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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