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The ghost house epidemic and the invisible hand

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, June 13th, 2016 - 54 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, housing, national - Tags: , , , , , ,

In June last year this “ONE News investigation” caused quite a stir:

‘Ghost houses’ hit Auckland renting market

Ghost houses aren’t haunted, but could prove to be the stuff of nightmares for would-be renters in Auckland’s overheating housing market.

A ONE News investigation has revealed houses across our largest city are being bought and deliberately left empty by investors who refuse to rent them out, instead looking to sell them for huge profits without the hassle of finding tenants in the interim.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith doesn’t think the number of ghost houses is rising, and there is no way of knowing how many of Auckland’s 22,000 unoccupied properties are being deliberately left empty [my emphasis].

However census figures show the percentage of unoccupied dwellings in some desirable Auckland suburbs has surged in the past 10 years, with more than one in 10 Takapuna homes empty. …

One year later:

Rise of the ghost homes – More than 33,000 Auckland dwellings officially classified empty

More than 33,000 Auckland dwellings are officially classified empty as the city grapples with a crisis of affordable housing and homelessness.

Auckland’s 6.6 per cent vacancy rate is higher than either Sydney (5.2 per cent) or Melbourne (4.8 per cent), where there has been an uproar over “ghost houses” deliberately left empty by speculators trading on a soaring market. …

I don’t know whether the methods used to calculate the 2015 figure (22,000 unoccupied properties) and the 2016 figure (33,000 officially classified as empty) are directly comparable, but on the face of it that looks like a 50% increase in one year. At the very least I think it’s safe to say that the problem is getting worse, not better (and that Nick Smith, as usual, is utterly wrong).

Labour’s Housing spokesman Phil Twyford said it was not surprising that the super-rich were happy to leave houses empty when Auckland prices were rising so fast.

“It’s madness, and says a lot about the housing crisis, that we’ve got thousands of homes deliberately left vacant by their owners while in South Auckland there are kids sleeping under bushes.”

He said Labour would crack down on property speculators, starting with a ban on non-resident foreigners buying existing homes.

So, while homeless Auckland families sleep in garages, cars and marae (donate here), tens of thousands of houses are sitting empty. Tens. Of. Thousands. As well as homelessness we have overcrowding and its related health problems; we have people unable to escape cold damp houses; we have rents that are too high; we have desperation further inflating the property bubble. All this in the service of (untaxed) speculative gain.

Behold the awesome efficiency of the market! Tremble at its rational distribution of resources! See that? It’s the invisible hand giving we the people the invisible finger…

54 comments on “The ghost house epidemic and the invisible hand”

  1. Sabine 1

    as you can see the market is doing what it is supposed to do. Make money for a few at the cost of everyone else.

  2. weka 2

    Two things.

    1. How many of the 33,000 empty houses are owned by NZers? Why don’t we gave systems in place that make tracking that easy?

    2. There is an incompatibility between housing as an investment by the middle classes and solving the housing crisis including homelessness. Can’t have both, and we should be talking about this by now.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Squatters’ rights. Problem solved.

    • vto 3.1

      +11111111111111111

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Yep. Which party should propose this measure.

        • vto 3.1.1.1

          Act. It lines up with their oft-times libertarian anarchic ways ..

          Act are the party of squatters.. if true to their beliefs

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Now that’s a very good point. Where did their libertarian principles go…

            • adam 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Down the rabbit hole, the libertarians have been conned from day one. And the funny thing, most of them are in denial about it.

              LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

          • AB 3.1.1.1.2

            No – they fetishize property rights above all else

  4. Rae 4

    Hey, I thought that figure of 33,000 “ghost” houses came from the 2013 census. I am quite happy to say that I reckon that 22,000 for 2015 is absolute rubbish, but even so, not an insignificant number. We are due another census next year and just before the one after that is due we should know how many of them were in 2017.
    Move along folks, nothing to see here.

  5. red-blooded 5

    CGT is an obvious, reasonable policy. What are NZers so scared of? Other income is taxed…

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Yep. Labour should re-introduce its CGT policy ASAP.

      • b waghorn 5.1.1

        If they do it needs to be simple , no exemptions for anything other than the first home and all property that is in trusts and all farms .

        • b waghorn 5.1.1.1

          If they do it needs to be simple, no exemptions for anything other than the first home. Farms and houses in trusts should not be exempt.

  6. Greg 6

    The council could simply put a vacant levy on them, if vacant for a period.
    The government is missing out on GST revenue of vacant houses, in using utilities,
    why isnt this a concern for our finance minister. Governments hate missing out on squeezing us for any tax that they can. They are quick enough to put a GST on a overseas firm supplying a service here.

    • hoom 6.1

      An interesting idea.

      I also wonder how many large family homes are inhabited by only 1 or 2 baby boomers.
      My father, stepmother & half-sister live in technically 3 bedrooms but with 2 studies & a 2nd lounge that could easily be a large 5th bedroom or core of a split dwelling. My mother lives alone (not in Auckland) in a 5 bedroom house that could also be easily split into 2 units.

      • D'Esterre 6.1.1

        Hoom: “I also wonder how many large family homes are inhabited by only 1 or 2 baby boomers.”

        Probably true of many. But if our area is anything to go by, good luck with finding something smaller to trade down to: such places aren’t being built by developers because there’s no money to be made out of them.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      These property owners are already willing to forgo $25,000 per year rent on these properties.

      What is a “vacancy levy” going to do to encourage them to change their minds on that.

      Seriously, are market mechanisms what we are going to go with here as the solution?

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    I wonder whether people who made empty houses available to homeless families would succeed in offering a “claim of right” defence to charges of breaking & entering.

  8. Esoteric Pineapples 8

    It’s the same as has happened in China with empty expensive apartment blocks with people living next door in hovels they can afford. It will only get worse under this govt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the average Auckland house price at $1.5 million in a couple of years time as overseas funds continue to pump the market.

  9. srylands 9

    There are some good points in this story. However the central premise is totally wrong. There is no invisible hand operating in the market for housing. In particular the supply of urban land is highly regulated. And poorly.

    As I have commented previously, the problem and the solutions are well articulated in the NZ PC report on housing affordability. A sister report on urban planning is pending.

    http://www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/1509?stage=4

    • vto 9.1

      Jeez, there are none so blind as those who will not see…

      The entire frikkin’ market for EVERYTHING is highly regulated you goober

      wake up man

    • Pat 9.2

      two points from your link…

      “Pressure on land prices needs to be reduced and the Commission has recommended that there be an immediate release of new land for residential development in high demand areas such as Auckland and Christchurch”.

      There is no shortage of available land in Christchurch and nor was there in 2012 when this report released, indeed currently the housing market has a glut of sections, it will still cost 200K plus for a section.

      The Commission has also recommended reconsideration of current social housing reforms.

      “The community housing sector has a unique and very valuable role to fill. It can provide below market rents and more security of tenure than is available from private landlords. It is also well suited to providing the range of ‘wrap around’ services required by many social housing tenants with needs that run well beyond just affordable housing.”

      “But, the social housing sector will need considerable assistance if it is to scale up to the extent required, and do so within a reasonably short timeframe. The Social Housing Fund set up to help the community housing sector grow is not equal to the task demanded of it”, said Mr Sherwin.

      As has been noted endlessly through the housing debate the key word is AFFORDABILITY

    • vto 9.3

      Hey srylands, how is your cherished free market working for apprentices and provision of people to build these houses?

      ha ha, what a larf. free market, ha ha

      maybe for plastic buckets at the warehouse it works, but that’s about it

      • Thinkerr 9.3.1

        “…maybe for plastic buckets at the warehouse it works, but that’s about it.”

        What about the USA in the 1920s/30s? Mobsters selling ‘green beer’ to grocery stores in a truly unregulated market.

    • dv 9.4

      In particular the supply of urban land is highly regulated. And poorly.

      BUT BUT BUT how can that be with 40 houses being built a day.

      • You_Fool 9.4.1

        40 houses a day isn’t a suitable line in this thread, I mean the whole point of it was that there was a trickle down effect of those 40 houses a day (14,560 houses a year) but given that this data shows that approx 11,000 houses are left empty (or 30 houses a day) that line doesn’t work.

        Apparently we get a net increase of 10 houses a day…. i sure hope there is less than 10 families coming to Auckland every day…or our population growth is less than 0.04%/year

        • dv 9.4.1.1

          My point was that Stryland was pushing 40 houses a day myth lately, and yet the land supply is limited. Methinks a contradiction YF

          • framu 9.4.1.1.1

            isnt that 40 per day just an extrapolation from consent numbers?

            ie: it has nothing to do with houses built or per day in any way whatsoever

            • Dv 9.4.1.1.1.1

              Do ya mean stryland was telling porkies.
              Was he repeating English telling porky too!

              It was this Nat party tweet.
              “Around 40 houses are being built every working day in Auckland – four times more than when we came into office.” #PostCab

              • framu

                hmm – if its the same thing fisi was going on about its definately just building consents and not on a per day basis

                ie – its a steaming load

  10. Jack Ramaka 10

    I was told by NZ Resident Chinese 5-6 years ago Asians saw NZ as a safe haven to park their money, they wanted to diversify the spread of their assets as many had money denominated in US Assets, hence the investment in residential property here in NZ.

    There are 1.4 Billion people in China, with maybe 10% with funds to invest worldwide, this equals 140 million people, so it doesn’t take a big % of those people to start investing in NZ to drive the market upwards especially with our lax foreign investment regulations.

  11. Bloody immigrants – how could we let them do this // sarc

    yes the true cause is known, hell even twyford knows as he stated above – ‘super rich’ and I’d add their favorite ideology

    • vto 11.1

      Yep immigrants causing trouble in these lands again …. I hears ya marty mars …..

      You know where I see it going? Our islands are under-populated and like water finding its level we will one day become as densely populated as any other pleasantly supportive land on the planet i.e. circa 50-150 million….

      when will we get to that water level? All else being equal, I think within 100 years… which makes for some rather large waves washing ashore at times ….

      …. hold on for the ride

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        Although I think Winston is being overzealous, I think cutting our immigration numbers by at least half is the way to go. Net population growth of no more than 1% p.a. please.

        Also we will require clear and firm measures to handle the millions of climate refugees that are going to be appearing globally in the next 15-20 years.

        • marty mars 11.1.1.1

          Each of those groups – Immigrants/refugees will be used as evidence to reduce the numbers of the other group.

          • RedLogix 11.1.1.1.1

            So exactly what is your alternative plan marty? Your quick to play the race card against others, but rarely do I see you explain what you stand for.

            Logically for instance, if you argue it wrong to control immigrant numbers because it is inherently racist, does this mean you are advocating unconstrained migration?

            • marty mars 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry for not meeting your just and kind expectations and not giving my solutions to this in a way that suits you.

              • Colonial Viper

                NZ should take on several thousand more refugees a year than it has been. But annual immigration numbers need to be cut by 60,000 or more.

              • RedLogix

                That’s OK marty I understand if you don’t want to state openly what you stand for. It can be very unpleasant making yourself a target.

                • I just find listening a better way until I have something to say rather than, like many people, jumping to solutions too early, especially when the subject is charged.

                  I will show flaws in arguments as well as listen.

                  Could be cultural.

        • vto 11.1.1.2

          I don’t think mass migration of the kind implied will take any notice of dear old Winston and his populist rulings… no matter the law of the land they will come…

          this is the history

  12. Poission 12

    The tenure of housing ownership in AK suggests it is a speculator driven market.

    The questions that arise is what is the IRD doing,? and is this indicative of a failure of the so called gvt brightline policy.

    “And if you look at Auckland, the most common length of time for an Aucklander to hold their property for is less than one year, followed by two to three years, followed by one to two years, and then eight years, which is kind of normal in a market,” he said.

    “Eight years is a distant fourth. So you’ve got this activity happening in Auckland of people buying and selling property really quickly. Why? Well, it’s not just investors. There are all sorts of people that go, ‘Because the market is increasing, I can make some money off it. I can move around in it.’ It becomes self-perpetuating. That’s the bit that as an economist looking at this you’d say, ‘That’s the bit I’m worried about, that speculation.”

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/risky-time-first-home-buyers-be-getting-auckland-market-corelogic-boss-ck-190263

  13. Bill 13

    Squatters Rights.
    Application of formulae designed to limit rent levels.
    Draw up robust tenancy rights.(e.g. – Eviction for sake of sale not permissible; tenancies for life; leases transferable over generations)

    And compulsory purchase any speculative properties that are not squatted.

  14. Anno1701 14

    i know of some young people already living in “ghost houses”

    would be nice to see them given some protection under the law !

  15. Phil 15

    Hey, quick question: Where does the “officially” 33,000 number come from? There’s no source in the Herald article, as far as I can tell? It seems weird to quote something as official and not back it up with a reference to the actual source.

    The 22,000 number feels more ‘defendable’ to me – after, all it comes from the census.
    Note that “Nearly one-quarter were classified as unoccupied because all the occupants were temporarily away at the time of the census”. So, the number of “ghost houses” is probably closer to 16,500.

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/quickstats-about-housing/occupied-unoccupied-dwellings.aspx

    • Hanswurst 15.1

      I know you only meant it as a “quick question”, but I would still have to question how hard you looked, since a likely answer is to be found not too far from your link. Having said that, it also seems to be exactly the right question. Grabbing the spreadsheet with tables on unoccupied housing in the 2013 census from Stats NZ, it looks to me like the two figures are actually from the same set of data. Firstly, your “one-quarter” figure for technically unoccupied houses because the occupants were away is for all of NZ. Secondly, and more importantly, Table 2, for “Occupied dwellings, unoccupied dwellings, and dwellings under construction by regional council area” contains a figure of 11,208 for “residents away”, 22,152 for “empty dwelling”, yielding a total of 33,360 unoccupied dwellings all up – so the stat for Auckland is more like one-third of unoccupied houses being only technically unoccupied as a result of the occupants’ being away at the time of the census.

      Of course, there could be other stats, but those figures make me strongly suspect that the two articles are referring to the same data, with one taking into account the number of houses whose residents were away, and the other failing to do so.

      • Phil 15.1.1

        You’re right – I didn’t look very hard. But I did look a lot harder than the vast majority of people who are going to read the article and think about it uncritically.

        Anyway, thanks for the link to the tables. They raise another problematic point for thinking about solutions to the Auckland housing crisis (all numbers rounded to the nearest 1,000).

        Total-NZ
        Total occupied dwellings: 1,562,000
        Empty (excluding residents away) dwelling: 141,000
        Empty as % of occupied: 9.0%

        Auckland
        Total occupied dwellings: 472,000
        Empty (excluding residents away) dwelling: 22,000
        Empty as % of occupied: 4.7%

        Rest of NZ (by simple subtraction)
        Total occupied dwellings: 1,090,000
        Empty (excluding residents away) dwelling: 119,000
        Empty as % of occupied: 10.9%

        So, Auckland’s “excess capacity” of housing is roughly half what the rest of the country is. This result is hard to square with suggestions of foreign (and/or local) investors in Auckland keeping houses unoccupied.

        • Dennis Frank 15.1.1.1

          Well done, Phil, you seem to have got to the crux of the situation. Repeating an urban myth online is the current form of gossip. We expect blog respondents to be too lazy to check the facts, but when blog columnists do it we ought to be concerned – delusional tendencies become contagious.

          The Herald report three days ago relates the figure of 33,000 to the 2013 census, whereas Anthony Robins (above) cites the figure of 33,000 for 2016 with no source given to validate it. A year ago the Metro article attributed it to the 2013 census: “In Auckland, more than 33,000 houses were registered as unoccupied in the most recent data from 2013. A breakdown shows about a third had residents away. The remaining 22,152 properties are listed as empty.” (http://www.metromag.co.nz/city-life/property/running-on-empty/). That confirms Hanswurst is correct; both figures are three years old.

          I agree with Rae’s scepticism early in the comments a couple of days ago: much ado about nothing. No doubt the right would see all this as hard evidence of a typical leftist ploy: fake news, designed to con the public & scaremonger folks into believing things are worse than they actually are. I’m jumping to no such conclusion: Anthony may have a genuine source that validates his assertion, so let’s wait for him to produce it here. If it never shows up it’ll take us all a fraction of a second to figure out who lacks credibility, eh?

  16. whateva next? 16

    Looks like this was all very predictable, so given that the elite have managed to create this, explaining it to them seems to be preaching to the converted.
    I have started hearing the usually ” they’re all the same” ” I am not interested in politics” people saying they are uncomfortable knowing that people are unable to afford a roof over their heads…….so perhaps a dawning among those that have the power to vote out the smug pr***** is starting. Hallelujah.

    2014 “Here’s How NASA thinks Society will Collapse”:
    https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi8poKf8qPNAhUJkZQKHeGRAFsQFggdMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theatlantic.com%2Fpolitics%2Farchive%2F2014%2F03%2Fheres-how-nasa-thinks-society-will-collapse%2F441375%2F&usg=AFQjCNFoy1lXf7HR5yKEz5uJRwIXyHZS-A

  17. Jenny 17

    He who frames the argument, wins the argument.

    Yesterday on the radio while driving to work I heard the Prime MInister saying that the government was doing a lot to solve the “housing shortage” and was freeing up a lot of extra land for developers.

    What “house shortage”?

    That is not the problem. The problem is that houses are too expensive to rent or buy due to a huge speculative bubble, that the government refuses to see, or admit to.

    Building more expensive houses that people can’t afford will not solve the problem.

    What this twisting of the reality shows, is that the only people whose interests the government are really interested in trying to protect are the developers and speculators, and the banks, who no doubt will be bailed out when it all bursts.

    In Ireland and California faced with similar housing bubbles they had to bulldoze newly built housing estates to keep the prices up because they couldn’t be sold at the speculative prices they were asking.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2531852/Exorcising-Irelands-ghost-estates-Demolition-begins-housing-projects-built-economic-boom-left-country-300-000-homes.html



    The government here, with their wilful blindness to the nature of the crisis and their concentration on the so called “housing shortage” are heading down the same disastrous track.

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    4 days ago
  • Circling vultures: Why MediaWorks TV is really in trouble
    MediaWorks announced in October 2019 that it intended to sell off its struggling television business and cancel or cut back on several popular local programmes, including New Zealand Today, Married at First Sight New Zealand and 7 Days. Its radio and outdoor advertising arms are currently performing well, but MediaWorks’ ...
    Briefing PapersBy Peter Thompson
    4 days ago
  • Scary Opinium Poll
    Westminster voting intention:CON: 44% (+3)LAB: 28% (-1)LDEM: 14% (-1)BREX: 6% (-)via @OpiniumResearch, surveyed this weekChgs. w/ 08 Nov— Britain Elects (@britainelects) 16 November 2019 This, of course, doesn't look good.  Labour have been chucking big, headline grabbing policies left, right and centre ... Well, maybe not right.  Left, left ...
    4 days ago
  • A coward’s ploy.
    Some readers may remember that I mentioned last year that I was applying for NZ citizenship. I filled out the paperwork and had my original citizenship interview in February. Everything went well until they discovered that, because I had spent five months in the US in 2017, I had not ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Left censorship and exclusion against gender-critical women: a Marxist critique
    by Deirdre O’Neill It is becoming quite acceptable for certain sections of the left to declare that people like me – women who are ‘gender critical’ – should not be allowed in leftist or anarchist spaces. Leaving aside the arrogance and implicit authoritarianism of this claim, its lack of critical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Uncertainty” can be better solved with a better grasp of life’s inherent complexities…
    There is an article in The Conversation, written by Jeremy P. Shapiro (Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University), about what he sees as the psychologically-based underpinnings of three main matters that seem to vex people all around the planet. The article is titled “The Thinking ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Citizens vs the Rogue Deep State
    . .   Blogger Martyn Bradbury has won his case against unreasonable search and surveillance against the NZ Police; and subsequent Police attempts to produce evidence in secrecy, in a closed Court. His case highlights a disturbing growing trend in Aotearoa New Zealand for State power to be used against ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Massey University’s free speech policy double-plus-good
    The Committee of Disobedient Women has intercepted an email from Dr Emma Eejut, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Massey University to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Jan Thomas. Dear Jan, Thank you for your courageous move.  I think 10 pages of blether** should tie any of the students game enough to try holding ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Unacceptable
    That's the only response to the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation into LGOIMA practices at the Christchurch City Council:My investigation identified serious concerns about the Council’s leadership and culture, and its commitment to openness and transparency. In particular, Council staff raised concerns with me about various methods employed by some ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • There is what corruption looks like
    NZ First seems to be nakedly trying to enrich itself from public office:A powerful New Zealand First figure helped establish a forestry company that then pushed for money from two key funding streams controlled by a New Zealand First Minister. An RNZ investigation has found Brian Henry, lawyer for Winston ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Escape from Manus Island
    Behrouz Boochani is an award winning author and journalist. He is also a refugee, who for the past six years has been detained in Australia's offshore gulag on Manus Island, and in Papua New Guinea. But last night, with the cooperation of the WORD Christchurch festival and Amnesty International, he ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When World’s Collide.
    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    7 days ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    7 days ago
  • How does poor air quality from bushfire smoke affect our health?
    Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney New South Wales and Queensland are in the grip of a devastating bushfire emergency, which has tragically resulted in the loss of homes and lives. But the smoke produced can affect many more people not immediately impacted by the fires – even people many ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why municipal waste-to-energy incineration is not the answer to NZ’s plastic waste crisis
    Trisia Farrelly, Massey University New Zealand is ranked the third-most-wasteful country in the OECD. New Zealanders produce five times the global daily average of waste per person – and they are getting more wasteful, producing 35% more than a decade ago. These statistics are likely to get worse following China’s ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    2 weeks ago

  • New high tech traps will reduce the need for 1080 poison
    New Zealand First are celebrating the announcement of an investment of $3.5 million into five new trapping devices. These are a range of bait and trap devices, all designed to be left unattended for long periods of time. NZ First conservation spokesperson Jenny Marcroft says that this latest development will ...
    17 hours ago
  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    3 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    3 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    4 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    1 week ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Milestone of 1800 new Police officers
    The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters say today’s graduation means 1825 new Police have been deployed all ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • PM appoints business leaders to APEC Business Advisory Council
    Ensuring APEC work gets input from diverse New Zealand business and trade interests is behind three new appointments to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Toni Moyes have been appointed to represent New Zealand on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • PM speech notes for Trans-Tasman Business Circle
    Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa. Thank you for having me to speak today. To start, I’d like to acknowledge Sharron Lloyd, the General Manager of the Trans–Tasman Business Circle, the partners for this event Westpac’s  David McLean, and Derek McCormack from  AUT, and, of course ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Otago Regional Council given deadline for freshwater management plan
    A four-month investigation by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton found that Otago’s freshwater planning system is not fit for purpose to manage the region’s rivers, lakes and aquifers and that the Council has inadequate rules for the taking of water and the discharge of nutrients.   “Existing planning provisions ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • LGNZ Rural and Provincial Sector Speech
      Introduction Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to speak to an LGNZ meeting since the local elections, and I’m delighted to see the fresh faces of newly elected mayors. To returning mayors here today, as well as chief ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • New Zealand to attend G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Japan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters departs New Zealand today to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya at the invitation of this year’s G20 President, Japan. “This is the first time New Zealand will attend a G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and we are deeply honoured that it is at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Ambassador to the European Union announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of diplomat Carl Reaich as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the European Union. “The Ambassador to the EU is one of the most important and senior roles in New Zealand’s foreign service, advocating for New Zealand’s interests with the EU institutions,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New inventions boost Predator Free 2050 effort
        Innovation and technology are behind five new tools to give nature a helping hand by helping eliminate predators, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “The new tools will be trialled in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • APEC 2021 Bill passes first reading
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC 2021) Bill in Parliament today. The temporary bill supports New Zealand’s security preparations for hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2021. “APEC is the leading economic and trade forum ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making progress for our kids
    The Government is making progress on improving the wellbeing of the one million New Zealanders under the age of 18,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on World Children’s Day. The Government has today recommitted to the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history – the United Nation’s Convention on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Māori women in business contribute to our economy, whānau and communities
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has released a new report celebrating the contribution of Māori women in business across Aotearoa New Zealand. “Māori women are leaders in our communities, they employ many people and support our economy and our communities,” Julie Anne Genter said. The report, Ngā wāhine kaipakihi: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two schools on the way for Omokoroa
    Four parcels of land have been bought in Omokoroa, in the Western Bay of Plenty District, for an education facility that will accommodate both a primary and secondary school on a campus-like facility, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Two parcels were acquired from private land owners and two were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year
    1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total   They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clamp down on wheel clamping passes third reading
    New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and extortionate fees charged in order to release a vehicle have passed their final stage in Parliament today. The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill has now passed its third reading. “These changes mean $100 will be the maximum wheel clamping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
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