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Open mike 13/02/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 13th, 2021 - 65 comments
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65 comments on “Open mike 13/02/2021 ”

  1. Pat 1

    Read it and weep…..an excellent summary of the current housing bubble and the lack of effective mitigation.


    • mikesh 1.1

      From the graph it looks as though house prices are rising much faster than rents and wages. This ought be acting as a disincentive to investing in rental properties, though falling interest rates, and the prospects for capital gain, may be offsetting this effect to some extent.

      [Fixed typo in e-mail address]

      • Pat 1.1.1

        Id suggest the (tax free) capital gain is well and truely offsetting it….if the investors even bother to rent the property….especially when the TD rate barely registers.

        • mikesh

          When my wife and I purchased our house, about forty years ago, interest rates were high – typically around 20 % or so – and property prices were low. Our property is now "worth" around six or seven times what we paid for it.

          It may well be that the present situation in the housing market is something of an aberration, and that in a less dysfunctional market, where there was no great shortage of houses, interest rates would be more of a determinant of prices than the prospect of capital gain.

          I believe that the fourth Labour government’s biggest blunder was the abolition of land taxes.

          [Fixed typo in e-mail address again]

          • Incognito

            [Fixed typo in e-mail address again]

          • Pat

            As Brian Easton notes the growth in house prices can be largely linked to the availability of liquidity (credit) and in a borderless (financial) world that liquidity is highly mobile…that is not to say that there will not be be other factors but their impact is marginal.

            And it is worth noting that central banks dont set interest rates in national isolation (unless in crisis) but rather in relative terms to global trends with multiple tradeoffs considered

            • mikesh

              Plentiful credit will probably give rise to low interest rates, but the latter are more visible. People will invest when they see that interest rates are low. They may also "jump on the bandwagon" when they see house prices rising, but something has to be driving those prices in the first place.

  2. Further proof, if any is needed, that we are no less racist, nor "Less Genocidal" than out Australian cousins…

    Stuff really are on a roll with the "Truth and Reconciliation" ..so nice to see some actual journalism ..



    I'm hoping this new interest in journalism can eventually extend to broader inequality and "worker' issues …though I'm not holding my breath.

    • Gabby 3.1

      Will Keir Sturmer notice? Maybe once he's completed the purge.

      • Morrissey 3.1.1

        Sturmer ist kaput already. He squats on a pile of ashes.

        • Siobhan

          Starmers donors are probably more than happy with his, erm, achievements, or lack thereof…Centrists do, after all, seem to have a taste for rubbing the publics faces in piles of ashes ..and if TS is anything to go by ..the public have learnt to love said ashes with a vengeance…

          • Incognito

            ..and if TS is anything to go by ..

            I doubt that the TS commentariat is a cross-section of its readership or of “the public”. However, we tend to ‘see’ things that confirm our thoughts.

  3. Muttonbird 4

    I think these townhouses look fine. Certainly better than some of the design of the last 7 decades.

    Can't see what the fuss is about. Oh, wait, Nimbyism:

    "It sucks," said one neighbour, saying the new builds look into their kitchen and bedrooms and had meant buying new blinds for privacy.


    • Sacha 4.1

      I wish they showed what the surrounding houses look like.

    • Gabby 4.2

      What the hell are they doing in their kitchens? Putting cheap wine in flash bottles?

    • Molly 4.3

      The problem is, all the way through the Unitary Plan consultation, council planners said that intensification would be ensured to be of good design because of the Auckland Design Manual which would inform designers and developers of the design aspects they would need to include.

      At the final hour, the Auckland Design Manual was de-coupled from the Unitary Plan, when councillors were persuaded to vote to not make it compulsory to refer to it during the consent process. Cr Mike Lee was vilified for voting against this decision by those who framed it as "against intensification" – but IIRC he worked on the Auckland Design Manual and would have known how much of the promised quality was contained within.

      Good design was promised to be an integral part of intensification. Unfortunately, it was not ensured by the ratified Unitary Plan. That said, for me, function precedes aesthetics in built form, but the good designer should be able to achieve both. Since ugliness is subjective, what really matters is whether is it fit for purpose, and well-built. Given my priorities that new housing design should be sustainable, healthy and build community in order to be fit for purpose, I would guess that the majority of housing intensification would be below that bar.

      (Ruawai Road in my childhood neighbourhood, was a typical 1/4 acre section, old state housing type development. It is close walking distance from the Sylvia Park shopping/commercial/residential development, and therefore a minute or so from the Mt Wellington exit on the Southern motorway. Good place for well designed intensification.)

  4. alwyn 5

    A question for all those people who thought that throwing $250 million dollars of New Zealand taxpayers and Auckland ratepayers money into the America's Cup.

    What do you say when the Team "New Zealand" are proposing to go overseas with the cup if they win it and get a good offer from somewhere overseas?

    Are you like me when I say that I am not at all surprised and that it is exactly what I would have expected? Why did we give them any more of the money that could have gone into actually doing something useful for New Zealand.


    • Ad 5.1

      I would say that the MBIE and Auckland Council officials who wrote those contracts between ETNZ and ACE should front up as part of the after-Cup reviews.

      Equally, ETNZ generated a high risk and difficult design that was too expensive for all but four teams. So if ETNZ loses, our version of the Cup is doomed anyway. It's international capital that is as flighty as film production capital – and that's saying something.

      Worth remembering that Auckland in particular has done exceedingly well out of the Cup over time though.


      • Sabine 5.1.1

        Well if auckland does ok, surely that will then trickle down to the rest of NZ? ]

        Maybe the Cup should be paid for by the rate payers and businesses of Auckland, rather then by the NZ tax payer.

        • Ad

          Auckland Council has paid the great majority of Auckland's upgrades across the whole waterfront.

          Just for the AC36 infrastructure, government and Council went 50-50. We won't see the full economic impact report until well after the Cup is finished. Drafting of that report is already underway by MBIE so we can all see the evidence of whether it was worthwhile or not.

          But the first truth is, neither Auckland nor central government can handle a major global sporting fixture on their own: they need each other.

          And with Christchurch still without a stadium for the foreseeable future, the second truth is:
          it's only ever Auckland that is going to host global-scale sporting events in New Zealand (with the regions providing side fixtures).

          So if New Zealand wins big sporting bids, it's going to be between Auckland and the government, forever.

          • Sacha

            It's not just stadiums. The 2015 Rugby World Cup planning showed what a key part in hosting large events is played by accommodation.

          • Sabine

            ah, i see then, some industries subsidies are good. even if they benefit only the very few and trickles down to almost no one.

            • Ad

              Most subsidies are pretty narrow in impact. I know you have figured this out already.

              You’ve probably started to figure out that this government has massive subsidies over almost every industry that we have.

              You will also have figured out that New Zealand is currently the highest-subsidised economy in the developed world.

              So relax, you’re soaking in it.

              • Sabine

                sadly no, i have to work for my money.

                True that, the boaties and their check writers, the high polloi of NZ, and our useless suits they truly are soaking in it, our tax payers money that is. For no benefit to anyone but themselves really. 🙂 Everyone else in NZ has to work for a living, lest they end up in an unaffordable ditch.

                Heck if we just had the money to increase the base benefits of the unemployment and other beneficiaries. Oh, right…..austerity!

                • Ad

                  You just have no idea about the nature of subsidy. Some more than others. Our biggest national subsidy is to retired people and the sick. After that it's children.

                  But just to focus on the America's Cup for a bit, and what that public subsidy pays for.

                  Just on the marine infrastructure alone there were 130 people working on that for three years.

                  On Wynyard Point infrastructure another 50.

                  On the Hyatt Hotel on the Waterfront overlooking the Cup action, another 120. More on other associated buildings.

                  On the Quay Street works at peak there were 90 people.

                  On the first two stages of City Rail Link over five years, just in construction alone rather than office staff, there were on average 120 people working there.

                  In Americas Cup Events there are over 50. In the ETNZ team alone there are over 60.

                  You'd have to ask ATEED and Callaghan Innovation how many have been hired in yacht design and component fabrication, but from last time easily 120 attributable positions.

                  Then there's the superyacht servicing. Down somewhat as expected, but still substantial if you go down there and see everyone at work.

                  You can go and ask all those constructors whether they feel like they're the "hoi polloi", but you may find their dominant languages are Samoan, Te Reo, Tagalog, and Tongan.

                  You are not the only one working for your money, and it's just your standard chippie whining that makes you think your work is more superior to those in construction.

                  • Pat

                    A generous assessment costs those jobs at half a million each….and a good proportion will have been minimum wage

                    • Sacha

                      Event subsidies build permanent infrastructure, not just temporary jobs. And construction jobs are not minimum wage.

                      However I agree event-related subsidies are often a poor use of public funds. How many fricking stadiums do we really need?

                  • Sabine

                    My work is not subsidised. 🙂 It's not even tourism related – its just that i have moved to an area where many have invested in that particular business type. Firstly. Secondly if you think it is whinging when i ask that the government spends money on people that are losing their lifely hoods, their income streams and as Graeme mentioned yesterday are stuck in leases for businesses that are dead swimming in the water, then i am happy to continue whinging. After all, if we can lift our people out of abject poverty, who knows, that might actually trickle down in the local economies, reduces a bit of stress and violence and make everywhere a bit nice for all.

                    But as i said before, any type of subsidies to any type of industry usually results in jobs. You approve of the jobs created by the subsidies to this particular industry, but as others have said – if they can't survive without this subsidy, or if they can't pull their business of without these subsidies are they then even valid?

                    Subsidize a learning facility and you will hire teachers. Subsidize a hotel and they will hire front of house and cleaners. Subsidize a yacht race for the super rich and they build themselves fancy boats with a few jobs created in boat building. All the same.

                    As far as your numbers in regards to the current excellent boat race for the rich paid for by the poor, yeah, nah,


                    The government invested $136.5m, Auckland Council $113m. Most of the money has gone into infrastructure, with about $40m from the government funding going into the event itself.

                    In 2017 when the funds were committed, up to 26,000 overseas visitors were expected to pump up to $1b into the economy. But fewer than 500 have been let through the border, mostly connected with the racing boats.


                    “Covid has really taken out one of the great economic benefits of this event, which was the large number of super yachts that were going to come down here, spend money, get refits done,” says Niall.

                    In marina revenue alone there’s a drop of about $3m of pre-Covid estimates.

                    No Ad, this is just something that you approve of. And of the resulting tourism of course must then be tourism that is acceptable, right?

    • McFlock 5.2

      personally, I was never a fan, even when people were buying the socks.

      It does seem to have fallen particularly flat this time, though. I guess "yacht race then court case" doesn't draw the crowds like it used to.

      • Gabby 5.2.1

        Clearly Auckland needs a waterfront courtroom.

      • David 5.2.2

        Agree. The event does seem to have fallen a bit flat. I suspect that’s down to a combination of one sided racing, no international tourists and all the incomplete construction all along Quay St. Wouldn’t be too sad to see the cup go offshore next time.

        • Incognito

          New Zealand is a highly sought destination, now even more so. If marketeers and events organisers cannot work with that to make it work then they should be looking at a change of job.

          • Sacha

            The highly sought destination for super-rich yacht owners is the Mediterranean, with the Bahamas at a pinch. We are too far away and our weather too unreliable for luxury.

    • Gabby 6.1

      Another tax he won't be paying.

      • bwaghorn 6.1.1

        Did you read it?? Doesn't sound like it .

        Got to better than an ets,anyone who thinks that will work is a moron .

        • McFlock

          Musk is a jerk. This idea happens to be better than the cave submarine, but it seems about as thoroughly thought out. His comments add no credibility to any position.

          He didn't invent the concept of a carbon tax, did he.

          Dude was just spouting off other folks' ideas, as usual.

          • Sabine

            Musk makes more money of selling carbon credits to polluters then selling ev cars. SO maybe his interest is really in getting a carbon tax up – for the poor of course who can not afford a tesla or even a cheaper model. So that would force people to buy a car that they may can not afford – surely tesla and the other car companies are happy to help you with finance, in order to avoid the tax. And for the ev car they sell you on credit, they will be able to sell their carbon credits to some polluter somewhere. Aint' capitalism grand?

          • bwaghorn

            Yes but he has a huge following (no I'm not a muskateer ) so if he repeats a good idea that's a good thing.

  5. Scud 7

    Hi everyone, I posted this comment late Thursday night, when most were probably sleeping.


    But got a wee bit more to add and if anyone within the NZ Labour Party can you please inform Megan Woods & Michael Woodhouse as these people haven’t got the bloody decency to reply back or there staffers don’t give shit at what is currently to Pacific Aerospace in Hamilton and its workers.

    This is truly a real tragic story which has only come to light over the 3 or 4 days now, is the Chinese owners are now liquidating NZ’s last remaining Aircraft Construction & design Company which produces some very unique and niche aircraft for the world & the Sth Pacific Region. This sale to the Chinese even pissed off the Australian MFAT, AusAID & the ADF (RAAF) as they were buying a number of Aircraft for the Sth Pacific countries for Military & Civilian use.

    Rumour has it within NZ & Australia Aviation circles is that the Chinese have Asset Strip the Company in order to avoid its obligations to the NZ Foreign Investment Broad and its promises to the then National Government under Donkey & Bling that won’t move its design office and construction of Aircraft to China.

    Have tired to raise this issue with Megan Woods and Michael Woodhouse but typical NZ Labour Party Middle Class toff’s or their staffers appear they don’t give a toss about NZ losing highly skilled manufacturing jobs in the STEM area and Export Dollars for NZ.

  6. Anne 8

    Have tired to raise this issue with Megan Woods and Michael Woodhouse but typical NZ Labour Party Middle Class toff’s or their staffers appear they don’t give a toss about NZ losing highly skilled manufacturing jobs in the STEM area and Export Dollars for NZ.

    Don't be surprised Scud if Megan Woods and Michael Woodhouse (did you mean Labour's Michael Wood?) have not seen your submission which I assume was in writing. Either that, or they are dismissing your concerns.

    In the distant past I tried to alert certain officials and a politician or two to a serious situation involving unlawful and criminal political activity which targeted and undermined numerous people. They blocked (metaphorically speaking) their ears and as a result a couple of criminals got clean away with some pretty serious crimes.

    People in high places – and the police – tend to believe they are superior to the rest of us and will often treat us with disdain. Sometimes it can be because the claims are beyond their sphere of knowledge and understanding so they choose to disregard them.

    It can also be because they deem some people or organisations as collateral damage which can't be helped because they don't want to get offside with the perpetrators. That might be the problem in your case.

  7. Incognito 9

    A good opinion piece by Nick Agar, professor of ethics at Victoria University of Wellington/Te Herenga Waka:


    • Stuart Munro 9.1

      I agree about the tohungas – did a workshop with one the other day – healthy stuff, and somewhat Jungian I thought.

      But our academia have been to some extent the architects of their own misfortune in the same way the press have been – abandoning their standards in pursuit of a fugitive popularity with their imagined customers.

      You teach Chomskyan syntax and post-modern litcrit and only jellyfish will respect you after.

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        Personally, I find the Jungian angle and approach very useful and I would have thought that it has much in common with Māori concepts and ways of thinking.

        Academics are/were as much a victim of neo-liberal influences and thinking as the rest of society, of which they are an inextricable part, of course. To be noticed, to make promotion, to attract funding, to attract students, et cetera, requires outputs AKA publications. The requirement to publish – publish or perish – influences the academic work and the cycle is closed. Very much a market approach to academic research and endeavour; collegiality suffers and competition is rife in a zero-sum cynical game of professional survival. So-called excellence is rewarded. Unsurprisingly, Academic institutions are run as corporations. Younger academics have little choice but to play the game and tick the mandatory boxes thereby ensuring (professional) compliance and stability of the system and institution. In other words, they’re screwed.

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