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Phil Twyford: the future of housing in New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, December 3rd, 2017 - 190 comments
Categories: housing, labour, phil twyford, Politics - Tags:

Kia ora tatou. Good morning. Thank you to the Salvation Army for giving me the opportunity to be with you here today.

I want to acknowledge the housing NGOs, the activists, campaigners and community organisers, including the Living Wage Movement, for the work you do in our communities fighting for social justice.

This is my first opportunity to set out the direction of our housing policy, since being sworn in as Minister in our new Labour-NZ First Coalition Government supported by the Greens.

I am going to talk about the future of state housing, and the fight against homelessness.

My starting point is the importance of a home.

When people are homeless it strips them of their dignity and hope.

When families move from place to place because they cannot find somewhere to settle, it takes a terrible toll on them, especially the kids.

When people find no alternative to living in cold damp rentals the inevitable sickness shortens their lives.

When housing costs are so high, there isn’t enough to spend on healthy food or pay the power bill.

When home ownership is out of reach people are denied the opportunity build an asset and build themselves up.

The housing crisis is quite unacceptable for any New Zealander.

It offends the sense of fairness and opportunity for all our country was built on.

We have a broad housing reform agenda and we are already taking the first crucial steps towards fixing the crisis.

Central to that agenda is a reassertion of the role of state housing.

We are going to put the state back into state housing.

Our Government rejects the view that state housing is a redundant idea from the 1930s and that modernisation means selling off the houses and getting charities and the private sector to do this work instead.

Given the state of the housing market right now, it should be clear to anyone that state housing – decent, secure, income-related rental housing for the people that need it most – is needed more than ever.

Our Government will not milk Housing NZ for profits. We will reinvest any surpluses back into the building of new homes and upgrading existing ones.

We will stop the mass sell-off of state housing, and as part of our 1st 100 Days, the Prime Minister will have more to say on this shortly.

I want Housing NZ to be a world class public housing landlord:

  1. Putting a warm dry and secure roof over the heads of Kiwis who need it.
  2. Playing a pastoral care role enabling tenants to have access to the support they need to sustain their tenancies and live with dignity

Housing NZ are up for this challenge, and we are working together on how to make it happen.I have started a conversation with Housing NZ on how we can build back the tenancy management, giving better face to face engagement with tenants based on an ongoing relationship.
There is much to do. One small thing is the policy on tenants owning pets.

Given how important pets can be to people’s quality of life I favour a more accommodating approach that allows tenants to own pets – as long as they are properly looked after, not a nuisance or a danger to neighbours, and not damaging property.

We are also committed to working closely with the Community Housing Providers so they too can do more and do better.

I have never accepted there is a contradiction between a strong government provider and a vibrant and growing community sector.

I want to re-iterate my commitment to sit down with Community Housing Aotearoa and negotiate a multi-year plan for how we can work together to grow the sector in a way that is both ambitious and sustainable.

My vision is not for some quasi-market where community housing organisations are competing for subsidies, but instead a community of housing providers and advocates working in partnership with government, and where we can all benefit from the innovation and diversity the community sector brings.

We are going to build a lot of houses.

And we are going to build whole communities.

I want those communities to benefit from the range of housing types, tenures, price brackets and services that the community housing providers can deliver – and that the Government and private sector often struggle with.

The other big issue I want to address is homelessness.

While there is something deeply unsettling about our country’s current inability to house its own people, I do take courage from what I believe is a widespread view that the current situation is intolerable and has to be fixed.

I am also confident the policy responses are all there on the table. The Cross Party Inquiry on Homelessness run last year by Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party flushed them all out.

The early signs from the agencies working on Housing First are very encouraging, and build on significant evidence from overseas that this is a very good response to chronic homelessness, and is ready to be extended.

We are to looking to complete the roll out of emergency and transitional housing places around the country.

I don’t want to see people living in cars and in campgrounds.

And it not satisfactory for the taxpayer to be shelling out $90,000 a day on motels.

We need immediate solutions.

But I am mindful of advocates who told our cross party inquiry that we shouldn’t just build up the infrastructure of emergency housing.
They told us the best and most enduring solution is simply to build more houses.

Working through those trade-offs, and getting the right mix of targeted services and building more state and community homes is the task at hand.

Finally on homelessness, we remain committed to developing a NZ Strategy to End Homelessness and we will work with the sector on that.

I have talked about public housing, and our response to homelessness.

But we have a much bigger broader reform agenda that is needed to fix the housing market at a systemic level.

Through Kiwibuild we are going to build 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers, half of them in Auckland.

We are going to set up the Housing Commission, a national urban development authority that will lead large-scale projects to build whole communities, with the jobs, and transport infrastructure and open spaces and amenities that communities need. Along with the housing types that people need at costs they can afford.

These communities will have a mix of state and community housing, affordable Kiwibuild homes for first home buyers, and open market homes.
One of the big differences between our Government and the last is that we are going to build affordable homes, and public housing, wherever we possibly can.

Because if we don’t, who will?

We are closing the door on speculators. We are introducing legislation in our first 100 Days so that only citizens and permanent residents can buy existing homes. We are pushing the bright line test out to five years so if a speculator sells a rental property within five years they will pay income tax on the capital gain.

We will also shut down the negative gearing tax breaks that give speculators an unfair advantage over first home buyers.
And our Tax Working Group is being asked to design tax reforms that will tilt the playing field away from real estate speculation and towards the productive economy that creates jobs and exports.

Yesterday we passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill that will set minimum standards to make sure rental properties and warm and dry.

Backed up by a beefed up compliance capacity within the Ministry that will see risk-based auditing and investigations.

Next year we are going to review the Residential Tenancies Act to deliver more security of tenure for renters. Because well over a third of us renting these days we cannot continue with the current outdated law.

All this is supported by what I call our Urban Growth Agenda. It is a set of reforms designed to allow our cities to make room for growth, and bring down the high cost of urban land that is at the heart of these problems.

I know this is an ambitious agenda. But the scale of the crisis demands ambition.

I draw my inspiration from the First Labour Government who came to office after Depression and war determined to use the power of the state for good.

To intervene where necessary to make the system work for working people.

They redefined the role of Government. They made things happen by sheer force of will, and they built a lot of bloody houses.

The Sixth Labour Government’s housing reform agenda is also about nation building.

It recognises we have a crisis, and is bold and broad in response. It has the courage to tackle deeply entrenched problems that have been allowed to fester for too long.

It redefines the role of the state, and gets it back into the business of mass home building.

It will tame the out of control speculation that has been so destructive, and modernise rental laws.

In building 100,000 houses, re-inventing state housing, and building dozens of thriving modern communities around New Zealand, it will change the face of our towns and cities.

It will create the conditions for our people to thrive.

Once implemented it will amount to the biggest overhaul of housing policy since the time of the First Labour Government.

Our belief is that it is the role of Government to do the things that we can do together as a country, to ensure people have the basics: affordable secure warm and dry housing, decent work, good health and education systems.

With those things looked after people can then can get ahead in life through their own hard work and talents.

Without that platform, there is no fairness and no equality of opportunity.

Modern governments spend so much time dealing with social problems that are in large part caused or made worse by the poverty and lack of hope and distress associated with insecure housing and insecure work.

If we can restore universal access to secure, warm and dry and affordable housing for all New Zealanders, we will make this country even better than it is.

190 comments on “Phil Twyford: the future of housing in New Zealand ”

  1. With those things looked after people can then can get ahead in life through their own hard work and talents.

    Not while we have a capitalist system they can’t.

    I’m going to quote this tweet:

    This is just to say

    I have
    the funding
    that might have made
    your career

    and which
    you could have used
    for more original

    if you had only
    been able to
    your merit to me

    Forgive me
    I am so talented
    and so objective

  2. Bill 2

    Next year we are going to review the Residential Tenancies Act to deliver more security of tenure for renters.


  3. aom 3

    Twyford has two impediments that will make a 1930’s transformation nigh on impossible. The first is that the magic money tree was stolen by the 1%ers so that now the financial system is no longer owned by the many as Jeremy Corban observes. Secondly, the private sector cannot deliver as they don’t have someone of the likes of Gordon Wilson who was able to harness some of the best international architectural talent and knowledge then drive an aggressive building strategy.

  4. BM 4

    When’s it all going to start?

    • Anne 4.1

      Sometime next year when they’ve got everyone together and decided who is going to do what and how they’re going to do it. Takes time. A bit like when Dad decides he’s going to build a boat and he rakes in his sons and mates to help him. Takes time.

      It looks like Phil Twyford is well on the way to getting it all organised though which, for anybody who knows him, isn’t surprising. He’s a brilliant manager and organiser.

      • BM 4.1.1

        So it’s not just all waffle, there is actually work going on?

        • Ad

          – The essence of the Housing Commission is already taking shape within MBIE.

          – Two major housing-related legislative pieces passed this week. They’ve already been commented on.

          – 5 Year “bright line test” coming up.

          – Major councils like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are already well geared to integrate their housing policies with central government.

          – As you can see from the above speech, the NGO sector is fully geared and ready to go.

          – HNZ have got the message.

          There is still huge obstacles to overcome, and I’m skeptical too. Phil’s speech above called down nation-building, Michael Joseph savage, nationwide eradication of homeslessess, eradicate of property speculation, and a massive jolt to real estate capitalism itself.

          But the crisis is that big, that he may as well reach big.

        • Nick

          Ex Minister of Waffle, nick smith. Another of Your Bullshit buddies – bum.

        • tracey

          It is not going to be like the job forum, no. It will begin before the cycle trail designed to solve employments issues from tge GFC is finoshed.

      • stunned mullet 4.1.2

        “He’s a brilliant manager and organiser.”

        I went to school with Phil he’s a good guy but he must’ve changed a lot for you to call him a brilliant manager and organiser have you got any examples from his work career I haven’t caught up with him for quite a while.

        • fender

          “Good smear” mullet.

          Clearly Phil went to school and became educated rather than just to eat his lunch like yourself. Did you not know he was founding director of Oxfam NZ?

          • stunned mullet

            ‘Did you not know he was founding director of Oxfam NZ?’

            No I didn’t, good on phil.

        • greywarshark

          Luckily most people have learned more since they went to school, beyond keeping up with techno upgrades that is.

          • Incognito

            Some people learn to read and some read to learn. The hallmark of good education is not what and how much you know (or whom you know, for that matter), but it is laying the foundation for and giving you the skills to a love of life-long learning. By definition, this means keeping an open-mind and be acutely aware that we humans are biased and make mistakes. It also means that our sense of reality and perception of truth are just that and that we’re merely trying to build carefully-constructed paradigms to get a weak (if any) grip on everything. If Phil Twyford has received a good education – I have no reason to believe the contrary – he’ll realise that if the current system has produced the housing crisis the solution will not be found within the same current system. In other words, this Government has to change status quo (for a new one, of course).

        • tracey

          Ask Bill English, the career bureaucrat.

          • stunned mullet

            Quite agree – English hasn’t had a job outside Wellington, what is it with so many ministers of finance have been career bureaucrats/politicians ?

  5. DH 5

    I like what I’ve seen of Twyford, he’s stuck to his guns throughout. He’s got a fight on his hands though, hope he’s tough enough to see it out.

    The big battle looming is rent increases. Investors have, for a long time now, built capital gains into the yields from their housing portfolios. Rent alone doesn’t provide a market rate of return and if the housing inflation stops the market can only react one way; house prices will fall or rents will rise. Or both, which is the likely one.

    Investors will fight tooth and nail to stop their property values falling. It will be a dirty fight and I hope Twyford is ready for it.

    • AB 5.1

      Slap them with rent controls on top of falling capital values. Make owning ‘rentals’ a very economically marginal activity so they suck up their ‘losses’ and start exiting the market. These would not be real ‘losses’, merely a failure to make vast amounts of unearned, untaxed capital gain at the expense of others.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        It’s interesting how so many people viscerally hate the very people who provide them with a home to live in.

        If they live in a state house they hate the govt, if they live in a rental they hate the landlord, if they live in a home they purchased they hate the bank.

        • greywarshark

          I think that society as a whole do not respect housing as a need and a base and background as part of the nurturing background enabling us to get out and deal with the world and have a life. Renters often don’t consider their shelter as something to care for, something very expensive they are lucky to have. It’s the other way round I think, it is something that gives, and they take and resent that they have to pay.

          There is much apathy and unwillingness to put effort into seeking different ways of having housing and join with others in finding shared solutions, both from the public and government. Innovative government solutions working with people who would step up, register to a group who would do housing NCEA credits that would ensure they were skilled in house planning and care which would result in respect for housing and indicate their readiness for responsibility as homeowners. Then with a a real public-private partnership the people would be helped to get the housing they need in the place that they need.

        • savenz

          Well said RedLogix.

          Also none of the houses provided somehow seem to be good enough or cheap enough for the people receiving them. The fairy wand has to make everything much better (warmer, dryer, modern appliances and safer) than previous generations had (and were extremely grateful for) but also cheaper and subsidised. That’s a pretty big ask.

          Some houses are disgusting and need to be fixed, but when 90% of houses fail the WOF – something is wrong with the WOF. It has to be practical and having committees of 21 representatives from 21 different groups or how ever they seem to come up with all the crap – is not working. Rentals are getting scarcer and scarcer, more and more of the cheapest rentals will be taken off the market due to some unworkable standard.

          Taking a family out of a unventilated villa because it now has been deemed inhabitable (in the old days people opened windows and scrubbed off condensation but nowadays this is not possible apparently) and putting them in a 1 room hotel room at $1000 p/w that they have to pay back, does not seem to be a win for the family and the voters are not going to thank Labour in 3 years.

          Saying that I think a reasonable speech by Twyford and also Labour seem to finally have worked out that state housing is the way to go because the private sector aint gonna provide them and community providers competing for money is a failed model that cuts corners and becomes political. I’d like to see a law where any subsequent governments can sell them off.

          I’d like to see a bit more about the P clean up. They have state and private houses that could be rented now if they were able to be cleaned up cheaply and quickly. Also there is no point building more if they just keep getting contaminated and out of order with P.

          Also the whole existing house vs non existing house. Again a cop out. If they allow foreign speculators to speculate on land it will increase the price of land and therefore raise the price of new housing. In addition it’s too late, existing affordable houses have all been snapped up by 100,000’s of new residents who live in them and don’t rent them, so it’s only new housing poorer people can turn to in many areas (like Auckland).

          The other big factor is planning for the future. Just not done very well. Climate change, disasters, landslides and flooding are real. The unitary plan and RMA has made this worse as anything now goes to get the consent through (over 99% consents are passed apparently). Flooding and pollution in Auckland is an example of what happens when you have too many impermeable surfaces running into the wastewater. Note under environmental law lawyers seem to have convinced the judges that it helps flooding to have bigger houses as it goes into the wastewater (and then magically disappears into taxpayer funded infrastructures).

          There is also way too much reliance on power. There should be solar panel allowances and more emphasis on natural heating by the sun into housing (at present under RMA again this is just considered a minor effect). Likewise in a disaster when all these pumps start to fail, the costs of people now totally reliant on electrical and gas heating sources and to prevent flooding etc.

          One of the reasons that state and private houses are so cold is that people can’t afford power to heat them. The little girl who died apparently had a heat pump in her state house but the family did not turn it on because of the cost.

          • cleangreen

            100% agree SAVENZ,
            We do need to make ‘renting’ a seamless and less stressful experience for both parties.

            This will not work if one party pitches hate against the other all the time here.

            I hope National are not already ‘feeding the fires of discontent’ over this issue, as I would be saddened if they are just using this housing issue only as a poitical ploy to damage labour coalition.

            While not considering the harm and suffering it willl bring on the homeless and the poor now.

          • RedLogix

            Appreciate the responses above.

            Here are some very rounded, but typical numbers your landlord looks at:

            Take a 3 bed house, in a middle of the road suburb in say Wellington. Let’s givt it a capital value of $650k

            And your renting it for say $400 pw, that’s a rental income of about $23k pa

            The rates are about$2k pa

            The insurance is also about $2k pa

            If it’s managed professionally there’s another $2k

            Account’s fees vary a lot, but lets bundle them in with all other costs to another $2 k

            Now add in maintenance. Ideally over the long run it should be about 2% of the book value of the building pa. Let’s value the building at $250k, that comes to another $5k.

            So far this adds up to costs in the order of $13k pa. That leaves just $10k pa left over.

            And I haven’t even gotten to any mortgage so far because the amount of equity varies enormously by individual case, but very quickly you can see how marginal the cash flow is. In fact often the cash flow is negative by the time you include the mortgage. Even if there was say 50% equity in the property, at 5% there’s something in the order of another $30k pa of mortgage. This property is losing $20k pa in pure cash flow!

            This is why capital gains have become the main game in town, as it is for some many other so-called industries in NZ.

            I’m not sure quite the best way out of this mess. Collapsing house prices is an attractive little charmer, until you realise no-one really wants to buy in a falling market (and banks tend to demand really tough LVR ratios) because of the certainty they will lose their equity.

            Just about any simple solution to this massive imbalance between asset prices and wages is loaded with big downsides. We have dug ourselves a hole, backfilling ain’t easy.

            • Ad

              Of the costs that you listed, which items do you get back in tax rebates?

              – Professional management fees?

              – Accountancy fees?

              – Maintenance?

              I think you might know the answer to those.

              – And of the remaining items like insurance and rates, are they built into the rent price?

              – For those who are just “surviving” on capital gain, over the last ten years how much have they gained if the now sell the property?

              The best way out of this mess is for the political order as a whole to manage the real estate market down, flood it with houses, and make renting less attractive and home ownership more attractive.

              As per the speech above, it is going to be indescribably hard. But that is that is being started by this government, with every imaginable lever that the Minister has.

              Note as a landlord I don’t feel at all defensive.
              i’m simply working as fast as I can to total zero debt in every part of my affairs.

              • RedLogix

                Yes of course these commercial expenses are tax deductible, but of course many people here see that as another kind of evil to be stamped out.

                I wasn’t trying to give a super detailed view, just a quick first pass that gave some sense of just how badly aligned property values and rents have become.

                Actually there are two ways of getting things aligned again, both opposite sides of the same coin; one is to lower property values, or increase incomes while allowing the NZ dollar to devalue.

                I agree that neither approach is especially palatable, but if you imagine putting tens of thousands of homeowners underwater, the bank defaulting on them, leaving them with a lifetime debt and forced back into renting (which is precisely the scenario for one of our tenants right now, who struck this living in the USA during the GFC) is the better of the two options … think again is all I can say.

                And yes getting debt to zero is what all landlords are busy trying to do, but keep in mind while this is great for the individual, it’s a negative for the economy as a whole. (See Steve Keen for more info on all of this; this is where I’m getting all my ideas from here.)

              • patricia bremner

                Don’t forget Ad, that many of theses thing will not be able to be claimed soon. What impact will that have?

            • David Mac

              Yes, it’s taken us a long time to get to where we are. Radical and rash changes in search of a quick fix is a path with many perils. Auckland prices halving overnight would be great, it requires bankrupting half of those with mortgages.

              I’ll be happy with favourable trend lines. Auckland prices stagnant or slowly sliding backwards. A State House build rate that climbs up off the floor and steadily rises.

              • Auckland prices halving overnight would be great, it requires bankrupting half of those with mortgages.

                No it doesn’t. The government could simply create the money and buy up the mortgages and the houses and thus the owners of the mortgage would not be bankrupt. The people living there then get the benefit of living in a state house at a percentage of household income.

                Also has the advantage that the economy doesn’t crash because of the sudden withdrawal of money from the system as what happened in the GFC, The Great Depression and pretty much every other recession in between times.

                • Stunned mullet

                  “The government could simply create the money and buy up the mortgages and the houses and thus the owners of the mortgage would not be bankrupt.”

                  Hooray billion dollar loaves of bread all round.

                  • That may happen but it probably won’t. Most of the money would be balanced out as bank debt was paid off (paying off bank debt removes money from the economy which is why credit crunches and paying off debt, see GFC, causes recessions).

                    • David Mac

                      I’m not sure how the Aussie banks will feel about every NZ mortgage being paid out with keystrokes in Wellington. They’re never likely to invite you to play golf Sport.

                      Anytime I see ‘Print Money’ as a solution I can’t stop the next thought from popping into my head. ‘There are no free lunches.’

                      We all want a groovy $100 a week apartment to live in Draco.

                    • tracey

                      Ttump says the USA is thriving economically. Didnt they print mo ey to ease GFC?

                    • Brigid

                      Though I just don’t know why people think ‘printing money = bad’ only applies when the mortgage is held by the government.

                      If the mortgage is held by the bank it’s created by the stoke of the pen/keyboard.
                      If the mortgage is held by the government it’s created by the stoke of the pen/keyboard.
                      In both cases when the mortgage is paid off the debt is written off or ‘uncreated’.

                      It’s simple isn’t it?

                    • RedLogix

                      @David Mac

                      They’re called ‘debt jubilees’. Again this is something Steve Keen has talked about seriously as a third, less well understood way to re-balance excess speculative debt and wages without necessarily crashing the economy.

                      They are in fact an ancient idea dating back to Biblical times, but to us it feels like a radical, crazy idea. I’m interesting in thinking through how such thing might work in the modern context, but need more convincing.

                      It does mean the banks take a big haircut, and that may or may not work out so well in the longer run.

                    • I’m not sure how the Aussie banks will feel about every NZ mortgage being paid out with keystrokes in Wellington.</blockquote.
                      That's really not the concern of us or the government. Both should be doing what's best for us which is not necessarily what's best for the Aussie banks. Especially when you consider that what we've got so far from them is a housing bubble that's made us worse off.

                      Yeah, not going to be crying over what happens to the Aussie banks. Although, as I point out, they won't actually lose any money. They'll just lose the power that they presently have over us – power that they shouldn't have.

                  • Come-on stunned mullet, you only offer that silly line.

                    Can you do an inventory of all of our trading partners that have aleady used QE?

                    No? – well as to your arguement “it does not stack up”.

                    (That is the phoney term your National mates always used to discredit any other opinions,) – so back to you eh?

                    How many of our trading partners used QE and how much and how often and who?

                    China, USA, UK, France, Holland, Japan ,Scandinavia, and half of all EU & Africa countries just for a start shineshine, and they did not go bust with $1 billion dollar loves of bread did they?

                    • stunned mullet

                      …um NZ holds around 0.5 trillion in mortgage debt – QE on this scale would be disastrous.

            • Bill

              Thing is Red, even should a landlord be losing money on a rental, they’re still getting something for nothing (or at a hugely discounted price), courtesy of a tenant’s rent….which is often subsidised from the public purse.

              Which, whatever.

              Though it becomes a bit tiresome, should landlords revert to squealing.

              • David Mac

                They squeal by selling up.

                The rental house count in NZ is tumbling, tumbling….

                Demand, rising.

                • solkta

                  If the rental count is falling then the home ownership rate is rising.

                  • David Mac

                    Our rate of building hasn’t kept pace with immigration needs.

                    • solkta

                      Yes we know that, but unless those “squealing by selling up” are actually building houses then it makes no difference. They will either sell to another landlord or to an owner occupier.

                    • David Mac

                      “Yes we know that, but unless those “squealing by selling up” are actually building houses then it makes no difference. They will either sell to another landlord or to an owner occupier.”

                      Ahh gotcha, yes solkta.

                      I’ve watched the rentals available in the Far North for some time. Over 4 years the number on offer on Trademe has fallen from 90-100 to 20-30. House sales have been ticking along nicely for several years. So as you point out I guess they’re being sold to owner-occupiers or used as sometimes occupied baches.

                      Quite a few places up here are left to people that live far away. A Gran dies in Kaitaia or a family bach on the coast, that sort of thing. As owning rentals becomes seen as less desirable I can imagine already reluctant landlord benefactors opting to sell. A portfolio of Kaitaia houses doesn’t suit most investors: Entry Price? Fabulous. Capital Growth? Atrocious.

                    • RedLogix

                      Traditionally the most common form of rental house was an ‘end of life’ house that was no longer desirable as a ‘home’. Often investors could buy them cheap, renovate and because the capital cost was so low, even quite modest rents would be cash flow positive.

                      Then there always was a steady trickle (about 15%) of new builds of units designed and intended to be affordable rentals.

                      It’s an often overlooked aspect, but historically residential rental businesses supported the total housing stock by either rescuing otherwise unwanted houses or indeed building new ones.

                      But since around 2002 (roughly) when asset prices started to outstrip rental incomes, the name of the game became speculating on just about anything. That’s the root cause of all the problems we’re facing here, and one that’s become deeply embedded in our society. I truly wish Phil Twyford well on this.

                • tracey

                  It woukd be good to see comparative figures from prior decades. I know a few people who bought and are renting. They see the rental as offsetting the cost of getting tge equity later. None of the people I know with investment properties are truly in tge business of landlording. They are landlording as a by product of the capital gain they seek.

              • savenz

                Yes but it’s the tax payers who are paying the subsidies to the tenant so they should not be squealing either. Everyone in this country is getting a subsidy it seems from Landlords, employeers, employee’s, corporates. No wonder it’s all such a mess.

                Bring in micro taxes on all transactions so anybody with money to buy something or are paid something have to pay on point of transaction. A Robin Hood micro tax and spend the income on a basic universal income for all. Then start getting rid of all the subsidies!

                It’s completely useless taxing profits because more and more are structured not to make profits and the capital gains idea doesn’t seem to be doing the UK any good for their property – they are one of the worst cases. The Panama papers shows how easy it is under globalism to spirit things away and it seems completely legal for the most profitable companies like Google and Apple to pay a fraction of taxes locally on turnover.

                No wonder more and more overseas companies as well as local companies are getting in on the action. As for exports apparently our second biggest profit is exports (led by overseas bank income) so globalism doesn’t seem to be doing NZ much good. Then we all have to pay $6 for butter while overseas folks pay less for the same NZ product and Mondelez buy up Cadbury then all the workers are laid off after lots of creative accounting of debt and IP. Then the Silver Fern Farms issues. Crazy.

          • James Thrace

            The P test is a rort as returns a positive result from fly spray residue.

            Not to mention that the same swab is used in up to five different rooms in the house, so the concentrated effect of that will cause a positive result.

            The new standard won’t change it. It should be one swab per room, with a concentration level at .05mcg. Thats high enough to actually prove P was smoked, and eliminates the false positive from fly spray.

            Otherwise make it 1.5mcg for manufacturing of P which ultimately is more dangerous to ongoing habitation that the previous tenant smoking it.

        • Nick

          Pretty generic set of ideas…. You are kinda wrong

          • greywarshark

            Pretty generic critique – everyone wrong. EOS. Can’t you manage more than 30 characters? Perhaps the blog is the wrong character for you.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It’s interesting how so many people viscerally hate the very people who provide them with a home to live in.

          They’re not providing us with a home – they’re bludging off of us and using their power of wealth over us to keep us in that state.

          • David Mac

            It must be awful to feel that way Draco. I’d feel like I had my own boot on my throat.

            Rich people haven’t got our money, there’s an abundance out there, more for the picking than we need. The Govt aren’t ever going to fund our surfing odyssey to Bali Draco, we’ll have to do it ourselves.

            How you going with a gig? I was wondering about the upcoming potential for a Co-op the other day and thought of you. If the government allow beneficiaries to make $150 per week before clipping their benefit there will be an army of people looking for a few hours of work a day, ideally from home. I wondered about the potential for a bureau of workers to process customer feedback, conduct surveys etc via phone or online.

            Hurry up, every Summer I paddle slower.

            • Draco T Bastard

              It must be awful to feel that way Draco. I’d feel like I had my own boot on my throat.

              Why would accepting the truth of our present socio-economic system make me feel bad?

              It is merely the truth. It doesn’t do anything but be the truth.

              Rich people haven’t got our money, there’s an abundance out there, more for the picking than we need.

              They’ve got our wealth (which is much worse) and they used the Ponzi Scheme that is our financial system to steal it.

        • patricia bremner

          That is a sweeping generalization. 5.1.1 RedLogix.

          Perhaps those you have met feel like that, but I have met others who are grateful for government assistance to be housed, or assisted as we were with cheap loans, or the necessary rental when our work required moving towns.

        • tracey

          I do not think they hate them. I think they are judging all by how the ones they have dealt with treated them. Landlords do this with tenants too.

        • AB

          I viscerally hate no-one and own a freehold home of vastly inflated valued. But I have steadfastly refused (against my own economic best interests) to invest extra money in ‘rentals’ because I dislike the idea of ‘getting ahead’ financially by pushing others back. And the spectacle of some people gorging on unearned capital gain while other people who have to actually work for a living struggle like mad, is frankly obscene.

      • DH 5.1.2

        I think it’s a little more complicated than that AB. The war will be more of a propaganda one, successive Governments have given property owners a lot of power & influence and they’ll use it to protect their interests. The likes of the Herald will want to protect their advertising revenue and real estate must contribute a fair chunk there.

        99% of what people say about the housing market is fluff. Real investors know how to use a calculator and they’ll see where this Govts housing policy will take the market. It really is simple maths; an investment asset is valued by its yield and if housing inflation ceases being part of the yield then the value of houses as an investment must fall unless they can push rents up to compensate for it.

        I wonder if people realise just how much damage National, and Labour before it, have done to this country. We talk a lot about class; working class, middle class etc, but the real class divide in this country now is housing. You only need look at Redlogix there, he’s a property investor and he’s feeling hard done by because his fellow lefties are bashing his ‘class’.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I wonder if people realise just how much damage National, and Labour before it, have done to this country.


        • Incognito

          You only need look at Redlogix there, he’s a property investor and he’s feeling hard done by because his fellow lefties are bashing his ‘class’.

          I think this is an unfair comment and even if it were true (which it isn’t IMFirmO) bashing each other or anybody for that matter is not going to solve anything.

          I think that RedLogix is making very sensible comments here and is brave to stick out his neck but inevitably his message & words are ‘misheard’ with the typical clamour ensuing. Unfortunately, this seems to happen with complex issues and heated debates. I guess we just have to work through & past this and have more constructive discussion here.

          • DH

            What’s unfair about it? It was an observation which is truthful and accurate. RedLogix has clearly been put out by all the criticism of property investors and he’s been quite vigorously defending the practice.

            I made no judgement on it or him, simply pointed it out as an example of the divide which I believe to be fracturing the country.

          • tracey

            I agree he has been making some really useful comments given his particular perspective on this.

            • DH

              Yes he has but I’ll wager he’s feeling on the outer & may have that nagging feeling he may not belong here any more. It’s morphed into that kind of divide that splits communities & pits friend against friend.

              National have a lot to answer for.

              • RedLogix

                If feeling ‘put out’ by other people’s comments here precluded anyone from ever saying anything here, TS would a very silent place indeed. 🙂 Indeed it would be a lot easier if I just said nothing, I’ve little to gain by sticking my head so prominently over the parapet here.

                On the other hand I do think it worth putting up the case from my own perspective; after all my partner and I are both landlords and tenants at the same time, and encounter all of the issues everyone mentions. We’ve built and rennovated (hands-on), self managed, used professionals, and had lots of different experiences.

                Motivations are always a bit complex, but for the most part I’m just attempting to bring the ‘other’ side of the story to the debate in the hope we can converge on constructive ideas, rather then mere ‘class-war’ mutual bitchin’ and bashing.

                And just to be crystal clear … 90% of all the tenants we’ve encountered have been great. Our experience of life has been expanded by knowing them, and many have looked after their homes better than even we would have. Often their stories are quite inspiring; and although it hasn’t happened lately, perhaps our best memories was having a celebration wine, fish and chippies with couples moving out and into their first home.

                • tracey

                  Thanks for your perspective on this. This topic is similar to most in that we are talking about a minority that give a majority a bad name. But the bad as so bad that people get angry… appalling tenants and landlords alike.

                • DH

                  Thanks for the comments RedLogix. I do wonder if you’re not harking back to better days when life had a reasonable balance to it.

                  It’s the sums that changed everything. Property owners in cities like Auckland have seen their wealth increase by upwards of half a million dollars in five years. And they did not a lick of work to earn it.

                  Contrast that with renters in Auckland whose sole reward for their toils was constantly increasing rents. They didn’t get gifted half a million, they received nothing.

                  Try repeating the number. Half. a. million. dollars. That’s lotto winnings and no-one even bought a ticket. It set a lot of people up for life.

                  Your arguments about property investment were just as valid when houses were half the price so they’re not justifying any of this obscene transfer of wealth from one sector of society to another.

                  There’s a lot of anger and resentment out there and, seriously, can anyone blame people for being angry about it?

                  • RedLogix

                    I get that … but then keep in mind this same obscene transfer of wealth has benefited everyone owning property of any kind in NZ. It’s not just us bastard landlords, although I accept many have leveraged the situation to maximum personal benefit.

                    When I was 10 yrs old my parents moved into a home (in a solid middle class Auckland burb) that cost them $18,000. Some years back it was sold (not by us I must add) for $2.5m. Madness.

                    On this I do agree with DtB, much of this is due to unconstrained credit creation by private banks. People are now making capital gains on very ordinary houses well in excess of what they could ever earn; it’s perfectly rational everyone who can is on the make here. But it all has to come to an end; Twyford is doing some of the right things locally … but dealing to the root cause especially as part of a deeply global economy is the big tough question.

                    Again most of my thinking comes from Steven Keen who’s contribution is deep and extensive.

                    • DH

                      It may have benefited everyone but only a few exploited it, and continue to exploit it, for profit. You said yourself that you need the capital gain, you’re seeking it. That pitches you in opposition to those who don’t want housing inflation.

                      As an investor you also make it personal, you take money out of people’s pockets every time you put the rent up. That can serve as a pretty bitter reminder that they’re paying your mortgage and hiking up your property value for your personal profit by virtue of higher rents. What do you expect from them, gratitude?

        • AB

          Sure – totally accept that it is nightmarishly complicated and that short, simple prescriptions of any sort will be a disaster one way or another.
          What I dislike is the ease with which everyone lapses into technocratic minutiae and loses any moral framework for the discussion.

          • RedLogix

            Fair comment AB.

            It’s my sense the residential rental business provides a legitimate service when that is it’s primary locus of profitability. When it degenerates into something totally dependent on capital gains for viability then I agree, the moral compass has hopped off it’s pivot.

            But then as an industry we’re not alone in having fallen into that trap either.

    • greg 5.2

      new money isn’t arriving from china for the ponzi scheme easy credit isnt there so good luck to the speculators something is telling me if there not cashed up now there to late. bubble is popping in Australia and canada

    • Yes DH,

      We need to stand with Phil Twyford, as he is the most consumate politician we have in the Labour lineup, and has been there for years fighting for whats right.

      Go Phil.

      • patricia bremner 5.3.1

        I agree cleangreen, Phil Twyford is a fine person on any level.

        • Phil Twyford is a good man. He hates injustice, corporate greed and the many social ills caused by the grossly unequal distribution of wealth in NZ.

          So that no matter how hard you work, how many jobs you have, how many hours you work, you cannot afford that basic human need, a place of your own.

          He has a huge, complex and challenging task ahead and may not achieve all he wishes he could – but he will work hard and do his honest best, because he knows the present housing situation cannot continue.

  6. RedBaronCV 6

    Well there are a few things I’d like to see in the mix:

    – changing the ownership/governance structure of Housing NZ so the next bunch of greedies can just flog it all off . If Serco can have lengthy contracts, which are difficult to break, to “protect their business” then we need to return the compliment for co-operatiove & social based entities.

    – an announcement in a few months time that only citizens and residents can own new builds otherwise a good chunk of our building resources will not be being used to house our own citizens.

    – start trying to actually drop the population – that will reduce the need for a whole heap of expensive infrastructure housing etc.

    – get onto the large corporate’s to relocate a bunch of jobs out of Auckland and into provincial centres. They have plenty of jobs on seats that can be shifted.

    Start by appealing to their money instincts “cheaper elsewhere” and the positive publicity “look at us supporting the provinces” and end by telling them they will be paying a payroll tax on certain ACC classes if they don’t move. That way we will spread the infrastructure load and remove some of it by using existing under utilised provincial infrastructure – think of building 200-300 houses in Wanganui & New Plymouth or Dunedin.

    • BM 6.1

      – an announcement in a few months time that only citizens and residents can own new builds otherwise a good chunk of our building resources will not be being used to house our own citizens.

      Can’t do that, existing trade agreements, TPPA.

      The current existing house workaround may also break trade agreements and Australians can still buy whatever they please, so huge open backdoor there.

      Not that it’s really going to matter as there’s probably going to be little demand from foreign purchasers anymore, the general consensus is that the economy and housing market is heading south.

      • RedBaronCV 6.1.1

        A good reason to replace TPPA with Bilaterals.

      • DoublePlusGood 6.1.2

        LOL, trade agreements. We can do whatever the fuck we like. Let the trade people freak out.

        • cleangreen

          100% yes let the rorting ‘carpetbaggers” elitists of the world – fuck off to wherever they like; – as long as it’s not here in NZ.

        • BM

          Good thinking, NZ small isolated country that relies heavily on exports to pay the bills says “Fuck you Trade partners, we’re going to do whatever we want”

          I can’t see anything but upside.

          • cleangreen

            BM It seems that you are just a spinless person who would not stand up for NZ sovereignty would you?

            We need to stand up for ourselves as ‘your rich overseas mates just want to come here to rape & pillage our assets and asset strip them’ as we saw now for over 33 yrs now since Ron Brierley Investments Ltd and his mates did then.

            So do you advocate carrying on with this “carpetbagging” destruction of our country??????

          • Draco T Bastard

            Drop the FTAs (there’s enough evidence out there that all countries will screw with them any way) and set standards. Meet these standards or we don’t trade with you.

            And, yes, it has a massive upside – it forces us to develop our own economy rather than saying that we’re dependent upon exports of low value commodities.

            • stunned mullet

              ..and those countries that don’t meet the standards which we stop trading with just as one example we import the vast amount our medicines what would happen to the good people that rely on those medicines ?

              • There’s probably other places that we can import from. And. of course, we can develop the capability of producing them here (we do have a fairly significant pharmaceutical industry).

                • stunned mullet

                  ..we do have a fairly significant pharmaceutical industry).”

                  um no we don’t.

                  “There’s probably other places that we can import from.”

                  Assuming there is they will be vastly more expensive and there’s no guarantee that those places would be interested in registering the products and selling them in NZ.

                  • tracey

                    Are you saying pharma companies whose aim is to make profit would stop selling to us cos we said we didnt agree with a trade agreement?

                  • um no we don’t.

                    Yeah, actually, we do.

                    Assuming there is they will be vastly more expensive and there’s no guarantee that those places would be interested in registering the products and selling them in NZ.

                    Possibly true but I doubt it will be true everywhere.

                    Setting standards doesn’t stop us trading. It merely lets other nations know that they need to meet those standards. It’s actually something that FTAs are supposed to accomplish but fail at.

                    • stunned mullet

                      🙄 theoretical studies of drug development in NZ does not equate to NZ having a significant pharmaceutical industry. We don not have anything resembling a significant pharmaceutical industry in NZ and around 99% of the medicines prescribed and bough over the counter in NZ are imported.

                    • Medicines have been researched and produced in NZ for decades. That’s one company, there’s more.

                      Just because a lot are imported doesn’t mean that they need to be. This is a mistake many people make.

                    • stunned mullet

                      Douglas makes about 3 medicines (pharmaceuticals) only one of which is sold in NZ the others they export, the rest of the medicines are manufactured by other manufacturers offshore and they merely act as a local distributor.

                      Bottom line we do not have the skill base, raw materials, API, capacity or facilities to manufacture our pharmaceutical requirements locally to suggest we have or will have anytime in the short to medium term is pure fantasy and this is not even considering the IP issues that would undoubtedly be numerous.

                    • Douglas makes about 3 medicines (pharmaceuticals)
                      I’ll assume you’re talking out your arse there for the purpose of producing an incorrect understanding by other readers considering the evidence is against what you say.

                      In other words, you were lying.

                      And the point is that we have a base that we can build upon.

                      And that’s still only one company.

                  • Incognito

                    @ stunned mullet 3 December 2017 at 8:21 pm:

                    You’re wrong on every count.

                    Here are just a couple of links for your edification:


                  • Incognito

                    @ stunned mullet 3 December 2017 at 9:14 pm:

                    Okay, we’re talking past each other.

                    Draco T Bastard said:

                    Just because a lot are imported doesn’t mean that they need to be.
                    This is a mistake many people make.

                    You said:

                    Bottom line we do not have the skill base, raw materials, API, capacity or facilities to manufacture our pharmaceutical requirements locally …

                    My point was that this assertion of yours is factually incorrect because we do have all of these in place right now as shown in the links I provided.

                    • Stunned mullet

                      Good grief – do you know how many different pharmaceuticals there are available in nz ? How many different active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates there are? Y Ou obviously don’t believe me so how about you contact Douglas tomorrow and ask them how they’d go trying to supply even 1% of nzs different pharmaceutical requirements. The laughing down the phone will be a cacophony.

                  • Incognito

                    Crikey dick! You do have a problem admitting when you are obviously wrong. I don’t need to ring Douglas with your silly questions because that was not even the point. Duh!

                    BTW, pray tell, how many different active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates there are and what starting materials we are missing here in NZ that we cannot make ourselves. Feel free to give a specific example to prove your case, if you can. Your background and PhD in synthetic chemistry might come handy.

                  • Incognito

                    Not only do you have a problem admitting your mistakes, with reading comprehension, with proper & mature debate, but also with quoting, it appears. You seem to have no idea what irony is. In any case, other readers of TS can follow my links and come to their own conclusions, which will undoubtedly differ from your false assertions about the current state of drug manufacturing in NZ.

                    I did invite you to provide one specific example but obviously you cannot or don’t want to.

                    Merry Christmas Stunned mullet.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      There are currently many hundred pharmaceuticals and vaccines funded in NZ by PHARMAC.


                      Douglas manufacturers a grand total of around 10 of these – only one of which is manufactured locally and supplied in NZ.

                      Your links are fatuous drivel and your continued attempts at making your case are risible and serve only to confirm you as a dalcop, that NZ cannot manufacture and supply its own requirements for pharmaceuticals locally is obvious to all but the dimwitted such as yourself.

            • cleangreen

              Agreed Draco,

              Time for us to stand tall as every other country does why not us??

    • changing the ownership/governance structure of Housing NZ so the next bunch of greedies can just flog it all off .

      Need to make it so that selling of state assets requires a referendum with 75% support and that trying to flog them off without that is treason and comes with an immediate jail term.

      start trying to actually drop the population – that will reduce the need for a whole heap of expensive infrastructure housing etc.

      That one won’t go over yet. Not until we’ve got a good idea as to how many people the land can actually support.

      get onto the large corporate’s to relocate a bunch of jobs out of Auckland and into provincial centres.

      It’s not that easy. As Lprent as said before many businesses need the full range of services and infrastructure found in a large city. You can’t simply take any of those to a smaller city unless that smaller city has those services available.

      To develop the regions you need to develop their cities so that those services and infrastructure are available and that will mean increasing their population to 1 million plus.

      I always get the feeling that when people say to develop the regions they just want those regions to have more of what’s already there but in most cases they’re actually at the max capacity for those things.

      How many people can NZ support again?

      • RedBaronCV 6.2.1

        Large corporates have call centres and back office jobs located in Auckland that can be done in places large enough to have good connections ( Palmerston North say.) And indeed many of these large corporates already have country wide networks in place, and spare physical space all over the place, so plugging in workers at a different location is not actually a big deal. I’m not talking the really high end stuff, just the sitting on seats stuff.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Any home with a fibre connection can now support a helpdesk person through telecommuting. That’s really not going to develop the regions any.

          • RedBaronCV

            I’m looking at jobs a bit wider than help desking & if they are being done parked up in an office block in Auckland then they can be done from an office block elsewhere (most jobs in Auckland aren’t special!!) – and it’s not just about developing the regions but also reducing the costs of Auckland infra structure which is going to cost the tax payer shed loads.

            • David Mac

              It makes sense to add value to logs close to where we drop them. East Cape, Far North, our forests are where many NZers are doing it toughest. Freight desk lids and plywood to Marsden Point and Tauranga for shipping instead of the low value raw ingredients. Natural products from NZ come with an inbuilt core value that can’t be replicated or reverse engineered. Bogus or not ‘100% Pure’ is a handy international rep…. ‘Oh you’re those Aussie guys that do the rugby dance, Scott Dixon and it’s real purdy.

              • David Mac

                When Kiwibuild ramps up we are going to need a shedload of 4 x 2. Refitting log hauling trucks to carry ready to stand house framing and roof trusses from Northland and East cape sawmills/nailing yards is a step towards us all being on a living wage and hopefully a reduction in building costs: More productive is the best way to raise wages.

                These truss nailing yards could be a first step on the outside for some prisoners. Close to whanau and skills they could hone in a similar gang on the inside. So as not to dilute commercial potential, prisoners could do the cream. Prototypes and custom Govt buildings, 20 Emergency Housing apartments etc. The pride inducing stuff.

                • David Mac

                  Nailguns in prisons….We might need to ask them to hand drill and nail, time is on their side. (Jagger/Richards)

            • Draco T Bastard

              (most jobs in Auckland aren’t special!!)

              [Citation Needed]

              • RedBaronCV

                “It’s not that easy. As Lprent as said before many businesses need the full range of services and infrastructure found in a large city. You can’t simply take any of those to a smaller city unless that smaller city has those services available”

                Umm don’t we need a citation for this also??

                Are Palmerston North, Wellington, Napier, Dunedin etc so far behind Auckland in services & infrastructure? Don’t think so – there is some moving life south of the Bombay’s. And I’m not thinking of the small highly technical firms, Transrail, Vodafone, Spark, Fonterra, Fletchers all have significant workforces in Auckland and at least some of these must be relocatable.

                • It’s complicated.

                  A small design business will need prototype manufacturers available. Those prototype manufacturers will need access to the resources necessary through freight lines. The freight lines will need access to their own resources etcetera.

                  A business doesn’t exist as a stand alone – it exists as part of an ecosystem. A larger city has a broader ecosystem because of the increase availability of the skills of its inhabitants and the actual built physical infrastructure.

                  Can businesses move from a large city to a small one? Yep – if the infrastructure exists to support it but the chances are that it doesn’t.

                  It’s not possible to just say lets move this business here and do it. The move has to be planned and part of that planning will be to check to see if the necessary infrastructure is there to support it. If it is then it would probably be worth checking if the necessary skills are as well (which they probably aren’t).

                  When you come on here and say “they are being done parked up in an office block in Auckland then they can be done from an office block elsewhere” all you’re doing is showing that you don’t have the faintest idea of what you’re talking about.

                  Silicon Valley didn’t become the hotbed of IT it is today because somebody built a PC in their garage. It became what it is today because the US Federal government spent billions of dollars and years building the infrastructure and skill base to support it.

                  Basically, most businesses in Auckland are in Auckland because Auckland has the ecosystem to support it.

                  • RedBaronCV

                    Well actually I do have a real idea of what I am talking about.

                    I have seen some of our large corporates shift what are usually termed back office jobs, everything from payroll, accounts payable, electronic document exchanges etc to Auckland from provincial centres. Not because they need to but because top executives want to be in Auckland. These are jobs were people are in an office all day every day.
                    The jobs were being done quite satisfactorily at other locations. The same happens when off shore companies buy up local ones. They frequently shift jobs off shore, with very mixed results, that were and could continue to be done here. I can’t name names but reversing some of these shifts away from Auckland would thicken up job markets outside Auckland and lessen stress on Auckland infrastructure. No I am not suggesting that whole companies need to shift but many operate from more than one location now, so they would be increasing density in the out of Auckland locations.

                    But I’m happy to agree to differ from you.

  7. greg 7

    david parker already announce the ban BM your beloved national john key lied

    • BM 7.1

      What did he announce?

      • Ad 7.1.1

        BM, he announced significant restrictions through the Overseas Investment Office that ALL land over five hectares proposed for sale to foreigners will be put through pretty high tests.

        This government is moving pretty fast – as promised – so I can see how you might have missed it.

          • Ad

            Probably, but no doubt there’s a bunch of regulations underneath for operationalising it as well.

          • Macro

            Yes BM those regulations for overseas buyers have been in since 2007 – but unfortunately they were meaningless as the OIO simply rubber stamped almost every application. Now they are being told to enforce them. I sold a property over 5 Ha a few years back – the Chinese buyers don’t live here, the wife walked over the property before they made the offer, and that has been their sole interest in it. I drove past the property this year and paddocks are now full of gorse and privit fences down and and obviously nothing has been done since we left.

            • BM

              Could we not run into trade agreement issues if we set the bar so high that nothing is improved.

              China would certainly get a bit pissy if no Chinese citizens made the grade or any other of our free trade partners.

              • You may not have noticed but the Chinese certainly don’t seem to be concerned with pissing us off. We get sub-par steel for use in bridges and they warn that if we have an inquiry into it our goods won’t get past the wharves on their end.

                To me, that tells us that the Chinese don’t give a shit about the FTA or and that we should treat them exactly the same as they treat us. Stop all imports from China and annul the FTA.

                Kowtowing to their demands won’t make us better off.

                • tracey

                  You may have misunderstood BM and Wayne and others. Thwey mean we cant piss others off and have to be Noddy but they can shit on us at will. That is “free trade” in a Nats world. A chance to a crumb from a table in return for noddy subservience.

                • BM

                  Trade with China supports many of the services the government
                  provides, they are our biggest trading partner at around 20 billion dollars, staggering when you consider that we only signed a free trade agreement with them less than 10 years ago


                  The downside is that we’ll become so reliant on them we run the risk of becoming a vassal state of China.

                  If we do pull the pin our economy will undoubtedly collapse and cause terrible hardships for many people within NZ, and the government of the day will be turfed out.

                  Personally, I think we’re now too far along the path and there’s no going back. Labour sold our souls in 2008 and we’ve got no choice but having to deal with that and the ramifications of their decision.

                  • If we do pull the pin our economy will undoubtedly collapse…

                    It actually can’t. Not the real economy. The financial economy will take a hit which would echo across the real economy but that’s where government spending can come in in redirecting the economy so that we become less dependent upon trade.

                    Personally, I think we’re now too far along the path and there’s no going back.

                    There’s a way back but it does require dropping the delusion that trade the only way forward. Productivity is so high now that trade isn’t even needed.

                    • BM

                      There’s a way back but it does require dropping the delusion that trade the only way forward. Productivity is so high now that trade isn’t even needed.

                      Really? explain your theory.

                    • ropata

                      If the dairy sector collapses then our rivers might have a decent chance and maybe milk prices wouldn’t be so extortionate

                    • Really? explain your theory.

                      I did.

                      But it’s relatively simple. Drop farming down to enough to feed us. Use the freed up ~100,000 people (that’s just from the farming sector) to do other stuff.

                      If we develop our economy we don’t need trade. This is true of every country in the world. In fact, free-trade should pretty much ensure that it comes about. Unfortunately, capitalism will prevent it.

                  • tracey

                    You always think we are too far along to change anything. You think we just go with the flow, then you die, and it isn’t your problem anymore. Seems to be your generic idea on most things. It may change now we have a new government. You may want all kinds of things changed.

              • Macro

                It doesn’t say overseas investors cannot buy land, what it does say that if they do want to, then they must show that they will improve production from the land. For instance our case the buyers could have shown they they were going to use it for a horticultural enterprise or similar and provide a detailed business plan.
                So in terms of the FTA that condition has always been there – now we are simply going to enforce it.

                • tracey

                  AND it needs to have provision for reversing the sale if an owner does not deliver the promises.

                  There is still an empty site in Epsom where a Hotel was meant to be following a promise to invest 10m in return for residency. The owner has gone on to citizenship but the Hotel?

  8. greywarshark 8

    This is a very informative piece from Victoria University on housing around WW2 in NZ.

    If we regard this period of neo-liberal economics as similar to a slow civil war affecting housing then compare it to the measures taken during and after WW2 it might ass another perspective to the matter.

    Retirement village woes – better when private provision than government?

    This type of rigid punitive legality requiring return of rental applied to landlords is just as bad as not having any controls. Time that thought about practical outcomes be put into everything that government does.
    A Dunedin landlord was ordered to give $10,000 back to a tenant, Natalie Parry, because she had been living in a property with unpermitted alterations. Parry had stayed for 29 weeks.
    Vic Inglis and his wife bought the property as is. They did not realise that the alterations were different from plans submitted to the Dunedin City Council, and did not request a LIM report.

    But the tribunal said the tenancy was unlawful because of the unpermitted work and the tenant was entitled to a full refund of all rent paid.
    A provision of the new Residential Tenancies Bill is that rent can be ordered to be repaid if a property is deemed to have been unlawful.

    • savenz 8.1

      @ greywarshark, I wonder why there’s now a shortage of rentals… sarc.

      Not only are many houses built before 1980 un permitted exactly how it is on council plans but after 1980 was worse when they started having permits for buildings that leaked and were structurally unsafe – all with council and BRANZ ticks.

      The Greenies are probably the worst offenders living despicably off the grid, in things like YURTS without insulation or ovens! Should be prison able offence!

      Sadly the new Greens seem to have the least sense of both practicality and their own voters with some of their policies they champion. The MP’s need to out of the cafes and their concrete apartment or mansion and have a look around you how people like to live in this country!

      Hopefully someone like Tracy Martin gets on the housing committee for common sense and SUFNR (save us from Natz return).

      PRACTICAL should be the mantra of the government – if you look around and the houses you dream of aint there, and you can’t magic them up in an instant, then maybe start changing the laws to better represent the reality of what is out there to get more rental houses into circulation in the short term.

      • savenz 8.1.1

        Then add in the $1000’s it costs in council permit fees and length of time it takes, everytime you change anything you can better understand why so many houses now can’t be rented because of permitting.

        I put in a mini kitchen and it cost $7000 for the kitchen and $4500 for the permits because you have to engage so many consultants to draw up plans, put it through and then the permits and inspections. The council costs are only part of the costs of the permits. Also took months to get the permit through. Hate to think what it would cost and time frames if there was actually more work involved!

        Bring back no 8 wire and people can put in bathroom alterations and kitchens and windows and doors and many other things without a permit. At the moment the councils seem to treat minor permits the same as massive ones that have major effects. The follow on effect of that is that people are ‘bigging up’ all the permits and housing is getting more complicated and expensive and more negative effects on community resources and builders building luxury places for years.

        Nowadays meeting the wrong tenant can lead to being shot dead or injured by a tenant.


        More balance and a practical approach needed to address housing issues and militarising tenants or impractical tribunal laws are harmful for long term housing solutions.

        • tracey

          The consequences of no or low regulation is all around us. And that is what no.8 wire is a euphemism for. If you want to cobble together a home for you to live in have at it but NOT to rent to others who need protection from no.8 wire/cheap/corner cutters.

        • mauī

          During World War II the Americans came here and built sizeable army camps in about 6 weeks around New Zealand. I’m guessing most of the labour used (US marines) would have been completely unqualified by today’s standards and overseen by a handful of people who knew something about building.

          No reason why we couldn’t house the 40,000 Auckland homeless in new temporary camps in six months if we put our minds to it and disregarded all current regulations.

      • The Greenies are probably the worst offenders living despicably off the grid, in things like YURTS without insulation or ovens! Should be prison able offence!

        You really do talk shit don’t you?

        I know, you’re just ignorant but you don’t seem to want to cure that ignorance.

      • tracey 8.1.3

        Bastards Greens abiding by their founding principles to put people and environment first.

    • solkta 8.2

      I believe that legal decision was reversed under appeal.

      • Michael 8.2.1

        Indeed it was. Landlord = 1. Tenant = 0. And that’s the way it will stay, irrespective of cosmetic tinkering, such as HNZ tenants now being allowed to have a pet instead of being thrown into the street by the “market leader”, aka Housing New Zealand. BTW, isn’t it amazing how quickly HNZ agreed to collaborate with Twyford’s plans, instead of merely paying lip service to them and sabotaging them behind the scenes? We’ll see.

        • solkta

          I didn’t pay much attention but it seemed reasonable. Apparently, if i got it correctly, the alterations weren’t as per the permit but were to code and the Council signed of on a new consent which the owner had put in when they had become aware of the issue.

    • greywarshark;
      That is a good article (that WW2 bit)

      I loved it as memories flowed back to me of that time as it was what I saw Dad build in 1953 onwards; – as the ‘state housing’ building boom was all going up all around Napier he would take us to the job sites as he was constructing the homes, and we sat watching it for years.

      Labour’s coalition with NZF should change the ‘Reserve Bank Act’ now to allow “self government funding” for “essential infrustructure projects”, as they did during this era.

      • greywarshark 8.3.1

        Yes, look at the past, what worked and>>>Back to the Future. We can make a movie about NZ tumbling over backwards and coming up in the year 2020 magically smelling of roses and new houses and jobs. Who would act the part of the likeable struggling hero Michael J. Fox? He said he couldn’t sing in a band (or do anything) because he was afraid of being a failure. He had an uncle in jail. He could only go up. Sounds like us from my pov though thousands couldn’t face this downbeat perspective.

      • Labour’s coalition with NZF should change the ‘Reserve Bank Act’ now to allow “self government funding” for “essential infrustructure projects”, as they did during this era.

        That and to stop the private banks from creating money.

        • cleangreen

          Yep Draco,

          We need to stop the banks running the show as we now are captive to a speculator market that will blow up in or face sooner or later.

      • patricia bremner 8.3.3

        Yes Yes and Yes. Cleangreen, this gives us control.

    • Ad 8.4

      Mickey Savage was in full house-building mode long before World War 2.
      It was mostly formed in response to the Great Depression. The links are here:


      Also useful for you is Margaret McLure’s history of social welfare in New Zealand:


      Fully recommend that last one.

      Action doesn’t require war to force coherence and action on a large scale.
      Just requires a Labour-led government to do its proper nation-building job.

      • cleangreen 8.4.1

        100% Ad,

        There is no better time than now.

      • greywarshark 8.4.2

        War is the ultimate disruption! If it is the only way of forcing a parting between bums in plush seats followed by mountain biking in the weekend, then that something needs to separate the cosy from their trend line.

    • tracey 8.5

      Their recourse was to the vendors. That one party doesnt pursue a legal option or didnt pay an expert to properly exami e a transaction shoukd not absolve them from further consequence should it? There is a reason ignorance is no defence… so many Nat party voters would use such a notion as a loophole yo avoid responsibility for their actions.

  9. The Chairman 9

    Despite all the nice sounding waffle and so called concern for people living in cars, Twyford was reported (on RNZ) as saying trade-offs may have to be made (state homes vs KiwiBuild homes) with a priority on KiwiBuild.


    Isn’t it appalling Labour are going to prioritise housing those that are already housed rather than housing those in dire straits?

    • Ad 9.1

      Hold your breath until you see the programs rolled out.
      Then you can decide if actual tradeoffs are being made.

      • The Chairman 9.1.1

        No need to wait. The Minster in charge has already stated that will be the case.

        Therefore, the roll-out will merely confirm to what degree.

        • cleangreen

          Yes The Chairman,

          We advocate they cull all the road building now, and concentrate getting truck based freight balance again with a ‘modal shift’ back to rail for say about half the freight demands load now being presenting to us all.

          Then we will see the use of fuel will be lowered, while our carbon emissions (CO2) will also decreases significantly, and the road repair bills will dramatically be lowered, and more importantly the roads also become ‘less truck gridlocked.’

          I would say that is a good positive start now.


          After all last week we saw a lying secretive National Party rail report being kept hidden as the ‘rail values’ report they prepared 18 months ago said what I am saying, and the rail saved Government $1.5 billion a year at present;

          National said they are fiscially fiscally responsible!!!! = rubbish.

          So why did the treasury report 2 yrs ago say rail except the main truck line should be scrapped????????
          Last question=Who’s side are the dumb arsed treasury on???

      • The Chairman 9.1.2

        Additionally, Ad. Shouldn’t we be voicing our disapproval now (thus applying public pressure) with the aim of getting Labour to reprioritise, before they roll it out?

    • tracey 9.2

      Not as appalling as doing nothing

      • cleangreen 9.2.1

        yes Tracey – we need to start somewhere now.

        “Lets do this”

      • The Chairman 9.2.2

        Are we really going to lower the bar that far we are now going to judge their policy on the grounds it’s better than doing nothing?

        • tracey

          You seem an unhappy person all round Chariman. It doesn’t matter who is in Government and how long they have been in, you are not satisfied.

          Many of us are critics here. We need to remind ourselves sometimes that it is easier to be critic than creator.

          And no, I am not copping out on holding this govt’s feet to the fire. Far from it. I hope I will not be someone who holds a different set of standards when their “team” is in Opposition versus Govt.

          • The Chairman

            “I am not copping out on holding this govt’s feet to the fire.”


            Yet, I didn’t see you agreeing that it’s appalling Labour are going to prioritise housing those that are already housed rather than housing those in dire straits.

            In fact, all you initially said was it’s not as appalling as doing nothing, which came across as if you didn’t disapprove and that we should be grateful they are doing something.

            Therefore, it definitely didn’t come across as if you were holding their feet to the fire.

            So perhaps you may want to clear that up so as readers can know where you actually stand on this?

            Do you disapprove with Labour prioritising housing for those that are already housed rather than housing those in dire straits?

    • greg 9.3

      its a bit rich the chairmen 9 years of bull shit and nothing from you lot .

      • The Chairman 9.3.1

        It would be if I was from (or represented) the right. I’m not and I don’t.

        Therefore, if I take it correctly you are also from the left, thus I’m curious to know if you also agree?

        Surely you don’t support prioritising those (albeit currently renting) that can afford to buy a $500,000 house above those in dire straits?

  10. savenz 10

    The other way housing of the future could be provided is more flexibility in the law for alternative types of housing like tiny homes, yurts and so forth the don’t impact on neighbours. (maybe just a set fee to council of $1000 to check site and composting/incinerating toilet for example) or be able to convert an existing building to a house. (Quite a few people buy land and want to live on it cheaply while saving to buy a house, but hard under current laws).

    These are not only more sustainable and affordable housing options but can be quickly built with less resources for first home buyers, tenants or agricultural or horticulture workers.

    Again that would kick start small business and as people start making this type of option and sustainable infrastructures and power.

    Also would be helpful during natural disasters. Seem to remember one grandmother up North was being prosecuted for living in a garage after her house flooded. The current laws are impractical and are why more and more people are homeless and living in greater poverty.

  11. I see that the nay sayers are not getting it are they,

    We are now in a full blown housing crisis are we not?

    So we need the same solutions Michael Joseph Savage used to build us up at the bottom of the 1930’s depression, with his “New deal policies”.

    Shit that got our provincial rail serivice completed, as well as the country wide building of state houses, so we do need to look back to go forwards now.

    “Lets do this.”

    • Shit that got our provincial rail serivice completed, as well as the country wide building of state houses, so we do need to look back to go forwards now.

      From what I can make out it was spending of the government from 1935 through to the late 1950s early 60s that was the impetus that got our economy reasonably well developed. As soon as the spending got reduced for tax cuts our development slowed.

      This seems to be true of every developed nation.

      • Craig H 11.1.1

        Almost as if Keynes was right…

        • Draco T Bastard

          Steve Keen likes to point out that Keynes was misinterpreted because Keynes never intended for the money to be borrowed into existence but that’s what happened and it set us up for the continuing recessions that we’ve had. Keynes’ considered government spending on productive assets was viable reason for the government to simply create the money.

          His counter-cyclical government spending was the government creating money and spending it into the economy.

  12. Sparky 12

    All sounds good but doesn’t it always? Lets see if they can pull it off or drop a spanner in the works. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Michael 12.1

      Don’t hold your breath. Twyford hasn’t delivered anything so far.

      • patricia bremner 12.1.1

        It has been a month!! JK took 100 days to come up with the cycle trail idea.

      • ropata 12.1.2

        He’s already done a fuckload more than National managed in their 9 wasted years

        • cleangreen

          100% ropata,

          Phil Twyford is a big hitter in Labour’s line up and must be given control and power by the labour coalition to achieve his role as Minister of transport & housing, as he has the staying power to tackle the National Party shit slinging “dirty politics” agenda.

          Regional rail will return to enhance our regions again and make our roads (ours again) and safer, while his housing policy will make our young be able to buy their own homes again.

          Go Labour Coalition, “lets do this”

        • tracey

          Well, for one thing he was way ahead of them in talking about a problem.

  13. Brendon Harre 13

    Housing is really becoming a global top policy debate. It feels like the inflation debate of the 1970/80s. Even Tony Blair’s research foundation is joining in. He is surprisingly pivoting to domestic issues. Housing politics is pretty interesting…..

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Good linkys Brendon.

      Yes the underlying factor no-one wants to mention is the hard cold fact that all of the big global cities are as generators of innovation, good jobs and wealth … are in high demand. Overall the mass movement of people from rural to city simply creates a demand that places like Auckland with a naturally constrained land supply cannot keep up with.

      The cold hard fact may well be, that unless we insulate ourselves from this global demand, ordinary kiwis may be forever locked out of being able to afford land in Auckland. Keep in mind it’s the land which costs the crazy money in Auckland; no matter how cheaply Twyford succeeds in getting them built, the price of the dirt is going to hurt.

      • Brendon Harre 13.1.1

        Phil Twyford seems to be aware of the problem of escalating prices for urban land. In his speech he said;

        “All this is supported by what I call our Urban Growth Agenda. It is a set of reforms designed to allow our cities to make room for growth, and bring down the high cost of urban land that is at the heart of these problems.”

  14. Chris 14

    It reads like a campaign speech

    Someone should tell him that he won

    • cleangreen 14.1

      Oh Chris,

      Good call, but you see Phil is a welll seasoned Politician and he is now already reparing for the next election by his policies that natioonal abandoned, (expecially the regional lack of rail services)

      Phil Twyford is the comenulate politician that may well become our next labour Coalition PM in the next 10 years.

      He is vibration, bright, intellegent and articulate in his knowledge and facts.

  15. dv 15

    How about this.
    Govt builds houses, paid for by money issued by the govt.
    THEN the money issued is removed from circulation as rents etc are paid for the houses.

    AND HOW is that the Gov back in the 40,50s built so many house?

    • Chris 15.1

      Or we could just spend within our means

      • dv 15.1.1

        What does that actually mean Chris?

        our means — the banks?

        • Chris

          Not having partys trying to out lolly scramble each other with stupid amounts of money and promises every election is one thing

          “Free this!” “Free that!”

          And both sides are as guilty as each other

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