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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    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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