measures it could take on the demand side – ie discouraging investors and speculators – while not going back on the election commitments Labour made ruling out things like capital gains tax, wealth tax and a land tax.

Extending the bright line test further is no good. It runs into diminishing returns and the justification that it’s to stop people flipping homes gets more and more tenuous the longer you extend it.

Broadening the first home grant won’t help. It costs quite a lot of money per family it’s helping, and it’s ultimately adding net demand to the market, pouring more petrol on the fire, which will increase prices.

He then makes these proposals:

  • The Reserve Bank reinstating the loan to value ratios on investors immediately, effectively reducing the amount banks will lend to them.
  • Change the Local Government Act so councils can only rate on the land value of a property, not the value of buildings and other improvements and imposing penalty rates on properties that sit empty for a year.  This would affect landbankers.
  • Revokeable licensing for landlords.

His most interesting idea is to change tax laws so that home owners as well as landlords can claim tax benefits on mortgage payments to a capped amount.  The current tax deductibility for landlords of interest payments provides a major distortion.  Reducing the benefit and letting home owners share in the benefit is a very interesting idea and should be considered further.

Of course National will oppose meaningful change to address the housing crisis as it will meaningful change to protect our young people.  On both issues it is on the wrong side of what is best for young people and on the wrong side of dominant public opinion.  I hope its political incompetence continues.

73 comments on “National’s gonna National ”

  1. dv 1

    Japan has the interest payments on home are tax deductible. And the property market is fairly flat (according to my son, who bought an apartment in tokyo 15 years ago, and its value is basically the same today)

    • dv 1.1

      And the interest rates are abt 0.5%

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        What is Japan's policy on immigration?

        Do they –
        1 encourage it,
        2 allow it on a reasonable scale,
        3 give short term visas,
        4 encourage in the monied people to invest?

        Could you ask about this? It would be valuable to know and fill out your info on their housing.

        • dv 1.1.1.1

          Sent question will report back
          Immigration is encouraged
          It’s a big change in Japanese policy in the last two years
          Corona stopped it though
          The tax deduction on interest rates is only for first home owners living in the house they bought
          It’s difficult for non japanese to get a loan without some sort of guarantee
          The low interest rates are only available for people who will live in the house
          Otherwise it would be about 1.5%

          Do have a little bit of capital gain because of the Olympics

          • mickysavage 1.1.1.1.1

            Their population has been declining for some time, since 2007. it is currently $126m and is predicted to be in the vicinity of $1110 million by 2040.

            • Barfly 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Lol typos ?

              Their population has been declining for some time, since 2007. it is currently $126m and is predicted to be in the vicinity of $1110 million by 2040.

    • mikesh 1.2

      I think I would go the the other way and make tax on residential rental investment non deductible. This would also put such investment on a par with family homes.

    • Nic the NZer 1.3

      Unbelievably this seems to be still related to the asset price bubble which collapsed in 1991.

  2. NOEL 2

    The testing one has been a gray area so clarity was due.

    I see the Greens in Aussie are pushing for taxpayer pop up testing at AUD 16 million from the taxpayer purse.

    Current cost/benefit analysis would need to be recalculated if a similar push comes from the Greens here.

    Did I read somewhere 24 percent haven't fronted for the current bright line?

  3. Sabine 3

    Drugs, oh boy……what if we had a government that has an outright majority and guts. Alas all we have is a centre right government with an outright majority and no guts, thus it will never see any glory. Case in point, Weed is still illegal in this country and the Lady and her motly crew of knights in dull armor have promised to us the peasants of this fair country to try nothing and do nothing. Nothing. – the best they can do.

    Housing? See above Drugs.

    This government will not rest until they squandered not only their good will capital but also their majority and for that matter their reason for existance. Can;t wait for the next election, maybe then we get some Menschen and not just some robotic -can't do anything, will not do anything, timewasters.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      Climate change emergency declaration, legalising the testing of festival drugs, media facing-up to racism, recognition of the place of tangata whenua in setting water quality standards (te mana o te wai), voting-rights restored to prisoners, 3-strikes struck out,

      … I dunno, looks pretty encouraging to me! It's all about trend and direction. Coulda been the other direction.

      • Sabine 3.1.1

        Chlimate change declaration….oh wow, how inspiring.

        legalising the testing of illegal drugs…..way to go.

        media facing up to racism, has got very little to do with anything other then media doing stuff;

        recognition of tangata whenua in settingwater quality standards, all the while people in Auckland and elsewhere run out of money to pay for water, or run out of water to use, while we are shipping water overseas for pennies.

        voting rights restored to prisoners – lucky them.

        3 strikes struck out, but you still can get locked up for growing a plant to smoke.\

        Maybe its because you are comfortable in your life, and thus are easily satisfied, but this is about the saddest list of accomplishments ever, considering that thousands will not even have thirty bucks this christmas for a ham.

        But then you are good, have enough, maybe even too much, and thus you celebrate your accademic little achievements that on the list of shit is wrong in this country are virtually meaningless.

        • greywarshark 3.1.1.1

          Sabine Don't talk yourself down to depression and the rest of us. Can we when we criticise the government, put one new thing they have done that will set the country on the right path, upwards. (Saying they are going to do something, and then a year later showing nothing being done would count as a down thing.)

          Usually everything you say is completely right. But we have to battle on against the b…….stds of neolib, the conservative cult, the nutty liberals, the pontificating pragmatics, the middle way, the demands of the self-involved, the perfectionists, and other 'ists that prevail to excess.

          So can we note what is being done and press for more, and this would be a change for many here, have some ideas of how to solve some of the problems in a way that would be good for all, and state them here. Policy needs to be informed by the reality of thinking citizens in this country. Let this be a pool of ideas that the brainwashed employees entering government with 'business experience, so wise and effective' can turn to for background on what ordinary citizens making their way in life need and think.

          • Sabine 3.1.1.1.1

            i beg your pardon,

            i never promised you a rose garden

            along with some sunshine there got be a little rain sometimes.

            • mac1 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Who said rain is depressing?

              "I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, What a glorious feeling I'm happy again.
              I'm laughing at clouds.So dark up above, The sun's in my heart And I'm ready for love."

              • Sabine

                i love rain, in fact watching it rain is one of my favorite past times, next ot watch the grass grow, which it does really well after a good rain.

                • mac1

                  Imagine watching grass grow at the cellular level and below. I actually have no conception of what that could be like… would microscopic ears hear the sound of cellular construction, for example?

                    • mac1

                      Thanks for that, Incognito- fascinating to read and hear…… I spent a good part of a walk with my viticultural scientist friend yesterday past vineyards as he explained to me cell growth, cell division, how cells are prompted to specialise, the effect of water and temperature, ie weather on fruit set etc.

                      He used words like abscession and turgor so he must know what he is talking about. as one of the world's top scientists!

                      I sent him your link. I'll talk to him in an hour as we go for another septuagenarian stroll today.

                    • Incognito []

                      Walks are good for the soul, with or without good company.

                • RedLogix

                  After a good rain in the Wairarapa, the grass grows so fast the dogs bark at it. Or so one cocky told me laugh

          • Phillip ure 3.1.1.1.2

            @ grey..

            would love to..!

            care to give us the list..?

            ..of what they have done..?

            • Sabine 3.1.1.1.2.1

              🙂

              +1

            • Ad 3.1.1.1.2.2

              You are so pathalogically lazy.

              – Declared a climate change emergency through Parliament

              – Introduced legislation to increase sick leave to 10 days minimum

              – Legalised testing of festival drugs

              – Supported resistance against China eradicating democracy in Hong Kong

              – Recognised place of tangata whenua in setting water quality standards

              – Voting rights restored to prisoners

              – Three-Strikes-Then Jailed law out

              – Stronger rules to protect Kiwis when getting loans

              – Pay equity for all clerical and administrative staff across all DHB's

              – Re-opened the Milford Track

              – Increased minimum wages for horticultural workers, and brought some RSE workers in to help in time for harvest

              – Signaled they want higher quality tourists – with no campervan without a toilet

              – Signed a ginormous trade deal with the whole of Asia

              – Reported tax revenue of $85.1billion which is $2.8billion higher than forecast in the budget – and net core Crown debt as a % of GDP is at 27% not 30% as forecast – both are a modern miracle of economic management

              – Also you should expect more good economic news on December 16th when the half year economic and fiscal update is announced.

              – And of course on December 17th the first race of the Americas Cup occurs, which has significant local and central government funding in it. May not mean much to you, but it's the first major global sporting event in the southern hemisphere since Covid and a massive kick for the Auckland economy.

              The new Parliament has been opened for a week, yes a week, so the list will grow.

              Look around any other developed country in the world bar Australia is expected, and thank your lucky stars we have the government and leadership that we have.

              And for the rest of what's next, move your damn index finger and refer to the Labour 2020 manifesto.

              • Sabine

                offset this by

                housing crisis with the cost of several billion in government subsidy to landlords

                child poverty

                adult poverty

                drugs tested for are still illegal and will still get you into prison or home d with a permanent record

                another government surplus thanks to austerity heeped on our poorest and most vulnerable

                Americas Cup, a nice little race for billionaires with millions form taxpayer that need foodbank assistance in order to eat

                signalled for higher tourism in a world were literally the working population is going to be so impoverished that Jacinda Ardern and her class/ilk will be the only ones holidaying – with at least the travel part paid for by the taxpayer

                the new parliament is literally run by the same crew that ran the last parliament, albeit without Winston to be blamed for anything this crew will not do cause can't be bothered

                increased min wage for imported horticultural workers, not for hte locals.

                as for hte three strikes law, was buillshit to begin with , but at least now some brown kids won't be thrown away for hte rest of their lifes for a joint, they will only get home d and a permantent record 🙂

                water quality, if you can afford it, or restrictions allow you to use it. Still we 'sell' it by the thousands of liters overseas.

                Very little of this is of actual substance but it sure makes for a good reading.

                In the meantime, thousands of kids are hungry on a daily base because their parents either don't earn enough, or they don't earn enough to have a house and food, thousands of parents may go hungry so that the kids have something to eat. And christmas this year is going to be a sad affair for those that live on a government benefit under the poverty line and thus look forward to a generous helping of two dollar ramen or a Sally Army feed.

                This government has achieved so little its not even funny.

                • Ad

                  This government as of Parliament opening has been in power for a week. Very little of it will be noticed because most of its effort was spent on ensuring New Zealand didn't go in to the deepest and sharpest recession we would have ever had.

                  In terms of child poverty, if you actually take the time to look at some facts instead of your wrist-waving histrionics, the Income and Hardship data out today in the latest Child Poverty Monitor out today show the country was roughly on track to meet the Government's 2021 targets under the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018. That's until COVID19 hit.

                  The 2017 Labour government's actions on adult poverty as well attested. You know the list already if you had half a brain or followed the election.

                  Recreational drugs will remain illegal, and the government actually went to the effort of doing the thorough democratic test on whether that should change. Despite many on the left not liking the result, no other government has put that question to the people before. And the Police will do their job to enforce those who deal, as they are required by law to do. You have a problem with that, stop dealing drugs.

                  The government tax surplus gets to be able to spend on public services that we all need. And it was caused in no small part by the government propping up workers, families and businesses with the most massive government cash intervention in our history.

                  It is utterly trite to talk about the Americas Cup in terms of billionaires. Actually what it's done is enable 1,200 workers to continue working right through 2020 on construction and maintenance, several hundred others on refits, and already signed up over 700 volunteers for the event. That's mortgages saved, dinners on the table, rent paid, CVs ready for the next job. May not be your cup of tea but that doesn't matter at all in its national effect.

                  The effect on domestic tourism of loss of international visitors has ensured that our tourist industry fights for another day. Again you may or may not be travelling, but if you'd made any phone calls or bookings recently all the campgrounds are full, all the tracks are full, everywhere from the Catlins to Kerikeri is preparing for the big booked season.

                  Local horticultural workers get a $1,000 bonus.

                  As for water quality, unless you are mana whenua your self don't try and critique the government for involving them. No other government has tried this from catchment through to pricing through to governance.

                  Probably Labour's critics (often I'm one) will look back and say they didn't achieve much in 2020 – except what they did was intervene at such an unprecedentedly massive scale that the recession will roll by here largely unnoticed while our European, UK and South American trading partners continue into the toughest recession in 300 years.

                  • RedBaronCV

                    I lean more towards Sabine's view of government achievement here. Some window dressing but not big substantive stuff.

                    Haven't even bothered to replace a lot of Nat appointees on boards etc or roll back other Nat idiocy's.

                    Have done nothing about overall income equity by higher taxes and more worker empowerment.

                    Nothing to sort out immigration policy and detach the freeloaders in that area.

                    At the moment across the board, public opinion seems to be roaring ahead of their actions, whether it's workers investors or quite a few employers. I leave out the high paid upper management. Case to point a lot of growers seem to be able to structure jobs that are filled locally and want to behave ethically. They don't get much press attention.

                    As to the $1000 benefit – I suspect you need to be on a benefit to get that

        • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.2

          Satisfied? Hardly and it wasn't a "list of accomplishments" it was a taste of progress being made right now. Nor was it an attempt to sweeten the hard-bitten smiley

          • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.2.1

            Malcontent's gonna malcontent!

            • Phillip ure 3.1.1.2.1.1

              @ad..

              I reckon those living in poverty will be marking their calenders about that upcoming fiscal-update..

              I can feel the excitement building..

              and @r guyon…neoliberal-incrementalist apologists gonna neoliberal-incrementalist apologise..eh..?

              • Robert Guyton

                They may, Phil, but I'm not one of those; no "apology" from me; I simply mentioned some positive aspects of the present situation.

                • Phillip ure

                  'malcontent' – used to describe those calling for meaningful change..(for those one in five children living in poverty ..as just one example of the imperatives we face..)

                  ..is hardly a neutral term ..eh..?

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Perhaps you're right, but I used the word as I might use "maladroit" to mean, "typically not-adroit", therefore, "malcontent", "typically not-content".

                    I made no reference to any particular issue; no-one, I'm sure, is content with the situation where children are living in poverty.

                    • Phillip ure

                      I am sure j.ardern is not 'content' about poverty…

                      and she sure has talked a good talk..

                      but is yet to do the required walk…eh..?

                      and it is year four'….after all..
                      and year three was notable for the richest receiving enormous wedges of corporate welfare..
                      but we can’t t afford to help the poorest..?

                      what exactly is stopping this happening..?

  4. James Thrace 4

    https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-26092016/#comment-1236759

    Only taken 4 years for that idea of letting owner Occupiers claim interest costs to enter the mainstream discourse. I can’t make the link go straight to my comment on that page as I’m on mobile.

    However, I wouldn't even bother letting landlords continue to claim the interest back. Housing is not a productive business.

    [link fixed]

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Allowing owner occupiers to claim interest is something I've advocated for on and off here for years. It would put them on a more equal footing with rental investors.

      If I recall correctly, it’s something that’s done in the USA; it’s not all that radical.

      Housing is not a productive business.

      Not so sure about that; most people have a legitimate need to rent for some period in their lives. Here in Australia it's what we've done for the past eight years, and it's been very flexible and effective for us. In what way is that not useful?

      • froggleblocks 4.1.1

        Making mortgages EVEN CHEAPER than they are now, at record low levels, is hardly going to constrain house prices, is it?

        Having that subsidy come directly from the government is also a handout to property owners at the expense of those who don't own property but pay taxes.

      • mikesh 4.1.2

        His most interesting idea is to change tax laws so that home owners as well as landlords can claim tax benefits on mortgage payments to a capped amount. The current tax deductibility for landlords of interest payments provides a major distortion. Reducing the benefit and letting home owners share in the benefit is a very interesting idea and should be considered further.

        The Income Tax Act states – I think this is still the case – that an expense is deductible if it is "incurred for the purpose of acquiring taxable income". This seems problematic as it would appear somewhat disingenuous to claim that an expense is incurred for such a purpose if it doesn't actually contribute to that end. This of course is the case with interest, since interest is associated with borrowing, and borrowed money, as any accountant will insist, is not actually income; and, also, it makes no difference to a business's revenue if the capital invested in the business is borrowed, or whether it comes from the the proprietor's own pocket, or from shareholders. Consequently I would alter the act to make actual contribution the decider when it comes to interest deductibility, rather that the borrower's intent. In other words, rather than make interest deductible in the hands of family homeowners I would make it non deductible in the hands of landlords.

        There would need to be a couple of provisos:

        Expenses would have to remain deductible in the hands of businesses which fail to make a profit.

        Interest would have to remain deductible where money is borrowed for the purpose of onlending.

  5. Peter Bradley 5

    As Labour Party members our primary concern is to support our party and criticize the opposition but we also need to remind ourselves that the opposition are not in government and that we as socialists have a duty to hold the party in government to account.

    This government has demonstrated an extremely cautious and electorally bound approach to leadership with a feverish adherence the status quo and maintaining broad political appeal. This is not new and is a style of government adopted under Helen Clark, John Key and now Jacinda Adern. It works as far as staying in power goes but also does little to bring needed change.

    Drug law changes will come – out of necessity to protect young Maori in particular (conviction and prison rates are horrific) – but may be not middle class white kids at music festivals because that would upset conservative voters.

    Housing – no government will ever do anything to change the nature of the NZ housing market and that's by design and deliberate policy choices or lack there of. About 60% of NZer's own property and the fact that it's going up in value election after election is an absolute vote winner. This is why Grant Robertson will do the minimum he can get away with – writing letters, commissioning more reports and assembling expert panels. Do not expect a single economic policy on housing from the current government – anything that could affect the upward trajectory of house prices would spell electoral disaster.

    The amount of social housing will be constrained by concern for the private rental sector which will see a drop in demand if too many tax payer subsidized tenants are moved into affordable state or NGO owned properties.

    We pay around $2 billion every year in housing benefits to land lords to ensure that private market rent is maintained above the level at which tenants can afford. There are few other private sector industries that receive such enormous sums of money directly from NZ tax payers. That $2 billion dollars is never discussed or refuted by the Tax Payers Union or politicians because it defines the exploitative foundation of our housing policy – property owning NZer's walking over and exploiting non-property owning NZer's to make an easy buck with the blessing of the voting public.

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Well said PB

    • Ad 5.2

      Yes fair enough.

    • RedBaronCV 5.3

      Yeah $2 billion would build a lotta houses. Is it time to start taking the accommodation allowance off in areas where there is sufficient homes now. Both owned and rental.There must be some areas where enough extra houses can be built quickly – then keep expanding.

  6. woodart 6

    out here at the beach, many houses remain empty all year, only being used by absentee owners for summer hols. they wont rent them,dont need to. r.m.a. has very lttle effect out here. local council has scrapped the 12000$$ development requirement, so cant blame that for rising prices. to rent a house here is very expensive. most small beach settlements are now the same. why put money in bank for hardly any interest, buy a beach house, sit on it for a few years, use it once or twice a year, then cash up……

    • tc 6.1

      With interest rates predicted to stay down for 2 years the situation requires action and fast. Field is tipped toward those with existing equity, brokers admit as much.

      Does the beltway get it ? IMO they do but politics is what it is in NZ and any moves will see the msm/national scream like the sky is falling so conviction is required.

  7. Reality 7

    Ad, you are an intelligent contributor! So refreshing to read a balanced summation of what the government has been working on. It's irritating to see the number here who moan and moan on and on and are filled with envy and jealousy for any sector that is getting on with life in a relatively successful way to a greater or lesser extent. The government has to govern for all, as Jacinda has said and have only just begun this term a couple of weeks ago.

    Regarding the cannabis referendum, it was voted against by a small majority don't forget. To ignore that result would be the same as Trump in his denial of the outcome of the US election. A majority was too wary of allowing greater access to cannabis and having a flourishing black market undercutting legal sources. All the growers were not about to disappear and start growing vegetables and flowers.

    • Robert Guyton 7.1

      Most irritating is the way they've hijacked a thread about National in order to lambast Labour!

      Go figure!

      • tc 7.1.1

        yup plenty of socialist expectations from a centrist party that just got elected with a majority by getting us through COVID assisted by a train wreck campaign from the nats.

        • Phillip ure 7.1.1.1

          those 'socialist expectations' you refer to are only what j.ardern herself promised to do ..and in year four' of her govt still has not delivered..

          ..those promises to 'transform' the lives of those one in five children living in poverty …as just one example..

          ..was way back in 2016..wasn't it..?

          so not so much 'socialist expectations'..

          as a 'wassup..?' on those promises made..eh..?

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    I hope its political incompetence continues.

    Well I certainly wouldn't want to see them in power any time soon, but nah.

    If National, even for the dodgy self-serving reasons that typify that assemblage of ambulant dog-tucker, were to scrape up enough joined-up thinking to press the government to act on perennial issues like housing, that would be a mighty good thing.

    On the whole we're more likely to see an out of cycle reappearance of Haley's comet, but a better opposition obliges a government to lift their game. So the better National become the better.

  9. Shanreagh 9

    I support the pill testing service that is offered. Hopefully 'bad tabs' are taken out of circulation ie not returned to those offering them up for testing. Is there any commentary on what these pill-testing services are finding?

    People may have paid significant sums for these tabs and presumably know who they bought them off so they know not to purchase from them again. So some sort of buyer beware. Though sometimes, if it is anything like in the 'way backs' at Festivals, someone has a bag full of tabs and people just pick one or two not knowing what is in them or anything about who is offering them.

    Also even though it is a service for tabs it is not unknown for cannabis to be tampered/laced with with sprays.

  10. Robert Guyton 10

    Standing ovation for Jacinda Ardern's "climate change emergency" speech – deserved.

    Generous round of applause from all Labour MPs for the Green's role in bringing climate change action thus far – deserved.

    National's response, from Stuart Smith, dishwater-weak! Really? Is that/he all they've got? Embarrassing.

  11. Robert Guyton 11

    Stuart Smith; "…still driving the car we want…"

    Idiot.

  12. Robert Guyton 12

    James Shaw's speech in the climate change emergency debate is excellent!

  13. Robert Guyton 13

    Te Pati Maori entirely in support.

  14. Shanreagh 14

    Change the Local Government Act so councils can only rate on the land value of a property, not the value of buildings and other improvements and imposing penalty rates on properties that sit empty for a year. This would affect landbankers.

    Clint Smith's ideas at least show some wide thinking behind them. I think the majority of Councils already rate on the land value basis. One Council that was rating on Capital Value was Auckland City, not sure if it is still doing this (checked Google- it seems to be). There may be a few unintended consequences with homeowners whose home/and or other buildings stretch across two sections, or who have purchased an adjoining section to incorporate it into their lifestyle. Any section not formally amalgamated into one title will attract separate rates. So exemptions would be needed.

    Here in Wellington there are a few large properties that are obviously being/were being land banked. Some of these are owned by foreign govts and are 'sat on' usually for years, a property in Molesworth St and one near the Basin Reserve being cases in point. Councils are limited in what can be done to hurry up things where properties are owned by foreign govts.

    Others are owned by developers and it would need to be a very hefty tax to get them to move on their projects. They just do things in their own time 'thanks very much'.

    Some of these developers are those building retirement villages. I suspect that these may be under-utilised in close in urban areas. We have under-used sites such as new supermarkets that are built single storey, so waste perfectly good airspace in suburban areas. Again they won't 'move' until they want. Perhaps a tax on wasted airspace could be looked at.

    Or Local Authorities could have powers to insist that developments that do not maximise the use of space ie the building of single storey supermarkets instead of multi storey buildings can be held up until a better design comes forth.

    Here in Wellington we have homes being let go to rack and ruin, many owned by developers. Some are still rented. We need to hurry along these property-owners/land bankers but in doing so recognise that we put someone out of their home.

    My biggest concern is that people are wrapping up higher prices for homes with plans for increased social housing as if they are the same thing.

    Govt should go ahead with social housing. I don't believe that the scale of social housing we are able to build would have very much of an impact on landlords. If it does have an impact it may be a good thing in fostering investment in other sectors such as the sharemarket or productive sectors such as hort etc or at least slowing down other investors seeking to join the property renting market.

    • Sacha 14.1

      Land taxes are not a new idea. They encourage multi-storey buildings because a tower block costs the same each year as a gravel carpark. I agree that supermarkets are an obvious target.

  15. ken 15

    Who says MDMA is a "hard drug"?

    Great to see that National is still hopelessly out of touch – even with it's own youth wing.

  16. froggleblocks 16

    It's easy to get around the bright line test anyway. It doesn't apply to the family home.

    So if you have a rental that you want to sell to avoid the bright line test, you move into it and make it your family home for 6 months before selling. Your actual family home can remain vacant, or undergo renovations, or house friends/family in the mean time.

    Also due to Labour's ill-advised changes to tenancy law, one of the only ways to evict troublesome tenants now is to move into the house yourself. So in a way their changes to the tenancy laws encourage evasion of the bright line tax.

    [

    So if you have a rental that you want to sell to avoid the bright line test, you move into it and make it your family home for 6 months before selling. Your actual family home can remain vacant, or undergo renovations, or house friends/family in the mean time.

    I think you’ve made that up and you’ll need to back it up with evidence – Incognito]

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