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The housing crisis and Key’s combustible pants

Written By: - Date published: 9:16 am, July 6th, 2016 - 35 comments
Categories: accountability, housing, john key - Tags: , , ,

Key in Parliament yesterday:

liar pants on fireI think it is worth remembering that if you go back and have a look at the first 3 or 4 years when I was Prime Minister, the issue of housing was not a significant issue.

Key in 2007:

Today, I want to talk in some depth about the declining rates of home ownership in New Zealand.

It wasn’t so long ago, in the 1990s, in fact, that New Zealand had a high level of home ownership compared to other countries. Not so anymore. We now have what has been described as the second worst housing affordability problem in the world.

Make no mistake; this problem has got worse in recent years. Home ownership declined by 5% between the 2001 and 2006 census to just 62.7%. To put that into context, home ownership for the preceding five years had been stable at 67.4%.

If you dig down into those numbers a little deeper, some worrying facts emerge. The share of homes owned by people aged 20 to 40 dropped significantly between 2001 and 2006. Young people – the people we most want to prevent joining the great Kiwi brain-drain – are really struggling to get onto the property ladder.

This decline shows no signs of slowing. In fact, on current trends, the crisis will only deepen. Home ownership rates are predicted to plummet to 60% within the next decade. And one of the biggest factors influencing home-ownership rates over the next 10 years will be the difficulty young buyers will have getting into their first home.

This problem won’t be solved by knee-jerk, quick-fix plans. And it won’t be curbed with one or two government-sponsored building developments.

Instead, we need government leadership that is prepared to focus on the fundamental issues driving the crisis.

The … most important reason for the home affordability crisis is one of supply. It explains why houses have become so unaffordable for so many people. Quite simply, not enough new houses are being built in New Zealand. This is a recent phenomenon. In many parts of the country, increases in demand for housing are now outstripping supply.

That imbalance is vividly illustrated in Auckland. In the five years to 2006, the supply of housing stock has failed to keep up with population growth. Again to put that into context, over the 15 years to 2006 the housing stock grew at a faster rate than population. So the supply problem is a recent one. Economics 101 would tell you that if the demand for housing outstrips supply, then the only way for house prices to go is up, up, up.

National’s goal is to turbo-charge the supply of housing in New Zealand by confronting the fundamental constraints that have kept a lid on it. By contrast, Labour’s instinctive reaction to the housing supply problem is to say the government must get in and build some houses. … I think it’s dangerous for the Government to pretend that developments such as that at Hobsonville are some sort of panacea to the housing affordability crisis.

Central and local government should always be aware of environmental and community concerns regarding new housing developments. But if we are serious about dealing with the housing affordability crisis, if we are serious about protecting the Kiwi Dream of home ownership, then we need to get a better balance between those concerns and their eventual impact on home affordability. To not do so is to ignore a fundamental long-term driver of the housing affordability crisis.

National’s infrastructure plan will go hand in hand with our efforts to confront the housing affordability crisis. We will free up more land to build on while ensuring new developments are served by the infrastructure they need.


Over the past few years a consensus has developed in New Zealand. We are facing a severe home affordability and ownership crisis. The crisis has reached dangerous levels in recent years and looks set to get worse.

This is an issue that should concern all New Zealanders. It threatens a fundamental part of our culture, it threatens our communities and, ultimately, it threatens our economy.

The good news is that we can turn the situation around. We can deal with the fundamental issues driving the home affordability crisis. Not just with rinky-dink schemes, but with sound long-term solutions to an issue that has long-term implications for New Zealand’s economy and society.

National has a plan for doing this and we will be resolute in our commitment to the goal of ensuring more young Kiwis can aspire to buy their own home.

It’s a worthy goal and one I hope you will support us in achieving. Thank-you.

The conclusion is left as an exercise for the reader.

35 comments on “The housing crisis and Key’s combustible pants”

  1. Clare 1


    • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 1.1

      So in 2007 JK used the crisis word 10 times in one speech, when average Auckland house prices were approx $1/2 million and it is a challenge or even a boom (beneficial) when prices are approaching $1 million. What a BS artist.

    • mosa 1.2

      The grand illusion gets more ludicrous by the week.
      Its a joke but no one is laughing except Key and his spin doctors.

  2. Greg 2

    Its all rather pathetic really when his own history proves his detachment from reality,
    everything now is clearly Nationals true form of making policy on the hoof,

    =they have no long term vision,

    a failure to develop, progress, or advance: periods of economic stagnation followed by bursts of growth. >4. the state or quality of being or feeling sluggish and dull: Happily, they have been able to avoid stagnation in their ten-year marriage. Stagnation have two meanings that are negative. But I agree because the question seek for a subtle, rather than a direct impact, and that it is often associated with an agent, I have removed this term from the title hopefully itill make the question focus clearer –


  3. vto 3


    Situation normal Key making shit up as he goes

  4. M. Gray 4

    I have Keys 2013 election pamphlet here and he says under the heading of More affordable housing our changes will help make homes more affordable

    Too many Kiwis spend too much of their income on housing our changes will help make homes more affordable

    reforms to target social housing at families most in need

    changes to bring down the costs of building a home

    Accords with councils to release land for housing and speed up consents for new homes …….

    New tools for the Reserve Bank to help put downward pressure on house prices

    We are a government that is delivering real jobs , real growth, real progress for kiwi families

    now has this really happened ?

    • leftie 4.1

      Dishonest John always lies. No one should believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Too many Kiwis spend too much of their income on housing our changes will help make homes more affordable

      Whereas now he thinks that’s “just crazy”. Can’t go round helping the majority of people if it means that the rich have to take a haircut.

      reforms to target social housing at families most in need

      Well, they’re certainly doing that but I suspect most people thought that they would help and not throw desperate families out of the housing so that they could then be sold to privateers.

      changes to bring down the costs of building a home

      That one was an outright lie. Bring down the cost of building a home and their donors profits would decrease.

      Accords with councils to release land for housing and speed up consents for new homes …

      More like forcing the councils to release land for subdivision when it’s not needed so as to help their land-banking donors.

      New tools for the Reserve Bank to help put downward pressure on house prices

      Pretty sure that the RBNZ still only has the OCR to play with.

  5. Hard to see how this crisis hasn’t been deliberately planned. He knew and has done nothing.

    • leftie 5.1

      It’s deliberate alright, key and his government have actively encouraged this.

    • Sabine 5.2

      yep, i have said this now for the longest time, this is not incompetence it is willful and by design.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      Lefties with short memory? No one remember Auckland house prices skyrocketing upwards from 2000 onwards? The international reports coming out by 2005/2006 which said that Auckland house prices had become “highly unaffordable”?

      I have friends who bought a beautiful old house in Mt Eden in the early 90s. For a bit over $300K. It’s now worth close to $2M.

      Face it, the property owning middle class in Auckland loved the wealth effect, and both Labour and National Govts let mortgage debt ramp higher and higher and higher to fuel the bubble and get the positive economic and electoral effects from it.

      What Key and National have done is taken the same long established trend to the next level.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1

        Face it, the property owning middle class in Auckland loved the wealth effect, and both Labour and National Govts let mortgage debt ramp higher and higher and higher to fuel the bubble and get the positive economic and electoral effects from it.

        That’s exactly what they’ve done and they’ve done it on purpose. People love seeing their ‘wealth’ increase and don’t ask too many questions of where that extra money is coming from. They don’t ask if it’s actually viable or earned.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yep. Our money and financial system is seriously broken. It no longer directs investment towards required and productive investments, just towards speculation and profiteering.

      • AB 5.3.2

        Yes – Clark/Cullen were hugely preferable to this lot, but AKL house price inflation was one of their failures. Lots of more affluent Labour voters owned a rental or three and politically they couldn’t move on it.
        And to be fair the range of investment options is not great – if you want to avoid dodgy Finance companies which have a history of collapsing, or a share-market that has shown volatility in the past and which you cannot be sure is free from corrupt practices, and you are not content with derisory (and taxed) returns on bank deposits, what do you do? You get a ‘rental’.
        There is a fault-line here between the rentiers and the renters that runs through the Labour party. So it will be really interesting to see what Andrew Little announces on Sunday. I hope it comes down sufficiently on the side of the renters.

        • Colonial Viper

          And you’ve picked up on another major problem here – the lack of decent investment alternatives in this country for ordinary people who have $50K or $100K put aside.

          3.5% return on a term deposit – then the govt swoops in and takes a huge chunk of that in taxes. Which means that your money is making nothing over inflation.

          For a lot of people in an environment like this buying into more and more property is the investment opportunity which sells itself.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Ah, but do we need or even want people getting an income from doing nothing?

            IMO, we don’t and it’s the idea that people can that leads us to the speculative economy that the Western world has become. It is the reason why, as you say, “Our money and financial system is seriously broken”.

            Keeping what’s breaking it isn’t what we need to do to fix it. This is actually a lesson that was learned several thousand years ago and is thus why every major religion in the world bans usury.

            • AB

              On the whole I agree – unearned income from capital shouldn’t be a dominant factor compared to earned income from labour.
              But in the real world I think we want people to save money when they are earning more and use some of that for their quality of life when they are earning less or retired. And I think it’s OK that they want to at least protect what they have saved from inflation and maybe grow it a bit too, especially if that growth comes from providing others with funds to invest in socially useful activities and enterprises.

              • Draco T Bastard

                But in the real world…

                Actually, in the real world we need none of what of what you suggest and the usury does cause problems. So instead of working up excuses to keep a failed system how about we come up with a better system?

                Real Monetary Reform

                etc, etc

                • AB

                  By ‘real’ I mean something for which there is a chance of getting popular support. And yes, a UBI should be its cornerstone.

              • Pat

                in the real world you can’t have interest without growth…..and we can’t have growth.

            • Heather Grimwood

              To DB
              ” Ah, but do we need or even want people getting an income from doing nothing?”
              Made my morning. It once was common to hear the phrase ‘unearned income’, certainly among our family and friends, so much so that as a child it seemed to me to be among the deadly sins.
              It certainly in the extremes of its manifestation nowadays, is just that.

      • Sabine 5.3.3

        yes dear.

  6. Keith 7

    John Key is full of shit and it appears, he always has been!

    • AB 7.1

      Of course – that was self-evident from the first time I heard him open is mouth circa 2007. 9 years and still counting.

  7. save nz 8

    On the demand side National has fuelled it by removing any normal immigration criteria so that we are having a massive influx of migrants. Even if they are not investors and don’t forget there still is the property investor category for migrants so you would think an obvious one to repeal, new migrants need somewhere to live whether renting or buying. These current newbies are more likely to vote National.

    On the supply side, the lack of regulation is a real problem. It costs more per sq meter than Australia and the US even though we produce the raw materials. No investigation of price fixing or monopoly. The free market does not work at all. Power companies charge consumers thousands to connect transformers which they somehow own but consumers pay for and more again for cables.

    Water companies now separate entities and charging monthly for water seem to have failed to invest in capacity instead giving themselves high executive salaries and producing glossy leaflets promoting themselves.

    Getting a new phone line is a joke, high speed broadband is elusive to find, stopping people from being able to work more efficiently from home.

    Public transport is slow, inconvenient and expensive. Roads are the government’s answer to everything and a big donor to the National party. And more taxes that are not taxes just ‘pricing variations’ to fool the overworked and undereducated consumer.

    Councils approve practically every resource consent for huge fees. Far from being efficient it is doing the opposite. People are getting consents through which should never have been consented, ancient trees felled, public harbours reclaimed, big developments too large and complicated to be built quickly, mansions encroaching on neighbours amenity and increasingly the cost of the build and time to market. Instead of 100 m/2 floor area, now houses are double that and growing. No wonder people can’t afford the new houses – the cost double because the area is double. The councils are happy to pump millions of revenue into private litigation firms to uphold their ridiculous consents. There is no money for libraries or kids or public transport, when crony private firms can make millions on failed IT and consent litigation.

    The only thing NZ has a lot of, is land. Surprisingly this seems to be the government’s only focus. Because they can make land owners millionaires and getting rid of green space and environmental regulation is part of their ideology. The larger houses can house National voters and status conscious out of voting areas that can make and break elections.

    There is total method to seeming madness of National on the housing crisis. And their approach to rid in particular Auckland, of less consumer orientated and poorer citizens, works for them at elections.

  8. TC 9

    Kiwis have chosen to allow the prime dealer to effectively control both sides of the supply/demand curve with predictable results.

    CT will be earning their keep on who or what he can blame or distract with while they take advantage and plunder more.

    They are very good at ensuring profits from crises as chch and SCF have shown

  9. Sabine 10

    well obviously we don’t have a homeless crisis, considering that we don’t have a housing crisis and that is why we need no stinkn inquiry.


  10. Richardrawshark 11

    If you cannot make your valid points to the wider public what is the point?

    There must be another way we can get our messages across, bill boards something?

    In that posting here is great all for that, but there is certainly an issue with your good contributions and valid political points making it, or being picked up by MSM.

    In the face of a news lockdown by MSM, we need to investigate other options IMHO.

    • Greg 11.1

      I’m trying to be entertaining camper,
      you’d be surprised at where i work,

  11. Greg 12

    As a level four, Man Going His Own Way, MGTOW, n celibate,
    i’m saving heaps in not buying into the mortgage slave trade,
    or n having a car to park in Auckland CBD,

    the social economy between men and women is horrendous,

    whats a real livable wage in kiwiland,
    and why is rustling a crime,


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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago