Phil Twyford: the Housing Crisis

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 5th, 2016 - 148 comments
Categories: housing, labour, phil twyford, Politics - Tags: ,

Twyford Labour

Abridged text from a recent speech

The Labour Party’s centenary is a great time to be talking about housing because housing plays a starring role in our party’s proud history.

Housing is never far from the action when Labour is in Government. When National is in power, housing problems inevitably start to pile up.

With the country again in the grip of a housing crisis under National, that crisis will put us to the test. How we rise to that challenge – the quality of our policies, and the political courage we show – will determine the cut of our social democratic jib.

All Governments are defined by the big challenges and how they meet them.

For the first Labour Government it was lifting people out of the poverty of the Depression, and dealing with a World War.

For the fourth Labour Government, for better or worse, it was modernising and opening up the economy after nine years of Muldoon.

For the fifth it was restoring sanity and decency to government and the economy after the nasty divisive 90s.

The next Labour Government, led by Andrew Little, will be defined by how we respond to the housing crisis.

Our legacy will be positive social democratic solutions to the housing crisis that build a fairer and better New Zealand.

How in this land of plenty did we get to have 41,000 people classed as homeless?

The majority of those 41,000 people are families with children. Slightly more than half are people in paid employment or study.

Another face of the housing crisis is the scourge of cold, damp homes.

Thanks to the ground breaking research of Dr Philippa Howden-Chapman and her colleagues at Otago University, we know 50,000 children are being hospitalised each year with respiratory and infectious diseases caused by poverty, overcrowding and cold damp mouldy homes.

Many of them suffer permanent lung damage that leaves them vulnerable to infections and shortens their lives.

Again, how did this happen?

The third face of this housing crisis is the death of the Kiwi dream of affordable home ownership.

New figures from Statistics NZ show a million New Zealanders are shut out of home ownership. They just don’t have the net worth to afford a deposit.

Nearly 80% of renters, that’s 458,000 households, couldn’t scrape a deposit together.

Stagnant incomes, skyrocketing house prices – up 15% on average across the whole country in the last year – and it’s no wonder home ownership rates are now the lowest in 65 years.

How did we get into this mess?

The sky is dark with neo-liberal chickens coming home to roost. So let’s try and count them.

Part of the reason home ownership rates have been falling all over New Zealand is that wages have been stagnant or falling in real terms, and so many people depend on precarious work.

The reason pensioners are living out their days in campgrounds is that they have never been able to save enough to own their own home. It is tough surviving on superannuation in the rental market.

It is the legacy of policy thinking that somehow making us a low wage economy would make us richer.

Add to this the withdrawal of the State from actively supporting the building of new homes.

In the 1980s and 90s government stopped intervening in the housing market to encourage new home construction and help young families into their first homes.

That policy – State Advances loans and capitalising the family benefit – kept the build rate ahead of the population curve for decades.

It was one of the great institutions of the post-Depression post-war twentieth century, along with the expansion of free education, the public health system, and the welfare state – that made us one of the most equal societies in the world.

Good quality housing, and the pride, security and stability of home ownership, allowed generations of Kiwi families to improve their lot.

Since the light went out on that policy, we have never built enough homes to keep up, and home ownership rates have been falling.

As our society became more unequal, with a sizeable minority trapped in a cycle of low wages, a lean and mean welfare system, and the precarious work of a deregulated labour market, we failed to expand the state housing safety net that could have at least ensured those people had a decent secure roof over their heads.

National of course sold off state houses and brought in market rents in the 1990s. Helen Clark’s government restored income related rents, and built state houses to make up for the ones National sold, and deserves credit for that.

But the country has never been able to sustain an increase in the number of state houses relative to population growth. As a result, only 4% of Kiwis live in a state house. Most people who are really struggling live in a private rental that is worse quality than the state houses, they pay more rent, and have no security of tenure.

Another policy from the 1980s had unintended consequences that have come back to bite us. The Resource Management Act created a framework for Councils to plan and manage urban growth but pretty much left them to their own devices.

For various reasons many Councils adopted highly restrictive planning and zoning rules that instead of encouraging growth and building, sought to limit and control it.

In our biggest city, rules that stopped the city growing up or growing out, just created a pressure cooker – causing land and housing to skyrocket in price, triggering a speculation frenzy.

When you can make 25% capital gain in a year, and there is no effective tax on that, in fact there a massive tax breaks for property speculators, can you blame a generation of young Kiwis who think that the only way to get ahead is to buy and sell property?

The speculative mania the rest of the country associates with Auckland is now a national problem.

When the Reserve Bank, worried the Auckland bubble would pop and threaten the banking system, brought in lending restrictions that put the squeeze on investors, they simply fanned out around the rest of the country.

Now all over the country, the fall in home ownership rates is accelerating, and homelessness is increasing.

So what is to be done?

What we are seeing is systemic failure on a grand scale.

With damaging economic and social consequences.

The housing crisis asks of us a systemic response.

Tinkering, nudging, pilot projects, subsidies, micro-initiatives, announcements that are designed to send a message but not have any lasting impact.

These things won’t do.

I’ve just described National’s housing policy.  Not only has it had no impact on a deepening crisis. But the public see right through it. It is not a policy. It’s just a set of lame excuses.

Our challenge is to re-set the parameters of social democratic government.

It is time to redefine what Government can and should do.

  1. It is time to bring back active government.

The market is failing. It is not building enough houses. It is certainly not building enough affordable homes.

So in the words of Andrew Little let’s get on and build some bloody houses.

Since the 1980s a generation have convinced themselves Government is not capable of doing anything right. That you can only trust the market.

We are going to change that mindset. We are going to do it in partnership with the private sector – but we are going to build 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers.

For decades the Government stimulated new builds and helped generations of Kiwi families into their first homes. We’ve done it before, and with Kiwibuild we are going to do it again.

And with our Affordable Housing Authority which Andrew announced on our centenary weekend in June, government will lead and enable the development of large-scale urban development projects that will modernise communities, improve the housing stock, and invest in infrastructure.

This will be a way that all over the country, central and local government can work together on delivering more and better affordable housing.

  1. We need to change the rules of the game that allow vested interests to make a killing at the expense of everyone else.

It is madness that our rules allow huge tax-free capital gains for speculators, and actually subsidise that speculation with tax-breaks.

Last year property investors pocketed tax breaks of $650 million while the rest of us went to work every day to pay our taxes.

We are going to tax speculators who sell a rental property within five years.

We are going to shut down the tax breaks that allow speculators to write off their losses.

And as Grant Robertson has said we are going to embark on comprehensive tax reform in our first term of government.

  1. Let’s put the interests of New Zealanders first.

This Government is in denial about the impact of foreign buyers in the housing market.

And they are happy to see runaway immigration even though it is throwing petrol on the housing market.

They like it because it is driving wages down and it gives the illusion of economic growth.

National hates the idea of shutting the door on foreign buyers because that would challenge their most deeply cherished commitment to the free movement of capital.

We will ban non-resident foreign buyers from buying existing homes. And we will review the immigration settings to find a better balance between the country’s need for skilled workers and the impact on housing and the labour market.

  1. We should be pragmatic about finding solutions and willing to adjust our policies when the facts change.

The right have constantly blamed Councils and planning laws for expensive housing. The left has always reflexively defended planning. But it’s a fact that restrictive land use controls have stifled building, and choked off the supply of land driving up prices.

We will reform the planning system so it can both protect the environment, while allowing us to build more and build better.

  1. We have to reclaim public housing and reinvent it with pride.

All over the world, right wing politics has worked hard to discredit the idea that public housing can do a good job of providing decent quality and affordable housing for people that need it.

You’d think by how much Paula Bennett talks about it that three-quarters of state houses were P-contaminated when in fact the real number is a fraction of 1%.

If National spent less time vilifying state house tenants and more time building state houses, we’d have a lot fewer homeless people.

I felt proud when Andrew Little announced at our centenary weekend in June Labour’s commitment to rebuild and revitalise state housing.

We are going to run it as a public service with one job – to provide great income-related rental housing.

We will stop National’s state house sell off, and to build thousands of new state houses.

  1. When markets aren’t working, we have to be willing to re-set the rules to make them work better.

When 50,000 kids are going to hospital because of cold damp rentals, it is not working.

When half the population are renting but they can be evicted in 90 days for no reason because our archaic tenancy laws give them no security of tenure, is not working.

Making renting better will be a priority for our Government.

When housing goes wrong, it has terrible spill over effects on people’s health, education, and life chances.

When we get housing right, it sets a platform for people to improve their lives, and their children’s lives.

No one else is going to fix this housing crisis.

Only Government can do it, and only a bold and determined Labour-led Government will do it.

We have the policies, and the political will.

What better way to celebrate our great party’s hundred birthday than campaigning to win government so we can make those big reforms.

148 comments on “Phil Twyford: the Housing Crisis”

  1. Barfly 1

    Bravo !!

  2. Richard Rawshark 2

    Oppositions don’t win elections, the government of the day usually loses them when it’s time for a change.

    Current polling suggests that’s exactly what’s happening as the people more and more come to realize John Key was just another opportunist. I could have told them he would do anything to tick this off his personal bucket list. Well he has you suckers who voted for him. Morons, anyways..

    Phil, when you get into power, your intelligent enough to know what will solve these issues we face, please have the balls to talk straight to NZ, and get it sorted.

    • Sacha 2.1

      Calling voters morons does not win elections. Surely the last few have taught us that.

      • Richard Rawshark 2.1.1

        If you believed and voted for john Key due to his hype, your a moron. Now that’s not calling the voters of NZ morons, that’s just calling the ones that voted National and John key that they are…morons. Sue me.

        I’m sorry a spade is a spade, if somethings to good to be true it probably isn’t a brighter future?

        • Chuck 2.1.1.1

          “Now that’s not calling the voters of NZ morons, that’s just calling the ones that voted National and John key that they are…morons. Sue me.”

          Well Richard that = 1,131,501 voters that you classify as morons.

          • Richard Rawshark 2.1.1.1.1

            That all, :).

            that leaves about 3.8 million to impress, ish, about’s, sort of.

            As my first act of el presidente, I would call for the last government to be arrested and prove their wealth in the courts the same as any other person under suspicion of the legality of their wealth now has to, just to check on them, or remove it all for public projects.

        • Sacha 2.1.1.2

          Fortunately you aren’t in charge of political strategy, Richard.

          • Richard Rawshark 2.1.1.2.1

            But I could be so good. I mean how can you do worse than blinglish and jokeyo.

        • Sam C 2.1.1.3

          “your a moron”. Oh, the irony. That’s made my afternoon.

        • Nessalt 2.1.1.4

          most people voted for john key because he, and national, represented a better governing team than the opposition. it’s not hype, it’s the politcal reality.

          • framu 2.1.1.4.1

            no, thats perception being used to form opinion (just to be pedantic)

            and for it to actually work youve got to match it to the campaigning – did national campaign on being a better governing team?

            At times yes (the rowing boat add), but there was also “Tax cuts!!” “its our turn” and that bullet list

            then theres the assumption of knowing the minds of others 🙂

            • Nessalt 2.1.1.4.1.1

              Fair enough about knowing the minds of others, but given the mess that was labours campaign team, campaign and the party they were trying to campaign for, it’s a bit more realistic than “U voted national coz u believe hype, U is a Moran” rubbish than it is usually levelled against national voters

              • framu

                fair enough – i dont go for the moran argument myself.

                Im more on the “people are to damn busy to go much past a headline or soundbyte” side of things

    • AmaKiwi 2.2

      Betrayed!

      If the US system has betrayed you, you vote Trump.

      Phil, your rational arguments are fine but housing is an emotional issue. To win the election, capture the feeling of how horrendously we have been betrayed. National’s much vaunted foreign investors have destroyed our housing dreams.

      Angry Andy now!

  3. john 3

    “talking about housing because housing plays a starring role in our party’s proud history.”
    NO….they are talking about housing because they believe and know this is the closest thing they have anything resembling a policy.
    On every measure, they fail on this too.
    Quite apart from a racist fronting it. Mr “I will ALWAYS be remembered as the guy who stupidly tried to mould chinese surnames into a totally bogus “report” and masquarade it as relevant “statistic”.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    For the fourth Labour Government, for better or worse, it was modernising and opening up the economy after nine years of Muldoon.

    They weren’t modernising it – they were taking it back to the failed state of the 19th century.

    The next Labour Government, led by Andrew Little, will be defined by how we respond to the housing crisis.

    True but it will only be effective if Labour realises that the housing crisis is a direct result of the policies initiated by the 4th Labour government and works to change those policies into a saner, actually economic, system.

    How in this land of plenty did we get to have 41,000 people classed as homeless?

    Easy. We sold it all off to rich people and offshore interests.

    Many of them suffer permanent lung damage that leaves them vulnerable to infections and shortens their lives.

    Again, how did this happen?

    Comes down to that “modernising and opening up the economy” again in where governments have removed the need to build good homes so as to prop up profits for the developers.

    The third face of this housing crisis is the death of the Kiwi dream of affordable home ownership.

    That’s not actually a dream but the nightmare that is probably the most direct cause of the present housing crisis. Private ownership of housing, multiple houses and offshore ownership which drives speculation of the housing market which drives up prices of housing and takes housing away from actually housing people.

    Stagnant incomes, skyrocketing house prices – up 15% on average across the whole country in the last year – and it’s no wonder home ownership rates are now the lowest in 65 years.

    How did we get into this mess?

    Comes down to that “modernising and opening up the economy” again.

    It is the legacy of policy thinking that somehow making us a low wage economy would make us richer.

    Don’t forget the flip side of that which is probably more the real reason – making already rich people richer. Yes, I recall Roger Douglass using the words ‘trickle down’. Well, we now know that wealth always flows upwards from the poor. Cutting taxes on the rich just makes the poor poorer faster.

    The market is failing.

    The market has always failed and always will. In fact, that goes for capitalism itself and the end result of it is the collapse of the society that implements it.

    We are going to change that mindset. We are going to do it in partnership with the private sector

    You don’t change that mindset by using the private sector – you change it by reinstituting the MoW and getting rid of PPPs which have proven woefully inefficient, even worse outcomes and they cost more than simply having the government do it.

    This Government is in denial about the impact of foreign buyers in the housing market.

    No they’re not. They know exactly what it’s doing and, as it’s the only thing that makes it look like the economy is actually working, they’re going to keep encouraging it. It’s the end game of capitalism – pure profit from doing nothing at all.

    We will ban non-resident foreign buyers from buying existing homes.

    We need to ban offshore buyers altogether. The majority of people know this and they also understand that this policy of Labour is trying to have it both ways – keep the same failed policies that the 4th Labour government brought in while trying to make it look like your putting in place some real restrictions.

    We are going to run it as a public service with one job – to provide great income-related rental housing.

    We need to increase the people who are eligible for state housing. Make it so that it’s available to everyone on a first come, as needs basis. And that includes buying up a families house so that it becomes a state house that they can stay in.

    Do it right and, in a few years, there’ll probably be only a very few privately owned dwellings.

    When markets aren’t working, we have to be willing to re-set the rules to make them work better.

    The one lesson that we should have learned over the last 5000 years of recorded history is that markets don’t work. We know how much food a person needs per day, we know how much land is required to produce it, we know how many people are needed to work that land and we know how much machinery. To get all of that together requires planning. Even to provide the variety that people want and need requires planning. And, no, I’m not talking central planning either. Leave it to the farmers, who are hired government employees, working cooperatively to work it out and do the planning.

    And before anyone says that planing is bad just try going down to the bank and getting a business loan without a business plan.

    This idea of the free-market that everything will magically come together is simply delusional. If that worked we wouldn’t have anyone in poverty, we would have homeless people, people living in dumps that are bad for them or people going hungry.

    When we get housing right, it sets a platform for people to improve their lives, and their children’s lives.

    It’s not housing that needs to be gotten right. It’s ensuring that everyone has enough to live on without being afraid of having it taken away from them. Then we get a massively innovative society because everyone will be able to afford to innovate.

    Of course, National and capitalists in general don’t like that as it means that they won’t have power over people and so won’t be able to exploit them.

    • john 4.1

      PSST, PSST, socialism has FAILED in every state it has been applied.
      ie MARX WAS WRONG!!!!

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        Actually, it’s only been socialism that’s kept capitalism going at all. If we hadn’t have had socialism starting after WWI then the entire edifice would have collapsed long ago – as it always has done.

        The next step, actual democracy, hasn’t been allowed yet.

        • Bob 4.1.1.1

          “actually, it’s only been socialism that’s kept capitalism going at all”
          Finally I entirely agree with you on something Draco!
          Although I would equally state “it’s only been capitalism that’s kept socialism going at all” equally applies.
          Neither works without each other and we are now too heavily entrenched in both to move in a new direction (not that I know what that direction might look like).
          What do you mean by ‘actual democracy’?

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1

            Although I would equally state “it’s only been capitalism that’s kept socialism going at all” equally applies.
            Neither works without each other and we are now too heavily entrenched in both to move in a new direction (not that I know what that direction might look like).

            Well, that would be because you’re in denial of reality. Capitalism is unsustainable even with socialism which is why it always collapses.

            What do you mean by ‘actual democracy’?

            Where the people decide what to do with their resources for societies benefit directly rather than some unaccountable Big Wig in some corporation for the corporations benefit.

            And, of course, directly decide on the policies that our public servants, i.e, parliament, will enact and enforce.

      • Richard Rawshark 4.1.2

        psst John, Socialism or communism? can you define the differences or are you a complete and utter fuckwit?

      • left_forward 4.1.3

        Nah john, Marx was right and the failures of capitalism are still proving him so.
        But, I don’t suppose you have read anything that he wrote, eh?
        Ignorance isn’t the best starting place for making such a statement – it just looks what it is – nonsense.

        • Stuart Munro 4.1.3.1

          One of the problems with Marx is that he said quite a lot of things. You can find a Marx quote for most things if you choose. But the matter on which he was clearly correct was the tendency of capital to accumulate, which Picketty’s work has supported with inummerable instances. It shouldn’t be difficult to build an economic system that regulated or slowed this accumulation – in fact we had one for seventy years or so – till Roger the thief destroyed it.

      • Takere 4.1.4

        Socialism isn’t dead? What Nation didn’t socialise their debt?? Made all tax payers bailout Businesses & these Corporate scions because if “we” didn’t ..shit would happen? What happened? Bullshit happened & millions are still having to suffer because of it “john”.
        Kinda repeating what Draco said but when people are a bit slow at learning… helping them by repetition does work for them eventually.

      • Baepsae 4.1.5

        Yeah nah. What has succeeded is man’s insatiable greed. Something that neoliberalism champions. It’s not survival of the fittest; it’s survival of the meanest

        • Richard Rawshark 4.1.5.1

          Well I stopped being bullied by them, now when they go on like hard .. things trying to say harsh stuff to be cool and UN-pc, I bite back with some truths just as nasty as they do to me.

          Sometimes the only way to fight fire is with fire, and personally this fad of saying the crass reply is good, well it isn’t and it’s wearing thin on me.

          If people hadn’t taken the piss out of PC though, we would not be in this situation.

          So I do understand why it’s happening.

  5. Richard Rawshark 5

    Here’s a little pointer to John who likes to draw political lines in the sand, on one side all that’s decent and democracy and wealth and greed etc, western, and on the other communists. those bloody reds.

    Well John, glad to see you simplifying it all so well, everyone who doesn’t vote National or Act, is a downright communist and we all want to wear overalls and make lada’s.

    Is that about it..John? can us horrible commies thank you so much for coming today and letting us know communism failed, god I never knew, thank fuck for that..

    Someone let Cuba know, or China. they must have missed your memo.

    Well since that failed Hitler must have been right we should just exterminate the weak and poor.

    All good i’m off to kick some handicapped kid , you know knock the PC crap out of them and tell em to harden up and get a fucking job, lazy bludgers.

    How’s you day going John?

  6. PGM 6

    A certain type of socialism has failed, sure, but social democracy is and was a huge success. Government intervention in the housing market is the norm in western democracies, and it has been really successful.

    What has been a tremendous failure is the Anglophone approach taken over the last 30 years, to treat the housing market like a commodity market. For all the fourth Labour government’s faults, the blame for the housing market cannot be laid at their feet.

    The biggest change, key in making property the most desirable asset for investors, was the removal of the ring-fence around rental losses in 1991 by National. You can pretty much track the rise of property prices vis-a-vis income from that point.

    • Brendon Harre 6.1

      PGM I think there is more than one cause for incomes disconnecting from house prices. Disbanding the MoW for instance led to a massive infrastructure deficit for all our cities, local government in response made restrictions on house building tighter as they lacked the ability to get ahead of demand. The interesting thing though is when you look at the statistics, like the Eaqubs did for the book Generation Rent, it was 1990 when rents and house prices first began to disconnect from incomes.

      • PGM 6.1.1

        I agree with you Brendon, the primary drive of rates increases has been increasing infrastructure costs as that built in the 70s and 80s needs replacing. But the primary cause of increased housng cost is the financialisation of the housing market, enabled and exacerbated by all the sort of things you and the Eaqubs have been writing about.

  7. Ad 7

    Twyford has done a couple of unusual things in this speech.

    Firstly, he wants to frame how a future Labour+ government will be evaluated: “The next Labour government … will be defined by how we respond tot he housing crisis.” Events always overtake governments. If his prediction is going to be made correct, it’s going to need an almost total focus from the front bench. They’ll need to dump most other priorities – helpfully I can’t remember any!

    Secondly he emphasises “it is time to bring back active government”. The machinery that Twyford is proposing in the Affordable Housing Authority is going to require a real re-ordering of parts of the public service. I sincerely Twyford has people around him who can really smack heads together. The public service has been living within highly corporatised governance structures. Same with local government: they will need bribes as well as sticks – Mackenzie Cowpat Towncentre and Far North Meth Retailer Council will need just as big a kick as Housing NZ.

    Active government also means facing the really massive enemies that he will have in the real estate brokerages and the Australian retail banks. He will be framed as anti-business from the beginning. He will need to have packages of aid for developers, and choose developers that can market their houses without using Barfoot & Thompson and Bayleys and other well known National donors. Twyford is currently the only effective politician Labour has – he is going to need real and constant political protection.

    The electorate will tolerate his good ideas for 18 months tops. After that if he isn’t hand-delivering furniture into new houses for poor families, he will be toast. Little really needs to understand the bet with the electorate that Twyford has made here, and be prepared to pay out.

    I think he’s also really missed out emphasising the downside of the risks of property value collapse as a total risk to the whole of our economy.

    Again, Twyford and housing policy are the only effective things Labour is doing. It’s the only thing that hurts National. So Labour has no choice. Goddam it better be good.

    • Bill 7.1

      Firstly, he wants to frame how a future Labour+ government will be evaluated…

      Yup. That kind of jumped out. My initial thought was that if that’s indicative of how Labour are going to go about their business then they just might be defined by their arrogance and dislocation….again.

      Or, it could be how they deal or don’t deal with a possible second financial crash.

      Or what-ever. But regardless, they don’t get to decide how we will define their time in governance.

  8. Siobhan 8

    “The reason pensioners are living out their days in campgrounds is that they have never been able to save enough to own their own home. It is tough surviving on superannuation in the rental market.”…while that is very true, there are also a large number of pensioners I meet ‘parked up’ in freedom camping sites who spend half the year on the road in luxury mobile homes, half the year in their mcmansion in Tauranga or some little backwater.
    And more importantly are happy to wax lyrical about all their rental properties.
    There seems to be a growing inequality amongst even so called middle-nz.

    Even worse is when they tell you it’s okay, as the property is just a cheap little place in the provinces…EXACTLY the sort of house that first home buyers need. This is the reason for ridiculous price increases in places like Hastings, where wages and employment is stagnant at best.

    The only way out of this mess is to call time on the current NZ dream, which seems to be ‘own your own home and have two rentals’.

    As the non home owning generations start to settle down, and are thinking about their eventual retirement I for one would love to see Government Policy for building housing complexes that treat tenants as long term, and afford them similar rights and responsibilities as home owners. We don’t need to own our own houses..we just want the security of a ‘home’, not to be always ‘camping out’ in someone else’s investment.

    • Richard Rawshark 8.1

      Sometimes things get bad then get better Siobhan, as in all the new migration to the regions I thinks good in the long term, hopefully it may incur some regrowth to those area’s? Later?

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      As the non home owning generations start to settle down, and are thinking about their eventual retirement I for one would love to see Government Policy for building housing complexes that treat tenants as long term, and afford them similar rights and responsibilities as home owners. We don’t need to own our own houses..we just want the security of a ‘home’, not to be always ‘camping out’ in someone else’s investment.

      QFT

      The only way out of this mess is to call time on the current NZ dream, which seems to be ‘own your own home and have two rentals’.

      Yep, and this is the attitude that’s destroying our society. There seems to be a very good reason for greed to be one of the deadly sins.

    • Baepsae 8.3

      ^this

  9. Chris 9

    “For the fifth it was restoring sanity and decency to government and the economy after the nasty divisive 90s.”

    Really? Reducing the income of the poor contributed to the ability of the poor to afford to pay rent.

    “How in this land of plenty did we get to have 41,000 people classed as homeless?”

    Labour needs to take its fair share of the blame for this. Its welfare policies under Clark were indistinguishable from the nats and were a continuation of what went on in the 1990s. Again, this contributed to the reduced ability of thousands of people to meet basic needs including putting a roof over their heads.

    “As our society became more unequal, with a sizeable minority trapped in a cycle of low wages, a lean and mean welfare system, and the precarious work of a deregulated labour market, we failed to expand the state housing safety net that could have at least ensured those people had a decent secure roof over their heads.”

    And who helped to make that welfare machine “lean and mean” by not only failing to stand up to the nats but actively supporting what they did? Not a contrite word from Labour.

    Almost all focus on the supply side with virtually nothing on the income side of the poorest New Zealanders, and not a jot of acknowledgement of the part Labour played in wrecking the incomes of that group.

    “Only Government can do it, and only a bold and determined Labour-led Government will do it.”

    Yes, that’s right, but it’d be much bolder and you’d go way, way further convincing a lot of people you mean it if you renounced a whole bunch of nasty stuff you’ve done in the past so that at least we get a tiny glimmer of hope that this time really will be different.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      +111

    • Richard Rawshark 9.2

      No for once politicians need to stop pandering to the media’s directing the issue of the day.

      Instead the governments of the future will need to be proactive and lead the issues of the day. With real solutions.

      Not to much to ask.

      Instead of waiting for the homeless issue to have occurred a really good government that was well aware of the issues their new style of government was going to have, would have been ahead of the game, said there’s going to be housing issues and we are doing xyz about it, before IT became a national issue.

      That’s the government of the future. Can Labour be that government?

      I say this because voter turnoff is occurring because of trust . re-writing laws for retrospective butt covering, donations labour, criminals National.

      If we mere mortals could only do that when we made a life mistake.

      Polllies have around 0 cred atm, things need to change.

      I understand the bit about labours do nothing for the worker thing, totally agree, that’s a given to me.

      National lite is not a choice, I think is what you mean, true part of being a proactive government would be the part I mention real solutions. That infurs they won’t be flaming National Neolib lite v2.17

  10. For those that want to turn this discussion into a sack cloth and ashes exercise about former Labour Governments, I am not really up for that. I wrote this speech to try and put our housing agenda into a bigger historical and political frame. None of them have been perfect, but in the parliamentary arena Labour has been the main driver of progressive reform now for 80 years and I am proud of that. For the record, I walked away from Labour in the 1980s because of Rogernomics. Others stayed and fought, and good on them. While the Fourth Labour Government did some great things, their slash and burn approach to economic policy needlessly destroyed much productive capacity and made us poorer and more divided – and in my view compares unfavourably with the way Hawke and Keating handled their reforms in Australia. The Fifth Labour Government did restore sanity and decency, and racked up some great achievements. But none of the people in that Government would claim it was perfect, nor that there was no unfinished business after nine years. Michael Cullen has said he thinks in retrospect they should have done more on housing. It was foreboding that the gains from Working for Families over 2007-8 were eaten away by increasing housing costs. The big lesson for me out of the longer historical frame is that a much more interventionist active government is needed in order to deliver decent housing. It’s Labour’s challenge to lead that Government, and drive that policy.

    • Ad 10.1

      Head up man, that’s a minority.

      I am eagerly awaiting a new Labour-led government.

      Very few have run counter-factual histories on what might have been different. We have to deal with getting this current tired and corrosive government out, and putting in a fresh one.

      Meantime, good on you for coming to the site. You are currently the best thing going in the entire Opposition. Which is egregious suck-up and a truth.

      Whoever the Minister of Housing has in their office is going to need to roll in Day 1 with a governance restructure plan, and names ready to populate all the Boards of the entities you are forming.

      You’ve also put a lot into your speech. The Affordable Housing Agency is a thing big enough to debate in its own right. So do more posts here, more specific, and I’ll encourage the developer community to come examine them.

      • Leftie 10.1.1

        “We have to deal with getting this current tired and corrosive government out, and putting in a fresh one.” Hear hear to that, for that’s the task #change thegovernment, we do have a far better alternative government in waiting.

    • Leftie 10.2

      Thank you Phil Twyford, well said.

    • Thank you for your honesty , Phil.

      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

      ” For the record, I walked away from Labour in the 1980s because of Rogernomics. Others stayed and fought, and good on them. While the Fourth Labour Government did some great things, their slash and burn approach to economic policy needlessly destroyed much productive capacity and made us poorer and more divided – and in my view compares unfavourably with the way Hawke and Keating handled their reforms in Australia. ”
      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

      This is what people needed to hear. That acknowledgement , as it forms the basis of learning from the past and moving forward and not repeating those same mistakes. The subversion of Douglas’s neo liberal agenda , and the core supporters of it in Labour at that time ,- and then the carry on with the same and/or worse with Ruth Richardson is at the heart of where and how we got to be in the position we are in today.

      Chicago school of economics, Mont Pelerin society neo liberalism, the close cousin of the failed Laissez Faire from the 1920’s…

      I think it is important that people realize you are taking the broad historic view here ( as I’m sure most will ) , yet it is good that you replied. Its going to be a tough sell to those who have benefited most from neo liberal practice in this country. In fact , among those I should imagine will be the fiercest opposition.

      But we cant go on the way it is currently. And that’s just stiff cheese to those who benefit most from the exploitative environment current in present day NZ. And part of a responsible govt is to actually GOVERN.

      And part of that responsible govts duty’s is to ensure that ALL sectors of society are given the ability to improve and realize good choices for them and their family’s lives , and shielded from the negative excesses of an exploitative , manipulative so called ‘ free market’.

      And that is why it is necessary for a govt to unashamedly regulate . To ensure the best interests of ALL its people and to prevent the inevitable opportunists from rorting the system and price gouging the population . It is always amusing that these far right wing fanatics come on here spouting their tripe, – yet to this day , the country’s of Scandinavia have proven the method,… they have their problems, but would balk at the ridiculousness exhibited in modern day neo liberal NZ …compared to what we once were.

      So the moderating effects of regulations has been proven to be necessary for any healthy prosperous nation ,- and not just in the interests of a select demographic either, – and certainly not the abdication of responsibility like this and other previous govts have done for the last 32 years of neo liberalism.

      That is not governance ,- that is sheer cronyism.

      I haven’t voted Labour since 1984 , and I was appalled over the years seeing what has happened to my country. And I am not alone. There are hundreds of thousands thinking / feeling the same. However, … Labours recent policy’s and general disposition suggests a new and positive vitality and viability , – something that is glaringly absent in this current jaded ideologically driven govt.

    • Richard Rawshark 10.4

      Well said Phil, you wrote a speech and posted it, I have the opinion of the speeches being made, even on housing which I do see you making a great effort for labour on. A bloody great effort mate.

      I just say things to help, to show you a different perspective on stuff,.

      In that I think part of the issue you now face is trust and not a small amount either, and you is not you personally mate it’s the labour shadow government and party.

      I mean this is not about past issues of labours terms, but from the current government, who I am sure you will agree from the day the ChCh earthquake happened and they marched masses of unrelated laws through parliament using urgency, that this government in particular has trashed the spirit of democracy.

      I mean taken the piss out of her, from the speaker to their replies in house. am I right?

      That is an issue.

      It’s not your speech on housing, as all in all, it was good, it’s the we’ve heard this before, they say they will fix things, promise us the earth with glowing media sound bites telling us how great they are, but stuff all changes, some of us have started to feel spins taken over,

      the “us” I am referring to is politicians, of pretty much any strain.

    • Chris 10.5

      Phil son, listen up.

      When Shipley et al slashed benefits in 1991 they justified it by saying there was a special benefit safety net available to those who needed it. When the nats brought in market rents it was done by way of a dual announcement between Luxton and Shipley – Shipley being brought in to hammer how the special benefit would mean nobody would be left worse off. Then Labour, at the very first opportunity, abolished the special benefit, under urgency I might add. That impacted massively on the income side of people’s ability to secure adequate housing. So don’t try to claim that “Labour has been the main driver of progressive [housing] reform now for 80 years.” That’s just nonsense. Was that “sane”, “decent” or a “great achievement” that you are proud of? I do not believe that you are proud of that. If I am wrong, then say so. But either way you need to be honest.

      You said that you aren’t up for looking at the effectiveness or otherwise of former Labour governments, but you also say you want to “put our housing agenda into a bigger historical and political frame.” I agree that you should be doing the latter because history is important. But then you gloss over the parts of that history where Labour has acted atrociously towards the very people whom you’re now asking to trust you. You need to fix this mealy-mouthed anti-message.

      We heard exactly the same message from Labour in 1999: “We are not the same government as the Fourth Labour government”. And of course in lots of ways it wasn’t. But there was a heck of a lot that did not change, including how the poorest of our poor were treated.

      If Labour is now so confident that things to do with how it will treat our most vulnerable will change, why does Labour continue to refuse to renounce the extremely anti-poor behaviour it displayed over the Clark years towards the most vulnerable? If history really is so important to you, Phil, and I sense that you truly believe that it is, then anyone would think that this would be the first thing a Labour government in-waiting would do to regain the trust of the people, especially the trust of those most affected by what Labour did to them.

      • Left 10.5.1

        “Phil son, listen up.” ???? Why would anyone want to listen to such a patronizing, arrogant troll like you Chris, that begins a (usual) diatribe with a demand like that?

        • Chris 10.5.1.1

          Tell me, Leftie son, what’s it like being a Labour-can-do-no-wronger without an ounce of critical faculty? Poor sod.

          • Leftie 10.5.1.1.1

            Rich coming from a nat fan troll and a pretender like you Chris, and who gave himself away when, whilst abusing Anne and myself, felt compelled to say;

            “Let’s look at the facts: Leftie and yourself don’t like John Key and the nats. I’m assuming neither of you have ever voted for him.”

            as if that had anything to do with the argument.

            • Chris 10.5.1.1.1.1

              The fact, Lofty Lad, is that you believe it was okay for your precious Labour party to hold hands with Key and Bennett in 2014 and whack the poorest of the poor with another nasty piece of hateful welfare reform, nat-style.

              Marama Fox to Richard Prosser: how much more do we have to be dicked around?

              If anyone’s a fucking nat supporter it’s you.

              • Leftie

                You’ve given yourself away too many times Nat fan troll. Anne and McFlock have you pegged right.
                Somewhat amusing that you won’t answer question that others have posted on the nasty Nats, you are certainly not all mouthy then, and you say nothing about the Maori party supporting punitive welfare reforms that screwed over the poor, so how’s your blindness Chris? I’m sure they have their reasons, but that’s obviously different isn’t ? because at the end of the day, no matter what occurs under National, its always going to be Labour’s fault anyway, and you can avoid confronting the heinous issues created by key and his National government.

      • Psycho Milt 10.5.2

        Phil son, listen up.

        Why? That is, why would he listen to someone whinging about stuff previous Labour governments did in previous decades? He’s written a post about housing policy under the next Labour goverrnment – do you have any comment to make about that?

        • Chris 10.5.2.1

          Well, firstly, Twyford made clear in his post the importance of history which I agree with, but chose to ignore those parts of history when Labour was a prick to the poor. So I gave him advice on how he needs to deal with that important but nasty past. Secondly, I’m quite a bit older than him and am a pom to boot so calling someone “son” is not in any way derogatory to us. And thirdly, if those four words are your main concern and that whatever bad things a government in-waiting has done in the past and has not renounced, is irrelevant, including nasty things done in this fucking decade, then you’re a fucking idiot, son.

          • Leftie 10.5.2.1.1

            Does being a Pom explain or excuse you from your rudeness Chris? The way you framed your comment, it was indeed derogatory, arrogant and patronizing, you advised no one with that diatribe and just look at how you abused Psycho Milt for pointing out the obvious and asking a relevant question.

            Quite frankly, judging by some comments you have made when “sitting comfortably looking out your window with a cup of coffee at hand, feeling all warm and fuzzy with the world” I question your sincerity and the sincerity of your so called “concerns”. I don’t think you really give a stuff about those bearing the brunt of this 3 termed National government. You certainly made that pretty clear that day.

            Whilst bashing Labour, crowing that everything is all Labour’s fault, you are not discussing how the current National government are making Kiwis homeless and poverty stricken, and that they are being a “prick to the poor.”

          • Psycho Milt 10.5.2.1.2

            I quoted those four words because my comment was to ask why he would listen to you, not because I have a problem with people being called son (my dad was from Lancashire and wouldn’t hesitate to call people son, or lad, or love, which was mortifying for his children but not something that bothered his listeners any).

            I stopped going to my union’s meetings because there’d invariably be someone there who wanted to revisit the terrible injustice the employer had inflicted in some restructuring or other that had clearly been very traumatic for them but wasn’t actually relevant in any way to this meeting. It drives away potential supporters and people should think twice about doing it.

        • Leftie 10.5.2.2

          Well said Psycho Milt.

      • Leftie 10.5.3

        Further, you showed yourself up with the following Chris “You said that you aren’t up for looking at the effectiveness or otherwise of former Labour governments”

        Phil Twyford never said that, what he said was;

        “For those that want to turn this discussion into a sack cloth and ashes exercise about former Labour Governments, I am not really up for that.”

    • Draco T Bastard 10.6

      All I really see here is Labour telling people what they’re willing to do and then getting upset when people tell them that it’s not enough. What they’re not doing is asking what people want and then making that happen.

      The real problem with that is that Labour’s policies are nothing more than a continuation of the status quo which is what’s causing all the problems and you can’t fix those problems by continuing doing all the stuff that’s causing them.

      What we’re really seeing here is Labour trying to keep the corporations happy and manage the people.

      • Chris 10.6.1

        Labour’s rhetoric continues to be extremely light, almost no-existent, on income maintenance policies. Whenever Labour is asked about its position in relation to benefits and the poor they shut down. That’s pretty much across the board, just just housing.

        https://www.labourparty.org.nz/sites/default/files/New%20Zealand%20%20Labour%20Party%20Policy%20Platform.pdf

        http://www.labour.org.nz/housing

        With housing Twyford’s focus is on the supply side, and while that may impact on the ability for those on the lowest incomes to secure a roof over their heads, that’s relying on rents dropping massively as a result. There’s absolutely no guarantee that will happen, and it’s more likely rents will simply increase less rapidly rather than drop. They certainly won’t drop by what’s required to counter the removal of benefit assistance that both Labour and the nats have been responsible for over the years.

        So when Labour announces big plans to deal with particular problems, with yet again absolutely nothing about what it’s going to do about the incomes of the poorest NZers, it becomes more and more clear, each time, that the answer must be nothing.

        • Leftie 10.6.1.1

          What opposition party brings up welfare this far out from a GE? This topic is about the housing crisis Nat fan troll and why a link to an old 2013 policy platform?

          But since you brought it up. What are the National GOVERNMENT and most notably National’s Maori party’s plans to deal with particular problems, the housing crisis, unprecedented homelessness and poverty, incomes of the poorest NZers, benefits and the poor they shut down?

          • Chris 10.6.1.1.1

            “What opposition party brings up welfare this far out from a GE?”

            The last time Labour brought up welfare, Lofty Son, was in 2014 when it supported anti-beneficiary legislation introduced by Bennett and Key, that you ended up saying was a good thing or had to be done or was justified or something lame like that. I should also add that when you were finally pushed as to whether you thought that was okay you asked for “links”! Fuck, that was so fucking funny.

            The time before that when Labour brought up welfare was 2007 when it embarked on its own incredibly nasty ant-beneficiary crusade, then before that in 2004 when it abolished the special benefit. Both of these occasions you also asked for proof of in the form of “links”. Fuck, someone with a name like yours wanted links to war-on-the-poor legislation, and you had no idea about it because it was instigated by your precious Labour Party. You’re a fucking fraud.

            I think Labour brought up welfare again with another attack on our poorest in 2002. Before that it would’ve been around 1992 when Labour reneged on its promise to reverse the 1991 benefit cuts. In between times Labour runs a mile whenever the subject of welfare comes up. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone who can lick Labour’s arse as much as you do, Lofty Son, without getting sick. It’s a wonder you’re still with us.

            • Leftie 10.6.1.1.1.1

              Yawn….

              Somewhat amusing that you won’t answer questions on the nasty Nats, you are certainly not all mouthy then, and you say nothing about the Maori party supporting punitive welfare reforms that screwed over the poor, so how’s your blindness Chris? I’m sure they have their reasons, but that’s obviously different isn’t ? because at the end of the day, no matter what occurs under National, its always going to be Labour’s fault anyway, and you can avoid confronting the heinous issues created by key and his National government.

              What are the National GOVERNMENT and most notably National’s Maori party’s plans to deal with particular problems, the housing crisis, unprecedented homelessness and poverty, incomes of the poorest NZers, benefits and the poor they shut down?

        • Leftie 10.6.1.2

          Your rhetoric continues Nat fan troll. What opposition party brings up welfare this far out from a GE? This topic is about the housing crisis Nat fan troll and why a link to an old 2013 policy platform?

          But since you brought it up. What are the National GOVERNMENT and most notably National’s Maori party’s plans to deal with particular problems, the housing crisis, unprecedented homelessness and poverty, incomes of the poorest NZers, benefits and the poor they shut down?

          • Chris 10.6.1.2.1

            They’ll keep building on the same welfare policies Labour refused to change when they were handed the the baton from Shipley/Richardson in 1999, then passed on to the nats in 2008 saying “there you, guys, it’s all yours”.

            • Leftie 10.6.1.2.1.1

              And round and round we go. So that’s your excuse is it? What did the Clark Labour government inherit from National? And yet people were better off under Clark’s Labour government than what they are now. As pointed out in previous comments on previous threads, the current Labour party under Andrew Little is not the same as the previous Labour government.

              • Chris

                “As pointed out in previous comments on previous threads, the current Labour party under Andrew Little is not the same as the previous Labour government.”

                Yet you still defend the Clark government. Shows the intensity of your work as a shill for Labour.

          • Chris 10.6.1.2.2

            And for the very same reasons, Loftie, Labour’s concentration on the supply side and abandonment of the income side means its housing policy will do fuck all for the poorest people in need of adequate and affordable housing.

            • Leftie 10.6.1.2.2.1

              Labour will do a hell of a lot more to help people. Look at the destruction your Nats have done. Quite frankly, judging by some comments you have made when “sitting comfortably looking out your window with a cup of coffee at hand, feeling all warm and fuzzy with the world” I question your sincerity and the sincerity of your so called “concerns”. I don’t think you really give a stuff about those bearing the brunt of this 3 termed National government. You certainly made that pretty clear that day.

              Whilst bashing Labour, crowing that everything is all Labour’s fault, you are not discussing how the current National government are making Kiwis homeless and poverty stricken, and that they are being a “prick to the poor.”

              • Chris

                I said this:

                “Labour’s concentration on the supply side and abandonment of the income side means its housing policy will do fuck all for the poorest people in need of adequate and affordable housing.”

                Tell me how I’m wrong.

                • Leftie

                  Your assumptions are all wrong Nat fan troll.

                  • Chris

                    Why don’t you address the question?

                    • Leftie

                      I did. Your assumptions are all wrong Nat fan troll.

                    • Chris

                      Enlighten me.

                    • Leftie

                      Enlighten yourself troll, make google your friend, and contact the Labour party.

                    • Chris

                      “Make google your friend.”

                      That’s pretty funny coming from someone who asked for links to prove that Labour voted with the government to support Bennett’s and Key’s social welfare war-on-the-poor “reforms”.

                      And anyway, what do I put in the search engine? “assumptions”, “wrong” and “mine”? Or how about “Loftie”, “brainless”, “Labour shill”, “no critical faculty”, “general fuckwit”?

                    • Leftie

                      Yawn… been through that with you… round and round we go. Labour, along with the Greens and NZ First have also voted against Bennett’s and Key’s social welfare war-on-the-poor “reforms” yet you say nothing on the Maori party supporting National’s war-on-the-poor “reforms”

                      As if a Nat fan troll like you really cares anyway. Quite frankly, judging by some comments you have made when “sitting comfortably looking out your window with a cup of coffee at hand, feeling all warm and fuzzy with the world” I question your sincerity and the sincerity of your so called “concerns”. I don’t think you really give a stuff about those bearing the brunt of this 3 termed National government. You certainly made that pretty clear that day.

                      Whilst bashing Labour, crowing that everything is all Labour’s fault, you are not discussing how the current National government are making Kiwis homeless and poverty stricken, and that they are being a “prick to the poor.”

                      And the following….

                      “wrong” and “mine”? Or how about “Nat fan troll”, “brainless”, “National Party shill”, “no critical faculty”, “general fuckwit”…

                      describes you perfectly.

                    • Chris

                      Is that the third time you’ve cut and pasted that comment, or the fourth? You’re a piece of work and a work of art, both at the same time.

                      If the Maori Party unshackle themselves from Key and form a government with Labour and the Greens does that mean you’ll have to quit your job at the Labour Research Unit, you little fuckwit?

                    • Leftie

                      Does it matter? Will post as many times in response to you, and I don’t work for the Labour party, I just can’t stand fwit Nat fan trolls like you.

                      I support a Lab/Green/NZ First coalition government. It’s too late for the Maori party, and if they should unshackled themselves from National prior to the election, people will not trust their motives.

                    • Chris

                      You should ask them for a job. They like people who don’t question their hatred of the poor.

                    • Leftie

                      Like you never question National/Maori party/UF/Act’s hatred of the poor, Nat fan troll.

                    • Chris

                      Key and National are quite open about their hatred of the poor. They don’t try to hide it. Just listen to Collins yesterday. National will never change. They’re a bunch of nasty uncaring selfish individuals.

                      Labour, on the other hand, is meant to be a left wing party. But it isn’t. The only hope we have is for Labour to become left wing again. That’s why it’s important to keep at them until they understand.

                      It’s uncritical Labour sycophants like you who let Labour off the hook. If by some miracle Key and the nats are rolled next year, the plight of the poor will remain unchanged. And it’ll be because of hypocritical little fuckwits like you who cannot say one word that might criticise the Labour party. You are spineless slime.

                    • Leftie

                      Excuses excuses Nat fan troll, where’s your outrage on National’s latest attack on the poor you whimpering old fart? but here you are trolling the back pages of older threads slamming Labour and avoiding discussion on National’s war on the poor.

                      It’s uncritical National sycophants like you who let National off the hook. There’s the real likelihood that Key and the nats will be rolled next year, National’s war against the poor and Kiwis will be over, the plight of the poor will be massively changed for the better.

                      But it’s due to hypocritical little fuckwits like you who cannot say one word that might criticize the National government and it’s support partners like the Maori party and your continued support of this dictatorial and punitive regime, I consider you and people like you equally responsible for the hurt and damage this country and it’s people are in. You are spineless slime, Nat fan troll.

                    • Chris

                      Have you ever had an original thought?

                    • Leftie

                      Have you troll?

                    • Chris

                      “There’s the real likelihood that Key and the nats will be rolled next year, National’s war against the poor and Kiwis will be over, the plight of the poor will be massively changed for the better.”

                      If the nats are rolled how will the poor be massively better off? How will the poor even be moderately better off? Labour’s never had a plan to address benefits since they were cut in 1991. We’ve been waiting, election after election, and its welfare policy never comes. Labour runs a mile whenever the issue is raised. They do not want to know. Why do you think things will be different this time? Where is the evidence?

                    • Leftie

                      Nothing is ever ideal and perfect, but people were better off under the last Labour coalition government, in fact, if memory serves, another commentator addressed your post on another thread a while back, about the support she had received under Labour and it debunked much of what you had written. You certainly didn’t challenge her post then. And after the atrocious Nats, why wouldn’t people be better off under a Lab/Green NZ First coalition government? Labour under Andrew Little, the Greens and NZ First have way more plans, with the prospect of formulating more prior to the next election, (very unwise to show your hand too early against a well oiled Nat spin machine imo), than the Nats and their partners of over 8 years, combined.

    • mosa 10.7

      Progressive reform can only be delivered and implemented by a Labour government.

      The longer this National government is in office the more urgent Progressive reform will be needed and Phil i hope you get the chance to apply your policy ideas in the housing area and give a lot of kiwis the reality of having a home instead of a station wagon.

      When the country comes to its senses and demands a general election.

  11. Doogs 11

    Totally fabulous, and right on the button!

    This says concisely and accurately exactly what is happening, and in the same manner exactly what needs to happen. It’s a no-brainer folks. Doing what Phil suggests is an investment in our future. From someone who works in schools, and sees the results of poor housing, poor health and low income on the youngsters who will be the leaders, the drivers, the citizens of of our fair land, I know that providing better opportunities for the less well off is absolutely vital.

    I have heard recently people talking about Dickensian society where there was massive inequity with grinding poverty alongside obscene wealth. We are a long way from that scenario, but we have turned in that direction and the road to perdition is paved with half-hearted promises and complete inaction.

    Anyone with half an eye to observe, and a modicum of conscience can see what must be done. These Natzi self-servers can see it too, but it doesn’t suit the ideology. That could almost be called criminal. A parent can be taken to court for failing to provide the necessities of life. This is the same. They need their arses kicked around the block.

  12. There are two policies that will dominate the next election .Housing and children living in poverty . Both are typical

  13. alwyn 13

    “New figures from Statistics NZ show a million New Zealanders are shut out of home ownership. They just don’t have the net worth to afford a deposit.”

    Can anyone tell me where Phil gets these numbers from?
    I can’t find anywhere where Stats have actually published these sort of numbers.
    On the other hand they have published census figures that tell me that 19.9% of the people resident in New Zealand, or about 920,000 people, are in the 0-15 age group.
    I don’t know about you but I don’t know very many children that can afford a house.
    I wonder if his numbers are a little iffy?
    Can anyone tell me where these figures really come from?

    Perhaps they are on a par with classing people named “Young” as being Chinese. Wellington Mayoral candidate Nicola Young for example.

      • Groundhog 13.1.1

        That data is based on the ‘average NZ home’. This is a construct used by opportunists and distorted by Auckland’s house prices. It is not compulsory to live in Auckland. There are plenty of towns and cities around NZ where there are jobs AND affordable housing. You’ll have to do better than this Phil, because most of us live in the real world.

        • WILD KATIPO 13.1.1.1

          I guess your referring to Paula Bennetts ‘ real world’ when she advocated giving $5000.00 to leave Auckland and another $ 2000.00 to come back and look for work, then.

          Too bad Bill English wasn’t in the loop when he penned the budget , eh mate.
          …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

          ” It is not compulsory to live in Auckland. ”
          …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

          So I guess what your saying is ship the working poor out of Auckland to areas of no employment to live in shacks and tents so that the National party’s crony developers can buy up the land and put up even more unaffordable out-of -reach housing save for the speculators,…. or maybe sell off those state homes to a few Australian private concerns where they can ramp up the rent …either way – the effects are the same , eh bud.

          Get rid of the unsightly minimum wage family’s that clutter up the suburbs and give National bad press…

          • Leftie 13.1.1.1.1

            +1000 WILD KATIPO

          • Groundhog 13.1.1.1.2

            No, I’m saying no-one is being forced to live in Auckland. It’s a simple concept really. If I can’t afford a house in Mt Eden, I move to Ranui. If I can’t afford a house in Ranui, I move out of Auckland. I’ not sure which part of this is that novel.

      • alwyn 13.1.2

        Thank you for the reference.

  14. Scott 14

    I read all of that to discover their only three ideas are the same they have proposed for ages?

    Build 100,000 affordable home: By when, what is “affordable”, how much will it cost, who is going to build them, and what other homes will not be built while these currently scarce builders are at it?

    Make foreign investors buy new homes: If you want, whatever, but that didn’t helped in Australia.

    Tax speculators: They are taxed now, so what. Increase enforcement by all means please.

    If that is a big announcement for Labour then they are stuffed.

    • You can read more detail on the policies here: http://www.labour.org.nz/housing

      Banning foreign investors from buying existing homes has channelled about A$30 billion into the building of new homes in the last year in Australia.

      Speculators aren’t properly taxed at the moment. National’s two year bright line is having little or no effect, as Treasury predicted.

      • scott 14.1.1

        Australia: But what is the counterfactual? How much would have been spent (in total, not just by foreigners) on new homes if there had been no such restriction. Has it actually helped limit house price inflation?

        Taxes: Speculators buy a home for the purpose of resale. That is what speculation is. They are already liable to pay income tax on their capital gain. You should focus on improved enforcement of our current laws, not new ones that won’t change anything. If as you say a two year bright line is not working why will five be any better?

        • WILD KATIPO 14.1.1.1

          You on a minimum wage and paying rent, perchance?….. cant afford those doctors fees or regular food or heating for the house for your kids?

          Housing wasn’t all Phil spoke about…

          • Chuck 14.1.1.1.1

            In the example you have just used you forgot to add in accommodation supplement (assuming they are not renting state house) and WFF.

            And a community card for doctor fees, and for the kids it free.

            • Leftie 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Not new though aye Chuck.

            • Takere 14.1.1.1.1.2

              Acc. Sup is a “Subsidy” that speculators rely on for profiting from their property speculation Chuck. $1.6bn+ every year of tax payer subsidies.
              Subsidies don’t work really when the real beneficiary is a private investor, that’s why we need more, a massive investment to build more State Homes. Also the builder needs to be a NZ based company that spends and reinvests all profits/proceeds in NZ and not to overseas shareholders and/or multi-nationals that cook their books to gain a tax advantage too.

              Using the Ultra-fast BB build as an example. $1.7bn paid by tax payers to build a network for private multinational Company’s. The builders then payout $700m to shareholders & come back to the tax payers/Govt. for more money because they run out so Dildo Joyce hands-out another $600m so the work can be carried on. Completed, I’m not so sure? I reckon they’ll be back for more?

              Comm Card, Doctors fee’s ….they too are not “Free”. Discounted “if” you can find a Doctor or Pharmacy that will take them without adding the subsidy difference on top of the discounted fee.

              Pharmacy’s wont/don’t stock product that is on the subsidy list because there’s very little or no profit to do so… so chuck, come again?

              Buildmore!

          • Leftie 14.1.1.1.2

            +1000 WILD KATIPO

        • Psycho Milt 14.1.1.2

          Counterfactual? Do you have any theory of how large numbers of very wealthy Chinese investors buying houses in Auckland might not cause house price inflation? Because the government’s only one so far is to deny that there are a lot of Chinese investors, something that only works as long as they don’t gather the data.

          They are already liable to pay income tax on their capital gain.

          That’s pretty funny. I’m liable to drive no faster than 100kph on the country’s highways too, but that doesn’t happen a lot.

          If as you say a two year bright line is not working why will five be any better?

          Because this one will be implemented by a government that actually intends to tax capital gains, rather than one that wants to be seen to be doing something about house price inflation but can’t afford to annoy its extensive property-speculating constituency.

      • Chuck 14.1.2

        “Banning foreign investors from buying existing homes has channelled about A$30 billion into the building of new homes in the last year in Australia.”

        That has not addressed housing affordability at all…its a smoke and mirrors approach from Labour saying by only allowing foreign investors to buy a new house will make much if any difference to affordability.

        “Australia, specially its five major metropolitan areas, remains “severely unaffordable” in 2015.”

        http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Pacific/Australia/Price-History

        “Speculators aren’t properly taxed at the moment. National’s two year bright line is having little or no effect, as Treasury predicted.”

        Yes they are…what needs to happen is better enforcement of the current laws. I understand the National Government is increasing resources for the IRD to better police this.

        Two year bright line test captures the speculators, five years will capture “mum and dad investors” that may need to sell for many different reasons…If Labour wants to use five years, then why don’t Labour just go for a full CGT across the board?

  15. b waghorn 15

    Leasing houses is the way forward Mr Twyford, the government should own the land ,there for people only have to pay for the build price of the house , people will care for a house more if they own it and they can use it for a stepping stone to a free hold house if that floats their boat.

    • alwyn 15.1

      Are you going to charge them a ground rent, and if so how are you going to calculate the amount?
      People on leasehold land seem to get very, very unhappy if the charge goes up or if it even appears to get to be something close to a commercial return.

      • b waghorn 15.1.1

        They would have to pay the rates plus a lease fee ,but it would still work out cheaper to have a $300k mortgage than a $600k mortgage, as they would still be paying rates etc on a freehold title.

        Thinking long term the government would get it’s money back on the land value.

        people winge no matter what you do it’s the human condition.

        • alwyn 15.1.1.1

          “have a $300k mortgage than a $600k mortgage”
          That would imply that they could get the land for no more than $300k, if they bought a freehold block. I didn’t think that was supposed to be possible in Auckland.

          “plus a lease fee ,but it would still work out cheaper “.
          This would imply that the ground rent would be less than a mortgage rate so you would have to be charging them less than the current mortgage rate which is about 5% isn’t it?
          Do you propose that leaseholders are being subsidised by the taxpayer then?

          “get it’s money back on the land value”.
          Only if they sold it, and who are they supposed to be doing that too?

          There are some places where the land is leasehold. They are very unpopular and very hard to sell I understand. People don’t really want them because they have no real control on what the ground rent might become when the land is revalued at the end of a lease term.
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8104072/Are-leasehold-properties-a-good-buy
          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10679121
          The alternative is that the lessor is restrained in what increases are allowed and then they get screwed.

          • b waghorn 15.1.1.1.1

            ”That would imply that they could get the land for no more than $300k, if they bought a freehold block. I didn’t think that was supposed to be possible in Auckland.”
            The price of the land is not relevant to what the lessee pays .

            Cheers for the links , the stuff one in a way points out that it can be done ,but the money grubbers have to be kept at bay,(no surprises there A?)

            It’s about getting houses built , yes the government would have to put up the land,
            The tax payer already pays huge amounts to subsidies housing,
            It would pay to do some canvassing of potential buyers before embarking on wagbuild.

            • alwyn 15.1.1.1.1.1

              I think you have misread what I meant by the first comment.
              You statement seems to be saying that you could buy a house, with no land with a $300k mortgage.
              You could buy the land as well with a $600k mortgage. I read that as saying that the additional $300k would buy you the land as well, which implies that buying that bit of freehold land could be done for $300k.

              There is some leasehold land in New Zealand. Most of it seems to be owned by churches or is Maori land. Waitara has quite a lot I believe. Whenever there is any proposal to increase the ground rent people scream and want to be allowed to buy it at a big discount to market value.

              I had an elderly relative who was living in a property on leasehold land. When she needed more care and was planning to move into a retirement village it proved impossible to sell the place. People were scared off by the leasehold situation.

              • b waghorn

                You’ve got you profit in everything glasses on , in my cunning plan the government would own the land forever (unlikely i know because the right wingers turn up every few elections). And the buyers would pay for the build price of the house , yes the government would have to wear the cost of the land initially although they could use the land they already own,. I bet in a heated market like aucks it would get buyers,
                Lease rates could be set at rates plus a management fee, of if you really must get a return set at a small % of land value that is attached to the cpi.

  16. Incognito 16

    It is a good speech but quite heavy with rhetoric IMO.

    The problems we’re facing (or not facing) are huge, multi-factorial & complex, and will take a very long time to ‘fix’. I also think it will take more than a few policies and political will (and courage!); a different social and cultural mind-set is needed to replace the current dominant neo-liberal paradigm.

    central and local government can work together on delivering more and better affordable housing

    Yes, but it is not that they can, it is that they must work together and I would include the private sector in this partnership collaboration.

    Only Government can do it

    I assume this refers to leadership and not to raw power and brute (political) strength.
    In general, I like Labour’s policies and the fact that together they at least carry the promise of a cohesive and comprehensive strategy for governing this country, which has been sorely lacking for the last 8 years.

    Yes, flexibility is essential – one has to be strong & honest enough to admit mistakes and take corrective action – but “pragmatism” often means, in practice, taking shortcuts, taking off the sharp edges, satisficing, or dealing with the symptoms but not with the root cause and simply ineffectual “window-dressing”.

    I think there is a tendency among many political parties to over-promise, which is risky strategy because your opponents will mercilessly attack you on that. National displays hubris; please don’t do the same!

    Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth

    • Richard Rawshark 16.1

      “The problems we’re facing (or not facing) are huge, multi-factorial & complex, and will take a very long time to ‘fix’. I also think it will take more than a few policies and political will (and courage!); a different social and cultural mind-set is needed to replace the current dominant neo-liberal paradigm.”

      Not so sure, I personally think their are actions you can take to rapidly reduce the problem, the issue I see is a government brave enough to risk voters losing capital?

      Suspend all foreign ownership investments of NZ land from today.
      Disincentives to land banking, and empty homes.
      Rent fixes, set rent prices for the short term by location or independent body.
      Tax breaks for landlords for heating, insulation, repairs maintenance.
      Increase the accommodation supplement.
      CGT on property flippers, speculators, target people who use the property market to make money, that’s same as an income AFAIC. if your buying selling all the time, your running a business, end of.

      so those are some of my thoughts that would quickly change things.

      as for changing the chase for greed, charge for everything ideology of the rich, prepared for a hard fight mate?

      Personally I think it’s too late, they have used their incredible influence and wealth to cement this in and I don’t think much more than a savage revolution is what it’s going to take to sway this juggernaut of greed off it’s track.

      Media Control. Done. game over.

      • Incognito 16.1.1

        Thanks!

        I think we’re broadly in agreement.

        Reducing “the problem” is not a euphemism for fixing it, which is what Phil Twyford was alluding to. We don’t need a patch-job, we need real and structural solutions that will go deep and far.

        If we don’t replace the current paradigm, if we don’t get a “revolution” as you call it, then all the good & hard work of one or more terms of progressive government will be undone again once they get voted out.

        In any case, I have faith (!) in evolution of humans. In other words, it is not the strongest that survives; it is the one that best adapts to a changing environment that will survive long-term. Neo-liberalism is going to be extinct – despite Maggie Barry’s best efforts 😉 – and outlived and surpassed by something else …

        Don’t give up; we can get past the neo-liberal failure! This is called resilience.

  17. Richard Rawshark 17

    I do have a question for you phil,

    When you say you will build X number of homes, I see you will also do things that should calm the speculation markets etc,

    Bearing that in mind, if you say tender these builds and market prices do drop, it could get messy later? Would not some sort of prefabs on land temporary housing for state tenants be better?

    hmm what i’m saying is building x number of affordable homes in a high priced market risky?

    have you thought about that.

    Do you not think it would be more appropriate to offer temporary emergency measures until you have settled the housing market from it’s government induced artiifical heights? rent cabins, open up military housing IDNK there are options?

  18. The Chairman 18

    Banning non-resident foreign buyers from buying existing homes will merely result in shifting international demand towards new builds. Hence, it won’t fully suppress it, nor the problems that come with it.

    Therefore, one must question what is the objective here, Phil? A little more clarity on this matter would be appreciated, thanks.

    Banning non-resident foreign buyers from buying existing homes still puts international demand pressure on local land supply, thus driving up the cost of land, hence adding to the overall cost of housing.

    Moreover, new homes tend to come with new infrastructure burdens.

    Additionally, income going towards rent which then goes to offshore owners does little to stimulate the local economy.

    A tax would have more impact on deterring international demand. Thus, would strengthen and complement your policy with the new revenue stream also helping to cover infrastructure costs.

    Perhaps it’s time to be pragmatic (4 above) Phil?

    • Phil 18.1

      Banning non-resident foreign buyers from buying existing homes will merely result in shifting international demand towards new builds. Hence, it won’t fully suppress it, nor the problems that come with it.

      Correct. All this will do is push up the price of new builds and drive NZers (who would otherwise have preferred to build) into the pre-existing dwelling market.

      Your average first home buyer is just as priced-out of the market as they were before, but at least they can take comfort in the fact they’re being outbid by someone white?

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