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Preserving your stake in NZ

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, November 4th, 2009 - 64 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

As Marty G has pointed out Bill English is looking into killing the tax advantages for investing in housing. Good.

But it’s not nearly enough.

Every person in New Zealand should have the right to exist somewhere without having to pay for it. And yet as the Herald reports today, house prices continue to increase:

Auckland property prices surged nearly 6 per cent in October, says real estate company Barfoot & Thompson.

The Average sales price across the region in October was $544,745, a 22-month high.

We’re going to need more radical solutions than closing a tax loophole if we’re going to maintain every Kiwi’s right to a slice of paradise.

64 comments on “Preserving your stake in NZ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Another ill-informed moronic post spreading misinformation.

    As I’ve stated repeatedly… in the long run LAQC’s confer no tax advantage that is not available to any other kind of business.

    The real problem is that banks will lend 80% or more of LVR, and in order to compete for business they’ll let that ratio go as high as 100%. (In the USA it even got as high as 110%… people were encouraged to use their homes as ATM’s based solely on speculative future values.)

    Funny how everyone gets all anxious and panicky about wage inflation. And how everyone accepts tight regulations on unions to restrain it. Yet massive asset price inflation went on for more than a decade… and no-one had the guts to say what was needed.

    The radical reform you want is tough banking regulations.

    That’s it from me… real work to do.

    • Michael Foxglove 1.1

      The real problem is the landed gentry. I’m sorry if that offends you Redlogix.

  2. Lew 2

    Every person in New Zealand should have the right to exist somewhere without having to pay for it.

    Say what?


    • Daveo 2.1

      Could have been phrased better, but the point is pretty clear. This is a basic principle of justice. There’s no inherent right to property in land, and to hoard land and force others to pay to live on it is immoral.

      A just society should provide all its citizens with either enough land to live on or the means to purchase it. At the very least it should try to keep land at affordable levels, and that means working to drive out landlordism and speculation.

      Clearly improvements to the land are another matter.

      • Pat 2.1.1

        Free land for everyone – do you prefer the Shanty Town model or the Wandering Nomad model?

        • Michael Foxglove

          Well said Daveo.

          To the critics of the principle that every person has a right to place to live and rest, I ask you this:

          From what principle does the right to keep and hoard large tracts of land in private ownership derive?

  3. Adolf Fiinkensein 3

    Yes Lew. You spotted it too?

    Socialist paradise. Everyone has rights, nobody pays.

    • Daveo 3.1

      Mate, you’re the one assuming there’s a right to own as much land as you like, drive prices up and force people to pay you for the privilege of living on it.

      New Zealand’s never going to become a productive nation until people like Adolf give up this idea that we can make our way in the world by extorting rent out of the poor and then flicking the property on for a capital gain.

      • Adolf Fiinkensein 3.1.1

        Did you ever stop to think that nobody can simply ‘own as much land as he likes’ without first working for it? Do you consider your idol Helen Clark is ‘extorting rent out of the poor’ when she owns and operates five investment properties?

        Your land ownership theories have been shown to work very well in North Korea.

        • Michael Foxglove

          “Your land ownership theories have been shown to work very well in North Korea.”

          Adolf – I wasn’t developing a theory of land distribution in my 80 word post. My point was the principle that every person deserves a place to live. Do you care to justify your principle, and answer the question I posed earlier?

  4. ak 4

    Housing affordability is the number one cause of the hopelessness and desperation we see manifest daily.

    The unemployed and those grinding under fire-at-will and menial serfdom without a snowball’s chance of ever, ever, escaping the misery of handing over huge dollops of their meagre, hard-wrought cash to smug landlords will eventually succumb to desperation – or slowly and agonisingly cash their chips early, at huge cost socially and personally.

    Doesn’t need to continue. It’s why Michael Joseph still sits head and shoulders above all others on my wall. And why I pray daily for his reincarnation – or even a ghostly shimmer of his courage, determination and pure motivation. Kia kaha Sue Bradford and you fine Standardistas, pull finger you young Labour turks.

  5. ieuan 5

    So ‘The Standard’ has finally been taken over by the Socialist dreamers.

    My view of life is that ‘people value things based on what it cost them’, which is pretty much at odds with Socialist thinking.

    [lprent: Don’t be an idiot all of your life – read the about. Then if you have a brain you can contemplate what the effect of having a multi-user blog and no significant editorial policy has on what gets written. We allow more opinions from the whole of the leftish labour movement and beyond.

    Personally I’m a reluctant socialist and it sounds like the Nats are more socialist than I am. Argue the points – don’t hide behind a bloody machine – it is just damn lazy.

    Just to encourage you to read the policy, you’re banned for two weeks for having a case of self-inflicted stupidity for thinking that software has an opinion on anything.

    Ah that felt good… I haven’t banned anyone for a *long* time. I swear it is addictive…]

    • Michael Foxglove 5.1

      A disciple of Hayek? I’m not the dreamer ieuan. Your ideology is the dream. Or rather, nightmare.

      Care to answer the question I posed earlier? Justify yourself.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      IIRC, you’re the type of person who thinks taxes are the government stealing money from you.

    • TightyRighty 5.3

      damn i hate agreeing with the most of the people on this site. but just to be fair and reasonable i have made myself do it whenever i spot the opportunity. The National party is appearing to be more socialist than you. god that hurt.

  6. Every person in New Zealand should have the right to exist somewhere without having to pay for it.

    So does every other New Zealander have to pay for it for them, then?

    • Michael Foxglove 6.1

      Peter – No. Guaranteeing a person a place to live doesn’t load costs on anyone else. Perhaps you care to answer the question I posed earlier? Let me restate:

      From what principle does the right to keep and hoard large tracts of land in private ownership derive?

      • Lew 6.1.1

        I’m pretty sure PC can answer that question, too.


        • Daveo

          I’m sure he can, but I doubt he can answer it satisfactorily. So-called ‘libertarian’ ideology is based on a few crucial assumptions about property ownership that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

          • Lew

            But the point is that then you’re into an argument on the merits — messy things, those. In this case Michael will need to argue against the principle underpinning property rights. That’s an awfully hard position to defend.


            • Daveo

              I don’t see anyone here making an argument against property rights as a useful social institution. The argument is against the libertarian belief individuals should be allowed to own as much land as they like, at the exclusion of others.

            • Quoth the Raven

              Daveo – There are numerous libertarian ideas about property. I wonder what Noam Chomsky would think of your contention or georgists etc. You’re just making a silly blanket statement.

      • Rob 6.1.2

        Michael, as it was brought to your attention earler, it is not only the collective right that owns investment properties.

        So maybe your question is “what gives a person the right to keep and hoard large tracts of land in private ownership”.

        The answer is that “the person is willing and able to purchase and maintain those tracts of land”

  7. barry 7

    Oh will people never get over this.
    1. people live in houses.
    2. Some one has to own the house,
    3. And if its not a communist society, then people own the houses.
    4. There will only be a ‘housing bubble’ when investors are buying up EMPTY houses. When that happens there is something wrong – but so far the only places they build empty houses are – um – communist societies.

    Now – why do investoprs buy houses and not say telecom or Air NZ shares, etc.
    Beacuse historically owning shares in NZ companies has been the path to wealth destruction. If you took the top 10 or 20 on the NZX ten years ago and invested money in them, then today you have about a 10% growth. Only a fool would do this twice (yes – I did it once – never again). If you had access to all the companies plans and figures then maybe you could make an educated investment. But other wise you dont know what many of these fools are up to. Who knew that AirNZ would make such a stupid decision to by ansett, or who knew that telecom would pay stupidly high money for transmission rights that would never be worth a tenth of what they paid, or who knew that carter Holt would be run so badly, etc, etc And we see only a few eeks ago SCF floating at $1 and now they are 54c (mind you all meat companies have performed exactly the same – except a few private owned ones).
    So thats why people buy properties. Its almost impossible for property to crash like shares do. I mean today if you buy a property that isnt on the beach, has eves and an angled roof, and brick wall veneers, then you can be almost certain that it will be a good building. Nows its just the area and the return you want. Student accomodation – No capital growth but very good income. Industrial building – good returns but it can take time to get a lease. You know the risks. But with shares – you have no idea most of the time – its a gamble.

    Look – if public companies

    • George D 7.1

      We have the Government owning quite a few houses actually. When they were provided cheaply, housing was cheap.

  8. tc 8

    Big Picture ” we want to catch OZ “…GDP/Per capita blah blah blah……get our mate Don to help etc etc…wake up NZ !
    Oz has a CGT it works on a sliding scale so the family home is tax free, Keating put that in when compulsory super was rolled out. OZ also has a massive mineral/oil & gas reserve it exports…..we have milk/meat.
    This whole concept is flawed as Oz has a maturing workforce about to retire on 20 years of mandatory super funds from workers and employers so the burden on State is minimal and some I know will not need a cent.
    Kiwisaver finally started us off down that track….too little to late to catch Oz but at least Cullen/Clark had the vision to try it again.
    So I see this whole TVNZ7/blinglish love in as just more smoke and an excuse to enhance their sell off/privatise/expolit natural resources agenda, we are fundamentally unlike Oz……always will be economically as Oz is a resource based economy.
    To suggest we catch them IMHO shows how easily NACT can drive the agenda into no-mans land and get on with their real agenda……SELL SELL SELL.

  9. JD 9

    “Peter No. Guaranteeing a person a place to live doesn’t load costs on anyone else. ”

    So houses grow on trees? Are you planning to use slave labour to construct so it costs anybody? How will this miracle take take place?

    • Pat 9.1

      Apparently you guarantee them some land to live on, and the rest is up to them.

      Make mine a house of straw (and then my donkey can chew open a doorway).

      • Lew 9.1.1

        Time was, once, that 40 acres and a mule was deemed sufficient for a family.

        Google tells me NZ’s land area is 66 million acres, give or take, and with (say) a million families of four people each, I figure that’s doable with a bit to spare.

        Now, where to find a million mules …


        • Pat

          I want some nice pristine DOC coastline, please. On top of some mineral reserves. I shall feast on seals and dotterels. One decent sized kauri should be sufficient for my bach.

        • lprent

          Actually no. Work on a maximum of about 40% potentially possible for NZ if you take the extreme of habitability from memory (ie muldoon SMP’s with the consequent erosion).

          NZ is a damn hilly place with some nasty habits of falling into the local rivers and seacoasts

          • Lew

            Lynn, yeah, because THAT is the biggest problem with this scheme.

            In the words of a certain software entrepreneur, 40 acres should be enough for anyone. And if someone doesn’t like the acres they’ve got, then screw ’em — they’re obviously unfit for the agrarian utopia anyhow.


    • Michael Foxglove 9.2

      House prices aren’t increasing JD. Land prices are.

      • Lew 9.2.1

        House prices aren’t increasing JD. Land prices are.

        Say what?

        It’s becoming clearer to me that you actually don’t know what you’re on about.


        • Michael Foxglove

          Lew – You don’t have a clue do you? The scarce resource is the land, not the house. More houses can be built, land is finite. The greatest increase in value of property over the past decade has been in the LAND value.

          • Lew

            That’s quite a different statement.

            [deleted] No need for personal abuse Lew – Michael

            • Lew

              Michael, pointing out that you’re making outrageous statements and then defending them as if they’re much lesser statements isn’t personal abuse. Deleting comments to that effect, however, is an abuse of your position as a moderator.

              You said “Every person in New Zealand should have the right to exist somewhere without having to pay for it.” and then defended Daveo’s statement “A just society should provide all its citizens with either enough land to live on or the means to purchase it. At the very least it should try to keep land at affordable levels, and that means working to drive out landlordism and speculation.” There’s a big gap — both in principle and in practice — between those two statements, and you can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist.

              You then said “House prices aren’t increasing JD. Land prices are.” and tried to defend “House prices aren’t increasing JD. Land prices are.” There’s a hell of a lot of daylight between those statements as well.

              If you can’t argue the merits, then don’t — but let us who can do so.

              So I say again: you’re playing the same game of argumentation as the Birthers. Proposition P logically leads to action A, so you assert Proposition P. The trouble is Proposition P is indefensible, so you fall back to Proposition Q and use that to argue Action A when it doesn’t follow.



            • Michael Foxglove

              Lew said:

              You then said
              “House prices aren’t increasing JD. Land prices are.’ and tried to defend
              “House prices aren’t increasing JD. Land prices are.’ There’s a hell of a lot of daylight between those statements as well.

              There’s your ‘fail’ mate.

              Update: And Lew, this post was not an attempt at an academic argument in favour of a particular style of land distribution. If it were, I would’ve been more careful with the semantics. Like I said, I’m keen to follow up later.

            • Lew


              There’s your ‘fail’ mate.

              Guilty as charged — crap at copy and paste. But at least my reasoning holds.

              Of course, it should have been “The scarce resource is the land, not the house. More houses can be built, land is finite. The greatest increase in value of property over the past decade has been in the LAND value.”

              I take it by your mocking my keyboard incompetence and ignoring the substance, you accept the substantive criticism? Good. Mate.


            • Michael Foxglove

              “I take it by your mocking my keyboard incompetence and ignoring the substance, you accept the substantive criticism?”

              No Lew. I don’t. The two statements are substantially the same. One was written quickly, since it’s a busy weekday. The other was written when it was clear you weren’t sure what it meant. If trying to reply quickly and then elucidating opens me up for criticism, then so be it.

              To be quite frank though, it’s petty.

            • felix

              To be quite frank though, it’s petty.

              To be quite petty though, it’s Lew – not Frank.

  10. weizguy 10

    Putting aside the ideological argument for one second, can someone explain to me how this would work in practice? Michael?
    Are you suggesting that the state apportions a piece of land to each New Zealander at birth?
    Are Immigrants entitled to the right to exist somewhere in NZ? If so, where? And at what point?
    What should happen to land currently in private ownership?
    For a start…

    • Michael Foxglove 10.1

      Good questions weizguy. I think these are significant enough to be the subject of an upcoming weekend post in themselves. Be good to hear what others have to say on the subject too.

      So I’ll keep your questions in my desk, and pull them out for discussion when I have a bit of time.

      • Daveski 10.1.1

        Funny thing is that wherever this principle has been applied – Soviet Union, North Korea etc – it has been abused. So instead of money being the currency, power and influence takes over. The problem is not principles but people.

  11. Blue 11

    New Zealand is changing, Michael. We still have that old Kiwi dream of the majority of the population owning their own homes, but that dream is dying, if not already dead.

    I read an interesting column in a property rag recently which matter-of-factly stated that home ownership in NZ will become the preserve only of those on well above-average incomes and/or who have parents who are willing to help them get a home.

    Welcome to the new Kiwi dream – renting all your life. Admittedly it was written by a real estate agent, but I could see his vision becoming reality – most houses eventually concentrated in the hands of a small group of wealthy investors who rent them out to everyone else. There’s nothing to stop it happening.

  12. roger nome 12

    Lew –

    Isn’t this essentially an argument about market rents and affordable rents for the poor? New Zealand has a long and proud history of making sure people, what ever their means, are able to live in dignified circumstances. Starting with the first state house in 1937 at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar, Wellington, this has continued with a few interruptions – notably National’s introduction of market rents for state houses in the 1990s, as part of its savage attack on NZ’s poor.

    Maybe you need to read this wee online series on the subject:


    • Lew 12.1

      roger, I think it could be such an argument, but it isn’t.


      • Michael Foxglove 12.1.1

        Lew – I think you’ve misunderstood what I was trying to convey. I’m going to follow up on the weekend with a bit more depth. Be good to have your contributions then.

  13. roger nome 13

    I look forward to a bit more clarity in the discussion. Would be better than the slagging match we’ve seen so far …

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    The problem with this topic is that MF only put forward a minor piece of a basic part of a very complex whole. Then people went all apeshite at him as they failed to understand that point.

    Could we house everyone in NZ? Of course we could.
    Could we give everyone in NZ 40 acres and leave them to it? No, that would be as much of a failure as the present delusional system that we have.

    • felix 14.1

      Yeah, it’s like when you say
      “there’s too much dairying in NZ”

      and you think it’s clear that you mean
      “we, as a nation, produce and consume more dairy products than we probably should for the good of our health and the diversity of our economic base”

      and the reaction is

    • Lew 14.2


      Could we give everyone in NZ 40 acres and leave them to it? No, that would be as much of a failure as the present delusional system that we have.

      Crikey, you reckon it’d be that good? If it were it might be worth trying.

      That bit about 40 acres and a mule was a urine-extraction exercise, for the record. But honestly — the post was so malformed as to be pointless to argue in any seriousness. Hopefully the forthcoming reprise will be a little bit less like the ramblings of a leftie pub-philosopher. Not that I have anything against those, I just need ’em to be clearly marked out as such so I can respond appropriately.


      • BLiP 14.2.1


      • Draco T Bastard 14.2.2

        Crikey, you reckon it’d be that good? If it were it might be worth trying.

        It’s inherently unsustainable same as the present system so changing to it would just be a waste resources.

        But honestly — the post was so malformed as to be pointless to argue in any seriousness. Hopefully the forthcoming reprise will be a little bit less like the ramblings of a leftie pub-philosopher.

        Yeah, I’d agree with that in regards to the post but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile and guaranteed housing isn’t really a problem (we have the resources to do it). Sure, it’d be high rise apartment buildings and not country mansions but that’s not bad. Would help with the mass transit systems and take pressure off the need for land as well.

      • Daveo 14.2.3

        God you can be a smug wanker Lew. Sometimes people write posts in shorthand assuming a basic level of background or at least good faith from their readers.Not every blog has to write boring 10,000 word posts like you do.

        • Lew

          Aww Daveo, sorry to have confused your poor wee brain, again. It’s possible to be both brief and coherent, you know. And I don’t much see the point in posts which are only comprehensible to those who share the author’s frame of reference and ideological assumptions. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say isn’t rocket surgery.


  15. prism 15

    The motivation to save to get a deposit on a house was an important factor for young NZs in past becoming financially stable. If you have a monetary interest in the house where you live, then you have a stake in the financial world, and it makes for a settled, more stable community. When Don Brash said we were too fixated on owning housing did he have in mind that people should spend on consumer goods, also borrowing for what they couldn’t afford?

  16. az 16

    The best thing Labour could have done to help low income people would have been to put in the controls needed to keep housing affordable. Labour should have taken away the tax loops, introduced a capital gains tax and stopped overseas buyers investing in residential housing. The biggest expense people face is the cost of a roof over their head.

    We now have a very unequal society in which the divide is between people who owned real estate during the boom and people who didn’t. It seems to me it was probably National voters who prospered most over the last decade. An interesting result from 9 years of a supposedly centre-left government.

  17. JD 17

    Going off topic

    @ AZ your views go against what has actually ocurred in the real world.

    Australia has a capital gains tax on housing but suffered from the same massive house price inflation. Ergo your proposition rests on a fallacy.

    “It seems to me it was probably National voters who prospered most over the last decade. An interesting result from 9 years of a supposedly centre-left government.”

    You’re missing out part of the puzzle here. Massive increases in govnt spending in the Labour years together with the willingness of foreign lenders to extend us credit to buy assets which were in short supply created the housing boom. I wish people here would stop all this crap about greedy landlord. And as for National voter prospering the most that is one of the most dubious statements ever. Most landlord couldn’t give a f**k which party was in power as long as interest rates stay low and nothing disturbs the value of their property.

  18. prism 18

    Are there organisations on the web thinking, talking about, forecasting, suggesting approaches to increase affordable housing in NZ and if so what are the addresses?

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