Sprawl does not equal affordability

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, October 29th, 2012 - 85 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

Listening to the Nats on housing affordability, it’s pretty clear that their only plan is to allow more sprawl. So, let’s say this clearly: sprawl is expensive, not cheap, and it is not lack of housing but over-investment in house price speculation that leads to high prices. National’s ‘solution’ is for the country to needlessly spend tens of billions in infrastructure, oil, and travel time while doing nothing about the cause of expensive housing.

Bill English himself has said that New Zealand hasn’t built affordable first homes since the 1970s. It’s a symptom of the over-investment in housing. Developers chasing maximum profit by building the most expensive houses they can (with the cheapest materials and standards – which is why it’s so worrying to see National, who caused the leaky homes crisis, talking about weakening standards again). Nothing in National’s plan will get affordable homes built. It will see expensive homes built on ‘cheap’ distant land with huge infrastructure and travel costs associated with them.

The real solution is new urbanism. The construction of high-quality, eco-friendly, modestly-sized houses and apartments in compact areas centred around public transport within cities’ existing limits. Costs can be brought down by using economies of scale rather than every house being a bespoke project. But who is going to build lots of low-profit, affordable homes? Not the private sector. It takes the public sector. Public investment in this kind of housing, and a rent to buy scheme to get people out of renting into homewonership is the way forward.

But National’s only answer is sprawl.

85 comments on “Sprawl does not equal affordability ”

  1. karol 1

    Yes, the NAct government approach is more sprawl and private housing.  And opposition parties also think first in terms of everyone owning their own house.  Some of us just want affordable housing for renting.
     
    There needs to be far more investment in building up state housing stock.  This will bring down costs of both house-buying and for those of us renting private or community housing.

  2. ad 2

    Those Oolong tea guys in the Waikato who had to bring helicopters in to avoid frost is a real case in point:

    These people are farmers generating a really high value export product, worth hundreds of dollars a kilo, yet when they brought the helicopters in, the newer outer suburbs of Hamilton complained.

    This is a nasty effect of RMA Reverse Effects: sure that greenfields development gave a quick sugar rush of construction profit and a few more families housed, but puts at risk precisely the kind of export businesses we should beg to keep adn support to grow here.

    • prism 2.1

      ad
      Exactly. For far too long there has not been a provision that new suburbs abutting natural areas such as farms or the sea, have to accept that there procedures used there are considered as primary. Spraying orchards, frost banishing helicopters, pigs smelling, effluent spreading, all important and lifestyle dilettantes ‘escaping’ the confines of the city to the outer areas should have to accept the importance of the local business.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Oh, FFS, people complain about low flying aircraft all the time – even after they go out and buy next to a bloody airport. The question that really needs to be asked here is: Are helicopters the best option to keep frost off the fruit?

  3. King Kong 3

    Kiwis dont wan’t to live in central city shoeboxes and why should they have to. Policy has to target the reality that the decent sized house with a good back yard is becoming a bit expensive (only really a major city issue). Opening up the supply of these type of homes has the ability to take the heat out of the price.
    You can still increase the supply of miniscule apartments in Auckland to house the Asians flooding in who are used to living like this.

    • ad 3.1

      I just wonder which kiwis you are referring to. You would be surprised at how Auckland’s ethnic identity has changed since, oh, World War II. Or 2002.

      Clearly you want some density, but not too much. So would you want dwelling density minimums in specific areas along with parking minimums per dwelling, or dwelling density maximums, or both?

      The blanket statement about “Asians” possibly not specific enough. Could you clarify what you mean.

    • karol 3.2

      (only really a major city issue)
      Auckland and Christcurch are where there are major problems with affordable housing. only issues for those of us who live in those places?   34% of NZ’s population lives in Auckland, now at 1.5 million people.
       
      Traveling across Auckland is an increasing issue for those of us living further out.  And Rodney Hide’s baby, the supercity, is dysfunctional in aiming for increasing centralisation of major service, administrative, and cultural facilities in central Auckland. 
       
      People come to greater Auckland for the work.  But targeting the margins for cheap housing means that less well-off people carry a disproportionate amount of the cost and time it takes travelling to work and other placeas.

      • ad 3.2.1

        Half of New Zealand’s population now lives between Rotorua and Whangarei. That band is shrinking every year. It’s easy to forecast half of New Zealand living in Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland inside 30 years.

        Much of the rest of New Zealand’s local authority areas are either shrinking or generally static in population. The housing affordability problem is getting more and more concentrated.

      • lprent 3.2.2

        Traveling across Auckland is an increasing issue for those of us living further out.

        It isn’t even the cost for me, it is the time – closely followed by the taxes for the roading costs.

        Auckland is huge and the work is scattered all over it. It is why I’ve mostly lived in the central city since I came back from Otago in 1989. At various times since 1989 I have worked for at least a few years in each of:- the city (~1km from home), Manakau (~21 from home), and Albany (~20kms from home). And from 1981-1985 I used to work in New Lynn (~10km from home).

        By living near the hub of the motorways in central Auckland has meant that it has been feasible to take jobs where the work was most interesting without spending much of my life driving and feeding the car. It has also meant that because I’m largely going “against” the traffic with the reduced jams, time and petrol consumption. I’ve also spent ~8 years working from home.

        But that is why I live in the Newton/Grey Lynn. I don’t have to live as much with the transport mess that is Auckland. Extending the city will simply make that more unworkable. If National want to do that, then they should levy most of the future roading and public transport costs from the developers upfront. Don’t make sensible people pay for the fools…

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.1

          If National want to do that, then they should levy most of the future roading and public transport costs from the developers upfront. Don’t make sensible people pay for the fools…

          That would be nice. National won’t do it though as their entire modus operandi is to lump the costs onto the poor so that more profit can be taken from them and thus increase the wealth that the rich have.

    • tracey 3.3

      I’m afraid your optimism in this regard is going to be a big let down. Prices will not be driven down, and even if they drop a tad it won’t be anytime soon, not in Auckland.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4

      Kiwis dont wan’t to live in central city shoeboxes and why should they have to.

      1.) That’s an unproven assertion
      2.) Because we can’t afford the sprawl

      Opening up the supply of these type of homes has the ability to take the heat out of the price.

      Never has done before so why would it suddenly do so now?

      You can still increase the supply of miniscule apartments in Auckland to house the Asians flooding in who are used to living like this.

      Ah, racism – just what we’ve come to expect from the typical RWNJ.

      • Colonial Viper 3.4.1

        I guess Kiwis want to live in garages and packed 3 families to a house instead. You know, like happens now.

        • King Kong 3.4.1.1

          You are right. I should have been more specific and said “the overwhelming vast majority of Kiwis who are not mentally ill, drug addicts or just too thick”

    • jbc 3.5

      “Kiwis dont wan’t to live in central city shoeboxes and why should they have to…”

      High-density living does not mean shoeboxes. My apartment in Seoul is 50% larger than my bungalow in Pt Chev was (floor area). It is also roughly the same value.

      My heating costs through winter (where it reaches less than -15 celsius) are less than they were in Auckland, thanks to underfloor heating and double glazing. This place is toasty warm when the footpaths outside are frozen. 100Mbps Internet in all apartments.

      I have 2 subway stations and a big park (think Cornwall Park / One Tree Hill but with real vegetation and not just grass) adjacent to the apartment complex. This would be absent if all the apt dwellers were in single-level homes.

      Local businesses (supermarket, butcher, dry-cleaner, bars, etc) downstairs. I can get to my office in 20 minutes.

      My kid’s schools are barely 1km away (walking distance, although they take bus).

      I have underground parking, taxi, bus, subway all at my disposal.

      I have fond memories of my Auckland bungalow, and all the maintenance jobs that came with it. I’d never move back into it. It seems caveman ass-backward in comparison. Don’t get me started on the sorry state of transport in that sprawl. It’s much, much worse than here.

      “…to house the Asians flooding in who are used to living like this.”

      That’s because they are more evolved than you. Don’t forget to shave the backs of your hands, Mr Kong.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.5.1

        Yep, had the same conversion. Grew up thinking why would people want to live in apartments and then knew a couple that did so and then lived in one myself. These days I wonder why people want to live in the horrible sprawl we’ve had foist upon us by idiotic governments.

        • lprent 3.5.1.1

          Ditto. I wouldn’t mind another 10-20 square metres of open area now that there are two of us. Where I used to rattle on my own there is now not quite enough room for two. It has to be well designed space. We were in a larger townhouse for the last few years but the spaces weren’t good to work in or lounge around.

          But I don’t miss the villas and bungalows of my youth and all of the extra cleaning, lawns, maintenance and the wasted time at all.

          • jbc 3.5.1.1.1

            Right, and with greater density comes more efficient public transport, less land use per capita, more common green space…

            • lprent 3.5.1.1.1.1

              Yep. Lower water and sewerage reticulation costs. The rest of Auckland is now learning what a unsubsidised watercare bill looks like. Fewer roads to pay for. Etc etc.

              My brother and his family are living in china at present. He wrote a Facebook that was on the same topic from his small city of 7 million people. Ok if I dig it up and plug it with yours? With a million or so kiwi’s offshore working these days, these subversive concepts ar becoming widespread…

              • jbc

                Sure, no problem. I’d have chosen a slightly different tone if not for the fact that Mr Kong’s post appeared to have an ignorant sting in the tail.

                The reality is that high-density living definitely has its upside. I suppose it can be very different to living in a leaky shoebox built by crooks in central Auckland.

                I could be in a house here, but the thought of losing the local amenities, being miles from the subway, and crawling through clogged backstreet traffic every day does not appeal in the slightest. In fact nothing about that idea is appealing.

                Knowing the state of the rental stock in Auckland I’d say there are many that could potentially feel the same way, given the chance.

  4. vto 4

    The most recent housing cost increases have come from this government and local governments.

    They include when Bill English put GST up by 2.5%. This meant all new dwelling rose on average about $10,000.

    And when, about 4 years ago, most local councils increased their development contributions by around $15,000 on average.

    Add those two up. It is unlikely fiddling with zoning etc will result in anything like enough to cover those incerases alone.

    The government is hypocritical. Quelle surprise….

    • Herodotus 4.1

      VTO you are wrong regarding the GST increase causing property to rise.
      Land prices being market driven were maintained meaning that those who develop land incurred a drop in pre GST prices. Spec homes were the same. The property market is not on a cost + basis.
      So a section or house and land package the day before GST increased was the same as the day after.
      And when, about 4 years ago, most local councils increased their development contributions by around $15,000 on average.- Where did this happen, under the law this cannot be arbitrary done the contribution must be based on additional costs associated with growth. Thanks to Rodney Hide the contribution basis paid by developers has decreased, with many contributions being standardized. reserve contributions in many cities were a % of land value now there is a standard $8k per lot be the land worth $1 of a $1m.

      • vto 4.1.1

        GST increased from 12.5% to 15%. That meant that a house and land package of say $400,000 rose to $409,000. These are the hard costs and while prices did not change overnight like beer or petrol, they do rise to meet that cost over time. I disagree that housing is not a cost+ basis. Over a timeframe that is exactly what it is. Remember that the ‘property market’ is not quite the same thing as ‘new housing’ when it comes to costs and prices.

        And re contributions – here in Chch the council tried adding up the “costs” in arbitrary ways to help get he contributions increased. They increased by about $15,000. I think many other Councils did the same (North Shore?). You say $8k per lot? I say no way jose. Maybe in your neck of the woods.

        $25,000 for the average new house and land package is how much the providers of those had to pay in increased charges by local council and central government. They have to pay that $25,000 you know – write a cheque. Out of their bank account. Hard cash. It gets recouped or else the provider goes out of business.

        • Herodotus 4.1.1.1

          Land prices did not increase and many spec builders who at the time were struggling to sell had to maintain their price at best brake even (In Auckland), most (if not all) selling land are captured by the rate they can sell based on what peoples ability to service/pay for the land & house. There are certain resistance levels that people will not go beyond, exceed these and the market goes cold. These levels have not moved to my observation since the GFC, yet there are more people willing to commit to investing in their property than over the last 3-4 years. There is also an acceptance to keep within the levels mentioned above of building smaller homes than say 6-8 years ago. Thus the demand for single level homes. But then to comply with council site coverage requirements (35% building coverage over section size)necessitates larger section sizes, so to max. densities we build larger volume homes on smaller sections which costs more Catch 22.
          And in Manuaku we were paying for a $250k section 500m2 GST $27,8k,reserve cont $18.75 Stormwater/Seweer/Discharge levies $6k , Develop Cont $8k, Water connection $6k . Council 15% and GSt 12.5% = 37.5%
          Chch has the added cost of the geotech reporting

    • prism 4.2

      Costs of housing up, wages and salary rises at below inflation level. A growing portion of the affordability problem.

  5. Policy Parrot 5

    I would definitely dispute the point that there isn’t a lack of housing. There certainly is a housing shortage. However, the solution is not greenfields development, but intensification. Greensfield development places extra servicing costs onto ratepayers, and developers don’t want to build the type of housing that has the largest need.

    Whatsmore, the government should be getting into the housing game as a builder (perhaps this could be contracted out to various building companies) and as an owner/landlord. Bill did talk about the huge cost that the rising rentals are having on the accomodation supplement – but he ignored the obvious solution – build more state houses (and not the state houses of the 1940s and 50s), but modern apartments and units that fit with the Council’s vision for a more intensified Auckland.

    • Herodotus 5.1

      The answer to Auckland housing issue is to privatise state houses, build a few new state houses on existing sites and then sell the residual land. It’s a win win? NO
      How about fully develop the area in tamaki increasing the quantity & quality of state houses available, this reduces the pressure on rents from private landlords and also saves in housing allowances paid to these private landlords.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10843563
      Under its Tamaki Transformation project Housing NZ is removing or renovating 156 of its houses in Glen Innes to make way for new or renovated state units and houses and about 140 privately-owned homes.
      But Labour commenced the privatisation of state housing with the Govt guaranteed rents for 10 years, just another case of both parties engaging in privatisation with good intentions/stealth ?

      • Policy Parrot 5.1.1

        I don’t particularly have a problem with that, although I would prefer to see more state houses being put back than were there initially, before they started worrying about private ownership. Yes, falling home ownership is major concern – but for many people nowadays – home ownership would not be achievable even under hugely adjusted policy settings, and there has to be something catered to them.

        If you are going to privatise the land formerly covered with state houses, only certain groups should be allowed to buy, i.e. owner/occupiers only, and under conditions that prevented obviously arbitrage.

  6. vto 6

    The government’s GST on land and housing needs attacking.

    Local council’s funding structure for associate infrastructure needs attacking.

    Local councils commercial charging for non-commercial services needs attacking.

    Cartels in the building supply sector need attacking.

    A capital gains tax needs consideration.

    The fractional reserve banking system needs attacking (a house is no longer worth what someone is willing to pay but what a bank is willing to lend on it).

    The land supply parameters need attacking.

    Various detailed rules around housing need attacking e.g. minimum car parking requirements. Ffs.

    If the country is serious about bringing down the cost of housing then it must be this multi-pronged attack. Each component has fat in it and can be brought back. This government will not do that.

  7. ad 7

    Does anyone recall when Labour had a comprehensive plan for a higher-density Auckland with major public housing stocks owned and operated either by the state or the city in which prices were regulated?

    Chris Trotter did a post on it about a year ago. It’s a plan from 1947. Sure, it’a Left-Melancholic Tragedy, but there are elements in that which are still achieveable. Someone find me a link will you ….?

    If only a government was prepared to say that houses are more important than cars. There is no UN Declaration fo Human Rights to car ownership. But there is one for housing.

    And prioritise using the Urban Renewal parts of the Public Works Act to step in and revive town centres.

    Auckland is in for the most ginormous scrap as this Cabinet release will be during the submissions phase of Auckland’s Unitary Plan submissions. Huge volumes of petrol to throw onto a currently small fire. Cheers Cabinet.

  8. Another missed opportunity,it’s incredible that all the nacts are doing is making it
    easier for their capitalist mates to build expensive $1m+ homes that only the elite
    can afford to buy,freeing up regulations and land makes their profit grabbing easier.
    Labour in days gone by used capitalisation of the family benefit, thank you to Phil
    Goff for that, many families benefited by ‘genuine’ policy to lift them on the property
    ladder, a great scheme of which i was one of those families.
    While we have no family benefit to help us in this day and age,there is working for
    families and kiwisaver.
    Lou Crimp who owned Andrew housing in invercargill built many homes that the
    families could afford,there was also Burgess homes,why on earth have the nacts
    missed an opportunity to really do something constructive for housing,although
    it should be expected i guess,their track record of working for ‘all nzer’s’ is
    is scant indeed.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Public investment in this kind of housing, and a rent to buy scheme to get people out of renting into homewonership is the way forward.

    Don’t need ownership. In fact, everyone would be better off if the community owned most of the houses and rented them out at a price that is solely to cover maintenance.

    • Populuxe1 9.1

      Except that you’d be wrong, as you so often are in your ideologically blinkered way:
      http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.edu/files/liho01-12.pdf

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        If people have a stable place to live which won’t be and can’t be taken from them by adverse conditions beyond their control then I believe that those benefits that that report mentions will apply to housing that is rented from the community.

        • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1

          Actually, what makes them happy is the deep satisfaction of being able to decorate, adapt and add on to suit their needs perfectly – which they can do if they own. If the govt owns it, no one can absolutely guarantee that their home won’t be taken away from them, and certainly can’t be used as a threat to control people as certain Comun1st regimes had no qualms about doing.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.1

            That’s absolute nonsense. Long term renters throughout Europe have rights to redecorate their rental properties, and long term leases are legally guaranteed, not unlike every day commercial leases which commonly have 4, 5 or 6 year terms.

            If the govt owns it, no one can absolutely guarantee that their home won’t be taken away from them, and certainly can’t be used as a threat to control people as certain Comun1st regimes had no qualms about doing.

            Are you a total ignoramus?

            Government housing was one of the reasons that relatively few people became homeless during the absolute economic collapse of the U.S.S.R.

            And the lack of which is a reason why several million Americans are homeless any given month, more added weekly as private sector banks continue to foreclose on homeowners without mercy.

            • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1.1.1

              “That’s absolute nonsense. Long term renters throughout Europe have rights to redecorate their rental properties, and long term leases are legally guaranteed, not unlike every day commercial leases which commonly have 4, 5 or 6 year terms.”

              But you can’t guarantee that, can you? Especially if the govt owns ALL housing and will inevitably make a lot of things conditional. What if I want to paint my house purple and put up billboards criticising the regime? What if I want my children to have the home they grew up in? Can’t do that with a state house.

              “Are you a total ignoramus?

              Government housing was one of the reasons that relatively few people became homeless during the absolute economic collapse of the U.S.S.R.”

              No, but you clearly are to have such a rosy view of the history of the USSR. The families of dissenters were turfed out on the street. Which is all very ironic really given that you seem awfully proud of your status as a bourgeois parasite.

              • Colonial Viper

                But you can’t guarantee that, can you? Especially if the govt owns ALL housing and will inevitably make a lot of things conditional.

                Just like the private banks and private land lords make conditional.

                Further, I don’t think ALL housing needs to be Government owned. Just 5% to 10% of it.

                • Populuxe1

                  So your argument is to replace one master with another, and if you’s actually bothered to absorb what was being said you would probably have realised that I was addressing the argument that ALL housing should be government owned. I have no problem at all with state housing, but for most people the ideal is clearly to have ownership.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    So your argument is to replace one master with another

                    Yep. Because the State is motivated by the common good, not by the good of a small number of private shareholders as banks and privateers are, and can deliver lower mortgage interest rates and better value buildings without requiring a profit margin.

                    • Populuxe1

                      “Because the State is motivated by the common good, not by the good of a small number of private shareholders as banks and privateers are, and can deliver lower mortgage interest rates and better value buildings without requiring a profit margin.”

                      HahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahaha

                      How many contrary examples do you want? Fuck, it’s like trying to debate evolution with a fundamentalist Christian

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey Pop1 I believe in increasing democracy in this country, and in ensuring Government serves the people and the commons.

                      If you don’t and instead belong to an anarchist movement, please say so.

                      By the way, I’m talking about the NZ democratic system here, not Somalia or Sudan.

              • Draco T Bastard

                What if I want my children to have the home they grew up in?

                Why would they want it?

                BTW, no ones said that government should own all housing.

                • Populuxe1

                  Actually Draco did say that the state should own all housing, catch up. And they might want to own it because human beings are sentimental beings – well most of us anyway. Are you autistic?

          • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1.2

            Or rather if the government doesn’t own your home it certainly can’t be used as a threat to control people as certain Comun1st regimes had no qualms about doing.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.2.1

              WTF?

              I just described to you how the very reverse of your fear-mongering bullshit is the actual reality.

              Freedom from the banksters taking your home away from you just because you got made redundant at the mines or at the carpet factory.

              • Populuxe1

                And you can’t seem to get through your thick skull that the inevitably the more responsibility we pass off to the government, the more control it wants. Private home ownership is simply a non-issue for most sane people – the issue is the availability of affordable housing.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I’ve given you very real examples of where it has worked – and I haven’t even mentioned NZ state housing in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s (which helped raise generations of successful Kiwis including John Key (spit), and all you can come back with is some US idealogue bullshit about smaller government. FFS grow up.

                  • Populuxe1

                    All you’re doing is recycling foreign examples (Europe as always being a slightly different cultural context to countries like ours, having been through very different socially formative experiences, as is the Scandinavia the Utopians love to trot out) and nostalgia for the paternalistic world over half a century ago. What’s the difference?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      yeah because people like you don’t know how to learn from history or how to apply it to modern times, even when it is the history of your own country.

                      Sad and pathetic idealogue.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I know enough about history to realise you have no understanding of why some things work in certain cultures but not so well in others – I suppose that would go against your blind faith in your prejudices.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I know enough about history to realise you have no understanding of why some things work in certain cultures

                      wtf?

                      uh, one of the examples I used – the building of tens of thousands of state houses – was the same NZ that a lot of people in their 50’s and 60’s grew up in.

                    • Populuxe1

                      “uh, one of the examples I used – the building of tens of thousands of state houses – was the same NZ that a lot of people in their 50′s and 60′s grew up in.”

                      Including John Key amusingly enough – I don’t have a problem with state housing, I have a problem with the idea that all property should be state owned as raised by Draco, and I have a problem with the bloody minded refusal to recognise the utility in home ownership

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      all property should be state owned as raised by Draco,

                      [citation needed]

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And you can’t seem to get through your thick skull that the inevitably the more responsibility we pass off to the government, the more control it wants.

                  The answer to that is to not give government control. That’s why we have democracy.

                  BTW, what we’ve been doing over the last few decades is giving the control to the capitalists and that’s why our economy is fucked, poverty has increased and people fear losing their jobs.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yeah Pop seems fine with the private sector getting all the control, as long as the peoples’ government stays small and weak.

                    • Populuxe1

                      No actually, though I’m always amazed at how you never cease to find ways to misrepresent what I’ve said. I believe in a mix of state housing, private rentals, and private home ownership. I believe in the choice. I also believe that the government should be makeing home ownership more affordable.

                      Out of curiosity, CV, is your home freehold? 

                  • Populuxe1

                    Are you see that’s the complicated thing. Democracy should give the citizenry the right to choose how it wishes to be governed – which may very well include the right to own property. Which of those points is the least negotiable for you?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Democracy should give the citizenry the right to choose how it wishes to be governed

                      Wrong, democracy is the populace having a say in their governance.

                      which may very well include the right to own property.

                      I didn’t remove the right to own property did I? Although I’m pretty sure that, given the conditions that I’ve already stated, most people would prefer to rent from the state.

                      Which of those points is the least negotiable for you?

                      Inane question that has no relevance to the conversation.

                    • Populuxe1

                      “Although I’m pretty sure that, given the conditions that I’ve already stated, most people would prefer to rent from the state.”

                      That’s a big assumption and given human nature I’m willing to bet they wouldn’t. For example it would be easier to come to a flexible or accomodating relationship with a private landlord than the state.

                       

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      That’s a big assumption and given human nature I’m willing to bet they wouldn’t.

                      Human nature is flexible and changing, not the fixed and immutable thing that some people seem to think.

                      For example it would be easier to come to a flexible or accomodating relationship with a private landlord than the state.

                      No, really, it won’t.

          • Rogue Trooper 9.1.1.1.3

            wot a load of rubbish Pop; if I may be so bold, peddle your nonsense some blog else: Jesus wept!

            • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1.3.1

              Blogs are for debate. If you can’t handle that then you are the one who should perhaps go elsewhere.

  10. aerobubble 10

    Bell curve. As you can see in cities like Sydney, high rise blocks in the center and a tapering off fo building heights as you move out. But not in Auckland. More sprawl at the outskirts in one monolithic economy of low rise building excess. No wonder NZ lags, people have no choice in housing, its sprawl or sprawl.

  11. ad 11

    I dont think even the Greens have figured out how addicted New Zealand is to Real Estate Capitalism. Karl Marx was right about Land.

    If a Labour-Green government really has a crack at this by limiting land ownership and therefore development rights ni order to promote deisity and ownership, (through other than the CGT), they will be in for the most almighty fight from land owners and the whole real estate industry.

    If a 2014 Gvoernment was going to use up some political capital, use it on this, but do it in your first three months, bulk up Crown Law for a few years to defend it, and hold on tight.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      If a Labour-Green government really has a crack at this by limiting land ownership and therefore development rights ni order to promote deisity and ownership, (through other than the CGT), they will be in for the most almighty fight from land owners and the whole real estate industry.

      It’d take some meticulous strategy but its very do-able.

  12. Ad 12

    I am surprisingly pleased with the Auckland focus in the Government announcements today, particularly support for medium sized developments.

    But not happy with Key saying he has “control of very few of the housing levers”. Simply not true.

    If National wanted to really crush Labour for good, Key could take the nation builder mantle off them with both a generous and transformational approach to the Christchurch rebuild, and housing in Auckland.

    Fortunately that takes skilful massive transformational direct public sector intervention, not just massive intervention. No sign of that yet.

  13. Descendant Of Smith 13

    More private sector housing would seem to conflict with their benefit liability reduction intents.

    The third highest liability in the report is Accommodation Assistance at 10.21 billion.

    http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/newsroom/media-releases/news/2012/key-findings-and-background-facts-120912.pdf

    Much of the other non-recoverable hardship assistance will likely be for Special Benefit / Temporary Additional Support to cover high rents as well.

    In the 80’s you couldn’t get this paid to you if you weren’t on a benefit. It’s now more of a liability than unemployment benefits. There housing plan will just see more high rents being paid with the state propping them up. and an increased ongoing subsidy cost.

    Just another way the well off get their tax dollars back. Rent subsidies.

    With an aging population building state owned retirement housing ( one and two bedroom units) for older people to move into and free up other housing makes more sense.

    Auckland used to have some but John Banks sold it off.

  14. Drakula 14

    Yes Folks the answer is very short and simple, build more modern, quality, affordable state housing with a rent to own option.

    But slum Landlords and developers wouldn’t like that would they.

  15. millsy 15

    I would love the proponents of ‘freeing up more land’ to explain how people on these cheap suburban deserts are going to have access to amenites such as shops, public services (medical care/schools), banks, parks, libraries, etc…or are they going to have to trave for hours and hours to get to them?

    FWIW, even National ministers have openly admitted that state and council housing eases the pressure on rents and housing avalibility, it was in relation to Christchurch, but still…

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    Good, short post on sprawl:

    But as long as banks and mortgage brokers are prepared to lend, as long as people think they have no choice, & as long as others who can afford to do so, buy houses to rent to those who can’t afford to buy, where is the market impetus for developers to sell their houses for less? All that really happens is the developers reduce their costs & increase their profits – so you have to ask: is this a solution for Jo(e) Bloggs, or a solution for business?

    Simple reality is that this forced opening up of more land for housing isn’t to make housing more affordable (it doesn’t) but to line the developers pockets.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      And as we know, profits like this are a dead loss on society. So many of these developers are the same people who walked away from the leaky homes damages that they played so close a role in. And here they are readying for another dip in the trough.

    • jbc 16.2

      Well, as long as the govt is willing to open up more land then it probably weakens the business case (increases the risk) for any significant intensification projects. That, and the current state of getting consent, etc.

      Buying a plot on the fringe, laying some hotmix and kerbing is likely seen as the quickest way to fast money.

      In many cities they are constantly renewing the (already intensive by NZ standards) housing as developers seek to squeeze even more value out of small plots of land.

      Not that we necessarily want that, but pretty much all of it is controlled by govt policy. As soon as it becomes more attractive to redevelop / intensify then that is what will happen.

      Govt (local and national) is likely too timid to make the necessary changes.

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