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NRT: National’s hand-wringing on housing

Written By: - Date published: 4:12 pm, April 23rd, 2015 - 20 comments
Categories: bill english, capital gains, Economy, housing, national - Tags: ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn.

Auckland house prices have exploded again, and are at the silly stage where the houses actually earn more in capital gains than their inhabitants do in salaries. So what is the government doing about it?Nothing:

The Government has effectively left nothing “undone” to tackle sky-rocketing house prices in Auckland, Finance Minister Bill English says


“The best thing we can do for low and middle income families in Auckland is to allow the place to grow – growing up or growing out, that’s the choice for Auckland to make,” English said.

“You see in the media every day now commentators ranting about how the Government should do something about the housing market. Well I think Mayor Len [Brown] would agree there’s pretty much not really anything left undone that can be done that happens fast enough.

Bullshit. There are two very obvious policies the government could pursue to end this rampanat inflation:

  • They could tax capital gains, and so make house price speculation unprofitable.
  • They could address the underlying supply issues with a mass building programme aimed at increasing the supply of decent, affordable homes.

So why don’t they? For the obvious reason that a) government ministers and MPs are benefitting from the boom themselves; and b) any real action to curb Auckland’s insane house-price inflation would see a lot of paper wealth evaporate and over-leveraged house-buyers trapped with negative equity – something unlikely to endear government to house-owning Auckland voters. So instead we get hand-wringing and claims of powerlessness. But those claims are false. The government is not powerless; it simply chooses not to act.

20 comments on “NRT: National’s hand-wringing on housing ”

  1. Hayden 1

    What about 3: stop trying to jam everyone and everything into Auckland? Or at least try to stimulate some more economic activity outside Auckland?

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    There are two very obvious policies the government could pursue to end this rampanat inflation:

    And 3 (or 4): Ban offshore ownership

    any real action to curb Auckland’s insane house-price inflation would see a lot of paper wealth evaporate and over-leveraged house-buyers trapped with negative equity – something unlikely to endear government to house-owning Auckland voters.

    The solution to which is for the government offer to buy the house and rent it back to the ex-owners.

  3. tracey 3

    But Matthew Hooton says only a minority can’t afford homes in Auckland? I dont think maths is his strong point, but then I don’t know all of the groups he had conveniently excluded from his calculation.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    As bigtime fans of public/private partnerships you’d thought the Gnats’d’ve been building houses flat out as soon as they got into power…

    … until you remember they couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery. And so they don’t want to try.

    • Potato 4.1

      Unfair Stuart. I hear that getting pissed is one of the things they do successfully ;P

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        They don’t organise it though – that’s what the plebs are for don’t ya know?

  5. Brendon Harre 5

    Exactly the housing crisis is about a lack of political will not a lack of options.

    • Stuart Munro 5.1

      Dead right – we can paraphrase Bill English:

      “I am too lazy and useless to address the housing crisis.”

      • David H 5.1.1

        No, it’s. I am too lazy, useless, and incompetent, to address the housing crisis.
        Or he’s leveraged up to the eyeballs, and holding off doing anything, wanting to make a killing. Naa he’s not that smart, but, others are.

        • Stuart Munro

          It is not a possible response, as housing minister, to say, “My inaction is on behalf of my corrupt associates who are profiting from my failure to do my job.”

          So I reiterate, English is too lazy or stupid to be housing minister and must be removed.

  6. Mike Steinberg 6

    Isn’t the most obvious thing to address demand by restricting overseas investment and reducing immigration levels?

    Since the 1960’s there’s been a strong relationship between net population growth via immigration flows and house prices.


  7. Brendon Harre 7

    The UK housing situation is similar to ours all their political parties lack the political will to supply more affordable houses, with the possible exception of the UK Labour party and even they are a bit confused.


    Meanwhile in Australia urban section costs on a per sqm basis in their capital cities are increasing so quickly the price line is now vertical.


    Surely there is a first mover advantage in a country like NZ in providing affordable urban living?

  8. Reddelusion 8

    Boris Johnson nailed it in regard to the left’, despite socialism proven failure after failure, there is alway another idiot out there who thinks they can make it work

    • Stuart Munro 8.1

      You’re an ignorant fool: Savage made state housing work and thereby grew our country, and incidentally, the economy.

      Singapore copied us.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Except that history shows the exact opposite. Socialism working and capitalism collapsing every time.

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    This Parliament will do NOTHING to stem property prices because 66 of them are property speculators themselves.

    Duncan Garner lists 66 MPs who own more than just their family home.


    38 National MPs (10 with real estate worth between $4 million and $68 million)
    17 Labour MPs
    5 Green MPs
    5 NZ First MPs
    1 Peter Dunne

    Until we vote the real estate speculators out of parliament nothing will change.

    Note: Neither Andrew Little nor David Cunliffe nor Grant Robertson own multiple properties.

  10. david 10

    It is not good politics for the Nats to solve the crisis. This is because their supporters are making a fortune on it, developers are creaming it, banks are doing a great trade, and many speculators don’t want the party to end.

    To solve the crisis will take one thing. Vote national out!

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