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New Zealand for the win!

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, June 25th, 2020 - 105 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

There’s no way out of this that doesn’t involve the middle classes losing capital. Perpetual housing crisis or some people giving up assets, that’s the choice.

btw, if the homeless dude who figured out how to get himself into a quarantine hotel room for two weeks actually exists, all power to him. We’re willing to pay board and lodging to repatriate New Zealanders, but not do the same for homeless people, this says a lot about New Zealand right now.

105 comments on “New Zealand for the win!”

  1. Weka,  the Government worked hard to get homeless people into shelter with wrap around care.  Why are you using Woodhouse's lie to promote your point?  Not the best approach imo. 

    Your comment about housing is however relevant.  It has been made a safe haven for wealth.  Suitable taxes could help.  A sliding scale after a second home could bring a balance,  but try getting that past Winnie.   

    A Labour Greens Government is part of the answer. That means compromise which some see as a dirty word.

    • Rosemary McDonald 1.1

      …the Government worked hard to get homeless people into shelter with wrap around care…. you using Woodhouse's lie to promote your point?  Not the best approach imo. 

      Hmmm….I guess the family with one kid in a wheelchair and the other with epilepsy sleeping in Great Nana's garage was a product of the opposition Pus Politics team as well?

      I get that most here on TS seem obliged to defend Labour at each and every instance of possible criticism but it is wearing more than a little thin.

      How about one of the resident Labour fans produces a well referenced list of exactly what this government has done to ameliorate the desperate situation of too many of our most vulnerable citizens face when trying to access housing?

      A basic human right.

      And I'm sorry…but cast your minds back to the Kiwibuild launch and Ardern waxing positively  lyrical about how Kiwibuild was going to set these (struggling ?) families on the 'property ladder'.

      That spoke volumes about just how this government views this basic human right.

      This government has been a great disappointment to many of us who hope for transformational change that would benefit those who have been shat on repeatedly by governments over the past thirty years.

      Instead they have been told to wait… while this mob continue to seduce the votes from the middle.


      • Two things Rosemary,  unlike others I have declared my bias.

        Secondly,  I am disappointed at the time taken to make some changes.

        There needs to be more social housing built correctly.

        However National Act would be worse.  My personal situation has been improved?  Has yours?   What I mean by that,  not all things can be put right at once,  it will always be incremental.

        This government has had to walk a tightrope over the chasm of past ills while trying to improve things with a Winston sized albatross round their necks. Not to mention shocks to planning coming out of left field.

        Sadly all governments are forced to woo the middle…..MMP.  A larger majority and a two party goverment may bring greater transformation. Life and Hope??

        • adam

          Lesser evil argument – what a broken record that is. If you walk like a dog, smell like a dog, and bark like a dog – then your a dog.   

          The issue is the current labour are a far right party in economic terms.  And as such can't actually do anything for real for people, apart from a few little scraps from the table.  

          Mind you to the labour party faithful, scraps from the masters table is are all they are use to. They should all chip in and buy a spine. 

          • SPC

            Without offering any alternative, that attitude to small gains just leads to spineless defeatism.

          • Barfly

            Mind you to the labour party faithful, scraps from the masters table is are all they are use to. They should all chip in and buy a spine. 

            GO F*** YOURSELF

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            "They should all chip in and buy a spine." – maybe ‘they‘ could buy yours, if only it was available. Savage negatively has such persuasive appeal; we'll see how well it's serving Todd and the gang in a few minutes.

            • adam

              Worrying about how the tories spread their seed is somthing I care less about, every day. It's so called left wing parties with hard right economics which is the problem – and yet the fawning labour peons still can't get their collective tiny brains around how economics dictates actions. 

              You know drowsy m. kram for someone who does the whole grammar nazi thing, the comprehension skills are a bit poor. 

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Thanks for that revelatory and free assessment of my comprehension skills – how can I ever repay you?

                But you know, adam, your consistently derogatory and belittling comments here may make a convert of me yet.

      • maggieinnz 1.1.2

        I get that most here on TS seem obliged to defend Labour at each and every instance of possible criticism but it is wearing more than a little thin.

        I'm critical of most things always.  It's in my nature to see problems. I'm also a bit emotionally 'dry' so am not given to superficial fandom.  I feel no obligation to defend Labour because they need no defending.  They've clearly and overwhelmingly proven their ability to provide for and manage a country and they have my vote for that reason.

        Are things perfect? Nope.  Have there been fuckups and failures?  Yes.

        What exactly did you expect? That Jacinda could wave her magic wand and change not only the entire economic machine of our country, our relationship with the world and the behaviour of over 5 mil people just like that? Do you really think changing such monumental problems such as our housing issues just by building more houses for poor people?  Surely you aren't that naive?

        Some people are so fixated on disappointment and misery that they don't even recognise good things when they happen.

        I refuse to let your negativity rub off on me so will close out this comment with a list of what I am grateful for in spite of the fact that I lost my job and am once again 'poor'.

        I'm grateful for

        • the firewood I could afford this winter. 
        • my daughter moving in to her kiwibuild home.  She's the first of 2 generations who could afford a house – and it's a beauty!
        • all my kids having good jobs
        • free flu shot for me and my youngest.
        • my warm house with new insulation thanks to law changes.
        • wild growing cabbages in my lawn – self sown from my disastrous attempt at container growing last year.
        • not having a TV. It broke in the earthquakes and I never replaced it.
        • Jacinda, for caring, for daring to do things different, for being strong.
        • Jacinda's hubby for being such an awesome support to his wife and fantastic dad and role model.
        • the 5 mil other kiwis who did their bit to keep corona on its knees, for caring about others enough to do so.
        • months of isolation – it was during this time that I really began to understand how lucky I was to have not been born in a country where, because I'm a woman, I wouldn't have been allowed outside without a chaperone, ever.
        • months of isolation again because due to having an auto-immune disease and asthma I couldn't ever risk leaving the house so total strangers on the internet offered to go to the shop for me – bloody awesome people.
        • Rosemary McDonald

          Great it is that you have so much to be grateful for and how simply awesome it is that you have in the PM and her partner a pair of idols to look up to.

          I guess Maria and her two children (and the 900 other disabled Kiwis needing accessible housing) can just bask in the glow of your positivity.

          Naive? No. I just hoped we could do better.

          You know…set our expectations just a little higher?

          But hey…if you're happy…smiley


          • maggieinnz

            My gratitude didn't cost me my expectations nor my desire to do better and to have better for my country.  If anything I feel more empowered to work toward achieving more for others because I believe it's doable now.

            I guess Maria and her two children (and the 900 other disabled Kiwis needing accessible housing) can just bask in the glow of your positivity.

            I'm gonna skim right over this dirty tactic right here. 

    • weka 1.2

      I was talking about NZ not this Labour-led govt.

      The homeless man story is pertinent because the political commentary is about Woodhouse and him telling porkies, rather than good on the homeless man for finding somewhere to live. That's NZ.

      Also NZ is the resistance to solving the housing crisis across the board. And yep, in the past the Greens would go there, they've talked about intentional strategies to lower property prices. But NZ doesn't want a strong Green presence in govt, and neither apparently does most of the left/liberals. /shrug. We get the government and housing crisis we deserve.

  2. Foreign waka 2

    Because housing is treated as a commodity to bolster future living expenses (retirement) rather than being a home (emphasis).

    If the income stream of every person would be on a liveable level this would not happen to that extend. 

    And to make things worse, rates are reaching eyewatering heights to have an ever increasing layer of bureaucracy supported. They will get their liveable pension, don't you worry! 

    • Adrian 2.1

      Home owner ship doesn't "bolster" retirement expenses it just lessens them and most importantly it in general protects one from being thrown out on your arse, as security is the biggest worry for the elderly.

      • gsays 2.1.1

        So where does security stop and greed begin?

        By that I mean folk with excessive property portfolios, using housing as a business. 

        Somethings shouldn't be profited from, housing is one of them.

        • maggieinnz

          If housing wasn't profitable no one would invest in it. We can't just opt out of the capitalist machine and even if we could we'd need to provide a sustainable means of growth so we could afford to build these not-for-profit homes.  I mean, i'd love to see a home as being a basic need where everyone gets one but it's just not feasible on so many levels.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            "i'd love to see a home as being a basic need where everyone gets one"

            Me too; something (still) worth aiming for (feasible or not), IMHO.


            • maggieinnz

              Oh, god! Tell you you're not suggesting we build "projects" styled community housing? You know that's been a disaster every time right?

              I absolutely agree that we should have greater access to affordable housing but I think any plans to produce high density housing for the poor is absolutely the wrong way to go about solving the problem.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                The post is titled ‘New Zealand for the win.’  The Savage Crescent project in Palmerston North was amazing.  Zero high rise, and larger-than-average section sizes – a little slice of heaven.  Might not work for Auckland, but fortunately we don't all have to live there.



                • maggieinnz

                  So, just more HNZ styled homes?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Not bad to have in the mix, IMHO – honestly would be happy to live there. Sooo quiet; peaceful even.

                    • maggieinnz

                      Yeah it looks great, checked it out on google maps with satellite view. How did they keep it peaceful though?  I mean, did they do something different than other low income housing blocks?

                      Do you know if it's all rentals?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Looks like many of the houses are privately owned now, although there may be a few blocks of smaller (council owned?) flats.  Rules limiting development/modification of the sections and houses probably dampens demand – can't just throw up a block of flats!

                      Clever road design would have helped to keep the noise down – car traffic limited largely to Savage Cres. residents.

                    • maggieinnz

                      Interesting.  When people own their homes they're more likely to invest in their community, get to know their neighbours, be more socially responsible.

                    • RedLogix

                      We have tenants who have been with us over a decade now and are very definitely part of the community.

                      Yet the average tenancy is about 18 months over the whole industry. In our experience most people move on for reasons that have absolutely nothing to with the tenancy. Many people rent exactly because it's flexible; they aren't ready to 'settle down'.

          • gsays

            “If housing wasn’t profitable no one would invest in it.”
            That is my point, stop making it profitable to invest in. Get the current housing stock redistributed.

            As Rosemary, down thread, and Drowsy point out the state have an important part to play, if only they weren't so enamoured with the 'market' providing the solution.   


            One of the hurdles to overcome is the comfort of some, as so eloquently expressed by you (warmth, insulation, heating, security), so that Maria and other collateral damage victims of the housing racket can get out of cold, damp sheds.

            • maggieinnz

              “If housing wasn’t profitable no one would invest in it.”
              That is my point, stop making it profitable to invest in. Get the current housing stock redistributed.

              How do you stop making it profitable to invest in and still have money to build new houses?

              What current housing stock are you referring to?  HNZ houses or all houses?

              As Rosemary, down thread, and Drowsy point out the state have an important part to play, if only they weren't so enamoured with the 'market' providing the solution. 

              No one is disputing the govt has an important role to play and they certainly aren't leaving it up to the private sector alone to provide homes for the needy.  There is a good reason as to why the market is a valuable player in the housing situation but rather than discuss the pros and cons of this, people are simply expecting for the govt to solve a constantly morphing problem as if by magic.

              One of the hurdles to overcome is the comfort of some, as so eloquently expressed by you (warmth, insulation, heating, security), so that Maria and other collateral damage victims of the housing racket can get out of cold, damp sheds.

              You're going to have to spell this out for me because I have no idea what you mean by this statement.  Are you saying that some people should be kicked out of their homes so that others in need can have a home?  Are you talking about HNZ homes or all homes?



              • gsays

                " How do you stop making it profitable to invest in and still have money to build new houses? "

                The Reserve Bank is able to make money available for the state to build houses.

                Not that I am a member nor affiliated this is Social Credit's take:




                You're going to have to spell this out for me because I have no idea what you mean by this statement.  Are you saying that some people should be kicked out of their homes so that others in need can have a home?  Are you talking about HNZ homes or all homes? "

                What I am getting at is while we are warm and secure at night, it is hard to think of the likes of Maria, let alone agitate for a change in the system that allows for her situation arise.

                Compare the column inches, outrage, passion and protest when Trump has his latest brainfart, compared to the desperate plight the poorest of our fellow Kiwi citizens face daily.

                No, I do not want anyone kicked from their home, but there is housing stock around the country unutilised. eg:


                From the link- nearly 40,000 in Auckland and 200,000 nationwide.


                • Rosemary McDonald

                  …and there's a few more ideas here..


                  Paris, Scotland, Hong Kong, Washington, Oakland and Melbourne also have empty homes taxes and they are being considered in Honolulu, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Heavy lobbying by real estate agents sank such a tax in New York City.

                  In Scotland, statistics published last year showed that 108,000 of the country’s 2.6 million dwellings were unoccupied. However, there has been concern for over a decade about the number of empty homes, sparking actions on a number of fronts.  

                  The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership was set up in 2010 and aims to bring the country’s 40,000 privately-owned, long-term empty homes back into use. The partnership is funded by the Government and encourages each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities to have a dedicated Empty Homes Officer. There are currently 24 officers who work to bring vacant homes back into use by providing advice and information, and encouraging social landlords, community groups and private bodies to engage in empty homes work.


                • maggieinnz

                  Thank you for the info.  It helps immensely when I understand your position. I won't comment until I've had a chance to give the info and its impact my full attention.

                • maggieinnz

                  One of the hurdles to overcome is the comfort of some, as so eloquently expressed by you (warmth, insulation, heating, security), so that Maria and other collateral damage victims of the housing racket can get out of cold, damp sheds.

                  What I am getting at is while we are warm and secure at night, it is hard to think of the likes of Maria, let alone agitate for a change in the system that allows for her situation arise.

                  Now that I know what you're referring to I'd like to make a couple of points on this.

                  I'm a single parent of 5, 2 of whom still live at home (which is an HNZ rental).  I've lived here for 20 years. For 19.5 of those years this house was bloody cold and damp.  In winter one room would get so bad I'd move the kids out of it temporarily and have them kip with me.  Over the years I've replaced the carpet in the living room, at my own expense, 3 times due to a leaking roof which funnelled water down the insides of the walls resulting in carpet that grew mushrooms. I have fought with HNZ over this so many times and had to put up with shitty patchup jobs that never resolved the issue.

                  My youngest had obstructive sleep apnea due to massive tonsils that reduced her airway down to a quarter of its normal size.  As a result she'd stop breathing if she rolled onto her back during the night so she slept with me so I could keep her positioned on her side. She even snored when she was awake. My doc at the time said I was "dramatic" a "helicopter mum" and "overly anxious" and kept telling me her condition would improve because tonsils shrink with age.  When my daughter was 9 she had to have 8 rotten teeth removed due to being a 'mouth breather'. The anaesthetist was so concerned about her breathing that he pulled strings to get my daughter seen by a specialist the next day who said that my daughter needed urgent surgery – she had the op within 6 weeks. 3 months post-op I noticed my daughter had a lot of new hair growing so I asked the specialist about it.  He told me she had been so deprived of oxygen that her body had cut back on non-essential things like hair growth.

                  My daughter underwent her surgery whilst we were staying in a motel due to our HNZ house having a major redec.  Turns out the house was full of asbestos and mould.  I was assured the redec would give us a warm dry house.  It didn't.  Moving back in the house was colder than ever. The drafts around the doors and windows was enough to make the drapes billow.  I had the tradies back four times to reseat the windows and doors.  But still the house was cold.  I ask the manager why the house was still so cold and was told it had been appropriately insulated so must have been in my head. Eventually, I threatened to get an independent assessor in to check the insulation and finally HNZ sent someone out.  He said there was no insulation anywhere in the house.

                  Within 6 weeks 2 lovely lads came out and installed insulation.  What a difference! The house is warm and dry, finally!

                  Your suggestion that my "comfort" somehow blinds me to the needs of others is offensive. The fact that people want to shame me for expressing gratitude, as though I'm rubbing it in the noses of those in need is stunning.  Comfort is subjective and you have no idea what my standards for comfort.  My eldest girl gets upset because I recycle old furniture to make shelves and am content with banana boxes for my clothes instead of drawers – I tell her I have everything I need.

                  Since my wrongful dismissal 2.5 years ago I have continued to fight for the young men who cost me my job.  I refused a direct order to call in 4 sponsored immigrant workers to redo work when I found out they hadn't had a day off in months, didn't get paid holiday pay and often had to work for free. Those 4 lads refused to back me up in court because they'd lose their jobs which meant being deported.  I don't blame them one bit.

                  I strongly suggest and politely request you pull your head out of your arse and stop assuming you know the life and motivations of others.

                  • Ad

                    That is an incredible story of neglect and abuse by the state. 


                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      Sadly, Ad, a story that is all too common in New Zealand.

                      maggieinnz is clearly intelligent and articulate and she had to battle long and hard to get what should have been hers and her children's as of right.

                      Imagine how it must be for those less able to challenge the latest petty, power- crazed bureaucrat one is forced to deal with to get what is yours and your children as of right?

                      Goddess bless the UN and all who sail in it but for better or worse there is actually this…https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/monitoring/uncroc/

                      United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

                      UNCROC gives children and young people up to the age of 18 the right to:

                      • life, survival and development
                      • the Government making sure that the best interests of the child are taken into account when making decisions about the child
                      • access to education and health care
                      • grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding
                      • protection from discrimination of any sort
                      • develop their personalities, abilities and talents
                      • protection from sexual exploitation, abuse and economic exploitation
                      • special measures to protect those that are in conflict with the law
                      • an opinion and for that opinion to be heard
                      • be informed about and participate in achieving their rights
                      • special measures to protect those belonging to minority groups.

                      and buried in the Convention is the right to adequate housing…highlighted here…https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1706/S00035/housing-as-a-human-rights-issue.htm



                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    I strongly suggest and politely request you pull your head out of your arse and stop assuming you know the life and motivations of others.

                    Might I politely suggest that your experiences may have led you towards forming an opinion on how the provision of housing for 'the needy' might be done with more efficiency and compassion? I'm reading plenty of dismissal from you of the thoughts of others but very little, if anything, in the way of solutions.

                    No one is disputing the govt has an important role to play and they certainly aren't leaving it up to the private sector alone to provide homes for the needy.  There is a good reason as to why the market is a valuable player in the housing situation but rather than discuss the pros and cons of this, people are simply expecting for the govt to solve a constantly morphing problem as if by magic.

                    For nearly thirty years successive governments in NZ have happily largely left it up to the private sector to provide housing 'for the needy'. They have sold off and/or allowed the stock of state houses to deteriorate to the point where they are a national disgrace.  Governments have  fueled the property market by supplementing the mortgage repayments of speculators and predatory landlords with the accommodation supplements…so much for the 'free market' eh?

                    The 'needy' are getting needier by the three year term because successive governments…including this current bunch of spineless neo- libs… have totally failed to heed the advice of organisations such as the Child Poverty Action Group( https://www.cpag.org.nz/new-zealands-welfare-system-fails-to-recognise/  , https://www.cpag.org.nz/what-is-to-become-of-our-housing-post-covid/ ) Auckland Action Against Poverty (https://www.aaap.org.nz/) and it's very own Welfare Expert Advisory Group (http://www.weag.govt.nz/ ).

                    Instead, with Te Virus, they have thrown vast amounts towards supporting Big Business, thrown almost as much towards make work schemes but have failed…totally failed…to do anything to improve the lives of the neediest.

                    Those for whom work, paid work, is impossible because of child rearing commitments or heath and disability issues.  Or there simply is little or no fulltime work where they live.  Or they don't have transport to get to work if it were there.  Or the pay is so shit that they'd get as much or more if they are adept at wringing it out of MSD.

                    Question.  Seriously.  Why did this 'transformational' government commission the WEAG?

                    • maggieinnz

                      Thanks for your reply Rosemary

                      Might I politely suggest that your experiences may have led you towards forming an opinion on how the provision of housing for 'the needy' might be done with more efficiency and compassion? I'm reading plenty of dismissal from you of the thoughts of others but very little, if anything, in the way of solutions.

                      I know I'm blunt (and, honestly, I've tried to change that but I think I'm just I'm ABTFU to fix) but dismissive is unfair even if my tone says otherwise. I did ask for clarity and more info but given the suggested 'fix' involves me learning the intricacies of an entirely new economic system before I can determine if it's even workable you can't expect me to embrace it immediately. I haven't been on here for a while because I've been reading mind-numbingly boring economic papers trying to teach myself enough stuff to get a decent grasp on the social credit system that was suggested.

                      Have I thought of more efficient* ways of managing public housing?  Sure but they aren't worth much given these are hugely complex problems involving multiple industries, international economic forces, rights, responsibilities, costs and consequences.

                      I am literally a nobody who's never been to uni or gained any academic qualification outside of high school.  What the hell would I know about such things?  I can cluck my tongue and wag a finger (and have done)but that is too easy and achieves nothing.

                      *Note: You may have noticed I omitted "compassionate" from my statement above.  Feelings are complicated for me. I don't seem to be able to moderate my response to them.  If I think about human suffering on an emotional level I'm immediately and completely awash with emotions I have no idea what to do with.  In order to function, to think, I have to put them away. This means I can either do efficient OR compassionate but struggle to do both at the same time.

                      Back to my point – Where my strength lies is in analysing information. I tend to see things in terms of systems and procedures – I see points of failure, weaknesses, potential problems but I do so with the intention of making them better.  I want to, am compelled to, 'fix' things. I tend to very quickly see the flaws or reasons why something won't work so dismiss the 'faulty' idea and move on to the next stumbling block.

                      The problem is that there's so much to fix.  The housing crisis is a fragment of a much bigger systemic problem and making changes to housing is like one of those b-grade time traveller movies where a small change in one dimension causes catastrophic changes in another.

                      Watching that video of the woman with the disabled son I was struck by something.  I didn't mention it because doing so will make me sound like a dick.  Anyway, the mum turned down two houses because they didn't have wheelchair access yet neither does her mother unit.  They got around this by making a makeshift ramp.  Now, I'm not saying her situation is of her own making or that those in charge shouldn't have made better choices in the homes they offered but if that was me I'd have taken the new home and fought for modification once I was in because the new home would have been an improvement on the current situation.

                      When seeking to solve a problem it's important to consider not only the ideal solution but also the minimum workable solution and it seems that perhaps she didn't. Perhaps she rejected the housing because they didn't tick ALL the boxes.

                      I can't possibly know if the homes on offer were workable.  Perhaps there were other issues.  What I do know and have learned from my own experiences is that I have to take some of the blame for things going wrong.  I didn't follow up with HNZ as often as I should have because I had other shit I was dealing with.  I should have gotten a second opinion for my daughter instead of being lazy and accepting my doc's opinion. I can't say this mum did anything wrong and can only go by the info given and my personal experience.

                      So I think we need to do more for ourselves and stop expecting the government to fix everything for us.  Now, before you think I'm saying that living in a garage is ok or that we should all be smiling and happy with our lot please understand I am not. I'm saying that we need to do the very best we can for ourselves AND work harder, collectively, to support our government to achieve better outcomes.

                    • maggieinnz

                      Also, I'm not ignoring the rest of your comment. I'm taking some time to consider it is all.

                  • gsays

                    Hi Maggie, thank-you for your honesty and being candid.





      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        Home owner ship doesn't "bolster" retirement expenses

        I believe that you misread Foreign waka.

        Because house rentals are used as retirement income it increases the expenses for everyone who doesn't own a house and puts prices up for those looking because retired people are in a better position to buy a house to boost their income from rent.

        • Foreign waka

          Thank you Draco, perhaps I wasn't too precise. 

          But it is right, a roof over the head is the first priority. In a civilised society it is a right next to sufficient food and clothes on your back. One could also argue on means to participation in sports, hobbies etc too. For sanity and wellbeing reasons.

          But with income so low over such a long time (since the 90's ?) little wonder that people horde properties to make sure they are not the one kicked to the curve. 

          The thinking of what it means to be part of the society needs to change. The sooner, the better. Fear (for survival) is a bad adviser.

    • theotherpat 2.2

      well there is a large percentage that have no choice because their income is so small versus ludicrous outgoings…..however it only works if you sell and then what?

  3. Ad 3

    If the Green Party supports a Capital Gains tax as part of a coalition agreement, I say excellent. It would be great if we had tax experts in government with the courage to speak out on this. 

    Trouble is Prime Minister Ardern who has ruled it out while she is Prime Minister. 

    And for the next term I'd say we are in full recovery mode so major new taxes will not go down well. 

    • I still think a Land Tax is better….easy to administer and tends to target the right people…mmm an earthquake hit Hawea while I was typing that-maybe a message that I'm wrong and CGT is right? 

      • weka 3.1.1

        Depends on how a land tax is set, and I don't trust neoliberal govts to not fuck that up. Lots of people buy land and the wait before building there, sometimes years. In many places that's not a problem. There are also people who live on land without a formal house. Those distinctions need to be understood so there isn't just this idea that 'land' should be taxed. It's the accumulation of non-productive wealth and the driving up of prices that is the problem. CGT and land taxes are small tools and need to be alongside a raft of other things that no-one will touch because it means the middle classes have to give up something. It also has major implications for long term govt policy on retirement.

        • Bearded Git

          Has to be simple Weka or it won't work…1% per annum of land as valued on rates bill with farmers paying 0.5%.

          • Dennis Frank

            "Bernard Hickey argues for a land tax to unscrew the economic scrum."  https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/03/21/98119/why-a-land-tax-is-the-best-tax-reform

            History:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_New_Zealand

            Although the Land Tax Abolition Act (1990) which took effect from 31 March 1992 abolished New Zealand's land tax, a land tax was the very first direct tax ever imposed on New Zealanders, by the Land Tax Act (1878). A property tax followed the next year (per the Property Tax Act 1879). When first enacted, this charged a rate of one penny in the pound (i.e. 1/240th or 0.4%), but a massive £500 exemption applied, exempting most people from tax liability. The land tax initially provided a major proportion of government revenue. In 1895 it made up 76% of the total land and income tax revenue received by the government.

            I've always supported the concept.  It's actually a socialist principle, but I've yet to encounter a socialist saying or writing that.  Dunno what their blind spot is all about…

            • weka

              are you talking about annual taxation on all residential land? How is that fair on low income people whose home has increased massively in market value due to NZ's insane housing policies?

              • RosieLee

                And whose rates have therefore increased.

              • Yes I am talking annually on all land, not just residential, and ONLY on land-who mentioned houses?

                No tax is perfectly fair.

                For somebody whose land value (and probably house value) has shot up but their income is low, I would suggest that they cash in by selling and then buying a cheaper property. This has the advantage of giving them cash in the bank to supplement their income and would decrease both their rates and land tax. 

                Meanwhile Land Tax is a simple asset tax that the rich would find it hard to avoid.  

                • weka

                  "I would suggest that they cash in by selling and then buying a cheaper property"

                  This is exactly the shit that destroys communities. It also fuels the housing market.

                  I assume you are talking about the land value on all residential properties, not just empty land.



                  • Society is dynamic. The person  in question would not necessarily have to move a long distance from (or even out of) the community they live in.

                    Empty land WOULD be included…this would encourage speculators to use it quickly. No reason to exclude this at all.

                    You are starting to sound like somebody with lots of property who doesn't want to pay Land Tax-am I right?

                    • weka

                      I don't own property. I'm a long term beneficiary. I'm in my 50s and have owned one house in the past. When I sold it I made more money on it than is reasonable, but nothing like what is happening today. The only way I will afford to own again is if my parents still have money left when they die, which is prob a 50/50 chance. I'm really happy for them to pay CGT. I would have been happy to pay a CGT when I sold mine.

                      But land tax as you are proposing, and CGT, are neoliberal tools to soft brake an out of control housing market. They're not real solutions to the housing crisis.

                      Economically coercing people to move house is a feature of neoliberal economies and it harms individuals, families and communities. I'd have less of a problem with an unevenly unfair land tax if I thought it would do something significant to the housing crisis. But it won't unless it's small part of a much bigger strategy. That strategy requires the middle classes giving up assets, which is why we have few real proposals on the table. A land tax won't even break a sweat on most middle class people, although they will no doubt complain.

                • Foreign waka

                  BG :
                  If taken off the Rates measure, that would be fair but remember Rates are broken down already in land and improvement values. The fallacy is that again vested interests will screw the general population by increasing land value as it has done in the last 10 years. Substantially.
                  This distorts all values and hence becomes subject to speculation. Worse house in the best street… sounds familiar?

                  • FW…speculation would be reduced with a Land Tax. 

                    I see no reason to reduce rates-the Land Tax is meant to be an additional tax on capital to fund things such as our under-resourced healthcare sector while at the same time helping to move investment away from property and into things that are more productive.

                    • The Al1en

                      Wouldn't paying a land tax and rates hit poorer homeowners more than developers you say you want to squeeze? After all, investment isn't really the same as being a home owner, so that scatter gun blasting would cause more pain for people who've scraped enough to buy rather than rent, and talking about renting, who do you think will cop the added costs incurred by a landlord? Perhaps a land banking tax would work instead in addition to a CGT.

                      The simplest way to raise extra income on property and increase existing housing stock to the market is a CGT on any property other than the family home. Just a shame NZ isn't grown up enough to treat the issue as anything other than a political football.

              • Dennis Frank

                I just support the principle.  The fact that it formed the basis of our taxation system for a significant part of our history means that it ought to be acceptable to all traditionalists.  Right across the political spectrum!

                When you have such a ready basis for political consensus, you know you're onto a winner.  Thus the concept ought to get political traction no problem.

                As regards the details of implementation, I'll leave that for economists to advise upon and politicians to thrash out in select committee…

                • weka

                  two significant differences from when we've had a land tax in the past. One is the rate value properties relative to income. The other is 35 years of neoliberalism. A neoliberal land tax isn't socialist.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    When I was in the Greens economic policy working group almost 30 years ago, the land tax principle was part of the design for a progressive alternative to neoliberalism (along with a financial transactions tax, pollution tax etc).  I've never heard of a "neoliberal land tax".

                    • weka

                      We've had neoliberal governments for 35 years. Do you really think Labour or National or NZF are going to design a land tax the way the Greens would?

                      I'd be interested to know what the Greens' proposal was, and see how it might work in today's situation.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    I'd be interested to know what the Greens' proposal was

                    I can't help with that for a variety of historical reasons.  It was draft policy still when I left – the development got derailed by the Alliance, and I disagreed with Jeanette's decision to bet on the Alliance to the extent of abandoning work on the Greens.  So policy adoption happened after the switch to MMP & the Greens leaving the Alliance.

                    As regards your question, no of course not!  But the Greens ought to lobby for whatever consensus on the principle they can now produce.

                    • weka

                      I think I'm arguing that the Greens shouldn't argue for a land tax in the absence of a holistic housing crisis solution. Because it's guaranteed at this point to end up being NZF-fied and well as neoliberalised by Labour. I'd like to see them push hard on fundamental change though.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    I would never support the Greens advocating a land tax on a sole initiative basis;  it must be a design element in a composite.  I have no objection to linking housing policy with tax policy – that sort of thing is normally done at a much later stage than policy formulation though.  Manifestos were the traditional stage for that – I think they were abandoned when the pace of life became so fast that nobody had sufficient attention span to read them any more.  🙄

                    • weka

                      lol, probably.

                      My point here is that I trust the Greens on this, to develop non-neoliberal policy. I don't trust Labour to.

                  • There is nothing neoliberal about it. It taxes the rich.

                    The main problem over the last 40 years has been that capital has remained largely untaxed and has shifted a great deal of wealth to the top 5%-time to change that.

                    A CGT is fiendishly complicated and may yield little. A Land Tax is the opposite. 

                    • weka

                      explain to me how low income people would be exempt from a land tax? (via home ownership or rent).

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                I regularly encounter people across the wealth spectrum, including people in various levels of poverty. Not a single one of the poorer people I know (mix of beneficiaries and low-paid workers) own any land or property. I’m sure they exist – but they seem rare in my experience.

                • weka

                  I assume it's lessening over time because of the housing crisis and because of WINZ's punitive approach to cash assets, but it wasn't that unusual in the past. I've known beneficiares who've owned houses. I'm of the generation where women on the DPB got state assistance to buy a home.

                  Landlords of course will pass on land taxes to their tenants when they can. Covid/recession might sort that, or it might not.

                  So, put a land tax in after rent caps and housing for life, and do what is necessary to drop property values and raise incomes. Things we can barely conceive of but are the real need.

                • Foreign waka


                  Don't worry, they increase all by itself. I mean the poor that is.

                  Consider this:

                  We have more retirees coming to the end of their working life and it remains to be seen whether they can keep continue working (for many reasons). The older, sick and disabled folks do NOT have any other chance or avenue to earn money to top up for their need.

                  Then they get $ 360 or something to live on per week (single). If they have saved all their live to own their home, now is the time to loose it. Because the rates will take every week some 15-20% of the income. Nothing yet has been paid for food, electricity etc… 

                  If you have to pay rent, Oh well go and pitch your tent in the park.

                  This is like glorifying the "good ol' days" of feudalism.

                  This is the issue, this is the problem. No one wants to address what is staring everybody into the face. 

            • Bearded Git

              Agreed Dennis-I have been impressed with Hickey's arguments on this.

          • weka

            which is unfair on low income people. So don't do it. It's a tool that wants a soft brake on middle class speculation but won't really change the fundamental issues.

            • gsays

              Perhaps the £500 exemption or threshold would protect those at the lower end the scale.

              • weka

                what's the $500 exemption?

                • gsays

                  In Dennis' Land Tax wiki quote, there was originally a £500 exemption and lots of folk didn't have to pay the tax.

                  I don't know very much about this but feel Dennis is right, you don't hear too many socialists talking about it. Perhaps there are too many landlords on the 'left'.

                  It wouldn't surprise me to discover it isn't just the Hoskings fan club who would pour scorn on a homeless person getting break.

                  There is an ugly anti-poor streak that runs through the Kiwi population. Witness  Mum in Nana's garage with two disabled children.

                  I don't understand how stories like that can appear and be gone in the next news cycle. Meanwhile she still struggles along, and the machine still makes it's inhumane 'errors'.

                  • weka

                    I don't understand it either. Also the kind middle classes don't appear to want to give up their asset advantages, so it's not like they're supporting real solutions to the housing crisis either. The low Green vote is another indicator. Most liberals in NZ want a centre-left neoliberal govt with a smile on its face, and so that's what we've got, tinkering around the edges of the housing crisis.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    … it isn't just the Hoskings fan club who would pour scorn on a homeless person getting break.

                    There is an ugly anti-poor streak that runs through the Kiwi population. Witness  Mum in Nana's garage with two disabled children.

                    It wasn't always like this, remember?

                    I fired up the Time Machine…


                    A property-owning democracy

                    State-housing reforms

                    The 1950s National government rejected state housing as a mainstream form of tenure, seeing it instead as a provision only for those unable to afford to house themselves. It introduced an income limit for new tenancies – filtering out middle-class applicants – and tightened allocation criteria to favour those most in need.

                    Family benefit capitalisation

                    The Labour government of 1957–60 continued support for home ownership, and in 1959 gave low-income families the right to capitalise their family benefit (have it paid in advance) to provide a deposit on a house. Together with low-interest state mortgages, this enabled many low-income families to become homeowners. Between 1951 and 1966 the national rate of home ownership rose from 61% to 69%.

                    I guess, gsays, we've been encouraged by the media to have the attention and retention ability of an hyperactive mosquito. Some other 'outrage' is hurled before our eyes and supplants the previous.

                    They assume we all have a limit to how much we can give a shit about.

                    Doesn't work with me…so that's two less votes for any of the sitting MPs.

                    • gsays

                      All of that plus the echo chamber social media. Having our prejudices and fears amplified back at us.

                      Compassion and empathy that leads to action is less and less common.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Ideological bunk.

    Go to the Corelogic valuation site. Now enter your street address and find out the cost to replace the house you are living in.

    • Ad 4.1

      Insurers have been twinning with building costs for some years now, driving replacement costs. And every natural disaster seems to increase their social license to do so.

      That insurer-builder relationship is the worst of the unspoken cartels that chain this country.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        Exactly. I have one property that has a QV of around $290k in a rural town and Corelogic want $720k to replace it. The insurance is now my biggest cost at about 22% of the rental income.

        And I've made the comparison with building costs to Australia before, but typically on a square metre basis NZ is paying twice as much as Aussies do.

        Then set that aside and look at the cost of developing land. I have a close friend who was in this game and a few years back I looked at his numbers; the costs are eye-watering. As he put it, even if the raw land was free, the breakeven cost to develop and sell is far higher than most people imagine. A typical 700m2 section might easily cost $300k to get to market.

        Put these two factors together and suddenly the root cause of the high cost of housing in NZ might not have as much to do with a lack of CGT as the left likes to imagine.

        • Ad

          Unfortunately very few New Zealanders get to experience the costs of developing land and a house from scratch. And given the stress of it, I'm not surprised.

          We were a long way into consenting land for development prior to Covid19, detailed design, DC's, lined up builders, the works. 

          We're just sick of being screwed over by all of them.

          Right now I'd rather use the sale of the land as deposit on something decent.

        • Tricledrown

          If those who don't pay tax ie capital gain after 5 years paid everyone else would pay less tax payers are subsidizing non tax payers.

          Australia has vast quantities of flat land that is easy to develop.

          NZ has a shortage of land near big Cities and in most cases is dearer and way more expensive to develop.

          Australians are happy to live in Cookie cutter houses albeit with slightly different facades,Meaning Architects engineers draughts people council planning permissions are not required saving $150,000 of building costs to start with.

          Materials are cheaper and the simplicity of cookie cutter building all add up to  much cheaper new houses.


        • AB

          Costs are eye-watering. Even if someone was lucky enough (or old enough) to own a house prior to to the latest housing price bubble, it takes a solid income to stop it from disintegrating around your ears.Unless you have the time and skills to do it all yourself. CGT is only a part of the needed mix – attacking cartel behaviour is important too. A close examination of who is getting rich (and how), and who isn't, across the board.

        • lprent

          A lot of the costs are due to user-pays. Sewage, water, roading, and drainage systems cost. So do the simple things like checking the engineering stability, issues with flooding or erosion. Most of those feed into the planning systems that cities and regions need to look at their ongoing costs. They are all things that the urban and regional governments are responsible and liable for – for 60+ years.

          These used to be lumped into a government will do it afterwards. Developers would run in a road to some land, hook up to existing water and sewerage, build and sell houses. Then much of the ongoing costs would be lumped into the taxpayers as the sewerage system groaned under the load and the thin roads started to break down. Most of that forward cost was forgone because the population was booming and the housing was required now for those 4+ kid families.

          If you look at the 1950s and 60s – that was pretty much the model. The existing rate payers and tax payers were subsidising a social good. That doesn’t happen nearly as much since there is less of the working for a social good mood around. In particular because there is a lot of old more infrastructure around that needs repair. That is a direct consequence of user-pays.

          And that is before we start to consider the house building costs.

          But even there, after the National / Act leaky building fiasco, that (in my lucky case) resulted in the council getting a 6 million dollar bill (plus legal costs) for the repairs to the apartment block I own a living space in. Developers now wind up getting inspected on their building work. The suppliers get their claims on building materials tested.

          Basically existing rater payers and tax payers simply aren’t interested in paying for the mistakes of developers. The insurers are reflecting that as well.

          It is easier still in aussie. There is much more of a sense of building for the future than existed in NZ after we went through repeated recessions and user-pays campaigns by the right. But I suspect that in the wake of the repeated bushfires, water shortages, and now the covid-19 shock that you’re going to see a lot more focus on existing areas and beefing up existing structures rather than smoothing development.

          • Draco T Bastard

            User pays took all costs that the community used to cover for free and placed it squarely upon the individual. This was a massive removal of economies of scale that communities and nations have with the inevitable raise in pricing for individuals.

            Of course, some got very rich off of this as a market with massively increased profits sprang into being.

            The Right-wing have said for ages that they wanted user-pays and now, inevitably, they're whinging about it.

            The Left-wing really need to point out, every time that the Right-wing bring it up, that the high costs of development are due to the Right-wings love of user-pays.

        • Climaction

          The best way to drive down building costs would be to remove the standards testing agency from private control by removing its commercial imperative. And then to set up an soe with a commercial inperative to procure and supply building products. Breaking the Wesfarmers / fletchers duopoly

        • Macro

          And I've made the comparison with building costs to Australia before, but typically on a square metre basis NZ is paying twice as much as Aussies do.

          To compare Aussie and NZ land development costs is a false dichotomy.

          The geology of the two countries is completely different. In Aussie much of the land for development is flat and sand. There it requires little earthworks to create a suitable building platform; whereas here, much of the land is unstable from a geotechnical point of view, and requires considerable earthworks, retaining walls, drainage, etc, to create suitable building platforms.  

          • RedLogix

            No I am comparing the building cost only. In this NZ does have higher earthquake, wind loading, and insulation requirements, but these do not account for anything like all of the price difference.

            You are right in that NZ land development is definitely more expensive, but that only underlines the point I'm making. If the left is serious about keeping housing costs under control, there is whole range of concerns, on both the supply, demand and regulatory sides that need to be considered.

            • maggieinnz

              "In this NZ does have higher earthquake, wind loading, and insulation requirements, but these do not account for anything like all of the price difference."

              Again, prove it. Where are the numbers that show this?

              Have you considered the infrastructure needed to provide for our differing earthquake, wind loading, and insulation requirements?  

              Have you consider the other environmental challenges?  What about investment challenges of a small country? What about our legal system and it's effects on market systems, employment, immigration, overseas interest?

              Discussing housing costs by focusing on building only is like talking about economics in terms of pocket money.

        • maggieinnz

          " I have a close friend who was in this game and a few years back I looked at his numbers; the costs are eye-watering. As he put it, even if the raw land was free, the breakeven cost to develop and sell is far higher than most people imagine. A typical 700m2 section might easily cost $300k to get to market."

          It would help if you included those numbers or at least showed a current breakdown by comparison to make your point.  Without them your numbers are speculative and forming any conclusion on incomplete anecdotal evidence is logically fallacious.

  5. Tricledrown 5

    We have 1,000's of camper Van's motels and hotels empty using these under used utilities for temporary housing will help 2 areas of the economy weather the tourist downturn keeping the industry going till the borders reopen.

    Air bnbs are reverting to to rental's forcing down rent .

    Air bnb;s should have the same standards as hotels and motels,to make sure the locals get looked after.why should the govt be putting people up in Motels and Hotels basically making a bigger market for air bnb.

    Time for a shake up ,lack of affordable housing is creating more longterm poverty,

    We are going to need all our young people to be in work to meet the needs of a rapidly aging population.Having these young  grow up in intinerancy is dooming another generation to joining gangs ,low skills at work and in family rearing.

    Tourism has been like dairy farming the downstream effects are overlooked.

  6. bwaghorn 6

    Tradies are $60 an hour I've heard . We get gouged for materials in a country that grows millions of pine trees . We let banks drive up house prices by lending to the limits of what people can afford, not what a house costs . We flood the country with immigrants.  We allow multiple ownership of rentals all leveraged off the unrealized capital gain of the last house . 

    That's just off the top of my head . 

    Just build state houses ,lots and lots of state houses and sell them as soon as they are 10 years old . And then build more. 

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      "sell them as soon as they are 10 years old . And then build more. "

      Best limit that to occupiers – we probably don't want a state backed housing supplier for rentiers.

  7. maggieinnz 7

    btw, if the homeless dude who figured out how to get himself into a quarantine hotel room for two weeks actually exists, all power to him. We’re willing to pay board and lodging to repatriate New Zealanders, but not do the same for homeless people, this says a lot about New Zealand right now.

    Weka, with all due respect this is just rubbish. You're using an unfounded rumour to construct an argument out of logical fallacies. You can't rationally use govt. funded isolation to make an argument that NZ doesn't care about homelessness.  It's a false equivalency.

    • weka 7.1

      Not really. We consider covid a sufficient emergency to house people that need to be housed (rather than letting them go home). We don't consider the large numbers of homeless people in the past decade to be a sufficient emergency to house people.

      Even worse, we suddenly were able to house many homeless when covid crashed the tourism industry and lo! there was housing aplenty.

      Don't know why we still have people living in garages and such though.

      This is a values based observation. By all means make the argument against it.

      • maggieinnz 7.1.1

        "By all means make the argument against it."

        The point is because you're presenting an invalid argument anything that comes from it will be rubbish.

        However, I'll outline why your argument is invalid but also understand that I'm not saying NZ does enough or cares enough for the homeless.  I can't argue that because you haven't presented a rational case for it.

        Firstly, using the fake story offers no usable meaning.  We can't gauge how people really felt about it to determine if they really were glad he found housing.

        Secondly, the decision to house ex-pats in hotels was made for us so not voted on. Also, the govt is footing the bill, not the average kiwi and our taxes aren't going up because of this decision. This means you can't say NZers are happy to pay for expat isolation costs.

        Thirdly, you're suggesting that the solution to the homeless problem is to simply put homeless people in empty homes/bachs or hotels and foot the bill for however long is needed. This could be a valid option but you've provided no reasoning as to why it should be considered.  Comparing it to govt funded isolation is fallacious because these two problems stemmed from different sources, present different challenges and seek to solve different problems. You might as well have suggested we put homeless people in hospital beds or on the couches of ordinary folk.

  8. Barfly 8

    I will never own a property of my own I think New Zealand is structured to ensure this… my misfortune I guess—Sucks to be me crying Stuff happens

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