Polity: Newsflash: Houses are assets

Written By: - Date published: 8:23 pm, November 3rd, 2014 - 33 comments
Categories: housing - Tags: , ,

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity.

Prime Minister John Key, in his capacity as Prime Minister, promised no asset sales this term in the run up to the last election. But now:

  1. The government owns lots of houses. They are a government “asset.”
  2. The government intends to give thousands of those houses to private actors, in exchange for cash. That is a “sale.”
  3. No amount of dancing on the head of a pin makes this policy anything other than an “asset sale.”

New Zealanders did not sign up for this. It was never mentioned int he election campaign, although clearly their work was well advanced. It is cynical, and it is arrogant. The country deserves better.

33 comments on “Polity: Newsflash: Houses are assets”

  1. You just have to wonder how this is even being spun into a question, but I guess that’s the combination of kneejerk Dirty Politics and third-term arrogance for you.

  2. fisiani 2

    No government needs to OWN thousands of houses. Build I can understand but there is no need for state ownership surely. Certainly not tens of thousands. That’s just a relic of the 20th century. Does it really matter if rent money is paid to the government or to the Salvation Army? This is another issue that National know that the public like. Really, really like.
    Arguing about semantics whilst tenants get a better deal and a house better suited to their needs is pointless. Is it just fear that home owners will no longer vote for the party of the 20th century who derived most support from people who rent..

    • mickysavage 2.1

      The trouble is that if the Government does not own these houses nothing will happen. Fine if the rent money is paid to the Salvation Army but this Government wants to make sure that the rent money is paid to private landlords.

      National is being duplicitous.

      • Olwyn 2.1.1

        Yes, given what is happening in other countries infected with the same illness, I suspect that the Salvation Army has the same role in this as “mums and dads” had in the last round of asset sales – there to provide the government’s asset stripping with a fig leaf.

      • fisiani 2.1.2

        You forget to write private ‘foreign’ landlords to further embellish the smear.

        • mickysavage 2.1.2.1

          No smear. This Government wants to pay money to private landlords to provide emergency housing. The market will provide the perfect solution …

          I did not smear and I certainly did not make any comment about who the owner may be. Stop trolling.

          • fisiani 2.1.2.1.1

            Can you point me to a government statement that indicates ‘private landlord’. If not then that is indeed a deliberate smear. I have heard mention of Salvation Army, housing charities, housing associations, church groups, iwi groups and councils. None of these I would categorize as a ‘private landlord’. Stop smearing.

            • mickysavage 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Government statement? No but have a listen to Paula Bennett’s recent statements. Interesting that you should limit the source to “Government statement” and then claim that if a “Government statement” did not raise the possibility then it is a smear. Very disingenuous.

              • fisiani

                Paula Bennett is the responsible Minister of the Government. I would regard a statement from her as being a Government statement. You have obviously heard her make a claim about private landlords. I must have missed it. Can you point me to it? Are you sure she said it or just being disingenuous having been found out?.

            • McFlock 2.1.2.1.1.2

              fuck off, fisi.

              They’re still selling the damned assets, regardless of whether they’ve announced yet that (after the first flurry of sales to the sallies and iwi) they
              re selling houses to benefit their profiteer developer mates – just like christchurch.

            • miravox 2.1.2.1.1.3

              “Can you point me to a government statement that indicates ‘private landlord’.”

              Did you even click on thelink to Paula Bennett’s interview in the post , fisi?

              In her first sit-down interview as Social Housing Minister, she tells Patrick Gower that the Government may set a percentage of the houses that are sold that it expects to be social or affordable housing.

              If that percentage turns out to be less than 100 – then it indicates private/corporate landlords might be in the mix.

              To make it even more explicit

              Some iwi as part of their Treaty settlements will have first right of refusal on surplus state houses, but they could also be purchased by first-home buyers and private developers.

              I doubt private developers care at all who has the money to buy, including private/corporate landlords. I also doubt the government cares if the ‘first home buyers’ buy to live there themselves or rent the places out. Just watch the investment-ready parents gift their first-home-buyer kids hefty deposits.

              The only real question is how many, not if, private/corporate landlords will be purchasers.

              • fisiani

                The organisations I mentioned above are private developers given that they are not “public’ or ‘state’. This will be a much loved policy. Not an issue worth being on the wrong side of the argument.

                PS there is no link

                • miravox

                  The point you were saying was a smear wasn’t about whether the sell-off of state housing would be a ‘much loved policy’. It was about whether the sell-off would include private landlords (imo, it’s hard to see why it would be a much-loved policy by someone with your political leanings if it didn’t).

                  Mickey is right – there is a government statement that indicates that the sell-off will probably include private landlords.

                  “PS there is no link”

                  Yes there is, it’s the 3rd point in the post.

                • McFlock

                  pinhead dancing…

            • NZJester 2.1.2.1.1.4

              Charity organizations like The Salvation Army etc. do not really have the money resources to buy the houses the government is looking to sell. In order to get the money to be able to buy some of them they would need to cut back on other services they currently offer. It would be a loose loose situation for the most venerable people who normally seek their help. The talk of selling to the charities is a smokescreen and most of the houses will very likely be purchased by the same rental property owners that are already making housing unaffordable for first home buyers.

              • RedLogix

                I suspect that fairly quickly the Slavos and H4H will realise that they are being used.

                Both organisations are much bigger than John Key – and both will eventually realise the stench attached to this ain’t worth it.

        • adam 2.1.2.2

          So fisiani if these properties do fall into the hands of private interest who then inflate the rentals – will you apologize to Mickey?

          Nah, just jokes – I know you’re just another one of liberalisms wankers – who thinks JK is a good guy , he never lies, never could do a two track system, and really does listen to the bottom 20%.

          Plus, why is the state handing over to a private religious organization the ability to control people lives – does they reek of interfering in personal choice, especially on the grounds of religious freedom?

          If the state wants to devolve these house, then shouldn’t the people who need them get a chance to buy them at say, no deposit and .05% till they pay them off – That is if this government is really interested in helping the people as you say fisani. But alas no – you will come back with some ideological answer, which I guess you won’t even know you’re being an ideological sock puppet.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Build I can understand but there is no need for state ownership surely.

      Yeah there is – social responsibility for starters. Then there’s the fact that the government owning them is cheaper than the private sector owning them.

      This is another issue that National know that the public like. Really, really like.

      The referendum in which 7)5 of the population shows the exact opposite and National now back-pedaling shows that they also realise that the population really, really hate National selling off our assets to their rich mates.

    • <i.Build I can understand but there is no need for state ownership surely.

      The typical right-wing attitude here, assuming it’s natural and just for the taxpayer to invest in infrastructure and valuable assets so private speculators can make an easy buck off them.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    It’s simply more lying from National. They really are out to screw over NZ for themselves and their rich mates.

    • tc 3.1

      + 100
      Absolutely draco, recall blinglish during the campaign offering nothing when this would have been known to him.

      A half decent MSM would be hammering the govt over this deception till they relented but shonkeys crew have a NSW police styles green light to do as they please

  4. Key’s unstated mission is to asset strip NZ on behalf of his Wall Street buddies. I’m sure the consortium will look after him when he retires to Hawaii, he’s probably trying to join the billionaires’ club.

  5. Instead of entrenching power disparities, the Govt should consider applying the German legislative model of heavily favouring tenants to Aotearoa. It is urgently needed

    Most Germans don’t buy their homes, they rent. Here’s why
    Germany’s homeownership rate remains quite low. It was 43% in 2013.

    This may seem strange. Isn’t home ownership a crucial cog to any healthy economy? Well, as Germany shows—and Gershwin wrote—it ain’t necessarily so.

    In Spain, around 80% of people live in owner-occupied housing. (Yay!) But unemployment is nearly 27%, thanks to the burst of a giant housing bubble. (Ooof.)

    Only 43% own their home in Germany, where unemployment is 5.2%.

    Of course, none of this actually explains why Germans tend to rent so much. Turns out, Germany’s rental-heavy real-estate market goes all the way back to a bit of extremely unpleasant business in the late 1930s and 1940s.
    […]

    Soon after West Germany was established in 1949, the government pushed through its first housing law. The law was designed to boost construction of houses which, “in terms of their fittings, size and rent are intended and suitable for the broad population.”

    It worked. [And to this day renting is the norm in Germany]

    Why? The answer seems to be that Germans kept renting because, in Germany, rental housing is kind of nice.

    Economists think German housing policy struck a much better balance between government involvement and private investment than in many other countries.
    […]

    But given the economic spasms suffered in house-crazy economies such as the United States, Spain and Ireland in recent years, the German approach to housing looks pretty good right now

    (Apologies for re-post but I feel this comment belongs here)

    • Wayne 5.1

      ropata:rorschach

      A political party that advocates the German way of housing will not be a major party. New Zealander’s are committed to home ownership. Telling them they should not be will be treated with derision.

      This seems to be one of the differences between NZ, Aus, Can, UK and US compared to European nations. Typically the first group have lower size of government on average, lower taxes, more personal reliance, higher home and asset ownership.

      Obviously there is a range. The US has the smallest govt size, the UK the highest, with Aus, Can and NZ a bit below the UK, but substantially higher than the US.

      • Paul 5.1.1

        Maybe that’s one of our problems

      • felix 5.1.2

        “The US has the smallest govt size”

        Sure, if you get reeeeally selective about what you class as “government”.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.3

        A political party that advocates the German way of housing will not be a major party.

        Home ownership has been decreasing for some years now. Thing is, home ownership is actually a problem and not a solution as it causes people to look to rising house prices to make money. Government owned rentals are the solution to the housing crisis that has been brought on by home ownership and neo-liberal marketisation.

        Typically the first group have lower size of government on average, lower taxes, more personal reliance, higher home and asset ownership.

        And higher poverty due to the policies that reward the rich while penalising the poor.

      • shorts 5.1.4

        I disagree – the boomers yeah sure… but there is more to NZ than this privileged bunch and their antiquated views (unfortunately they do vote, whereas so many don’t)

        The reason many, including myself, desire homeownership is because renting is such a f___king nightmere. A rental market akin to Germany and other European countries is exactly the sort of thing I want and is a vote catcher not a turnoff

    • Jones 5.2

      Absolutely… and instead of investing capital into a non-productive assets, like houses, they poured their money into homegrown businesses and industry. Now where does Germany sit today in terms of wealth per capita comparative to NZ?

  6. coaster 6

    I personally think it is asset sales, but this goes on all the time, the soe, s sell bits and buy bits.
    has transpower sold any lines to private companys recenlty?

    • The SOEs are state owned: that means they should not be parcelled out piece by piece. The government has a responsibility to look after these assets for future generations.

  7. Jan Rivers 7

    Here is the National party social housing policy.
    https://www.national.org.nz/docs/default-source/PDF/2014/policy/social-housing.pdf
    There is nothing that hints at assets sales or the provision of landlord subsidies – quite the opposite. The closest is a statement to the effect that the law has already been changed to “facilitate a shift from state housing to a range of new social housing providers” . My understanding is that the new law did not actually achieve that. Rather it set the option for social housing providers to provide subsidies on the same basis as Housing New Zealand. SOE’s can divest themselves of assets (and purchase assets) without reference to new legislation and presumably with the oversight of the share-holding Minister.

    However given that we were promised on many occasions that there were few assets remaining to be sold and from he PM that he did not see any new assets being sold today’s news is a very bad breach of trust with New Zealanders.

    I understand that the SOE requirement to return profits to government has been particularly problematic for public housing over several governments – in fact since the SOE Acts. If the profits has been consistently reinvested in repairs and new housing (as any responsible asset owner) our public housing stock would be in much better shape now.

    I’m speculating also that there is also a problem for a future government that wishes to reinvest in social or public housing if the TPPA is passed and/ or the WTO government procurement agreement is signed. Any foreign investor in private rental housing that receives subsidies could potentially make a case that their future profits are dented if the government legislates to stop rent subsidies and hey presto – a potential investor state dispute tribunal loons.

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  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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