The great future tide of homelessness

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, December 3rd, 2015 - 156 comments
Categories: class war, housing - Tags:

The Salvation Army recently reported on the fifth of New Zealand who will be forced to be without their own home by the forces of unrestrained real estate capitalism.

In 2030, over 200,000 New Zealanders over 65 will not own their own home. Does anyone still remember when it was our emotional bedrock as a country, our savings bedrock, the basis on which every future generation could be handed their own real start in life? That was then.

We’ve gone through the great post-World War Two era of home ownership, and now it’s plummeting. It’s currently at 64% and falling fast.

By 2030 – just 15 years away – those over 65 will number 1.1 million. That’s 22% of us all. This is the Elderly Precariat, in which the risk of one major illness, one major job loss, one major marriage breakup, is more likely, and more irreversibly damaging for the rest of your life. In no small part because you run a very high risk of losing your house. 22% of us are risking that within 15 years.

Off-the-cuff solutions like “just downsize, why don’t you?’, roll off the tongue of the glib, and the real estate agents. Doesn’t work if you’ve got grandchildren needing a place (increasing), grown-up children who ‘forget to leave’ (increasing), or indeed the real prospect of loneliness and isolation of some tiny downsized village bereft of healthcare or networks, eking out the NZSuper in $5 per day increments. Plus, the shame of knowing you took your following generation downwards, not upwards.

There’s no government policy on this at all. It took the Salvation Army to study it and say it. They, not the government, are pointing the way.

156 comments on “The great future tide of homelessness ”

  1. Bill 1

    I don’t see lack of home ownership as a problem. Lack of security is though.

    But if rents were reasonable and tenancy rights were robust (eg – life long leases), then with an eye to security, I’d far rather rent than buy.

    • Sabine 1.1

      but is not the reason that non such rights exist in NZ that everyone will try to get a mortgage?

      I have rented all my life, and never had an issue with it. In saying that NZ rentals beggar believe…..the Ownership Generation/Class renting dumps to the next generation (10 to a three bedroom) or young families (mouldy rotten and overpriced), as that is literally the only way to get rich in NZ. And every generation seems to do it.

      Shortsighted is the most polite term I can come up with. And then it bites them in the arse, and people near and far cry ….i did not know, but they did know, and just thought it would never be them that have to live in the slums they created and build.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        It is cruel.

        Even the state is seeking to accelerate the speed of turnover in state houses, because their demand is increasing and their number of units nowhere near keeping up.

        Not sure if anyone remembers a time where the major City Councils owned enough pensioner flats to make a real dent in the market demand. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Auckland City Council actually did. Hello, Mayor John Banks.

        Neither central nor local government are doing their real job: help form a good society.

        You are dead right to head straight to security of tenure. Ownership in New Zealand society is the only way to feel safe, and there’s no wishing alternatives. That feeling of safety as one heads into frailty is surely the central goal of one’s entire life, and we are watching it leave this country.

        • Bill

          Not sure if anyone remembers a time where the major City Councils owned enough pensioner flats to make a real dent in the market demand. (…)
          Neither central nor local government are doing their real job: help form a good society.

          So Dunedin Regional Council bought (compulsory purchased?) a pile of properties up by the Leith river because of flood dangers. They then rented those homes out at market rent for a number of years while, certainly in a number of cases, doing sfa in terms of maintenance.

          Then they took remedial measures with regards the flood threat, kicked the tenants out and are selling now the homes on the open market.

          • Ad

            Dunedin City Council, and Christchurch City Council, are already facing a massive medium-term crisis due to flood levels rising from sea level change. South Dunedin in particular, the poorest area of Dunedin, is already being considered a major future liability by Dunedin Council. Taken together it would take one almighty change in Annual Plan priority for Dunedin City Council to prepare for both this future housing crisis, and the gradual managed retreat of the whole of South Dunedin.

            • weka

              What they should do is invest in things that will bring more money into the town, like a big stadium or something.

              • greywarshark

                That’s a good idea!

                • weka

                  I don’t know what they’re all worried about. Think about all that great tourism revenue once the Antartica really starts breaking up and sending more ice floes around the Otago coast. We need to build more helicopters and cruise ships.

            • Bill

              Sorry Ad. My bad. That comment should have referenced Otago Regional Council, there’s no such entity as Dunedin Regional Council.

              Rising sea levels…yup. Major bureaucratic ‘eyes wide shut’ stuff going on there. But I don’t quite see what that has to do with making people homeless today in locations that may not be subjected to the effects of a 2 degrees C driven sea level rise.

              • Ad

                It’s another layer of insecurity upon housing, which makes it much harder to fix. Each city will have its own layer of challenges.

                The point of the post however is that the problem of home ownership for the elderly and the accelerating insecurity that they now face, is getting so massive that it is getting too large for central government to fix. It is a societal change that will make 22% of our population far more secure than they are overall now, and this will affect the whole country.

        • weka

          “You are dead right to head straight to security of tenure. Ownership in New Zealand society is the only way to feel safe, and there’s no wishing alternatives. That feeling of safety as one heads into frailty is surely the central goal of one’s entire life, and we are watching it leave this country.”

          Except ownership is no longer a way to feel safe, isn’t that the point? We need to fix security, so why not fix it across the board (instead of for those with wealth)? Solve the home ownership and rental problems together.

        • millsy

          A belong to a number of groups on facebook consisting of WINZ and HNZ clients, and they reckon that HNZ tenants are being evicted at an alarming rate. Even those who still ‘have a high housing need;.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      Absolutely Bill. And as the resident bastard landlord around here I’ve repeatedly stated that I’d welcome the kind of reform and improved regulation that would permit robust long-term leases.

      It does happen of course; there are plenty of people who find if they pay the rent reliably (and if they do get into strife they negotiate early and stick to the arrangement), look after the place as if were their own – then most reasonable landlords will let them stay as a long as they like – as if it were indeed their own home.

      Under these informal ‘life-long’ leases, rental increases are often modest, sometimes falling well behind the market. As long as they are covering their costs and making a fair return, most landlords will much prefer a stable reliable tenant, than all the risks that come with a constant turnover of unknown ones.

      But under the present wild-west regime operating in this country, no landlord would dream of formally singing up to such an arrangement before they had the opportunity to assess a tenant. Equally you might want to consider the risks of a tenant signing up to such ‘life-time’ lease without understanding the landlord. There is a boot here on both feet.

      In Australia for example, most leases are for a fixed 12 month term (at least for the first year). If you need to leave before then – the tenant becomes liable to continue paying rent until either the landlord finds a new tenant or the term expires. This is very common and is heavily enforced.

      • tracey 1.2.1

        Yp, good landlords are aprt of the solution RedL. As long as property is rented only until it can be sold for capital gain, there is no security, and it is hard to become attached to a rental property when you are constantly wondering when notice of sale is going to arrive.

        • RedLogix

          Exactly. The residential rental business is infested with the same disease afflicting much of our economy – operating for capital gains rather than cash flow.

          It really doesn’t matter where you look, everything is being distorted by banks pumping credit into the economy, sucking wealth from ordinary people and small businesses – to further bloat their shareholders already immense coffers.

          • tracey

            And when so many of those making our laws are making money from this…

            • Colonial Viper

              On all sides of the House

              Parliamentary Services is paying off the mortgages of a tonne of commercial properties owned by our glorious MPs

              • tracey

                Yes, I meant everyone who makes our laws CV, that’s all MPs.

                Wouldn’t want a criticism of Labour to pass by 😉

        • Draco T Bastard

          Yp, good landlords are aprt of the solution RedL.

          Nope, they’re still part of the problem as their existence encourages others to become bludgers on the community.

          No, the solution is state ownership of all housing. The good landlords would become employees of the state doing the same job as they do now with a few changes one of which would be that they’d have to maintain an over supply of housing of 1 to 2% everywhere.

          The cost of building the homes would be covered by general taxes and maintenance would be covered by a small rent set as a percentage of income.

          End result would be much cheaper living and high security.

          The present housing system is like the health care system in the US in that it pushes costs and prices higher by several multiples. But, hey, a few people get rich on the backs of others work.

          • Gosman

            Why doesn’t even Mana have this as their policy Draco? Is it perhaps because it is electoral suicide?

            • Draco T Bastard

              Why doesn’t even Mana have this as their policy Draco?

              Why are you asking me that? Shouldn’t you be asking Mana?

              Is it perhaps because it is electoral suicide?

              It possibly is ATM because we’ve all been taught that private ownership is the bees knees rather than that private ownership is the problem. Once the general population start cottoning onto that latter as the fact that it is then such a policy will probably work.

          • Coffee Connoisseur

            If you are going to use that (and you should it is a viable solution whether people are ready for it or not) might I suggest that you use the term ‘Public ownership’ rather than ‘State’
            I believe that in this day and age there is a case for distinguishing between the two.
            State conjures up an almost Orwellian very controlling image as in terms like the surveillance state
            In this day and age I see ‘State’ as Government and I am sure many others do also.
            Consider the foreshore and seabed. Labour put it under Government ownership. National under Public.
            Many people are untrusting of government to do the right thing and as things progress in society overtime who can blame them.
            Public ownership at least conjures up a vision of being owned by and for the benefit of the public.

            All of this aside what is missing from society is the set of rules or a system that sets out what everyman woman and child should be entitled to in this day and age. Admittedly I haven’t read the bill of rights but I would be surprised if even this covered it in enough detail. We have economic systems communication systems, transport systems. and various other systems that make up the set of people systems. What we don’t have is an overarching people system that states what all other systems should enable for all people in society and which things people should have by right in a modern technologically advanced society.
            A good way to think of it from a philosophical and moral viewpoint is what is the justification to have a system where any man have he right to own a ferrari (or superyacht or whatever luxury item you choose to insert) whilst another is homeless.
            The system should be termed The People System or the Human system or something along those lines.

            The people system would be a set of outcomes that all systems should be geared toward delivering on. Where a system doesn’t deliver those outcomes that system should either be changed so that it does deliver those things or removed altogether and replaced with something that does.

            The people System should give every single person the right to the following
            Freedom in the form of liberty, speech and freedom from persecution.
            Healthy Food
            Clean Air
            Appropriate Clothing
            A good Education
            Access to Communication
            Clean water
            The ability to access wants

            The systems that are used to deliver these things should do so with as few barriers as possible.

            I don’t believe the current debt based system would deliver these
            (and doesn’t obviously) and even if it did it isn’t without a significant barrier for a person to be able to do so.
            So it would need to be changed so that it does, or replaced with something that does and has minimal barriers to people attaining those things.
            An example would be removing the current debt based central banking system and replacing it with a secure crypto currency that enables a UBI for everyone. Alternatively the two could be run in paralell with the crypto being able to be used to obtain items that it is determined people should have by right under the people system.

            This could be set up in such a way that as over time more things are automated, those who no longer need to work could be involved in programs that work towards the betterment of society and the freeing of more people from having to work. Perhaps it is only 2-3 days per week
            Luxury goods could be transitioned to a split between a temporary access or usership model whilst ownership could still be there for those still having to work. At least until Society had made the necessary cultural shift and that was no longer required.
            The programs to develop improvements for society could be continued indefinitely.

            At least you then have a powerful justification to eliminate homelessness and a framework to do so that supercedes the power of our current economic system.

            Hope that makes sense

            • Ad

              Why not just look up the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights?

              You might be surprised what you find there.

          • Ad

            Proudhon: “property is theft!” I think that was his sole contribution to humanity. They tried centralized control of housing in the Soviet Union and it was terrible. The end result was a totalitarian state.

            The New Zealand setup used to be that a significant enough proportion of the rental market held by the public sector set the benchmark for private sector rents. That, plus getting on the Housing Corporation list, plus big subsidies. If you were in Council pensioner housing, rents were well controlled. The achievement that has been lost is social security. That’s worth aiming for, not stripping people of all ownership.

      • Detrie 1.2.2

        A close workmate was forced into renting many years ago and has on average moved every 2-3 years. Although many landlords talk of long term arrangements, in practice it seldom happens and he is forced to move on. A 12 month renewable term is usually the best you can get. His life and that of his kids is regularly turned upside down going through the process of finding a new ‘home’, yet increasingly more costly and further from work. His current place is quite nice and landlord good, but he knows that sooner or later, he’ll have to start again.

        He’ll never have a place he can really call home and retire to. And God help him when he retires in a few years and lacks security of income, meaning the odds of being accepted as a good tenant will plummet. Like others, he’ll probably have to move several hours out of Auckland, away from family and friends.

        • Ad

          Exactly the kind of cold story I had in mind with the post.
          Some real truth told there about how really scary retirement is for many now.

      • Bill 1.2.3

        Those 12 month fixed term leases where tenants have to pay the remainder of the 12 months if they leave have been a favourite of slum-lords renting out to students in Dunedin for years.

        I decided maybe 15 years ago that I wouldn’t sign any leases (covered by generic tenancy law) or pay any bond (offered a legally binding note instead). It worked surprisingly well, as I seemed to only get good landlords after taking that decision.

        • Detrie

          I suspect when you’re forced to move with only a few weeks notice, then find there’s 10-20 others wanting the next rental property, you’re powerless. Certainly in no position to set your own terms. As another said, rental properties, esp in Auckland, are there for speculation and quick returns to the landlord/investor.

          Maybe for Auckland, we copy what’s happening in many American cities where rental means moving into a large apartment block and sharing facilities. Ideally they should be owned or under the control of the city council. Sorry, maybe that’s too socialist and 1970s… Profit, not people is the priority today.

          • Ad

            You are exactly right. There is non substitute if you are the wrong side of seventy for actual cast iron tenure.

            At the margins there are still a few – a rare few – who will try communal shared facilities. There’s an eco-village in Ranui that does that. IMHO what you are describing is what Council-owned pensioner housing should be.

  2. Dorothy Bulling 2

    We had our home on the market for a long time before it sold. Would have suited a family but loan to value restrictions limited the number of buyers. This is hard on those wanting to downsize. The builders in this new small subdivision tell us that even here in Invercargill there is an urgent need for at least 200 homes of the style we now live in. So its a perfect storm, lack of buyers and then not enough new neat retirement properties on the msrket. I feel blessed every day that we found this new smaller home near the innrr city. We are 1 of 8 on what was 2 good sized sections. Life is good for us but I worry about ithers who can’t sell, can’t afford lots to maintain the big old house, and then can’t find or can’t afford the decent home to live out the rest of their lives.

    • Ad 2.1

      You did exceedingly well to get out.
      The cities that are ageing very fast – particularly Invercargill and Dunedin – have a very high risk of an oversupply of large, old, high maintenance homes. Whereas the demand from this rapidly ageing population is for small, low-maintenance and highly secure units with health services very close by.

      This significant market mismatch is strong and getting stronger.

      I see it occurring in families near to me, and the damage done to this home owning generation and their descendants is long and deep.

      • weka 2.1.1

        One thing I’m hearing from people about to build a house for themselves is that there is huge pressure from the banks to build a kitset house (not sure what they’re called, but the pre-designed ones from the big firms). These houses are often too big for what is wanted and needed but the banks see them as the better investment.

      • BM 2.1.2

        They’re called retirement villages.

        Don’t you have these in Dunedin?

        • RedLogix

          Yes I was going to mention that.

          I actually own eight homes, but I’m a tenant myself. We haven’t lived in a home we own for almost 18 years now. When eventually I get too gaga to program anymore, we plan on going into a village of some description.

          Some of the newer ones around are bloody fantastic. Really.

          • BM

            Yeah, they’ve really come on in leaps and bounds, the US really lead the way on that.

            I’d have absolutely no issue living in any of the new developments, they’re brilliant for the oldies.

          • Colonial Viper

            RL – what needs to happen is a chain of these villages set up as a co-op or mutual organisation and owned by the families of the occupants and the occupants themselves – and not by money sucking corporates.

            • greywarshark

              And developers/speculators. Recently the owners of a village project raised their annual amenity fees and other costs so much that the residents felt the pinch and rebelled. They got an advocate and took on the owners and organised to buy them out to stop this sort of gold mining.

              I fear that we will never be able to get euthanasia, choice of dying time, sensibly legalised because catering for the elderly will be one of the few business types that is growing in NZ. While the superannuation continues and the reliance on accommodation supplements which flow into the hands of waiting business seagulls who will fight and swoop on all the juicy offerings, while these help maintain investment opportunities and the appearance of NZ as a robust trading nation, gummint will keep we frail humans alive in some shape or form beyond our own wishes.

        • Ad

          Read the post BM. In fact, read the report upon which it is based.

          You need to own a home to sell to be able to get into a retirement village.

        • Anno1701

          “retirement villages.”

          you mean Pensioner farms ? investment of the future im told

          • Descendant Of Sssmith

            ” investment of the future im told”

            That and funeral parlours.

            Ahh the ghettoising of old people.

            And what price does the community pay for putting old people in ghettos. I know as a young couple 400 miles away from family (see I moved to where the jobs were like the right advocates) with young children the pensioner next door was invaluable in providing help and support and our children (her family had moved overseas for work) played a significant role in adding value to her life.

            I contrast my in-laws who live in a retirement village transferring their wealth to a corporate (and constantly complaining about it and moaning that the state should be paying for it) versus my mother who is looking after other peoples children, helping elderly get to hospital and the right medical care, making sure the neighbours are OK and so on.

            Part of that is how they were before becoming elderly of course but who knows what those in the retirement village could have contributed to their communities.

            It seems weird to me that we have to visit one side of the family in an institution when there seems little need for them to be there.

            Despite feeling secure they don’t seem particularly happy. Still at least we visit. Many don’t get visited at all.

            It’s also quite noticeable about how white these villages are. Nary a Maori or Asian face in sight. Maybe Auckland might show some increased ethnic diversity perhaps. I’ve only been to one retirement village in Auckland and that was all white as well.

            What’s going to happen to these villages as well when the baby boomers die off and what’s going to happen to those in them as the rooms can’t be filled and the firms go bust or when they sell them at the top of the market to make the capital gain and leave them with even less scrupulous owners.

            The driving out of the charitable resthomes and the council housing will leave these elderly people at the mercy of the free-market at some point.

            Like all housing there will be a glut at some point as those populations die off. What will happen when they are down to say 50% occupancy in 10 years time and there’s no state or council housing to put them in to.

            Will the state then be expected to take over?

            Short-term planning these villages in order to maximise profit.

            • Ad

              People who have chosen to live in a retirement village are grown-ups who have decided to be separate from everyone else. If they complain, retirement village occupants appreciate complaining as I would an Olympic sport. Call it a privilege of being old.

              Your points about “how white these villages are” stems from Maori on average not living as long as pakeha, their private assets are on average lower, and some prefer to return to originating villages.

              There is no glut of retirement accommodation in the foreseeable future. As the graphs in the Salvation Army report show, ageing is a very long term trend in New Zealand.

              By and large the retirement villages plan for at least 80 years each of operation – pretty long term by most business standards. But once that equity goes, it’s gone, and the next generation generally get zip.

        • Heather Grimwood

          To BM…only the relatively well -off, or folk who have had no hiccups in life can afford such places. Theory doesn’t equate with reality.

          • BM

            You can always rent.

            I’d say that option will become the preferred option in the next 20 years.

            • Ad

              It won’t be a preferred option, because it won’t be a choice.
              Which is the main point of the Salvation Army report that I cited.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.3

        Ad, your observations of what is happening here in Dunedin is spot on.

        The amount of pre 1930s housing stock in this city is mind boggling. Many of those properties are getting to the stage where a lot of work and $$$ is needed to even keep them up to scratch.

        The rising water table and deteriorating old infrastructure in South Dunedin is already at a crisis stage but the can is still kickable down the road once or twice more and with the DCC still highly leveraged due to a sports stadium, their options are terribly limited.

        • BM

          Those areas in Dunedin south will be written off, they’re not worth saving.

          Building on a coastal wetland, not a good idea.

          • Ad

            That’s pretty cruel BM. Clearly you don’t have people living in the lowland areas of Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, or the Northland coastal communities.

            What is at stake is the security of well over a hundred thousand people.

            • BM

              Why bother spending millions/billions to save old shitty houses sited on a swamp?

              • Ad

                Wrong question.

                The question is: what to do?

                The scale of the problem is such that central government no longer has the capacity to rebuild cities. Even when faced with a single catastrophic event like Christchurch, it has taken all the world’s main insurers, the full might of Christchurch City Council, drained EQC to its last drop, much of NZTA’s resources, and still it’s a housing mess years and years later.

                Twyford’s policy of a mass rebuild of cities will take at least a term to get off the ground and get rolling, even once elected. IMHO housing is a bigger problem than faced by Cullen towards the formation of NZSuper Fund and Kiwisaver. The elderly housing crisis is simply the bow-wave.

                All this, while the entire remaining NZ middle class gets hollowed out year by year.

                • Bill

                  What to do?

                  The same as should have been done post Ch/ch earthquake. Compulsory purchase of secure land. ‘Blueprint transfer’ from the abandoned area to the new. The advantage with sea level rise is that many houses can be shifted to their new location over coming decades.

                  I know it isn’t going to happen due to an avalanche of objections and the end result will be overseen by bumbling bullshit (as per Ch/ch).

                  • weka

                    What’s blueprint transfer?

                    • Bill

                      What I mean is create ‘a mirror’ of the original location. Y’know? Number 7 Oily Way is still no. 7 Oily Way and still five minutes from whatever it was five minutes from.

                      Transfer land titles, insurance policy etc. The insurance industry will have to be coerced 😉

                    • weka

                      Sorry, not following that at all. Someone would still need to build the new houses right? Who would that be? Geography would probably also prevent a blueprint being replicated elsewhere.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    @Bill…sea level rise, or coastal erosion.

                    This happened in Kairakau. The Council declared the land beachside unsuitable for living due to erosion. Some bach holders held out and lived rate free for quite sometime until the Council stepped in…

                    ” From 1970 – 1987 the front row of cottages were the subject of much public debate. The cottages were ordered to be removed once the Town and Country Planning Act was passed as they were found to be on the strip. Because of this the council could no longer rate the owners and they were given notice of 15 years to remove their cottages ferom the beach front. In fact they stayed for 19 years without paying any rates.

                    In 1987,following a long battle with the Central Hawkes Bay CouncilKairakau Holdings purchased the back paddock to accommodate all the front cottages when they were removed from the beachfront. This area has since been subdivided and roads and services put in. ”


                • weka

                  “Even when faced with a single catastrophic event like Christchurch, it has taken all the world’s main insurers, the full might of Christchurch City Council, drained EQC to its last drop, much of NZTA’s resources, and still it’s a housing mess years and years later.”

                  Yes, and in addition to all the other factors, part of the problem was that many people wanted their investments paid back. If we had instead made sure that everyone who lost their home got another one, even if it was smaller or worth less or whatever, we’d be in a different position now.

                • greywarshark

                  Ah but the middle class still see friends doing well. They may be getting near amnesic, personally they don’t feel hollow, and they are still fairly chirpy in the main. And the comfortably off sail off into bright sunsets and if it’s too hot they pay for their air con. Their self-satisfaction and determined ignorance seems unassailable.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Even when faced with a single catastrophic event like Christchurch, it has taken all the world’s main insurers, the full might of Christchurch City Council, drained EQC to its last drop, much of NZTA’s resources, and still it’s a housing mess years and years later.

                  The actual proof that insurance is a scam. If insurance worked it would have easily been sorted out but as it doesn’t it’s a mess as the insurers try not to pay out because they simply don’t have enough money to cover the full costs of shifting the resources and can never have enough.

                • toryman

                  you must put your faith in john key the flag the flag

  3. Shona 3

    Spot on Sabine. As a baby boomer I am frequently disgusted by the callous, shallow and uncaring attitudes of my generation. Short sighted? absolutely. Visionless selfish and greedy, too.

  4. tracey 4

    My understanding is that Superannuation was calculat on the basis that by 65 a person was mortgage free (and therefore had no accomodation cost) and so the money they got from Super would cover other bills, food etc?

    If we, like other countries in the western world had low interest rates, much lower, and those who do own multiple homes can get their loans low, then the corresponding yield from a rental agreement will suffice. In Auckland the cost of borrowing cannot be offset by a decent yield frm rent, ergo, people buy to get the capital gain. IN Auckland renting is not the secure otpion but people can’t uy houses, so catch 22… We have been governed for soe decades by people who are wilfully turning away from these obvious problems, for their short term political lives, and presumably, for some, cos they are going to be fine, as are their children.

    • Ad 4.1

      Auckland is the cruelest vortex of insecurity we have.

      With the lowest interest rates for a generation, massive pressure on the remaining elderly to sell due to high City Council rates, and huge inward immigration ramping up house prices, essentially the whole of Auckland is no place to be old.

      • tracey 4.1.1

        Yup, rates alone are close to what you would pay for Body Corporate fees!

      • Whispering Kate 4.1.2

        I agree Ad, Auckland is too expensive for most people who are retired, the rates keep going up annually and they will be rated eventually, out of their properties. You have to be really wealthy to be able to absorb these rises and share investment frightens a lot of this age group because of the 1980’s share crash. Dodgy Finance Companies also scare people off with good reason. Thankfully we are in a situation where we will be able to weather the storm but you are right savings in bank investments are useless for fixed incomes.

        Another interesting situation I think is developing which is the slow withdrawal of retired people out of their suburbs and immigrants coming in and filling up these homes. People lose their neighbours who they identify with and find themselves surrounded by another culture who they cannot communicate with – people feel isolated, the secureness of knowing your neighbours if you go on holiday and need the cat fed, mail picked up or watering the vegetable patch disappears. This situation I know, as it is happening in my own suburb. Our street now has 75% immigrant occupancy and it grows every month. Often the home is occupied by the wife and children with an absentee husband, some of the homes are not occupied. One has the feeling that one is being harrassed in their own home on a daily basis by agents wanting to buy your home, it extends to being invited to Christmas dinner at a local cafe – no other word for it bribery if you ask me. For some reason our suburb is popular with the Chinese as there are some great schools close by. I can see in the future Auckland will a city of immigrants and kiwis will be driven out of the city through both of the above – rising city rates each year and land costs and the driving force of overseas residents wanting to reside here and their respective agents pushing the bar to the point of being a public nuisance to secure that home for them.

        • Ad

          I can hear your discomfort.

          You may well be right that there is active white flight out of Auckland for reasons other than cashing in the equity for retirement. (personally I think immigration into Auckland has been the making of the place, but that’s just me).

          But even when Aucklanders do cash out, it’s a once-in-a-generation event, where those who buy “down” and eat their equity, it’s then gone. That equity isn’t passed on upon death because it’s spent.

          That’s when the real intergenerational wealth transfer that has gone on for generations last century starts to really fall of a cliff. And at that point the housing ownership rate really goes off the cliff with it.

          There is a very clear timescale to this, as the post points out.

          • Whispering Kate

            Absolutely, we are fortunate and are in a situation where we will be handing over our homes to our two children and will be keeping it an inter-generational situation. There is no way they will be able to put a foot in the door here in AK otherwise, one resides in the USA and has an amazing home, puts a lot of ours to shame and they only paid $425.000 US dollars for it just this year- solid timber kitchen, built like a brick proverbial and absolutely beautiful, so close to the city centre she can walk to work, they are coming home eventually and will at least, have a step on the ladder. When I say homes, we do own one other home and an apartment so we consider ourselves truly fortunate

            Its not that I dislike immigrants, some we know are lovely people, its just its becoming like an invasion of inappropriate proportions. Our other daughter lives in the city and is probably the only European who resides in the area where she lives. We visit her regularly and its like being in Hong Kong. You are correct, its a white flight out of the city and not for racial reasons – just the loss of identity in our neighbourhoods and ratched up house prices/rates. Future generations will accept and cope much better because they will have no choice.

            • Ad

              I grew up in New Lynn, so I know the scale of change you mean.

              I am very glad my post doesn’t describe your circumstances. It’s getting rarer and rarer.

              • RedLogix

                There is no way they will be able to put a foot in the door here in AK otherwise, one resides in the USA and has an amazing home, puts a lot of ours to shame and they only paid $425.000 US dollars for it just this year

                We went through this exact display home a couple of weeks ago. 205m2, 4 bed, 2 bath, 2 car actually a really nice home, in a decently planned subdivision. One of 24 display homes in the same street, in a solid growth town. Shops within 800m. About A$380,000 including land, landscaping … ready to move in:


                It’s way too big for us, and not a fit for our plans … but we are astounded at the value for money. Building costs here are almost 60% or less of NZ.

                • Ad

                  We are so getting screwed here by the supplier oligopolies.
                  The cartel legislation proposed about five years ago has simply stalled under this government.

  5. DH 5

    It’s worse than even the SA say. People who chose to save instead of buying a house are seeing the value of their savings annihilated. Not only do savings buy less now they also return less, falling interest rates reduce a savers income while their rents keep increasing.

    In a well run economy savings should at least keep pace with house prices. There’s little incentive to save otherwise.

    The biggest lie Kiwis have been fed is that we have low inflation. The definition of inflation is; “the devaluation of money”. The RBNZ blithely pretend that property isn’t bought with money, they deceitfully omit property from inflation figures.

    • Ad 5.1

      With house prices rising so fast – even with the 2-year selling restrictions now in place – savings are indeed getting devastated because they buy 10-15% less of a house every year.

      The bank deposit interest rates are a joke, in terms of any capacity to help supplement NZSuper.

      No-one with half a brain trusts the share market these days.

      Then there are these operators like Propeller Mortgages, who essentially enable the elderly to stay in their house but mine their own equity. It’s the whole population under 50 who really get hit hard with that.

      Home ownership used to be the very definition of safe. Apart from the question of foreign ownership of land and houses, we are seeing the hollowing-out of our bedrock of security on so many fronts.

      • DH 5.1.1

        Yup. So if you look at a person who decided to save instead of buying a house, well, they’re pretty well naffed aren’t they. Come retirement their savings can’t buy a house and they’ll be faced with ever increasing rents on a diminishing income.

        When you consider that successive governments have exhorted us to save it’s not unreasonable to state that savers have been totally betrayed.

  6. linda 6

    House costs are far to high we need a real crash badly to begin a reset

    • BM 6.1

      It’s not so much the house cost, it’s the price of the land.

      For example

      This property is for sale for $350,000

      The same type of property, (a bit bigger) in the same sort of area 15 years ago was around $45,000

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        We’ve created an economy where property is seen primarily as a financial asset and the basis of many financial instruments; now lots of players are trying to make big profits off each stage of the house creation process.

        Someone has to pay for all of that…

      • Ad 6.1.2

        Have you tried to build a house recently?

      • tracey 6.1.3

        Cool, so we just need houses that don’t need to be built on land…

        We call them Apartments (oh wait they are built on land and have BC fees)

        • Ad

          There’s a good article on TransportBlog about the comparative regulatory cost of building apartments versus building standalone houses.

          • greywarshark

            If you have time and can remember the name or supply the link I’d like to look at that Transport blog about cost apartments v standalone houses. I had a look but here is a lot on Transport and if you know it that would be faster. Thanks in advance.

          • Draco T Bastard

            This one?

            • greywarshark

              I guess that’s it DTB thanks. That’s the one I saw but it is based on Melbourne which is interesting for comparison but I thought Transportblog would be looking at NZ conditions.

        • greywarshark

          What about houseboats? Has anyone lived in a community with them and had organised facilities?

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    The answer is to raise the Super eligibility age and keep the old bastards chasing jobs which don’t exist, because we can’t afford good things or a decent life for Kiwis.

    • Ad 7.1

      According to Phil Twyford this morning in the NZHerald

      “The only credible short-term way to deal with the problem is a Government-backed building programme where the Government works with private sector builders and architects but actually builds affordable homes and sells them into the market,” he said.

      He said the National Government was slowly being “dragged towards that conclusion” and was responding by redevelopment in Tamaki and by seeking partners to build on surplus Crown land.

      “But they won’t do it at scale.”

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        The idea of government building houses is great. Even greater would be that a separate department be responsible for this under a new House, Inform and Build Department (acronym the Hib Hub) that would do all it could to help people get into houses, advise on maintenance, insurance etc. to see that people could maintain the housing stock and that it be affordable.

        People who wanted a house could go for financial advice on how much they could save and where they would want to live in conjunction with their jobs, transport, and future needs such as schools, Then they would go away and save like mad into Kiwibank and then they would receive a concessionary mortgage of 4-5% with up front heavy payments for two years, but then dropping back to a 10 year mortgage at a set rate. If young adults, it would be best if they used contraception and delayed children for a number of years.

        And they might start life in a two bedroom apartment, and then be able to shift to a place no higher than two storey with fenced garden area for each owner suitable for having two or three children and a dog, cat and be in a secure family house which allowed them a wee bit of discretionary money. Heaven. And it could be had if someone responsible and able got off their bum with a burning sense, not of flaming bum, but of desire to aid the young people (and the elderly) into reasonable and secure accommodation. A worthy task and not impossible mission if someone cared to accept it.

        • Ad


          The past is a foreign country.

          • greywarshark

            Of course that’s both true, and not so. The past is something that we made happen. With the will we could make it happen again. Our world is largely made by humans and even nature is affected though it retaliates. So the ingenuity of the past needs to be brought forward, and though the solutions of those times don’t or can’t be applied exactly the same, the clever, smart, practical and pragmatic thinking that keeps popping up here and elsewhere, can be, gathered and organised and used, put to work instead of just being words using wasted energy.

            • Ad

              The closer we get to crisis, the more attractive the New Deal-type plans of the first Labour Government will appear.

        • linda

          Germany homes are built in automated factories if we are serious about solving the problem automated factories provide the solution they can run 24/7

          • greywarshark

            Thanks Linda. Good idea. May be too big and expensive for this country and it’s long geography. There are also modular house builders already here. Presumably if the speculators haven’t bought up all the land, they could put up some nice homes on well planned plots.

            And it seems to me that there isn’t a will to do the work that should be done by a government that wants a good life for NZs. Nothing is done in NZ that does not enrich someone. I don’t know if any one company or group of them is willing to invest. There is a lot of money for speculators and developers in the present market as it is. Our forests were sold off for a quick buck. Fletchers used to be a reliable NZ company but is export oriented and I think we pay more for our timber than when it is sold overseas. And there had to be an arrangement made that it wasn’t all presold for export or we wouldn’t have enough for the houses we have got

            A 3D investigation has uncovered a whole range of practices in the building industry keeping New Zealand prices high, from perk trips for builders to exclusive stocking deals at hardware chains.
            By 2020 the value of building in New Zealand will top $200 billion, with hundreds of thousands of new homes and apartments.
            OPINION: Govt action needed on building industry

            The country’s richest man, estimated to be worth US$7 billion ($9.1 billion) by Forbes, is gearing up for a transtasman sharemarket float of Carter Holt Harvey, tipped by market sources to be scheduled for June or July, which could value the business at up to $1 billion.
            The Auckland-based building supplies firm, acquired by Hart in 2006 for $3.3 billion and promptly de-listed from NZX and ASX, is the last remaining Australasian operation in his Rank Group empire.

            Fletchers owner Graeme Hunt got in trouble over business methods.
            Carter Holt Harvey, owned by Graeme Hart’s Rank Group, and Fletcher Building, the country’s biggest listed company, admitted to the Commerce Commission that they agreed to fix prices for structural timber for some commercial customers in Auckland in late 2012 and early 2013.

            The Wellington-based anti-trust regulator today filed proceedings in the High Court against Carter Holt and its manager Dean Dodds and is awaiting a penalty hearing, it said in a statement. They cooperated with the investigation and have agreed to settlements in which they admit their conduct breached the Commerce Act.

  8. Rosemary McDonald 8

    The answer is to save and buy a small campervan/motorhome.

    About $20,000 will easily get you a modest vehicle, the NZMCA will guide you towards making that vehicle CSC, good old Kiwi ingenuity with the fiddly bits and BOOM…you can head off for a life on the road as a grey nomad.

    You’d be surprised at how many are doing this….especially after the finance company collapses.

    There is an entire infrastructure set up for CSC itinerants.

    We even have our own tunes….

    • Ad 8.1

      I have a lot of relatives on my Dad’s side who have done this, but they didn’t sell their family home. One of my uncles spent the last 7 years just touring around Australia, and just visiting relatives back here in the height of summer. It’s a great extended road-romance … but they found that after that many years, there’s a fair hankering to actually be in one place, with a little garden, and let family come to them. Romance turns into claustrophobia, fights, discomfort, rootlessness, and one crash away from complete disaster.

      In early next year we will be building a “Granny Flat” on the back of our Auckland house precisely to help an elderly in-law. It also adds massive value to the house as a whole.

      • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1

        “Romance turns into claustrophobia, fights, discomfort, rootlessness, and one crash away from complete disaster.”

        We did a 7m Bus, in anticipation of a the inevitable inability of being able to afford to live in our home on the Invalids Benefit.

        And, the knowledge that when we did eventually have to sell the Big House, finding alternative wheelchair accessible housing would be extremely problematic.

        At an engineering shop, getting some Kiwi ingenuity built into our Bus, some grumpy old sod insisted that we could NEVER make it work with a wheelchair in such a small Bus. He was doing up a 10m job…no wheelchair.

        He was wrong. So wrong.

        If we were giving advice on itinerant living for seniors…we would advise to get the smallest vehicle possible. Then…no problem parking…including at the kid’s places when you’re called up for moko minding duties.

        The “infrastructure” I referred to earlier allows plenty of opportunities for social intercourse, getting out of the vehicle for extended periods and generally not only surviving but enjoying the lifestyle.

        And…we are exercising CHOICE and FREEDOM….this is life saving.

        • Ad

          I’m glad it worked out for you.
          Not sure it’s a policy prescription.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            “Not sure it’s a policy prescription.”

            And that is where the FCA comes in. An Act, that leads to policy, that actually acknowledges that for some this is the way they live…for whatever reason.

            It is a valid alternative for those eschewing the fossil factory.

          • weka

            Tiny homes in general will increasingly be an option though. What we need to be careful of is when councils try to start regulating that in ways that protect the status quo.

            • Ad

              We have real tiny homes already.
              They are the most land-efficient, transport-efficient, diversely designed, comparatively affordable things around with actual titles.
              They’re called apartments.

              • maui

                You can’t build and own your own apartment for less than $5000 though which you can do with a tiny home.

                • weka


                  Best not to confuse terminologies Ad. Not everywhere has apartments, and not everywhere is suited to them. Also willing to bet they’re not tiny homes, just small compared to the NZ standard home.

            • maui

              I think we’ll see stupid Council rules increasingly as they get into more financial trouble with burgeoning debt. Councils are run by executives, not by people wanting to setup community gardens. Any moves by people not to prop up the system through rates etc will come under pressure.

              • weka

                yep. People with attachment to their property as investment may start to frown upon neighbours in tiny homes too, which will be reflected by council. Let’s all bow down to the Property God.

    • millsy 8.2

      Seen a lot of campervans out there around in the past few years.

      • Rosemary McDonald 8.2.1

        “Seen a lot of campervans out there around in the past few years.”

        Oh yes!

        The indigenous campervan population is increasing rapidly, with the membership of the NZMCA doubling in the past eight years.

        The NZMCA is a powerful lobby group, hires lawyers such as Mei Chen to defend the right to Freedom Camp.

        • weka

          Actually the NZMCA has also been instrumental in removing free camping from NZ citizens. For instance it lobbied to make sure that only people with self contained vehicles could legally free camp here. It’s now defacto illegal for poor people to camp.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            weka….I am not always 100% in sync with the Club, but on the issue of Certified Self Containment I am in complete accord.

            There should be no freedom camping in non CSC vehicles in public places where there are no 24/7 toilet facilities.

            Or we get the whole ‘shitting in the bushes’ thing happening, which is pretty crap for the environment and for children who happen to put their bare feet in some swish banger’s turd.

            The NZMCA has no problem with non CSC vehicles camping where councils have provided toilets, and maybe rubbish bins.

            Many members of NZMCA fully support this.

            “It’s now defacto illegal for poor people to camp.”

            With respect, bullshit. And maybe, define “poor”.

            We ‘camp’, and we see many, many Kiwis who are clearly living in their cars…cars, mind you, and parking overnight where there are toilets available.
            It has been our observation that most of these ‘campers’ are left unmolested by the camping nazis, providing they don’t mess the place up.

            The GOOD thing the NZMCA has done (and I can’t believe I’m advocating for them to this level) is to make people aware of the Freedom Camping Act.

            and amoungst all the legalese there is THIS (that the NZMCA plugs)

            “12 Bylaws must not absolutely prohibit freedom camping
            (1)A local authority may not make bylaws under section 11 that have the effect of prohibiting freedom camping in all the local authority areas in its district.
            (2)This section is for the avoidance of doubt.

            We members pay the NZMCA ( a very modest fee, all up, for what we get in return) to lobby for our interests.

            I have posted the link to the FCA before on the Standard in relation to homelessness….
            with the suggestion that those on the ground lobbying for the homeless take a serious look at the Act.

            • weka

              “There should be no freedom camping in non CSC vehicles in public places where there are no 24/7 toilet facilities.”

              Which is a policy designed to enable people who can afford CSC vehicles and prevent people who can’t.

              The reason we have had to have these laws is because of industrial tourism. International companies have been allowed to rent vehicles without toilets to overseas visitors and have then promoted free camping to them without any responsibility for what would happen including cultural differences in what is appropriate to do with human waste. That’s nothing to do with NZers who have traditionally car or tent camped outside of designated camp sites with toilets.

              There are people in NZ who can’t afford CSC vehicles and who want to free camp. You are suggesting that they should instead stay in designated camp sites. That’s not free camping.

              When I free camp I don’t shit in bushes. I deal with my waste in the appropriate manner. Just as I do when I go for a walk somewhere where there are no toilets. If people don’t know how to do that, then they need to be educated. Making everyone be self contained, or making councils put toilets in the wilderness is part of the problem.

              The values here are neoliberal. We have swapped traditional rights for profit generating activities that benefit some people and restrict or disenfranchise others. If you can afford to pay your way, great, otherwise tough shit.

              There were alternatives to this, but the NZMCA is a pro-motorhome group so of course it’s going to promote policies for its members. I’m pointing out that this is not about rights for NZers in general to free camp and actively restricts some of them. My comments on this don’t deny good things that the NZMCA has done.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                “There were alternatives to this, but the NZMCA is a pro-motorhome group so of course it’s going to promote policies for its members.”

                What were the alternatives?

                And, for clarity, when I speak about ‘freedom camping’ with respect to the ACT, I’m referring to urban and semi rural camping rather than ‘wilderness’ camping where it is appropriate to dig a hole for the biz..

                There is a sign to this effect at one of the Free Camping sites in the SI…No Spade No Stay!

                And…please don’t make the assumption that all NZMCA members are filthy rich neolibs.

                Some of us are anything but, and choose to live intinerantly because it allows us a sense of freedom that a hostile state would deny us.

                Some of us are also rabidly protective of the environment.

                • weka

                  “And…please don’t make the assumption that all NZMCA members are filthy rich neolibs.”

                  I haven’t said that. Please go back and read my comments again. I’m talking about the NZMCA organisation as a lobby group. I’ve been very clear about that.

                  (edit, by definition the NZMCA members are people who own vehicles capable of self containment i.e. you can’t be a member if you car camp. That’s what I mean by representing their membership. However, despite big chunks of lower socio-economic groups like the housetrucking community belonging, the NZMCA still largely represents people who can afford self containment. That’s usually not really poor people).

                  And, for clarity, when I speak about ‘freedom camping’ with respect to the ACT, I’m referring to urban and semi rural camping rather than ‘wilderness’ camping where it is appropriate to dig a hole for the biz..

                  And yet the new laws prohibit free camping in wilderness areas unless you are self contained. Not sure what you mean by semi-rural.

                  “What were the alternatives?”

                  Tight regulation of tourism, especially for-profit internationally owned companies. Legislate differently for NZ residents and visitors. Allow free camping for NZers who can demonstrate that they know how to appropriately dispose of waste, whether that’s through SCS and dump stations, or other means for smaller vehicles.

    • Sabine 8.3

      Yep, thats gonna be it for a few people I know.

      I have a parcel of paddock with a caravan on it… the middle of nowhere, but I think it will house a few caravans when the times come.

      The biggest lie is that ‘we need high houseprices, so I can sell at a profit and maintain my lifestyle that I got used too when I stop working’.

      Can you tell me the many ways as to which this statement is just soooo wrong.
      But then no one listens to me. It is the boomers that need to wake up now and realise that their houses will not pay for the lifestyle they are used too, that their properties will not raise enough money to buy a smaller houses in the same area, that they will loose out on their children and grand children as either their kids have to move to somewhere cheaper if they want to own a house, or they will move to somewhere where they have enough money to cover the cost of 20+ years of retirement.

      Something gotta give, and alas, we live in a society where not one wants to give an inch.

      • RedBaronCV 8.3.1

        Might have to hand the house and maintenance over to the kids and get them to fund me into a mini house (no housework)

        • Sabine

          this is what used to happen in germany on farms. The old ones hand the property over to the new farmer and they themselvs move into the Olden House. Next generations grows up, rinse repeat.

          I don’t think having inter generational living on one property is too bad, it has its perks. the oldies are not alone, and young ones have help with the kids and such.

          We really have to go back in time and start copying the things that were well, as obviously thinking that one can be retired for several decades on a fixed income and still insist in having ‘a lifestyle’ is not realistic. The same counts for the young ones that want a house and a lifestyle, unfortunately these times – if they ever existed – are gone. We can be happy to find an affordable place and hopefully live there for as long as possible and then keep it in the family with the help of the next generation. And that would include helping the oldies pay the rates, as that would be cheaper than having to buy a new house.

          btw. I read somewhere that most of the foreclosures in the states did not come from people not being able to pay their mortgages, but they came from the pool of people that had freehold properties but could not pay the rates. It was not the banks foreclosing, it was the cities foreclosing the properties.

          • Ad

            That is part of the point of my post:

            With the decline in NZ housing ownership, the intergenerational wealth transfer, or house transfer, is gone for good. With it, a whole sector of society slides down the wealth ladder and in to asset-free stats: a generation that went backwards.

    • tracey 8.4

      Then it is only a matter of time before they are regulated to hell and back for cutting developers out of a sweet retirement

  9. heather 9

    What a sad sate of affairs, New Zealand used to be a proud nation of home owners. When my father came back from the war, whole suburbs were built in Napier for young families to live in, those homes are still there today, the service men and women got good loans to buy the homes to raise their families. This same practise happened all over New Zealand.
    Remember the pride when the first State Houses were built, people were happy and wanted to live in them. Communities grew up around these homes, school were built and we all benefited.
    Where did it all go so terribly wrong?
    Greed from people who wanted to make more and more and more money from those who could not keep up.
    Over the years, it has got worse and worse and look at the situation now, hundreds of older people will soon have no home at all. This present government is cruel and heartless, they have no care at all. Right wing councils have sold their rental housing and now landlords are making them too expensive. Auckland council have just put the rents up in their bedsit flats for pensioners, a man of 86 is afraid how he will pay the extra, he lives from week to week – it is a national disgrace.
    The sad thing is that how many people really care about those that don’t have a home?
    If this government really cared and really wanted to do something, it is not difficult, they could embark on a massive home building programme, like after the 2nd world war creating economic development across New Zealand.

    • Ad 9.1

      Absolutely dead right Heather.

      I have not heard any party other than Labour propose the massive home building programme that you saw after World War Two. It’s just got to happen very soon.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      Greed from people who wanted to make more and more and more money from those who could not keep up.
      Over the years, it has got worse and worse and look at the situation now, hundreds of older people will soon have no home at all.

      It’s the general path of capitalism. A few get rich and everyone else pays in increasing poverty and decreasing society. It’s a lesson that we seem determined not to learn as 5000 years of capitalisms failure proves.

  10. maui 10

    We’ve got people living in cars and on the streets because they lack the necessary accounting chips to live somewhere decent. It should be a right that you can access a roof over your head. if Habitat for Humanity was as big an organisation as Fletchers we wouldn’t have a housing issue, a family in need could live in a container home temporarily until their house was finished. This is where Christchurch got it horribly wrong, temp housing was done so poorly. Letting the market decide is dysfunctional.

    • weka 10.1

      All those campervans that no-one wanted, makes my head hurt how they got it so wrong. Although in hindsight, what happened to those? because there are people who could do with them now.

  11. Smilin 11

    You AINT WRONG only one problem as soon as you borrow to develop your in the corporate financial loop then you become a corporate yourself -true financial independence is myth its just how much power to control your situations. the system is too big to fail so we all fall into line
    And even if you do have enough to pay for the whole thing then you have to get into the local council to protect your investment from the political troughers and their continual excuses to up your rates because its democracy you know you elected / cajoled into accepting their community value /status when you voted suck it up
    The point , money is the problem because many people create a lot value with very little money
    look at some of the so called low income areas in NZ, Northland /East Coast and take another look instead of accepting the govt BS and the MSM

    Money does not always represent value look at our PM cant really say my quality of life has improved since he s been running the country, only by my own efforts
    oh yeah he has cost me and many others more than he is worth

    • Ad 11.1

      The alternative of a life without money doesn’t bear thinking about.

      You are either permanently poor, or you are bumping around in the black and grey economy, bartering from day to day, or unto the shadow world of the criminal underworld.

      And you will have got there through some catastrophic moment in your life to essentially foreswear the world as it is.

      Either way, you have chosen the most marginal of marginal lives.
      Certainly a life only for the very few, and not a life for the old and frail.

      • maui 11.1.1

        What we’ve created is a society based on evaluating people on how much money they’ve got. We classify people in this way all the time, the middle class, rich, homeless, poor. How much crime and violence is caused by people not having their basic needs met, and just the feeling that’s it not an even playing field.

        • Olwyn

          We classify people in this way all the time, the middle class, rich, homeless, poor.

          And whether consciously or not, we credit people with agency on that basis. Poor people are allowed agency enough to be blamed but not agency enough to be respected. With rich people its the other way round -respected but rarely effectively blamed. A voice talking about, say, fatness, on RNZ normally focuses on poor people and oozes with patronising superiority, like the Victorian do-gooder who insisted that we must “teach them to stop keeping their coal in the bathtub.”

          • greywarshark

            True Olwyn, that wasy that respect and disdain is reversed between rich and poor is well put.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2

        The alternative of a life without money doesn’t bear thinking about.

        Yes it is. Same as thinking about how a society without private ownership is worth thinking about. Both are also worth bringing about.

        Money, as they say, is the root of all evil and today’s neo-liberal systems proves that once again.

        You are either permanently poor, or you are bumping around in the black and grey economy, bartering from day to day, or unto the shadow world of the criminal underworld.

        False dichotomy.

        • Ad

          Well, there’s a lovely romance to living without money. I guess.

          In the US in the early 1970s (see Easyrider) and in New Zealand in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a great surge of communal living, house-bus living, experimental architecture, etc etc brought on by a very similar kind of end-times melancholy that I hear from a lot on this site when talking about climate change.

          It lasted less than a decade in New Zealand. I studied it a bit at Uni, together with a history of utopias.

          You can still see a band of about twenty-thirty house buses travelling in one great convoy from city to city in New Zealand, selling essentially hippie tat.

          There will always be a few who willingly choose the Outsider life. But it is essentially the life of a liberated peasant. Great if you choose, it, shit if you’re forced into it.

          All power to those who want to live the idealistic life – I admit I’m a bit less idealistic than I used to be, and I respect that you are more idealistic than me.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Your thinking is incredibly limited. You point to a single example and say that was how it was and thus this is how it will always be.

            This is what the actual thinking involves:

            Very briefly, The Venus Project is an organization that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change; a holistic global socio-economic system called a Resource Based Economy that works toward a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. It outlines an alternative to strive toward where human rights are not only paper proclamations, but also a way of life.

            The Venus Project presents an alternative vision for a sustainable world civilization unlike any political, economic or social system that has gone before. It envisions a time in the near future when money, politics, self and national-interest have been phased out. Although this vision may seem idealistic, it is based upon years of study and experimental research. It spans the gamut from education, transportation, and clean sources of energy to total city systems.

            • Ad

              What you point to is an obscure and otherwise ignored leader from a stillborn movement who proposes to turn the world upside down. All power to them, and if that’s what alters your thinking for good, all power to you. See if any political party is interested. See if it gains some followers. Knock yourself out.

              Honestly I’m pretty comfortable with my actual thinking Draco, and no I don’t need yet another framework. I deal with plenty already.

              Now, I’ve just come home from work, and let me give you the lived reality of those who live outside the money-system in New Zealand, from the front page of the Western Leader tonight:

              “Gypsy Fair Turns 25

              Twenty years ago, Gavin McKenzie traded his life at the Hobsonville airbase for a house bus. Now, McKenzie is he field manager for the Original Gypsy Fair (…)
              To mark the occasion, the group is “heading back to its roots”, McKenzie says. “There will be more handcrafted products, live glassblowing, wood-crafting, a guy tie-dying shirts from scratch – everyone’s an individual.” (…)

              McKenzie says the group has “taken the handle on the romantic side of gypsy lifestyle, or at least the we tern idea of it.” He likens them to Johnny Depp’s character in the film Chocolat. “It’s a way of life”, he says. The fair has been running in its current format for 25 years. Prior to that the group travelled off the back of the Nambassa festivals of the 1970s. (…)

              That’s the life without money, living in a house-bus, rebelling as perpetual outsider from the system, and doing it in New Zealand style. In political idealism terms, they are the 1% of the 1% of the 1%.
              Whereas this post deals with where the reality of life is going for New Zealanders as a whole, 22% of them. Not the final hundred 1970s refugees and their followers. Actual lived reality.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Another slogan:
    Housing is a Need.
    Not a Want.

    Every living thing on the planet needs a house.
    A hermit crab. A bird in its nest. A gorilla in its tree. A dog in its kennel. A fish in the right water, fresh or salt.

    A person in their own little or large place, for safety, for sleep, for meals, for security, for the backdrop to their life to furnish, decorate and be a place for that special individual to which they’ll return after the daily duties of life.

  13. Mike the Savage One 13

    The John Key led government is known for sticking its head deep in the sand, and sadly most NZers seem to do be doing the same thing. That is the case for climate change issues, generally for environmental and sustainability matters, it is the same also for future problems with retirement costs and for housing in this country.

    Let the magic wand wielding “free market solve it” is their mantra.

    But the market has failed the poor and will fail the soon increasing number of elderly poor. I will count myself to be heading into this scenario, of future elderly not having their own home, not able to afford market rentals and not able to live a decent future, which will be a future in dismal poverty, dependent on some perhaps sympathetic landlord, of which there are very few.

    The state housing sector (Housing NZ) is busy selling properties, most going to developers making a good buck out of reselling developed land and properties, while the future “social housing” tenants will be stuck in tiny boxes, shoe-boxes we better call it, stacked on top of each other, with no use of a garden to supplement food, with little external land available for other living needs. Perhaps a balcony may be available, perhaps only in the shade, to grow a few pots with herbs.

    I am sick and tired of both this shit government, but also Labour, who talk a lot about it, but focus rather on new home buyers in the middle class, for not committing enough, if any at all, to future, affordable state housing for people that need it. And what we get here under Len Brown in Auckland will also not solve the challenge, as his developer friendly Council does all to facilitate their quick and easy building of yet more shoe-box apartments. The PAUP hearings have already shown how Council is willing to settle for a minimum requirement of only 30sqm for a studio apartment, and NO minimum dwelling mix in any new developments. They are even planning on abolishing having sufficient storage space, for instance enough to put a bicycle in, when it comes to new dwellings in apartments and so.

    So prepare for this, dear fellow persons in Aotearoa NZ, or start standing up and fight for more state housing, in a decent form.

    Let us start with new regulations, to force developers to provide a minimum of 15 or 20 percent of affordable homes in all new developments. That is the minimum we can expect, but Council will not have it, rather settles for 10 percent, and offers even bonuses and exemptions for developers. Bring in a hefty land tax for unused and unoccupied land suitable for development in residentially zoned areas, bring in also a capital gains tax, and stop speculators, full stop. Also get to dealing with the monopolies and oligopolies that rip us off as building suppliers and so.

    But as long as the middle class supports the status quo and as long as they are OK with their existing home values going up in value, we may find that nobody in sufficient numbers will vote for a government that brings needed change.

    I despair at the ignorance by so many, maybe we need an economic crash for more to bloody wake up. Until the shit hits the fan and more face a gloomy future, we will have a continuation of muddling through and heads stuck in the sand.

    • Pat 13.1

      ..though I am sure you will now be accused of being a RW stooge or the like for having the temerity to criticize Labour.

      • shorts 13.1.1

        I don’t understand why Mr Little and everyone in labour don’t mention kiwi build ever single bloody day…. until the thought/concept is entrenched in media and the publics minds – I think a huge number of kiwis recognise the housing problems we face and know its going to come down to the govt sorting it – so push the barrow labour and use it as the foundation stone of the party ever being in power again (cause what you’re currently doing ain’t working…)

        • Ad

          Twyford mentioned it today in the NZHerald.
          I agree – if they campaigned on that and not much else they would hear the resonance up and down the country.

      • emergency mike 13.1.2

        “I am sure you will now be accused of being a RW stooge or the like for having the temerity to criticize Labour.”

        Then I guess you’re new here, where it happens daily. You should have seen the David “Mumblefuck” Shearer days.

    • Ad 13.2

      “force developers to provide a minimum of 15 or 20 percent of affordable homes in all new developments”

      From experience even the suggestion ends up in an almighty class war.

      I remember vividly a public meeting (I won’t even name the downmarket suburb) seeking to get a new housing development for 20 Housing New Zealand units on a brownfield site. Amongst the screaming and yelling at the politicians supporting it valiantly on the stage, I have always remembered this line: “I’m not having 20 piles of shit dropped on my driveway.”

      And you wonder why John Key pulled the requirement for HNZ rentals to be ‘pepper-potted’ through the Hobsonville Development.

      As for “affordable”, there’s no definition at all.

      • Mike the Savage One 13.2.1

        “As for “affordable”, there’s no definition at all.”

        The rule or definition seems to be, it must be at or below median house price value, or be “affordable” by median income earners, which absolutely shuts out very, very many people, especially those on minimum or just above minimum wage earners, and certainly the much abused on benefits.

        They are the “crap” in this society, which has lost its moral compass long ago. Shame on NZers voting Nats, shame on the ones voting ACT, even a warning to those voting NAT Light (aka Labour).

        It is time to call the real shots, and name the problems by their name. We have under the present scenario a shit chance for anything to improve.

        Also does it make me ANGRY that Labour (31 at least) voted in favour of the RMA bill before Parliament, supporting Nick Smith and the government on some changes, that will be more serious than most realise.

        This country is stuffed with such politicians running the show, what a shame.

  14. greywarshark 14

    Great post Ad – lots of background and advice and future thought arising.

  15. b waghorn 15

    It has to be the state that provides a large amount of the housing if the market was going to , it would of by now.
    If people want security in their tenancy it has to come with responsibility ,like repairing any damage done .
    A house for life is fine as long as people accept it may not be the same house, as there needs at 20 will differ from when there 40 ,65 and 80.
    As for people wanting to have it all by finishing there days in comfort in their big house in the big smoke rather than down shifting to a smaller housr in a cheaper area and investing there leftover money from there house, the advise of Mick Jagger comes to mind.
    You can’t always get what you want. But if you try some time , you get what you need,

    • Ad 15.1

      This is now too big a problem for the state to alter. The thirty years of perpetual shrinkage of the public sector, its capacity, its neglect of the instruments is still has legal power to use … the gearing up required would take years to achieve.

      Let alone the fights that would be bought with the astonishingly powerful real estate and development sectors.

      I think the patterns that the Salvation Army are pointing to are permanent. Even denting them would entail the most almighty political fight.

  16. Alister Barry 16

    In 1968 the government built 30,000 state houses.

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