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There is no housing crisis in New Zealand *

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, June 10th, 2016 - 52 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, housing, Media, national, newspapers, paula bennett, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , ,

housing poll 2016

The Crosby Textor rule book has so far worked well for National.

The elements are now clear.  Poll and focus group as much as possible. Decide what lines will work on the middle part of the electorate to retain their attention and support. Roll out John Key, the ultimate confidence politician and schmoozer, to reassure middle New Zealand that he thinks like them and can be trusted.  And attack and blame Labour at every chance.

There are a couple of scenarios where the rule book does not work. Fast moving issues make the Government look flat footed because they do not know where to pitch their rhetoric. And occasionally their policies are that bad that they are not able to polish the proverbial turd so that it glistens.

The housing crisis ticks both boxes. The story is so fast moving with an avalanche of tales of despair that National has not been able to work out lines that will appeal to middle New Zealand.  Every time they come up with a solution another heart breaking story of the hardship being caused appears.  And National’s policies of selling off state housing while “investing” in NGOs and waiting for the market to flourish is that nonsensical and that stupid in a time of crisis that everyone is starting to notice.

Yesterday was a particularly messy day for National. As the simple touching interview of TA by John Campbell reverberated its way around New Zealand the government went into panic mode.

Andrew Little then hit National with a column in the Herald that was posted at 2 pm. Read it and weep.  Particularly this passage:

National’s has failed New Zealanders on housing. Budget 2016 delivered nothing to give young families a chance to buy their own home. It slashed funding for home insulation by two-thirds. It continued John Key’s cruel policy of taking a $118m a year profit out of Housing New Zealand at the same time families are living in cars because there aren’t enough state houses.

No wonder 76 per cent of Kiwis say there is a housing crisis, and this Government has failed to fix it. Just one in four adults under 40 own their own place today. House prices are rising at 30 times the rate of inflation. 16,000 houses are year are being bought by foreign speculators. Record numbers are living in cars and garages.

The truth, as revealed by a new study from Otago University, is that 42,000 Kiwis are suffering ‘severe housing deprivation’ – homelessness, in other words.

That was up by 25 per cent in just seven years. We are a country that rightly used to pride ourselves on looking after all our people. We used to look in horror at wealthy countries that had people living on the streets. Under National, we have become one of those countries.

As a sign of how panicked National was by this it responded with this Herald column posted at 7:42 pm by Nick Smith AND Paula Bennett. I wonder who did the typing.

The column is disingenuous to put it mildly. It says that Little had made many “incorrect claims” and that in the interest of “balance” they needed to respond.

The column started off by lauding the special housing area regime and then proceeded to trot out an array of statistics to show that everything is rosy.  There is no problem, let alone a crisis, at least according to Smith and Bennett.

Little’s column highlighted the difficulty of reconciling what John Key has recently said with the truth.  Key originally said that MSD and Salvation Army workers had gone around, knocked on homeless family’s car doors, offered them help but this was refused. After a week of backtracks it transpired that Salvation Army workers had not been involved, nor had MSD workers and they had not knocked on homeless family’s doors. Given this it is difficult to understand how the Government could still claim that people had refused help from non existent offers and non existent knocks on doors.

Smith’s and Bennett’s response to this particular allegation was contained in these paragraphs:

Mr Little also says the Prime Minister was making up information about homeless people refusing assistance.

The Labour leader is quite simply wrong. The Ministry of Social Development has been working closely with non-government organisations, and those non-government organisations have told us that some of the homeless they have been speaking to do not want our help. That is their right, but it is important they know that there is assistance available should they chose to take it up.

I had a real temptation to type this in caps.  According to Bennett and Smith Little is wrong and Key is right even though what Key said was wrong because:

  1. Salvation Army did not knock on any car doors while being accompanied by officers from  the MSD.
  2. MSD did not knock on any car doors.
  3. It is difficult to understand how Key could then report that the doors of eight homeless peoples’ cars had been knocked on given that the Salvation Army and MSD officers had not knocked on doors in the way he had described.

Bennett and Smith spend a lot of time in the column talking about special housing areas.  How many people are currently getting shelter from a special housing area?  The answer is bugger all if any.

There is the cut and thrust of political debate. But there is a stage where one side’s positioning is not reality based and we are clearly there now.

The second piece of bad news for National as covered by Rob was the announcement by Westpac and ANZ that they would no longer lend to foreign individuals without a permit of some sort and a local income money to buy local houses.  A similar announcement was made in Australia about a week ago.

Bankers are not stupid.  Clearly they see signs of a housing bubble and an impending correction and if the Government does not do anything about it they have to.  So they can protect their interests.  Which they are clearly doing.

And to complete a day of utter pathos news that Maori and Pacifica rates of housing are because, according to Nick Smith, they are poorly educated.  And the Government may have announced a $10,000 donation to Te Puea Marae twice.  And 72% of kiwis think that the Government needs to start building homes.

To finish a few tweets capturing various aspects of the story and showing why the Crosby Textor rule book is no longer working.

https://twitter.com/oreos_storieos/status/740855170645430272

https://twitter.com/RFStew/status/740759611804950528

52 comments on “There is no housing crisis in New Zealand *”

  1. DH 1

    It’s all about perspectives IMO. National look after the people making money out of property and of course they are not in crisis. Their crisis would be falling house prices.

    I posted this earlier, it’s worth repeating to illustrate how contemptuous National are of low income earners in NZ.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/80318339/Manukau-apartments-to-be-built-under-Crown-land-scheme

    Read at least to this bit…..

    “A portion must be sold for an “affordable” price – about $600,000.”

    If the $600k isn’t a typo then that should tell us all we really need to know about the National Party.

    • b waghorn 1.1

      “A portion must be sold for an “affordable” price – about $600,000.”

      If you had a 20% deposit on a $600 k house your repayment is roughly $550 a week . that’s not including rates and insurance. Hardly entry level.

      • Pat 1.1.1

        assuming of course you had the $120,000 saved for that twenty % deposit….or even 60k for the 10%…..not likely given the “average” kiwi has from memory around $1400 as available savings.

        • DH 1.1.1.1

          exactly Pat. There’s also the point that apartments have extra costs, such as body corporate fees, so the real outgoings are higher than $550 weekly. Odds are the ‘affordable’ apartments won’t have any parking either, that costs more.

          $600k for the cheapest apartment in a high density block listed as being subject to aircraft noise and high land transport noise is just outrageous. The cheapest apartment should be closer to $60k which is why I thought the $600k may be a typo but coming from National it probably isn’t.

      • Glenis 1.1.2

        That’s on 4% mortgage interest. Wait till it goes back up to 7% or the 11% it was 8 years ago.

    • save nz 1.2

      @DH – $600,000 – just shows how out of touch the National government is, to think this is ‘affordable’.

      Before last election they were talking $400,000 as being affordable.

      It keeps going up but sadly wages are static, so not sure how they are getting the figures about affordability.

      It needs to be $250,000 to be affordable. And a few years ago you used to be able to buy an apartment or unit for that in Auckland. You would now be hard pressed to find that now.

      A few years ago you could get a 3 bedroom house in west Auckland for $350,000 now it is $600,000.

      That is National creating ‘affordable’ housing – NOT!

      • DH 1.2.1

        There’s still apartments in Auck for less than $150k, they just largely come with high ground rents and/or bodycorp fees

        This is a new freehold apartment being sold off the plans, in a higher land-cost area than the Manukau one.

        http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential-property-for-sale/auction-1091652176.htm

        $212k for 27m2. It’s way overpriced & too small but there’d be huge margins on that for all the middlemen so it should show it’s still possible to build affordable housing if the profit element is taken out and economies of scale applied.

        The first question I’d ask on that apartment build I linked to is whether National are planning to build $600k luxury apartments or whether they’re going to be asking $600k for apartments that cost a lot less to build and raking in huge profits. Either way they’re just blatantly sneering at low income people who haven’t a hope in hell of saving the deposit let alone servicing a mortgage & outgoings that size.

  2. weka 2

    “listening to Bennett and King on TV3+ 1 talking about housing. Henry asked why over 700 houses are empty, Paula then says some need an oven”

    “@MariaSherwood2 Henry, unusually,had a go. An oven, bloody hell. I’d rather live in a hose with no oven than a car with no oven”

    Gross incompetence. This govt can’t even get some ovens installed in houses ffs.

    • Pat 2.1

      Gross deliberate incompetence……

      Run down public services, create a distrust and disgust with public provision, privatize by sale or contract, reap the profits of captured market.

      National don’t want public provision and as DH points out they are simply looking after their own and have nothing but disdain for lower socio-economic cohorts who are only there to be milked. As far as they are concerned its all going according to plan.

      Rentiers

      National…governing for (the top 10% of) New Zealanders since forever

    • Ch-ch Chiquita 2.2

      ‘Some need an oven’ – is this the new ‘some people turn houses down because of birds chirping’? Paula Bennett is terrible at lying and comes across as either stupid or incompetent, or worse, both.

      • weka 2.2.1

        I didn’t see it, but I agree it’s probably a lie. By ‘some’ she probably means two, and thus she avoids answering the real question which is why the state houses aren’t up to scratch or available.

  3. save nz 3

    What a great response by Andrew Little.

    Can totally see the slogan

    Andrew Little for Honest Government!

    • leftie 3.1

      YES !!!! Nowhere in Bennett’s and Smith’s litany of lies and deceit did I read how National’s so called “supporting New Zealanders with accommodation costs” is forcing people into enormous debt that they will never be able to pay back.

      “Most New Zealanders don’t expect the State to simply hand them a house – they want to be independent and work and save for their own future”

      Sure, but didn’t Paula Bennett access a government scheme that allowed her to buy a house while she was on a DPB and was receiving free education and all the government support she needed?

      Isn’t it just peachy how National ministers pulled the ladder up so no one else could have the state support that they had had?

      • Richardrawshark 3.1.1

        Evil is as evil does, they are racking it up(debt), I suspect Labour will wipe it after the Nats lose! That will leave labour one terming struggling to repair the damage. We are royally..

        Nats are setting up the next government for a major fall, hoping to get the rebound.. tell me it’s not one of their Crosby Textor strategies if it looks like an election loss.

  4. Richardrawshark 4

    Bennetts also running scared, I’d dare say she’s getting death threats by the dozen hence they moved the meeting this morning, that’s three times now, reading between the lines it says a lot, moving the meeting to central Auckland was for protection not because of any media circus I hope.

    I hope, in the fact she needs to sweat it up for a bit, as I never seen anyone in NZ so mean and nasty, get into power as that ..thing. Remember how nasty she looks on the attack, like when she refused to apologize over divulging private benificiery details.

    What goes round comes around Paula, is there a few people that want your guts for garters eh?. Boo fkn hoo.

    Dear GCSB, we know your listening, it’s true we all went down to the Tennis Court and talked it up like “Yeah”

    • Pat 4.1

      “I hope, in the fact she needs to sweat it up for a bit, as I never seen anyone in NZ so mean and nasty, get into power as that”

      you obviously don’t remember Ruth Richardson nor Jenny shipley

      • Richardrawshark 4.1.1

        I never found Shipley outright nasty, you know the attack face, getting angry emotionally.

        I left NZ in 89 came back 98 from the UK, so I think I missed that thankfully, tho the UK at that time was no better but we didn’t go through the big Muldoon repair era.

        From what I read and doco’s I’ve watched, I think i’m glad I went abroad then.

        • Pat 4.1.1.1

          “In her role as Minister of Social Welfare, Shipley presided over sharp cutbacks to state benefits. Later, when she became Minister of Health in 1993, she caused further controversy by attempting to reform the public health service, introducing an internal market. When National gained re-election in 1996, Shipley left the Women’s Affairs portfolio and took on several others, including responsibility for state-owned enterprises and transport.”
          wiki

          Opposition Labour welfare spokesman Michael Cullen said of her: “She has become the most hated minister in the history of this country.”

          http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/24/059.html

          yes, you must have been a very long way away not to know her reputation

          • Richardrawshark 4.1.1.1.1

            I hate Paula more, can’t help it. I loathe someone who thinks so arrogantly that rules do not apply to her.

            Plus she through her winz changes directly affected my recovery from serious disease. Pushing me back out into work well before I had gained muscle mass or got over the effects of chemotherapy for Hep c. Where I had my immune system killed off, then fed tablet wise large doses of antivirals and lived in a state of suicide for 6 months.

            Then the day my test came back virus undetectable on the last day of my weekly injection of immune system chemo drugs, I was told i was fit to start working. Manipulated by sending me to their prefered Dr who actually passed me fit to work.

            I am also Bi-polar, the meds are and were extremely dangerous for me as they cause depression.

            My specialist at Waikato hospital was shocked.

            So you can imagine what I think of the nasty bitch.

            It’s still going on, but now even the Winz ladies who know what I’ve been through give me a break. If Paula knew she’d have kittens.

            At least if you drop the attitude and they at winz know your genuine they help out and do the right thing. At least here they seem too be lately

          • leftie 4.1.1.1.2

            And Jenny Shipley STILL has her snout very much in the trough. She is one of John key’s string pullers.

            I would say Paula Bennett now holds that of title of being “thee most hated minister in the history of this country.”

            Paula Bennett, and not forgetting the other overpaid Paula, “the destroyer of our public services” Paula Rebstock, that John key awarded a dameship to for a wrecking job well done, John key and his National government have blood on their hands. And they don’t give a shit, not one little bit.

            • Duncan 4.1.1.1.2.1

              Shipley (along with John Slater) were the (visible) people responsible for recruiting Mr Key.

        • M. Gray 4.1.1.2

          Maybe you didn’t have to eat her beneficiary soup. Remember it was her that lowered the drinking age to 18 and she got a quick and free angina operation in a public hospital

          • leftie 4.1.1.2.1

            And didn’t Shipley also have her stomach stapled at the expense of the tax payer? Did Ann Tolley pay for hers, or did struggling NZers pay for that too?

  5. save nz 5

    There is no housing crisis in New Zealand – in fact there is a surplus as big as Bill English’s budget and as large as John Key’s heart!

    So many State houses, the National Government is knocking them down!

    “Preparations made to start demolition of Housing New Zealand homes”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/80857062/preparations-made-to-start-demolition-of-housing-new-zealand-homes

    • leftie 5.1

      National demolished good state homes that families were living in, on the “perception of being earthquake prone”

      Upper Hutt residents mobilise to fight State House sell-off

      “Ms Homan represents the St Joseph Parish Justice, Peace, and Development Group. She said that the vacant land they were standing on had recently been filled with State housing that were homes to several families. She said some of families may have been relocated to other State houses further away in Timberlea, or private rentals elsewhere, up-rooting children from their local schools and disrupting their established education and local connections to the community.”

      “Ms Homan said the buildings had been torn down, ostensibly because they were “earthquake prone”. She added that that bulldozers and other wrecking machinary had had difficulty in tearing down the structures.”

      “The land was now for sale to private developers. There is no guarantee that social housing will be built on the site. Ms Homan said she was fearful that Housing NZ would be moving fast to sell the land. She said”

      <a href="http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/06/05/upper-hutt-residents-mobilise-to-fight-state-house-sell-off/

      <a href="https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/state-houses-wrong-place-wrong-size/

      • M. Gray 5.1.1

        They are ripping us of selling our assets to there rich mates why should social housing and the land that we own go to these greedy parasites who then start making money from the assets they brought for example accommodation supplement they win twice greedy greedy greedy

        • leftie 5.1.1.1

          +1 M.Gray, well said.

        • save nz 5.1.1.2

          @M Gray, yep , no surprises why ‘zoning’ needs to be changed to make their crony mates fortunes.

          After 8 years and people in cars and tents through, I think even the MSM are realising it is not credible position.

          Only thing missing seems to be the houses! And the affordability!

      • beatie 5.1.2

        These flats near me in Greymouth have been empty for 3+ years. They were fully tenanted until they were deemed an earthquake risk and the tenants were moved out. They are now up for tender but so far a tender has been received for only one of the blocks. I doubt whether HC has made them earthquake proof, so they are ‘For Sale, As Is’
        Housing corp will argue that they are ‘not needed’, but like everywhere, Greymouth has a lack of affordable, warm,insulated rental accommodation for families.

        http://harcourts.co.nz/Property/766272/GM6677/16-20-Wickes-Street-Cobden

  6. Richardrawshark 6

    Thatcher and Bennett and Key are similar you know. All came from humble beginnings and attacked the very people and communities they were raised in.

    I went to Sunderland in 89 the mass strikes had just finished and the place was decimated for jobs.

    Crime took off, drugs took off. Thanks Maggie your so kind.

  7. Richardrawshark 7

    Mum just returned from the UK, there is no state housing anymore.

    I lived in a state house there, people lived in them for life, then they sold them to the people for a knock down price, during the housing boom. Whatever way they did it, they managed to kill state housing there completely.

    The agenda was a success there, it’s done guys, and their is no way to stop it here.

    or is there?.

    Just checked with mum their is a few council house area’s left they are just not building anymore and selling them to the tenants if they can. Sorry.

    • leftie 7.1

      It all sounds very familiar doesn’t it? That’s the neolib blueprint. John key has done here, what Thatcher did there.

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    As builders, developers, and the Salvation Army have said, this crisis has been 10 years in the making. It will take 10 years to solve it.

    Labour/Greens, you have 16 months to enjoy the ride to election day.

    What will I do when I don’t have Key to kick around any more?

    • Richardrawshark 8.1

      Party, rejoice, because he is shit, and wrecking the country, or are you a Key fan AmaKiwi?

      Plus unlike Key when the opposition get in power I don’t know whether they will spend 8 years blaming the last government at every opportunity, and whilst doing that so much, they forget to run the country.

      I suspect the new government is going to be, to busy trying to fix things to give a crap about Key.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      As builders, developers, and the Salvation Army have said, this crisis has been 10 years in the making. It will take 10 years to solve it.

      That dates back to 2005/2006.

      Who was in charge then…

  9. Analogy time… back in 1849,… with no regulations in the Californian gold rushes… a shovel could cost a miner a months earnings,.. a slab of bacon a weeks earnings… and so on and so forth …

    In other words… without regulations and adequate policing , and due to scarcity and difficulty of transport … hawkers could capitalize on even the most basic of goods. And essentially , – these are the conditions faced today in NZ’s housing crisis … a lack of regulations controlling lending from banks and a negligent govt endorsing those bankers practices because of the huge profits to be made .

    What we have now is a quintessential gold rush mentality in operation in both banks and this govt.

    People died during that gold rush – not least from starvation and exposure to conditions. We have had people die from cold damp housing and lack of funding for medical needs. Now we have people – whole family’s living in cars and the like during winter.

    We have people who cannot afford to buy that first house ( the shovel ) , we have people who cannot afford even the rent ( the slab of bacon ).

    This is what the total ‘free market ‘ and unregulated neo liberal ideology does.

    It is anti society , anti democratic , anti family , and anti children – and only views fellow citizens as chattels to be used to further ones personal self interests.

  10. SPC 10

    The RB needs to require 50% equity for investors (currently they can leverage gains – 30% off one or 15% off 2 past investments to gather the 30% deposit for the next one). At least give those few first home buyers capable of saving a 20% deposit the chance of buying a house. And that is 50% equity over their entire portfolio if they want to add another property.

    The government needs to review its bright line test, it is resulting in more properties not being rented out but instead being renovated and flicked on – doer uppers exempt from the CGT. Unoccupied homes exacerbate the “shortage of housing”.

    All properties bought and sold within 2 years need to be included – capturing the doer uppers (these limit the amount of lower cost housing available, not a good thing so should not be encouraged by tax policy).

  11. SPC 11

    The Nat plan is to run down state housing levels outside Auckland.

    Raise the threshold for getting a state house and then say there is a surplus, then demolish properties and sell off land.

    However when those in paid work paying private rents retire they will not be able to afford these rents when on super, so will have to either continue to work until they die or seek a place in the diminished amounts of local state/social housing.

    This is all foreseeable, but National is operating like a private equity firm looking for short term profit before leaving future governments with an even bigger crisis.

  12. Gangnam Style 12

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/306069/kids-living-in-vans-i'm-mad-as-hell

    “The John Key approach to our burgeoning homelessness problem has been to apply sticking plasters to the issues as the media exposes them. And not even fresh, clean sticking plasters – no, he prefers the kind you find under your shoe, already used.”

    • Paul 12.1

      From the same article

      ‘This is a crisis. A crisis that disproportionally affects those already in need.

      And families like T.A’s are just the tip of the iceberg – her mother has a job and yet they still can’t afford to live in a house. That’s not even getting on to our rough-sleeping homeless population, an accurate number of which we still can’t grasp. Why? Because if the government started collecting data on homelessness they would then have to define it as a distinct social issue – and allocate budget and services accordingly. You know, like most other developed nations.

      In other words, if you put your hands over your ears and say “la la la” loud enough, the problem doesn’t exist.’

  13. Paul 14

    South Auckland cancer sufferer forced to live in van with family

    ‘A cancer sufferer and her family were forced to live in a van for a month because they had nowhere else to stay.
    The 45-year-old South Auckland woman wants to be identified only as Trey.
    She slept in the vehicle with her partner and five children aged 10-25 until they found a private rental in Manurewa.
    Trey’s family planned to stay with a relative until they got settled, but that arrangement fell through. So they borrowed a vehicle from an aunty and moved into it.
    “We slept in the car and parked in family members’ driveways or on the kerb. We’d go to public toilets or a McDonald’s and have a wash.”
    The family would occasionally park up at Mountfort Park in Manurewa so they were close to the children’s schools.
    “There were street kids walking past at night and it was scary,” Trey says.
    They eventually moved into a house but the $540 weekly rent consumed most of her benefit.
    “All I had left over each week was $4. We were living off food parcels from the Salvation Army and little things I could sell. My partner and I didn’t eat much. We drank a lot of water.”
    A Salvation Army social worker referred the family to the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust in Mangere.
    Trey is now staying at the trust with her partner and three of their children while their application for a state house is assessed.’

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/80810066/south-auckland-cancer-sufferer-forced-to-live-in-van-with-family

  14. Paul 15

    John Campbell on Checkpoint at Te Puea Marae.
    Compulsory viewing.

  15. Smilin 16

    There is no depression in NZ ,There is no houses for the poor

  16. Craig H 17

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/opinion/opinion-diddly-squat—govt-incompetent-on-housing-2016061011#axzz4BA4hlkOz

    Paddy Gower’s take is not kind to the government. Might have been nice if instead of moaning about Labour as well, Kiwibuild had got a mention…

  17. Stefan Molyneux: The Truth About Brexit – UK’s EU Referendum. – and why houses are going up in price?

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