The Housing Crisis.

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, February 11th, 2018 - 154 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, cost of living, democratic participation, Economy, housing, International, liberalism, Politics, quality of life, social democracy, Social issues, tenants' rights, welfare - Tags: , ,

Cross-post of a piece by Nick (“Upper Hutt boy in London”) Kelly. Blog here.

People often say to me “you like politics.” By this they are referring to the fact that I have been politically active one way or another since I was 14, have run for public office, headed many campaigns and generally have opinions that I vocalise. For me politics is essential. Democracy is a fragile thing, and something we should defend. The political decisions made by our elected leaders determine the laws we live under, and decide the what infrastructure and services will be available to us as citizens. Basically democracy holds to account those who decide why people should be sent to prison or whether your local hospital should remain open. In short, politics matters and all citizens should pay attention.

But I don’t like politics. The more I have worked in political campaigns and been involved in politics the more I have grown to dislike the way politics works, or doesn’t. I dislike the elitism the exists in most nations capitals. But most of all, I dislike that short term election cycle focus limits the ability for long term decision making. Democracy is great. It forces decision makers to be accountable to the public every few years, and gives people a chance to throw out governments that aren’t performing. But election cycles encourage perverse behaviour. Specifically politicians are always thinking about the following election, and wish to take positions or pursue policies that aid them get re-elected. Often this can be a good thing, but sometimes is can be disastrous.

For the last few years in New Zealand there has been a housing crisis. The issue in a nut shell is that 30 years of deregulated free market policies have failed to deliver affordable housing to the majority of the population. Most young people are now unable to afford houses in NZ’s major cities as the value of housing sky rockets. The cost of renting has also ballooned, with a lack of controls and pure supply and demand determining the rental prices. The result, people paying an enormous percentage of their income on rents, with no chance of saving to buy their own home. Add to the problem, the government running down and selling off state housing. This crisis has caused increased homelessness, poverty and depravation.

In September I move to London. I switch on the news and what are they talking about, the UK’s housing crisis. Change the place names, different politicians but fundamentally the same problem. Fewer people able to own property, and social housing in short supply.

This crisis didn’t occur in the last term or two of government. The housing crisis in both countries (and in much of North America) comes from a lack of long term planning by successive governments and parliaments. Unregulated markets primary focus is profit. The most profitable thing for property developers to do is build high end housing, and sell it for as much as possible. Fewer people now own property, and increased numbers pay very high rents. The role of government is to step in and ensure a) there are rent controls, b) there is adequate supply of affordable housing and support for first home buyer and c) that there is adequate supply of social housing for those in need. If you don’t do this, you have homelessness, poverty and an increasingly unstable and unsafe society.

The problem is the housing crisis was created over a generation. No party can fix the housing crisis in one budget or even within one electoral cycle. There is no one simple fix to the problem. Related to increased housing costs is stagnant wages and a generally sluggish economy globally for the last 30 years. Fixing this problem requires some fundamental shifts in social and economic policy, that will take 15 to 20 years to fully implement. Further it will require decisions that will annoy vocal developers, property owners and the like. Electorally, it requires government implementing policies influential businesses and developers oppose, with benefits taking years to recognise.

I don’t claim to have all the solutions to this issue. But its clear that waiting for the political system that caused, or at least failed to prevent this crisis, to turn around and fix it is naive. Trying to find a political consensus across the main party’s in parliament would be ideal, but ideology and ambition makes this very challenging.

A radical, and by no means flawless possibility is greater direct democracy. The housing crisis reflects a fundamental breakdown of the social contract. A new contract is needed whereby everyone is guaranteed affordable housing. Everyone deserves somewhere to live. People should not pay more than 1/4 to 1/3 of their income in rent. Putting a deposit on a first home should not be totally out of reach for most low to middle income earners. One solution could be to hold a referendum where people vote for a new social contract? One that is then binding on all party’s to implement. Yes I can see issues with holding a referendum on social policy. There would need to be serious public debate and education regarding the issues. Reliable and credible information should not then be drowned out by fake news or scaremongering by those with a particular ideological bent. If later the social contract voted on doesn’t work, does another referendum need to be held to change it?

The above is not the perfect solution to a complex problem. But it is a possible alternative to the present situation where people are increasingly failed by politics. Whatever the solution to the housing crisis, the fix won’t be more of the same. Whatever the change thats needed is, something needs to change.

154 comments on “The Housing Crisis. ”

  1. Leonhart Hunt 1

    Average rent in NZ is 60 – 70% of income in most cities and ranges from $350 – $1100pw for a basic 3 bedroom home, but where rent is cheaper often wages are lower as well.

    then you have the AIrbnb debate (which is raging atm on https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/101326010/new-zealands-rental-squeeze-something-in-the-airbnb which shows that people are shifting from renting longterm to short term tourist gains on airbnb basicaly the rental sits empty most of the time while people live in cars.

    Some people are calling for regulation limits on airbnb occupancy (30 days per year) or taxation as commercial properties if let out on airbnb, landlords are saying nope not needed let us do whatever we want we need to build more housing not change the fact that houses are empty.

    Then you have the rental empire issues, my last landlord has 38 rental properties, many, many people are building empires of rentals stripping away those first homes and driving prices up because housing in NZ is such a huge gain with very little tax (you can avoid most of it, MBIE report showed that on average people were paying 3 – 4% of rental income in tax) and the capital gains of those houses is huge and get higher as fewer and fewer people own and more rental are needed (its a self-feeding system)

    Solutions?
    Do we need to cap the amount of homes a person or group/company can own?
    Should we ban private rentals and only have govt wage capped rentals? (think HNZ but much much bigger, home ownership could then only be used for private homes and holidays homes, you would not be able to rent them)
    Do we cap/regulate AirBNB?
    Do we need rent controls?
    OR do we need a fully free market, dog eat dog? no regulations at all.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    A referendum? Like Brexit?

    Corbyn has the right idea: requisition empty properties.

    • Ankerrawshark 2.1

      oAB 1000+

    • weka 2.2

      Sure, but the point being that those that have actual solutions aren’t getting voted into power. Including Corbyn.

      (requisitioning properties is a good idea, not a medium and long term solution though. In NZ owners will choose AirBnB over long term rentals).

      • Antoine 2.2.1

        > In NZ owners will choose AirBnB over long term rentals

        Some will, most won’t

        A.

        • weka 2.2.1.1

          If you owned a vacant investment property and the govt was going to requisition it if it remained empty, would you (a) put long term renters in who would have increasing wear and tear on the property and a minimum notice clause or (b) put it in the hands of a property manager who could get more income out of the property for less wear and tear *and* you could sell at any time?

          • Carolyn_Nth 2.2.1.1.1

            If AirBnB is being managed like a hotel or regular BnB, it requires more than a property manger, and there is still wear and tear.

            So, surely, after every guest vacates it requires a clean up, bedding and towel changes and laundering, etc? In short, more effort by owners/managers than required for a long term rental?

            • weka 2.2.1.1.1.1

              There are property managers who do exactly this kind of work. Cleaning costs are usually charged to the client (if the client cleans up themselves, then it costs them less). There are businesses that clean AirBnB and holiday homes, it’s pretty streamlined (whole issue there about workers’ conditions btw).

              If you hand over the property management to someone else, and count the cost of that in your investment, then no, it’s not more effort. This is why people are doing it. And it’s very lucrative.

              Just on the rent, and this applies to whole houses as holiday homes*, if you can get $400/wk for a house, that’s $20K/yr for continuous occupancy. If you rent that out for $200/night that’s only 100 days occupancy. You can see why people are wanting to do this.

              Just did a quick search on https://www.holidayhouses.co.nz and there are 130 3 bedroom houses in Auckland in the $200 – $250/night range right now. Some of those will be holiday homes that the owner uses for part of the year but the problem does seem to be increasing with houses being taken out of the long term rental market.

              *AirBnB being more for single rooms or sleep outs etc I think?

              • weka

                And the point above is that for people who have investment properties, as opposed to making money out of their holiday home to cover rates and maintenance, I think many investors would choose nightly rentals over long term ones if OAB’s suggestion were actually done by govt (taking empty properties).

                That ties us into our problem with industrial tourism.

                • Antoine

                  > many investors would choose nightly rentals over long term ones if OAB’s suggestion were actually done by govt

                  I suspect OAB’s response would be that investors who listed their property on AirBNB should also have their property taken and given over to squatters.

                  A.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Absolutely. Then there’s a central register of homes that the government can requisition, maintained by the owners. All the government has to do is look at the Airbnb listings and initiate the process.

                  Emergencies call for emergency powers.

                  The owners will still get a fair rent, after all.

                  • weka

                    Sounds reasonable.

                    What would you do with holiday houses?

                    • weka

                      as in holiday houses that are actually holiday houses (as opposed to investment properties being rented out nightly to people on holiday).

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Firstly, I’d define them fairly strictly. If money has changed hands for short-term occupancy, and your bach is in an area of high housing need, you may run into problems, although I’d certainly like to see genuine ‘ghost houses’ first in line.

                    • weka

                      It’s going to be blurry. Place like Nelson and Queenstown Lakes have housing shortages but also have traditionally had holiday houses that people rent out nightly to cover rates/maintenance but where those houses are used for holidays by the owners at different times of the year.

                      The shortages are being fuelled a number of ways, including by the property sales market. But also the increase in moving housing out of long term rentals and into nightly rentals. Also the ghost properties. The whole thing is a bloody mess.

                      Lots of people in the SI rented their holiday homes to Chch people after the quakes, so I think there is a general willingness to help out in a crisis. But this isn’t that kind of crisis, this is a years long crisis. I can’t see it changing tbh unless Labour get the courage to start intervening (e.g. rent cap, and dropping house prices).

              • Antoine

                > Cleaning costs are usually charged to the client (if the client cleans up themselves, then it costs them less).

                That’s not the case in my experience of AirBNB. The cleaning fee is set at the moment when you book the property – not after you leave based on the condition of the property.

                > AirBnB being more for single rooms or sleep outs etc I think?

                I had assumed we were more talking about ‘entire house’ here. I don’t think people who have an investment property tend to divide it into single rooms and list them individually.

                A.

                • weka

                  Re cleaning, sure, but the point was the price is passed on to the client (holiday home rentals often give an option, but there is a bond if the clean up isn’t satisfactory).

                  “I had assumed we were more talking about ‘entire house’ here. I don’t think people who have an investment property tend to divide it into single rooms and list them individually.”

                  A sleep out that was previously rented out for 12 months of the year that is now being use for AirBnB, is still a problem in a housing crisis. I’m covering a range of people here, so that’s a bit confusion sorry.

                  Whole house rentals (owned for investment income) are definitely being impacted by nightly rentals. So are individual rooms. This isn’t rocket science, why would you take in a permanent flatmate for less money than you can make from an intermittent one? I mean, there are people who want a permanent one, but there are plenty who are now doing nightly rentals instead. In a housing crisis that’s a problem.

                  • Carolyn_Nth

                    Thanks for the info – helpful. Clearly some legislation is needed to prioritise safe and secure housing for Kiwis.

                    • weka

                      one of the drivers here, that will outweigh people’s conscience, is that mortgages are so extremely high now people want any opportunity to pay them off faster. So even people that are aware of the housing crisis are going to be trying to get ahead by maximising their income via accommodation. This is why I can’t see building more houses is going to much if rent capping and dropping house prices doesn’t happen we well. Even legislating for a living wage won’t keep up with this stuff.

                      I’ve heard someone I know who is now doing AirBnB justify what they are doing as a good thing (not just financially) despite them knowing people affected by the housing crisis. But they pay high rent, so why not rent out the sleep out to tourists for more income for them?

                      (the whole thing is a cluster fuck of epic proportions and unfortunately Labour either don’t get it or are willing to let it carry on).

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      The only people I know who do AirBnB, do it in a holiday area, where most of the houses are only occupied part of the year, and where there is little secure employment.

                      They use the large sleep-out for friends and rellies staying (free) and AirBnB at other times, while living in the main house.

                      It pretty much operates as a BnB (as the sign facing the street labels it). They clean it and do the laundry after every visitor, plus doing any required maintenance. They sometimes cook and do laundering for the guests, and wash all the eating equipment – doesn’t have a proper kitchen.

                      They are aware of the problems of AirBnB taking up needed housing in other areas, but don’t think it is the case where they are.

                      The main concern I have is that the money seems to be paid to an offshore account in New York, where someone overseas is taking a cut, after which, the payment goes into the account of the BnB owners.

                      The owners don’t have a mortgage to feed, but use it as a source of income in an area with limited income opportunities.

                      I don’t see why this can’t be regulated as a standard BnB.

                    • Leonhart Hunt

                      @Carolyn_Nth

                      The company i work for uses Airbnb alot to house staff for short term business meetings & working near our client.

                      Last Time I looked on airbnb in auckland (for one of our teams for a 2 month stay) there were 1200 rentals. (this number is prob higher now)

            • Antoine 2.2.1.1.1.2

              One would only put it to AirBNB if it was of a requisite standard and one could be bothered either dealing with the much greater administrative overhead, or finding various people to do it. Also it would need to be a property that was considered desirable for AirBNB users (which I suspect is driven in large part by location).

              I suspect these conditions are met in only a minority of cases.

              A.

              • weka

                Sorry, should have said AirBNB and holiday home rental websites. It’s already happening Antoine. Go have a look online.

                “One would only put it to AirBNB if it was of a requisite standard”

                With the new rental WOF it would have to be of a standard anyway. Are you saying that rather than bring it up to standard the owner would let the govt requisition it?

                “and one could be bothered either dealing with the much greater administrative overhead, or finding various people to do it.”

                Pretty easy for an investor to hire a property manager to do this. That service already exists.

                “Also it would need to be a property that was considered desirable for AirBNB users (which I suspect is driven in large part by location).”

                As per above, Just did a quick search on https://www.holidayhouses.co.nz and there are 130 3 bedroom houses in Auckland in the $200 – $250/night range right now.

                • Antoine

                  > Are you saying that rather than bring it up to standard the owner would let the govt requisition it?

                  Can’t answer that sorry, as I regard this entire requisitioning thing as an extreme left wing revenge fantasy

                  A.

                  • weka

                    Then why bother even entering into this part of the conversation? This whole subthread, including my comment to which you first replied is in the context of OAB’s suggestion.

                    Hard not to see what you have done here as disingenuous tbh.

                    • Antoine

                      I came in to add a few facts to the discussion, but there’s only so far one can go out on a limb.

                      Personally, I think a different approach is better. If you want to encourage landlords to favor long term rentals over short-term accommodation such as AirBNB, you need to take steps to reduce the risk posed to landlords by bad long-term tenants.

                      There will still be some who prefer to offer their place short-term, but that’s fine, there is a legitimate need for some short-term accommodation.

                      A.

                    • weka

                      It’s not about that though, because up until recently landlords were happy with longer term rentals and I don’t think tenants have gotten any riskier.

                      When it comes down to it, if the risk is the same (nightly renters can also trash a place), then why would you choose long term tenancy over nightly rentals when you can earn more money from the latter?

                      Until that gets sorted, the much smaller problem of bad tenants. We also have rules already in place for dealing with such.

                    • Antoine

                      > up until recently landlords were happy with longer term rentals

                      Many were not, many had bad experiences.

                      I think the advent of AirBNB is giving them an alternative they didn’t previously have.

                      > When it comes down to it, if the risk is the same (nightly renters can also trash a place), then why would you choose long term tenancy over nightly rentals when you can earn more money from the latter?

                      Firstly the risk is not the same. AirBNB provides some indemnity against bad users.

                      Secondly you might choose long term tenancy (a) to reduce the initial capital investment – c.f. AirBNB where you kinda need to make the property look Fancy, (b) to reduce the week to week drain on your time and attention (and yes I know property managers reduce that drain but I’m confident they don’t eliminate it), (c) to spread your earnings more evenly over the year, and (d) because you actually want to house someone on an ongoing basis. I’m sure there are other reasons.

                      > Until that gets sorted, the much smaller problem of bad tenants.

                      I don’t agree that it is smaller. Bad tenants cause a huge amount of grief and damage in NZ, just as bad landlords do.

                      > We also have rules already in place for dealing with such.

                      Both for bad tenants and bad landlords, the existing rules are inadequate.

                      A.

                    • weka

                      “Many were not, many had bad experiences.”

                      Sorry, I don’t believe you. That landlords were unhappy, yes. That NZ is riddled with terrible tenants, no. That some tenants treat places badly yes, that landlords have no choices in that, no.

                      Not that you are saying all those things, but given the housing crisis landlords don’t get to play the victim here. If its a business and you can’t manage it, then get out.

                      “Firstly the risk is not the same. AirBNB provides some indemnity against bad users.”

                      I’m using the term AirBnB generically. Instead read nightly rentals.

                      “I don’t agree that it is smaller. Bad tenants cause a huge amount of grief and damage in NZ, just as bad landlords do.”

                      Citation needed. And not I don’t want some pro-landlord piece on Stuff. Something from the Tenancy Tribunal or some research would be good. I’d actually like to know what the numbers are.

                  • Antoine

                    Thinking about it further, Weka, you say that bad tenants are a “much smaller” problem. In that case, would you be happy for the Government to indemnify landlords for all damage caused by tenants? Presumably you consider it would not cost the Govt very much to do so.

                    I think this one simple step would breathe a great deal of life back into the long term rental market. Rents would fall and more houses would be made available.

                    A.

                    • weka

                      Why should the govt indemnify a business that obviously isn’t sustainable? If you can’t run properties to make enough money to cover the odd bad tenant, then your business model is broken.

                      “I think this one simple step would breathe a great deal of life back into the long term rental market. Rents would fall and more houses would be made available.”

                      You are either taking the piss or are extremely ignorant. The govt just increased the accommodation supplement. Rents are going up by the same amount. It’s called greed. Many (not all*) landlords want to make as much money as they can. Some of them are scumbags, others are just part of the rentier class who don’t see fair housing as their responsibility.

                      The govt pouring more money into that black hole might help landlords, it won’t help people needing somewhere secure to live.

                      *I know plenty who aren’t like that btw, but there are many that are.

                    • Antoine

                      > If you can’t run properties to make enough money to cover the odd bad tenant, then your business model is broken.

                      Nice bit of victim blaming there

                      > The govt pouring more money into that black hole might help landlords, it won’t help people needing somewhere secure to live.

                      You’re too cynical.

                      Picture a landlord considering an approach by a dodgy looking tenant.

                      (A) Current scenario – “Too risky, I’ll find someone else”. Dodgy looking tenant ends up on the street.
                      (B) Government guarantee scenario – “OK, what have I got to lose?”. Dodgy looking tenant gets to rent the house.

                      A.

                    • weka

                      Since when are business owners victims? Honestly, if someone can’t afford the overheads on renting out a property, then why should the government bail them out? There’s a housing crisis on where people literally cannot afford to live in a house and you want the government to be subsidising landlords?

                      Picture a landlord considering an approach by a dodgy looking tenant.

                      (A) Current scenario – “Too risky, I’ll find someone else”. Dodgy looking tenant ends up on the street.
                      (B) Government guarantee scenario – “OK, what have I got to lose?”. Dodgy looking tenant gets to rent the house.

                      If a specific landlord doesn’t want to rent to a specific tenant, and there is no bigotry going on, then here’s an idea. Don’t rent to that tenant. But if that landlord is finding that they can’t find good tenants on a regular basis they might want to look at what is wrong with what they are doing. Again, business model.

                      Expecting the government to help them out financially is both stupid (money can be better spent supporting people who need somewhere to live) and offensive (landlords are running a business, act like it instead of expecting welfare that is needed elsewhere).

                    • tracey

                      Victim blaming? A bad tenant is a business risk. It does not make the landlord a victim per se. Let us leave “victim blaming” as a phrase attributed to appaling violation of women’s bodies by, mostly, men, and how women are blamed and children labelled liars.

                  • SpaceMonkey

                    So what happens then when a Government requisitions stuff for war?
                    Is that extreme left-wing revenge stuff as well?

  3. Anne 3

    Marvellous post. Special thanks to Nick Kelly.

    Nick’s second paragraph sums up the problem in a nutshell and I identify totally with the sentiments expressed:

    But I don’t like politics. The more I have worked in political campaigns and been involved in politics the more I have grown to dislike the way politics works, or doesn’t. I dislike the elitism that exists in most nations’ capitals. But most of all, I dislike that short term election cycle focus which limits the ability for long term decision making. Democracy is great… But election cycles encourage perverse behaviour. Specifically politicians are always thinking about the following election, and wish to take positions or pursue policies that aid them get re-elected. Often this can be a good thing, but sometimes it can be disastrous.

    [abbreviated for easy reading]

    I grew up in an era (50s and 60s) when successive NZ governments – both red and blue – were egalitarian in nature and who more or less pursued the style of governance set down by the 1st Labour government. Everybody had a roof over their heads. Everybody was the recipient of one of the best educational systems in the world. Yes, there was still bigotry and racism but that was slowly being remedied as people became better educated.

    From my own political experiences, the rot began to set in in the late 1970s and it was to manifest itself generally with the advent of Rogernomics in the mid-1980s and Ruthanasia in the early 1990s. Both have had a profound effect on today’s political scene and its going to take a very determined government to turn it around again.

    I have my fingers crossed we have such a government now and I welcome the fact it is made up of three separate parties who can each contribute their specific strengths towards achieving that goal of an egalitarian society once again.

  4. Bill 4

    Well, I noticed an article a few weeks back in which UK Labour said it would buy houses (8000) to home the homeless as well as build houses. The party also said it would empower local authorities to requisition (“take over” was the phrase used) vacant properties.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/28/corbyn-labour-would-buy-8000-properties-for-the-homeless

    There’s also something in the back of my mind about landbanking and compulsory purchase at non-market rates.

    I guess there will be a fair few retirement investments tied up in that last shebang mind 😉

    Social democracy (reining in the market), as signaled by UK Labour is a start. It’s not a solution though.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Yep. Short term compulsion to put roofs over people’s heads right now, followed by sustained legislative changes to put society on an entirely different path.

      • AB 4.1.1

        That “entirely different path” is surely to prevent residential housing from ever being used as an investment vehicle? So you can make money from designing, constructing, repairing and maintaining houses – but can’t make a cent from merely owning them.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          I had in mind a more comprehensive set of changes than simply in the housing market, and yes, that sounds like a good target.

  5. Antoine 5

    I suspect we will keep going much as we are now

    A.

  6. Tamati Tautuhi 6

    Land prices and building material prices have got so high now I doubt whether affordable homes can actually be built ?

    • Pat 6.1

      publicly administered supply chain?…competitive tender to supply large volume standardised materials.

    • Tricledrown 6.2

      Tamati Tuatuhi.
      You are right.
      Fletcher Building is a victim of its own monopolistic behaviour.
      Smaller completely self contained House’s could be built not every body needs a 3 bed home.
      Many people would be happy with much lower costing micro homes.
      Also new ways of building are being stymied by Banks and Building suppliers to to keep prices up.

      • KJT 6.2.1

        I would say new ways of building are being stymied by building regulation costs, as much as anything else. . A legacy of National’s leaky homes and privatization of building inspections.

        $16000 for a resource consent to put another small house on a section. Which is large and already zoned for denser housing. Before you even get permits. $39000 for a transportable house built to code, without a certificate of compliance. $110 000 for one with a certificate of compliance. As for subdividing a section?

        Now I can understand developers having to pre fund extra costs such as reserves and infrastructure, but these costs are simply being passed on to first home buyers.
        Who then pay them a second time through rates.

        The pre nineties building permit system, which worked fine by the way, was a fraction of the cost.

        • Antoine 6.2.1.1

          Pretty amazing that you can criticise the increased cost of building regulation without even mentioning the contribution of local Govt to this

          • KJT 6.2.1.1.1

            It was local Governments reaction, to the costs forced on them after National’s leaky homes and privatized building inspections.

            And subsequent passing on, of new infrastructure costs associated with excessive immigration and urban sprawl, to local Government.

            In other words, insuring themselves against National’s fuckups.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 6.3

      Think govt may be able to requisition land under the Ministry of Works Act. Don’t know if that would include the purpose of res dwellings.

  7. Pat 7

    While not an idea without merit i suspect any plans to attempt to repair one of the main negative symptoms of neoliberalism will be trumped by ‘events’ (H.Macmillan)…be they financial or climatic.

  8. Rosemary McDonald 8

    Why do we never talk about the halcyon days when one could capitalize on the family benefit?

    http://teaohou.natlib.govt.nz/journals/teaohou/issue/Mao29TeA/c11.html

    https://teara.govt.nz/en/family-welfare/page-4

    I just missed out on being able to do this, and then shit got real and mortgage interest rates went through the roof and if you earned above a certain amount you missed out on a housing corp loan (I know of many disabled unemployed who became homeowners with a ‘state advances loan’) and a family had to have two incomes to survive and, well, we just weren’t the same country anymore.

    Remember ‘sweat equity’?

    https://www.habitat.org.nz/site/habitat/files/CNI/2016%20assisted%20home%20ownership%20handbook%20for%20applicants_online.pdf

    Great post Nick…

    • weka 8.1

      I had a friend on the DPB who did that in the early 90s.

      The problem here is that the more people that become part of the land owning class, the more they will vote against necessary reform. The issues around superannuation are part of this, how many decades have we been told that we have to save for retirement and that having a mortgage free house is crucial to a good old age? And that property speculation is a good way to secure one’s future?

      • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1

        “The problem here is that the more people that become part of the land owning class, the more they will vote against necessary reform. ”

        Not necessarily. I think the majority (sorry National) of voters have seen the error of our ways.

        My sneaky plan would be to push the Housing WOF to the max…really ramp up opprobrium towards Sabine’s fucking wankery pricks who don’t give a shit.

        Get rid of the Accommodation Allowance.

        Institute a Rent Freeze and CGT and truly ban non permanent resident buyers.

        Tax Airbnb like they will feel that hellfire is raining down upon them.

        All this I’d do overnight…while I’ve a majority in the House…and New Zild will wake up the next day and mass panic will ensue.

        I will of course have secretly hired hundreds of Tenancy Protection Officers who will ensure that despite Armageddon having broke out not one single person will find themselves out on the street. Their position might be tenuous for a wee while…but NO evictions.

        The government will have of course have arranged finance to enable it to purchase immediately any suitable housing stock from those stupid folk who borrowed more than they could afford to repay without ramping up rents.

        In the meantime, ffs, train some frigging builders and joiners, and electricians, and plumbers, and concrete layers and painters and decorators and roofers…especially roofers. Ease up on ridiculous rules around who can do what in the way of building and renovations…none of these rules have prevented one shit house from being built. If I can renovate an entire home from the piles through to the roof and build on extra living space and obtain the correct permits and consents and sign offs with only minimal help from tradies, then any fuckwit can do it. We used to be a people who could and would turn our hands to anything…what the hell happened?

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          That’s a great plan!!

          “We used to be a people who could and would turn our hands to anything…what the hell happened?”

          Problem is there are all these people who think they can do DIY but never learnt the proper skills. I’d really like to see an additional set of regulations that enables owner/builders, but puts some limits on that and makes it clear on the property deed what was done without a registered builder. The house will be worth less, but that’s a good thing.

          For the people that do stupid, unpermited shit, there’s still back up after the sale unless it’s specifically written out of the agreement, in which case that should be explicit (would require some improvement in lawyer and real estate ethics).

          • KJT 8.1.1.1.1

            We used to be a people who learn’t practical technical skills, at school.

            Now, under NZCA. Only 4% of marks in tech, in high school are allocated for actually making something.

            Those who set NZCA think everyone is going to university and be a “designer”.
            The fact that we nee a hundred builders for every “designer” seems to be lost on them.

            • weka 8.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree. I try not to think about how badly we are dumbing down the population. I was very fortunate to grow up in a house where I learnt all that stuff at home, and had it at school.

        • tracey 8.1.1.2

          Wow. Thanks for this post.

        • KJT 8.1.1.3

          “then any fuckwit can do it”.

          No. They can’t. That is why we have “leaky homes”.

          Can’t complain. Gave me a a lot of work when I was building. Fixing up after cowboys and “home handy men”. They are always men. Women take the trouble to learn how to do things properly, first!

          • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1.3.1

            “Women take the trouble to learn how to do things properly, first!”

            Now, I was tempted to go down that path…but didn’t want to appear all genderessentialist. 😉

            I had the the Book. (Whatever edition came out in 1993)

            And a very good Council Building Inspector who kept me on a righteous path without being a sexist prick, and a retired builder working at the timber yard who thought I was just awesome and was free with advice.

            Luckily I was coming from the starting position of knowing I knew little and being really keen that the roof didn’t fall around my children’s heads.

  9. patricia bremner 9

    Well we were “Dog eat Dog” under the last government with no or few regulations.

    We reached a low where the government collected a dividend off social housing and spent that elsewhere, at the same time selling off a percentage of social housing to realise the worth of the land in inner city suburbs, and failing to grow stocks of houses.

    Compounding this, the government brought in from overseas a city of low paid workers each year, for our low paid to compete with for jobs homes and ways to get to work. The resulting low waged people living in garages and cars coupled with traffic gridlock allowed the government to promote their “Roads of Significance” policy.

    Accusing the social housing unemployed of being “Meth heads and Losers” the government paid shonky outfits to “Test” for traces of the drug in that social housing. Many lost their homes on very flimsy evidence. Added to that they lost the ability to find a private rental,because of stigma and cost.

    The homeless “problem” was so bad it needed a political plaster, so they were housed in Motels “Temporary you know” for weeks. Now government is paying millions for that, so a recovery scheme was to “Bill” the tenants. Now they are homeless with huge debts and no way to pay them. Permission was needed from MSD to access any food money or other help. Even gifts were counted as income.
    A 13 week stand down to get a benefit and stats which read one hour of work a week as employed compounded the farce.

    Depressed, harassed and seeing no way out, many caught in this vicious cycle ended it all. The government formed new rules for notified suicides. Only certain kinds could be counted. On top of all of this they insisted “There is no housing crisis” and sat on their hands.

    Was there a revolution? No, of course not. Most now believed the propaganda and spin to the point where “Owning a house or homes is the way to get rich” . So houses became gambling chips. Those owning them didn’t want to change the rules.

    And now we have the “End game”. Private owners letting their properties to tourists for high dollars and no taxes through Airnib et al, while Kiwis sleep in the streets cars or government motels. We have a real “Wild West ” of housing. A “Free for all”

    Enter a new government to try to fix this unholy mess. Good luck!!

    Expect to hear huge squeals as regulations and “Rule of Law” take over.

    End of the West. Beginning of sanity for the rest. It sure won’t happen overnight.

    • Antoine 9.1

      If at all

    • Leonhart Hunt 9.2

      As a long term change, I think the answer would be to ban private rentals and have an HNZ like entity that owns say 20% of the housing in one given area and rents them out at varied rates based on a % of average the wages in the area.

      Airbnb is a scourge it hurts motel/hotel industry and takes rentals away from kiwi’s who need places to live, there is no ethical reason why another person should own 4,5, 10, 38 rentals charging others market rate to simply have a roof over their heads.

      Owning your own home should be a real goal for every Nz’er its a social contact that’s been broken. Work hard, earn funds, buy a home, raise a family, DIe, pass assets onto descendants, those without homeownership with years/decades of work have no investment in NZ and others who own the home can live without the “hard work” on the back of others, not to mention the capital loss from business/investments that have switched to homes instead of company growth/expansion.

    • greywarshark 9.3

      patricia bremner
      When in a national financial corner in our country, and no way out, no way of repaying we need to think of DEBT JUBILEES. We create the financial system as an idea, run with it, tweak it, stretch it out like pizza dough, and also we can change the recipe. Some links to chew over. We need to raise this matter again and again.

      We would have to do this carefully, thoughtfully, in as balanced a way as possible to try and avoid inflation and to prevent the resumption of bad financial practices. We would have to avoid moralistic, foot-dragging, cowardice and laziness of mind. Here are some links about what has been thought and done.

      This person has offered possible sensible thoughts, but which may end up an excuse to delay doing anything – from the below link.

      https://moneybuffalo.com/debt-jubilee
      A surprise Debt Jubilee, in my opinion, fixes nothing but does reinforce poor decision-making through incentification of irresponsible spending over responsible money management.
      A formalized periodic debt jubilee that follows a prescribed formula can be productive, but only because its effects have already been factored into the transaction process.
      For example, in Israel, a person seeking to “sell” his family’s land would receive payment based not only upon the value of the land, but also upon the length of time before the next jubilee when the land would revert to the original owner.
      …The real solution is accountability and responsibility. It may initially be painful, but in the end, it will be far less chaotic than an unplanned Jubilee

      Other interesting sounding google headings. I haven’t time to take this further but I haven’t heard debt jubilee talked about for a while so putting it back in the frame.

      16/4/2012 from Scoop
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1204/S00101/debt-jubilee-for-new-zealand-the-great-reset.htm
      Australian economist Steve Keen: ..“This is why relinquishing policy control to a creditor class rarely has gone together with economic growth and rising living standards. The tendency for debts to grow faster than the population’s ability to pay has been a basic constant throughout all recorded history. Debts mount up exponentially, absorbing the surplus and reducing much of the population to the equivalent of debt peonage.”

      Iceland Experiments With A Jubilee Of Debt Forgiveness : NPR
      https://www.npr.org/2014/12/…/iceland-experiments-with-a-jubilee-of-debt-forgiveness
      Dec 11, 2014 – A jubilee is an idea that dates back to Biblical times. The idea was that every 50 years or so there would be this moment where debts would be forgiven. The jubilee has not gotten a lot of traction in the modern world, but right now, Iceland is actually trying it.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/21/un-fears-third-leg-of-the-global-financial-crisis-with-epic-debt/

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/14/are-we-heading-for-another-developing-world-debt-crisis

      http://jubileedebt.org.uk/blog/world-bank-misleads-whilst-guaranteeing-speculators-profit

      http://www.cadtm.org/Debt-policy-update-from-Jubilee

      Yanis Varoufakis of Greece about the possibilities for their extrication from the debt morass. A critique:
      http://www.cadtm.org/Yanis-Varoufakis-s-Account-of-the Greek Crisis: a Self-Incrimination — Part One: Proposals Doomed to Fail

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilee_Debt_Coalition
      Jubilee Debt Campaign (Drop The Debt) is a coalition of national organisations and local groups around the UK, calling for the unjust and unpayable debts of the poorest countries to be cancelled. It has also been known as Jubilee Debt Coalition and focuses on developing countries’ debt….
      In a November 2011 article by The Guardian, Jubilee Debt Campaign was mentioned. It has fought a long battle against vulture funds, where a company buys up debts or securities in a distressed environment, and then sues for the full amount ‘owing’.

      Two looking at Japan:
      Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese Style | Seeking Alpha
      https://seekingalpha.com › Macro View › Economy
      Jun 28, 2017 – Japan has found a way to write off nearly half its national debt without creating inflation. We could do that too. Let’s face it. There is no way the US governm.

      Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style. The US National Debt …
      https://www.globalresearch.ca/sovereign-debt-jubilee-japanese-style-the…debt/5596534
      Jun 28, 2017 – While most central banks have ended their quantitative easing programs and are planning to sell their federal securities, the Bank of Japan continues to aggressively buy its government’s debt. An interest-free debt owed to oneself that is rolled over from year to year is effectively void – a debt “jubilee.

      and recent (hopeful or informed?):
      Universal debt forgiveness and the imminent global debt jubilee
      alcuinbramerton.blogspot.com/2011/06/universal-debt-forgiveness-and-imminent.html
      5 hours ago – Behind the scenes, all the indications are that universal debt forgiveness is set to be announced. A global debt jubilee is waiting in the wings. The Doctrine of Odious Debts has been spectacularly revisited. The default position of the global financial system is to be permanently reset. The vaults are stocked.

      • One Two 9.3.1

        Jubilee is highly unlikely, GW

        The global [debt] markets are so integrated, the outcome would be an integrated and simultaneous collapse…

        Jubilee requires the creditors to facilitate such action, thus exposing themselves in the process…there is no apetite for exposure as doing so would ensure the debt based system would be gone…permanently this time…

        Iceland is an isolated example, where a small and cohesive population (of vikings) took control of their nation…and put bankers, and politicians in prison…

        What’s required is a replacement system of positive money…nationalize the ‘printing press’ and zero out the national debt, which is likely illegal if ever challenged…

        Whichever road is taken, there is going to be a collapse…the degree and collatoral damage might be contained, at best…but that’s up to individuals and communities, because governments have no strategy…

        Collapse is now unavoidable…IMO

        • greywarshark 9.3.1.1

          One Two
          Let’s keep resuming this discussion in Open Mike or elsewhere over the year so ideas get aired. There is so much throwing hands in the air and saying WTF.

          If we are facing a problem let’s get some sandbags ready, shift to higher ground. I like the mention of ‘positive money’. We have been formed by our present financial system, our brains, our thinking has been affected and it is hard to understand it as we have assimilated its use and methods into our lives, like electricity.

          Anything that is done needs to have people’s input in forming a practical system, and especially those who show forethought and have experience of the human factor, such as the need for carrot plus stick to make things happen. Knowing the need for and how to get buy-in, the right amount of reward for people to make a point of doing their bit so the system can keep on running. For instance, we see how some will try avoidance of income tax, that’s the human factor, not just the wealthy at play.

    • Craig H 9.4

      That is a fantastic summary of our current situation – may I post it on Facebook?

  10. weka 10

    What I really like about this post is that it’s not just saying we need to do this and this about the crisis, it’s looking at solutions to the political blocks to solutions to the that crisis.

    There are plenty of things that could be done about housing (personally, I think not a lot will change without a rent cap), we’re not actually short on potential solutions. What we don’t have is a solution to the politics. A referendum on a new social contract is an idea worth exploring.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      If the answer is a referendum, the question is wrong. We have a system whereby Parliament can take advice from the electorate. The select committee process.

      The National Party is actively hostile to this process. Do you imagine for a moment that they and their owners will engage in a referendum in good faith when they can’t even respect the Cabinet Manual?

      I raised Brexit for a good reason: the orchestrated litany of lies that came with it.

      Unless the solutions solve (or find a way around) the National Party problem, they won’t work.

      • Pat 10.1.1

        It is not simply a ‘National Party’ problem ….unless you wish to ignore some 44% of the (voting) electorate.

        The goals and values of that party are representative, not formative.

      • weka 10.1.2

        “We have a system whereby Parliament can take advice from the electorate. The select committee process.”

        How’s that working out?

        National aren’t in power. Labour could run a referendum and the govt would be in charge of providing good information, not National. Yes, National and the rentier class would run a hard campaign against, but I think that this would backlash against them because of how bad the housing crisis is.

        Lessons can be learnt from Brexit, but it’s not an entirely comparable situation to here.

        Not saying that a referendum is the best or only solution to the political stalemate, but at least it’s looking at where the actual problem is. Like I said, we all know what should be done about *housing, few people are coming up with ideas about what to do about politicians and the political process.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.2.1

          Right, so since we occupy the Treasury benches, why stuff around waiting for a plebiscite? I think actually getting families out of cars and into homes will prove more popular.

          • weka 10.1.2.1.1

            if you have a plan for how to get Labour to do something useful, I’m all ears. That’s my point, not that we should have a referendum, but that we need solutions to the underlying problem. Housing is dire, and it’s not the root cause, which is why Labour will tinker around the edges and we will have less people living in cars but bugger the rest.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Maybe they’ll surprise us. Can’t say I’m optimistic. At least incrementalism is better than the National Party.

              • weka

                I think at this stage anything is better than the National Party.

                Labour might respond to some agitation or campaigning.

              • alwyn

                Maybe they have surprised us.
                Phil Twyford has been Minister for four months now.
                I don’t expect that any KiwiBuild houses exist but he has had quite enough time to purchase land on which to build them.

                How much land has been bought? Enough for two thousand homes would seem a minimum amount I would have thought, given that he is guaranteeing at least 16,000 before the next election. He will then have to pick up the pace of course as he has promised 100,000 in ten years.

                Anyone know how he is getting on? The only reference I have seen was 40 properties in Mt Albert where State houses are (were?) being demolished.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I suggest you find out what changes he’s made to HNZ’s instructions and policies, and do a Google search for “kiwibuild” to keep track of the project.

                  Because right now I question whether your search for “references” actually happened at all.

                  • alwyn

                    I went looking for anything on progress in actually doing something.
                    There are lots of Press Releases on what is planned but nothing on actual accomplishments.
                    The seem to be willing to bring in 1500 immigrants though to do the work.
                    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/101305455/government-will-hire-migrant-tradies-for-kiwibuild
                    Other than that the Government seems to be keeping all its plans well under wraps. This is the sort of thing that questions to the Prime Minister in Parliament attracted.
                    https://yournz.org/tag/kiwibuild/
                    I had hoped someone here had some more current information than I found.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      This rhetorical strategy will serve you well until the first houses are built and Twyford cuts the ribbon. Is it really the best you can do?

                    • alwyn

                      Come, come Sir.
                      Surely you can do better than that. If you actually have some evidence of real accomplishment I’m sure you will supply it.
                      You do know of something concrete they have done surely?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Like the changes to HNZ letting policies already mentioned, for example. As opposed to a weak rhetorical strategy.

                    • alwyn

                      “Like the changes to HNZ letting policies”
                      What on earth have changes to the HNZ letting policies got to do with Kiwibuild?
                      Kiwibuild was, as originally proposed, going to build affordable houses for New Zealanders to buy, not to rent.
                      Have they given up on the scheme then and are now only proposing to build rental properties?
                      http://www.labour.org.nz/kiwibuild
                      For people to BUY you will note.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Ok, so let’s say you’ve convinced me that you believe Labour has abandoned Kiwibuild.

                      Is that what you want? For me to treat you as a gullible fool rather than an inept rhetorician?

                    • alwyn

                      “Is that what you want? For me to treat you …..”.
                      I really couldn’t care less about what you think or how you behave. Your personal beliefs are certainly of no interest to me.

                      I am curious about what is going on with the Kiwibuild scheme which is a major, indeed probably the major, item in the Labour Housing Policy they made so much of before the election. As I can’t find anything about it recently I thought that you, as someone who still seems to have faith in them and professes to believe they will accomplish their aims, might be able to tell me where they are up to.

                      On Kiwibuild you seem to be as ill-informed as the rest of the population so I won’t waste your time any further by asking you about a topic of which you are ignorant.
                      Perhaps there is someone else who might read this and knows something about the subject. I hope they may be able to assist me.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Inept rhetorician it is then.

                      If I point out that Twyford says he wants to cut the first ribbon by the middle of next year, you’ll say

                      There are lots of Press Releases on what is planned but nothing on actual accomplishments.

                      So your proposition relies on the idea that it’s all just words, and no work is being done, because planning isn’t work. But if there are no plans, it’ll be illegal to build the houses.

                      No wait, perhaps it’s gullible fool after all.

                    • alwyn

                      Phil never actually said he was going to cut a ribbon.
                      The closest I can find is
                      “I would hope we would be turning the key in the front door of KiwiBuild homes some time in the middle of next year, but that will be a real stretch.”
                      If we are going to get any significant number of these houses we are going to have to have land, lots and lots of land.
                      That should be well under way if the targets are going to be reached. After four months how much land has been bought?

                      I’m not asking about the building part. That will obviously take time and as you say, without plans it is illegal to build.
                      I am saying that without land it is not just illegal, it is impossible.
                      How much land have they bought, or even identified?

                    • Antoine

                      I remain of the view I have always held, which is that Labour is committed to KiwiBuild, but that there will be less dwellings built than Labour announced, they will come in over time and over budget.

                      Developments so far seem entirely consistent with that.

                      A.

                    • The Chairman

                      “I had hoped someone here had some more current information than I found.”

                      There is this:
                      http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/02/massive-block-in-auckland-cbd-set-aside-for-affordable-housing-duncan-garner.html

                    • alwyn

                      @The Chairman
                      This looked like it might actually be something when I first looked at it.
                      Did you read it right through though? You get to this little gem.

                      “His (Twyford’s)s press secretary is denying Garner’s claims, saying he has “extrapolated from the minister’s comments”.
                      She said there were no plans for a building in the CBD”.

                      Oh well, it was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it? Thank you for the try anyway.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Your ill-natured carping would be so much more credible had you been equally exercised by the inactivity of Nick Smith.

                  • alwyn

                    But I did say nasty things about Nick, and the Government in general, on housing.
                    Housing, particularly in Auckland was the one thing the National-led Government got wrong. The situation was already a mess when they came into office and they didn’t improve it very much.

                    That was then. This is now. Labour and New Zealand First are the Government powers now and they don’t seem to be capable of doing anything any better. Just call for more and more reports and no action.
                    Or talk about how they are showing “relentless positivity” and get in a few more selfies at a primary or pre-school.
                    It is silly to go on for their term in power simply saying “don’t blame us, National did it too”. They have the power now. DO SOMETHING.

                    • KJT

                      I will give you that.

                      Governments have been failing on housing for 30 years. Not just National.

                      The biggest failure is that, housing is the only safe way that ordinary people can leverage their savings.

                      Try borrowing for a business!

  11. Sabine 11

    Roof leaking, again, still whatever.

    NZ Landlords useless fucks. Usless fucking wankers . the whole fucking lot of them should be fucking forced to live in the shacks they are renting be it residential or commercial.

    Fucking useless pricks.

    • Carolyn_Nth 11.1

      I’ve had that sort of rental, where owners did f all about leaks. Such landlords need to be forced to up their game, or get out of the business – shame on them.

      My current rental is much better managed, and the property seems in good order – but then it also costs me more – way more than it actually should cost.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 11.1.1

        Every other industry has quality control measures and standards which have to be met by law, why not rental accommodation ?

        • weka 11.1.1.1

          Ask the people that voted Labour or NZF instead of the Greens. It’s the Greens that had a kick arse rental wof scheme.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Moderator
    What happens when a big comment is entered with numbers of links? Is it not accepted – too long, does it go into spam? Is there somewhere it could go, perhaps as its own post?

    I’ve thought of debt jubilees while thinking of how much finance we have to get things done and different ways of handling our debt. I put it in for this post but don’t see it and wonder what you advise doing with it. I think it is useful and we should look at it but I need to move on to something else today.

  13. greywarshark 13

    What would have been best to do with it weka? Hold it over and find a way to put it up as a guest post which I haven’t got the hang of yet? Or at least get it up while it is relevant as has been done?

    • weka 13.1

      split it into two comments. You just need to make sure there aren’t ten or more links in a single comment.

      Make sure the second comment is a reply to the first one, so it stays next to it.

  14. funstigator 14

    I know low – medium income people looking for rentals around Wgtn. It seems that every place that is potentially a student dwelling has gone up by $50 per room this year. Thanks Grant.
    Does anyone know how many rentals Helen Clark owns now? Used to be 7 apparently, probably a few more now after all that tax free UN income on top of Parliamentary pension.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      Here’s a perfect example of National Party values: no solutions, just bile, false framing, and no display of personal responsibility whatsoever.

      • weka 14.1.1

        funny, I thought they were left wing.

        I’d be more interested in how Clark manages her rentals than that she has some, but she really isn’t the problem.

        • alwyn 14.1.1.1

          I would have thought they might force her to sell them.
          She certainly isn’t a tax resident in New Zealand and there was talk of non tax-residents being banned wasn’t there?
          Perhaps that was just wishful thinking on the part of left wing commenters on blogs.

          • weka 14.1.1.1.1

            No idea wtf you are on about. Non-resident in this context means no residency or citizenship, not that you live overseas. Which I’m sure you are aware of.

            • alwyn 14.1.1.1.1.1

              I am quite aware of the distinction. However when this subject was being discussed here in November last year there seemed to be an argument made that a lot of the problems were being caused by people who were not New Zealand tax residents and that such people should not be allowed to buy properties. For example
              “LINZ reported that five percent of buyers of 12,951 Auckland properties in the June quarter were not New Zealand tax residents” from
              https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-02112017/#comment-1408461

              I was talking about a proposal that people who are not tax-residents should be banned.
              Helen is quite likely not a TAX-resident, irrespective of the fact that she is obviously a proud citizen.
              I very much doubt that any Government would ever impose such silly rules but some people seemed to be calling for them.

              • Craig H

                It’s quite difficult to lose tax-residency as she probably still owned a home in NZ, and even if she did lose it while working for the UN, she would have regained it on her return.

                • alwyn

                  She actually spends only a little time here I gather. She visits but that doesn’t come to the 183 days in the year that is required as far as I have been told. Doesn’t mean that what I have heard is right of course. I have been in places where she has been present over the years but she is certainly not a confidant.

                  It is a little more than just owning a house.
                  It has to be a permanent place of abode to which you retain a connection.
                  The IRD try and interpret it as just owning a house but that doesn’t mean that it is so.
                  I continued to own property in New Zealand while living in Australia.
                  I had to pay tax here on income from the property but it was as a non-resident and only on that income.
                  I was not a tax-resident of New Zealand and therefore taxed on my entire income which a tax-resident would be.
                  They have tried to get tougher but I imagine she has very good advice.
                  I don’t think it will ever apply of course that she couldn’t own property. No Government would ever be so silly as to bring that in.
                  http://www.wk.co.nz/assets/Resources/Tax-Issues-for-Persons-shifting-to-New-Zealand.pdf

                  • KJT

                    NZ and Oz have a reciprocal tax agreement, so you do not get double taxed by both countries.

                    Some countries do not. As some of my workmates who work offshore, but have houses in NZ have found, to their cost. Of course you can try and hide your offshore income?? Not so easy for those earning a wage. And costly when you get found out!! IRD arn’t as kind to them, as they are to tax dodging banks.

                    As I understand it. If you work for a diplomatic or representative outfit like the UN, you are taxed in your country of previous residency.

    • Leonhart Hunt 14.2

      and super now? she is 68, and super isnt means tested.

  15. patricia bremner 15

    In Australia, holiday homes have to display the name and Phone number and Physical address of any “Holiday Lets” agent or owner. I suggest we do that.

    Failure to do this results in substantial fines over there. Owners have to display “Let by Owner Holiday Let” This gives a basis for matching tax and property taxes. So we need capital gains taxes.

    If you let a property for the housing market, it must be in 6 monthly terms, or long lease. Anything else is deemed commercial. Seems to work there.

    However prices bear no relationship to wages. Capping social housing rents to income seems sensible. A % of income coming into the home would stop rorting and be fairer to social housing solo tenants.

    Governments need to examine ways of people getting into housing to avoid increasing the “gambling element” of ownership. Residential should mean that, so councils need to control Airnib etc when they “Creep” into unsuitable areas. It should be under “Bed and Breakfast” rules and inspections.

    Rent rises should be capped to cost of living rises, and not allowed to pass a reasonable level of all household income. Community card holders who are solos
    could apply for govt. assistance for heating, insulation and other health features. Ramps,
    stair lifts, lighting. This will become needed with an ageing population.

    Direct Government funding of services is the cheapest option, as “providers” need 3 times funding to break even, and “Trickle down” hasn’t worked.

    First we need to agree who gets social housing, agree suitable lengths of tenancy to recognise schooling needs, social support networks, and suitability.

    Next we need to agree what proportion of the population will probably need social housing and build to provide that, equally according to population, avoiding ghettos.

    Alongside that needs to be a home owning scheme, where people can save for a home deposit with a govt guaranteed scheme to protect “home savings”. Kiwi saver could add to that. This would allow unemployed people a path into a home with assistance.

    Finally, extra large homes over 140 square meters should pay more local and national taxes, as being property “banking.”
    Taxes on property ownership should be stepped, low for 1 or 2 properties, going higher for 3 to 10 properties, and at commercial rates for over 10 properties, for at that number it is a business, and should come under those rules and regulations. Empty properties should have tax at a “Deemed” rental rate for the area.

    Many will say …”this won’t work because….” Tell me what is really helping increase our housing stock at affordable rates right now? Not much yet.

    I do believe Twyford is consulting and planning and the first budget will be an indicator of direction. They will need our ideas and support, for vested interests are well heeled and lined up to oppose. So we need to write to select committees and be prepared to attend.

    We voted social change, let us support it happening.

  16. Descendant Of Sssmith 16

    I’ve always felt that the lack of regulation around limiting high rents (profiteering) post the Christchurch earthquakes gave landlords this sense of getting away with anything.

    Government responded by subsidising them rather than calling them the bastards they were and regulating.

    It was only a matter of time before high unrealistic rents developed elsewhere, particularly with the governments desire to bring in more people and sell-off housing assets and pinch poor peoples rent through dividends to make the books look better.

    Some things that can be done quickly and simply.

    1. Councils have been offloading their mainly elderly housing for some time now. When state housing was introduced there was some agreement with councils that the state would do most but that councils would also provide a supply, mainly for elderly.

    Central government has for many years deliberately supported private landlords through both the tax and welfare systems and refused to support councils.

    Subsidised support to councils for their housing plus an amount for each house/unit towards maintenance, repair and modernisation to compensate for the neglected support should be done to allow councils to keep, maintain, improve and maybe build more stock. Funding to increase housing stock, in line with their aging population forecasts should also be a part of this.

    2. The legislative right to squat in homes that have been empty for six months or longer should be established. The requirements to connect electricity, look after the property, etc should be part of that.

    3. Benefit rates should all be increased to the rate of NZS and a rent freeze put on at the same time to stop landlords converting the extra income to the those on benefit into their own pockets. A rent tribunal could than be set up whereby landlords who did feel they needed to put their rent up could argue their case as could tenants appeal against excessive rent e.g. $300.00 for a crappy bed-room in a house with one toilet and shower. The tribunal should have the power to set rents.

    4. Universal family benefit should be reinstated to stop dividing the population as income testing does and in 5 years time (enough to let prices drop and settle) capitalisation to but a home should be reintroduced.

    5. Some real work needs to be done around forecasting the death-rate of baby boomers to see where housing will start being freed up and when and have this built into any building strategies.

    6. Build a house, then another one, then another one, then another one.

    7. Don’t sell anymore even if they are in Epsom and worth 3 million dollars. The working class can live in Epsom to.

    8. Offer baby boomer swaps for their large three bedroom house and freehold section with a newly built two bedroom unit in a nice location. The values in many cases are about the same and it would both help match needs and free up either large housing or land.

    9. Work on a plan to stop subsiding landlords through accommodation supplement. I can see no good reason why with the tax incentives they get they should get subsided rent as well from the tax payer. Besides for all those that go on about bludging no-hopers the liability for subsidising landlords came to a forecast 78 billion or 13% of the liability.

    The forecast for unemployment was less than 50% of that at a measly 5%.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10833532

  17. feijoa 17

    Lots of really good ideas in the discussion above. I like decendants ideas and also wekas rent cap.

    If this government wants to address inequality, and lets face it, if it doesn’t, it will be really only applying patch ups, housing is one of the big areas of inequity it must grapple with. And if its inequality we have to deal with the rich need to be dealt to, as addressing the poor is only half the problem.
    And, boy, will the rich squeal. The government have to be ready.
    I just hope they dont chicken out.

  18. Leonhart Hunt 18

    There’s one area we are missing that some have touched on. We don’t have enough builder’s, etc to build new houses most are engaged in the public sector on the scale we need, so let’s fix that, offer benefits regardless of age an incentive to relocate/move to training center’s and start learning, offer free training for say 3 years service.

    Bring back NZ public works, hire a couple of dozen skilled builders to train 100 – 200 builders, hire a few architects, surveyors and a small team of resource consent specialists (add new legislation to fast track all of Public works resource consents)

    Rezone public land for public works to build on, buy or eminent domain optimal land for new social housing

    Set Up a logistics division to buy materials and ship it to the building sites and start building.

    The people who need training can learn while building (on the job training) and all the built housing becomes social housing (not the kiwi build plan which means 50% becomes private housing (which in turn will become rentals/air-bnb, creating the whole mess all over again. Make 50% private rentals owned by HNZ with rental caps of X% of average local wage.

    pay for the whole thing by scrapping innovation investment in NZ for the next few years (currently we spend 1.8 billion per year on “innovation” support funding R&D from the like of callaghan’s (who are a govt agency that caught last year of spending $300,000 on entertainment) or MBIE if done well the 50% of private housing should fund future builds.

  19. Rosemary McDonald 19

    Housing for at least 11 people.

    5 x 2bedroom units, shared section, close to shops in coastal area.

    $520, 000 the lot.

    https://www.bayleys.co.nz/2750810?ref=NZH&ref=NZH

    • weka 19.1

      cool community housing opportunity. Bit too close to the sea though, maybe that’s why it’s so cheap.

      $52,000 per annum return, that’s $100/wk per room, nice to see there is still cheaper rent around.

      • Rosemary McDonald 19.1.1

        “Bit too close to the sea though, ” Nah, all good, its quite away back from the beach and who knows, it’ll be absolute front in a few decades.

        Can’t figure out why this has not been snapped up for a kaumatua/papakainga project.

  20. Wei 20

    I would have thought that with foreign buyers now out of the market (mainly the Chinese), our housing woes would now be largely fixed? At least that’s how Jacinda framed it.

    • Muttonbird 20.1

      No she didn’t. Parker framed it as protecting future generations of working Kiwis from surges of foreign capital distorting the residential market.

      There’s a rush on in China to get in before the law change – better be quick!

    • weka 20.2

      You’d have to be an idiot if you thought that. FFS, can we have less of the daft ideas as a way of bashing Labour?

      • Wei 20.2.1

        Hey! I voted Green, so indirectly I suppose voted Jacinda —-does not change my opinion of her as a self-centred innumerate bimbo.

        • weka 20.2.1.1

          That certainly explains you using a stupid argument against her then.

        • Muttonbird 20.2.1.2

          At least you can vote, something which your friends in China have yet to be able to do in their entire history.

  21. Wei 21

    “Parker framed it as protecting future generations of working Kiwis from surges of foreign capital distorting the residential market.”

    If that ever happens to be the case then it would be a piece of cake for any government to turn the tap off at any time. Parker is being driven by populism and is justifying the law changes with a hypothetical scenario (indeed that’s all he can do) – rather than responding to current realities, and coming up with real solutions.

    As it is, the pending law changes will make a diddly squat of difference —-except dry up capital inflows into the country – at a time we need them.

    The Chinese won’t care too much (even the execrable Mike Hosking the other day got it right for once —“we need the world, the world doesn’t need us”) —they’ll just park their money in Hong Kong, Singapore, and in particular the Japanese real estate market – which welcomes foreign buyers with open arms.

    http://japanpropertycentral.com/real-estate-faq/can-a-foreigner-purchase-property-in-japan/

    https://list.juwai.com/news/2017/03/new-pr-visa-rules-could-fire-up-chinese-demand-for-japan-property

    • Rosemary McDonald 21.1

      “As it is, the pending law changes will make a diddly squat of difference —-except dry up capital inflows into the country – at a time we need them.”

      And who exactly are “we” Wei?

      • Muttonbird 21.1.1

        Quite!

      • Wei 21.1.2

        “And who exactly are “we” Wei?”

        I was born here and my parents immigrated in the 50s —you [deleted] – would you ask if I had a typical anglo name such as Dave?

        [1 month ban for blatantly misogyny against a specific woman commenter. Read the policy and know that there is zero tolerance for that. Yes, there is less blatant racism on TS, and we don’t always manage that well, but I’m not convinced that is what Rosemary meant. You can choose to ignore such a comment, or choose to ask for clarification, or choose to alert a moderator, or choose to express your concern about racism. What you can’t do here is use misogynistic abuse. – weka]

        • Muttonbird 21.1.2.1

          You might want to edit that. Besides which, you complete missed the target. Rosemary McDonald reference was obviously to the wealthy classes in NZ who are interested in residential property prices rising unchecked.

          Your hypersensitivity has betrayed you yet again. You’re not really cut out for this board, I think.

          • alwyn 21.1.2.1.1

            I must be dreadfully innocent.
            I never thought Rosemary’s last line had any particular meaning apart from being a not terribly good pun.
            Better than mine r, mind u.

        • Muttonbird 21.1.2.2

          Well, either I was too late with the warning, or you refused to edit. Either way I’m struggling to accept you are what you say you are, you having used language like that.

    • Muttonbird 21.2

      What hypothetical situation? It was a real situation not 18 months ago. The unprecedented price rises across Auckland and other centres slowed not because of the bright line test, and not because of lending restrictions on domestic investors, but because of capital controls out of China.

      As for turning the tap off – Parker just did.

      • Chuck 21.2.1

        “The unprecedented price rises across Auckland and other centres slowed not because of the bright line test, and not because of lending restrictions on domestic investors, but because of capital controls out of China.”

        Hmm ok, care to back up that paragraph with some actual data?

        As you are suggesting capital controls out of China was THE reason.

  22. Ad 22

    Minister Twyford will start to satisfy Nick Kelly’s frustration when he releases the New Zealand Housing Stocktake tomorrow.

    This will only be the start of the actual work, but a good government starts with the actual facts and works solutions from there.

  23. AsleepWhileWalking 23

    I hear Manchester is especially bad in terms of homeless.

    Rent increases are not paid by the rent fairy – the government in some form is paying either in immediate subsidies, or later. On the front line people are paying rent but not paying for quality food and meds. Education has been sporadic for many of our kids. These are going to add up to a very costly bill in years to come.

    1. At a minimum place a limit on the % the rent can increase in a set time period.

    2. Recognise social housing IS NOT WORKING for our communities. Priority should be those who need certain types of housing not catered to in the private market (disabled) – in fact better to assist this group to buy houses that suit their need. Social housing providers make more profit by ignoring special needs, hence the need for this group to own their own.

  24. cleangreen 24

    It appears that National were working very hard to remove all poor people from Auckland according to the report released,monday 12/2/18 as 90% of those seeking emergency housing were targeted for refusal of any housing in this report.

    National are soulless and heartless with no morals and use similar tactics by using the likes of nasty comments from their avid supporters like Alwyn.

  25. Sparky 25

    This is not a hard question to answer.Given the attitudes of NZ’s main parties I do not personally believe the housing problem will be rectified. There’s a pervading mentality that still embraces free market capitalism, seeing it as “fixable” when it could not be a more glaring train wreck of a failure. Socialism which worked well has been painted as a haven for fusty old Luddites with Communist leanings (complete bullshit). Any politician that embraces it I suspect is afraid of being labelling backwards, stodgy, not dynamic.

    State housing runs contrary to capitalism and privatisation. As such what you will get, I’m predicting, is half measures that offer some limited concessions but in truth change very little. Indeed as populations grow the problem may get so bad we realise the kind of ghettos you find in countries like Brazil and South Africa.

    If this is to be avoided its time to face facts with regards to not only our main parties but also our dysfunctional political system and stop being tribal and making excuses for the inexcusable.

  26. Simon 26

    Contrary to Nick Kelly’s post, there is a relatively easy fix to the housing crisis – remove the tax advantage given to home ownership.
    If it were a comprehensive policy – ie capital gains applied to all housing, including the family home (or even to family homes above the median value), plus removal of deductables such as interest costs, then you would see a very rapid move of house prices to “affordabile”.
    The problem is that this government hasn’t got the will to do it, nor is likely to the way things are going.
    The government has taken minor steps to address the demand side – banning foreign ownership of existing houses and reducing immigration.
    We have yet to see how successful its Kiwibuild programme will be in addressing the supply side.
    As Gareth Morgan says in his assessment of Labour’s first 100 days: https://join.top.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/01288-TOP-100-Day-progress-FA-UNLOCKED.pdf “Labour claims there is a market failure, but the market is just doing what the tax system incentivises, land banking. Land banking will continue as long as developers can make more money sitting on land doing nothing rather than taking all the risk of building.”
    Morgan also makes the point that for decades New Zealanders have seen housing as an investment instead of shelter. Excess demand has existed since the 1980s when the tax loopholes around housing first appeared, and housing has become steadily less affordable since then.
    “The simple matter is unless we remove the current tax incentives nothing will change… Until we deal with the demand issues (the tax break found in housing), New Zealanders will continue to speculate, growing wealth for the home ownership cohort, a group that is large but, courtesy of the tax loophole, an elite. Those unable to get into the ownership market – a growing percentage of the population (around 40% currently) – will continue to face rising rents. Such a misallocation of capital will also continue to apply a handbrake on our economy. Tax-sponsored, over-investment in housing (or any asset class for that matter) has a negative impact on our productivity (and hence income) growth. Multiple tax working groups (TWG) have already recommended changes to our tax system and have been ignored, yet Labour see it as pertinent that another TWG must be commissioned.”
    Because Labour stupidly agreed not to enact tax reform before the 2020 election, we are guaranteed to have weak proposals put before the electorate and the housing investment problem will continue.
    Putting Michael Cullen in charge of the Tax Working Group guarantees this. Cullen had every opportunity in his nine years as Finance Minister to tackle the problem, particularly in his last term, when Labour were virtually certain to be tossed out unless it enacted bold policies, but he chose the politically expedient path of least resistance.
    Jacinda Ardern will face a worse problem in 2020 – she will be attempting to win a second term, and given so many of us are heavily invested in housing thanks to the tax advantage of housing, she won’t be able to advocate tax reform that will depress the value of many voters’ biggest investment.

    • KJT 26.1

      Capital gains tax on housing is long overdue.

      The economic distortion, caused by the fact that you can put work into doing up a house, or even sit on it for a year, and earn more, untaxed, than someone who works at a PAYE job for the year, is obvious. And a huge loss of revenue, on incomes, which could be put towards State housing.

      For example. Key gaining an untaxed 10 million on the sale of his “family home”.
      No wonder why he opposed Capital gains taxes, on housing.

      To make it politically palatable family houses under the National median price, on sale, could be exempt from capital gains taxes. Though there is still the obvious loophole of rich kids in a family owning a “family home”, each.

      The only real answer is State rentals, and lots of them, in all areas. Subsidies for private rentals have just been pushing up rents.

      No need for importing labour, either. One skilled builder can train half a dozen youngsters and build houses in the process.
      Transportable houses on the school or tech grounds.
      Tiki High in Northland had a program doing just that. Unitec still do, among others. http://www.unitec.ac.nz/contact-us/academic-departments/building-technology/relocatable-houses-for-sale

  27. tracey 27

    In 2007 John Key used the word crisis 14 times in a speech discussing housing affordability. For the next 10 years he and others in his party denied there was a crisis.

    I found it in a simple google. Where were the media hounding him about it daily like, say, Lloyd Burr with Turei.

  28. Whispering Kate 28

    I have two lots of friends (New Zealanders living overseas), one lot in Hong Kong and the other in Adelaide who cannot purchase a home here – they have been told they have to come home and reside here for them to be able to purchase.

    So how come I read in the Paper that Dan Carter is here in NZ having left his job in France, he is selling his AK home and looking for a new place in the same vicinity – before he goes to Japan for a new contract there. Does anybody know what the clarification is for purchasing a home for ex-pat kiwis here in NZ. What department do I get in touch with to find out this information.

    I find it disconcerting that family who want to come home eventually cannot, in the interim period, come here and purchase a future home.

    • alwyn 28.1

      They probably want a mortgage and the banks aren’t willing to play for people who don’t live here and will probably be treating it as a rental for at least a while. Only a guess but it would seem to be the most likely reason if they are actually New Zealand citizens.
      Somehow I don’t think this particular Mr Carter will need a mortgage for a little $5 million or so property.

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    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...
    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz
    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    3 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again
    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister
    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    3 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.
    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won
    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16
    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16
    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother
    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?
    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)
    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    4 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.
    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1
    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor
    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15
    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15
    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?
    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    4 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution
    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky
    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond
    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?
    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ
    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28
    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    5 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response
    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment
    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President
    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Questions from God
    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • The politics of money and influence
    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity
    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    6 days ago
  • What Happened to David D'Amato's Millions?
    Today’s podcast episode is for paying Webworm members — and is a conversation seven years in the making. Let me explain.Hi,As I hit “send” on this newsletter, I’m about to play my 2016 documentary Tickled to a theatre full of about 400 Webworm readers in Auckland, New Zealand.And with Tickled ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Voting as a multi-order process of choice.
    Recent elections around the world got me to thinking about voting. At a broad level, voting involves processes and choices. Embedded in both are the logics that go into “sincere” versus “tactical” voting. “Sincere” voting is usually a matter of preferred … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Women in Space.
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    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 13
    Auckland waterfront, July. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 13 are:The National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government watered down vehicle emissions standards this week, compounding the climate emissions damage from an increasingly ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Dems need to ask the right question about Biden as his age now defines the campaign
    Midway through the news conference that many American political commentators had built up as critical to Joe Biden’s re-election chances, the US president said European leaders are not asking him not to run for a second term, “they’re saying you gotta win”.The problem for Biden and his advisors is that ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Govt flounders while ocean temps soar
    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items of climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer, most of which they discussin the video above. According to experts, the rate of ocean surface warming around New Zealand is “outstripping the global ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Learning From Brexit
    Whether Britain leaving the European Union was right or wrong, good or bad is for the Brits to decide. But there are lessons about international trade to be learned from Brexit, especially as it is very unusual for an economy to break so completely from its major training partner.In Econ101 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Friday, July 12
    TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so on the morning of Friday, July 12 are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Hot Damn! It's The Soggy Bottom Boys!
    Good morning lovely people, and welcome to another weekly review. One which saw the our Prime Minister in Washington, running around with all the decorum of Augustus Gloop with a golden ticket, seeking photo opportunities with anyone willing to shake his hand.Image: G News.He had his technique down to overcome ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • When an independent expert / advisory group is anything but ..
    OPINION: Yesterday, 1News reported that the Government's "independent" advisory group had recommended Kiwirail offload its ferries to another entity.Except this wasn't entirely new news at all, besides that it came formally from Nicola Willis’s advisory team.TVNZ is under significant cost pressure, and earlier this year, after expressing strong discontent with ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago

  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals
    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan
    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset
    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School attendance continues to increase
    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights
    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery
    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki
    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston
    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety
    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship
    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
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    4 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality
    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
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    4 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers
    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy
    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
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    5 days ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants
    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
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    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
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    7 days ago
  • District Court judges appointed
    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
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    7 days ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins
    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
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    7 days ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance
    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones
    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
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    1 week ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims
    The coalition Government is establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group for the victims of retail crime, as part of its plan to restore law and order, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says.  “New Zealand has seen an exponential growth in retail crime over the past five ...
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    1 week ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
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    1 week ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
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    1 week ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government unveils five-point climate strategy
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    1 week ago
  • National Bowel Screening Programme reaches 2 million life-saving screening kits
    The National Bowel Screening Programme has reached a significant milestone, with two million home bowel screening kits distributed across the country, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.   “This programme, which began in 2017, has detected 2,495 cancers as of June 2024. A third of these were at an early ...
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