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(Un)affordable rents in Berm City

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, October 3rd, 2013 - 43 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, class war, cost of living, greens, housing, labour, local body elections, mana, national, nz first - Tags:

So getting your grass verge mowed is the biggest issue for some central city council candidates and (presumably) their potential voters?  Life must be pretty cosy in those parts of central city Auckland.  Out here in the West of Auckland, many people have bigger concerns: like how they can find affordable rental housing in the west , while the cost of renting nearer the centre of the city is way beyond even considering (as for many in the south).

NZ First’s Andrew Williams is right about the insularity of the bermites.  However, I wouldn’t call it a “village” mentality, so much as a gated city mentality.  It’s the mentality of people living in a largely well off, self-centred world, who don’t look beyond their own alarmed gates.  It’s the mentality of people asking what more can their city do for their comfortable quarter acre lives, than what the city can do for those struggling to survive.

This morning Monica Tischler’s article on Stuff highlights the high incidence of garage living, hidden homelessness in West Auckland.

Tucked down a West Auckland driveway in a corrugated iron double garage lives the Crichton family.

Samoan lavalavas are attached to the ceiling for insulation and towels hang from makeshift clotheslines over beds and dressing tables.

Fonima Crichton has lived in the garage with husband Fossie and four children, including 9-month-old baby Kris, for two years and has been trying for months to find better living conditions for her family.

“I want to raise my family properly and want my kids to live a good life,” she says.

It was the pursuit of a good life that saw the family become homeless more than two years ago.


The Te Atatu Peninsula family has been on Housing New Zealand’s waiting list for a new home since January and there are others like them too. Henderson’s Housing New Zealand office holds the country’s biggest waiting list of families wanting better living conditions – more than earthquake ravaged Christchurch.

Living in garages is a health hazard, and one of the things being highlighted in a campaign next week:

Next week the Spotlight on Housing campaign organised by the Housing Call To Action group will assist tenants with information about their rights and responsibilities, bill payment information and costs of running different electrical appliances.

Homelessness in Paul Bennett’s territory of West Auckland is a long running issue:

This 2011 Western Leader article focuses on people living in the caravan park in Ranui, in the outer reaches of West Auckland.  It foregrounds Ivan Eden, who has lived for 3 years at the caravan park, along with 200 other residents.

Mr Eden, a 44-year-old sickness beneficiary, says he’d much rather be living in a flat but can’t afford it.

A report on homelessness was presented to the Auckland Council’s Social and Community Development Forum this month.

It says there is an increasing number of homeless people in west Auckland and a lack of emergency housing. It calls for a region-wide response to the problem.

There are 1000 people on Housing New Zealand’s west Auckland waiting lists[…]

This 2010 Western Leader article, highlights the fact that homelessness, as seen in West Auckland, is something experienced by a significant number of women. The issues for, and responses to homeless women differ somewhat from those for men.  Although, the problems for men are considered worse than for women and children, the article fails to look in any depth at how well the provisions work for women.

Salvation Army spokesman Malvin Reihana […]  says more than 150 women and their children came to the organisation between October and December seeking food and shelter.

“There are a lot of short- term homeless women,” he says.


He says women needing somewhere to stay have more options than men.

“There are a lot of social services in west Auckland for women and children,” he says. “But there’s zero help for men and that’s why they tend to end up under the bridges.”

In an article in last week’s NZ herald, Dr Ali Memon is critical of the Labour and National parties for both embracing housing as a home ownership issue, and for ignoring renters.  The headline, “Pity the poor who are forced to rent“, seems to have been written by someone other than Memon.  It is a direct contradiction of the content of her article, in which she states that some choose to rent rather than buy.  My guess is that the headline was written by a sub-editor with a different agenda.

But what is worrying is the degree to which the proposed housing policy initiatives of the two centrist political parties have been captured by the home ownership drive.

The role of rental housing in satisfying housing needs of Aucklanders is a blind spot in the gaze of our politicians.

The proportion of rental households has significantly increased during the past decade. According to recent surveys, approximately 40 per cent of Auckland households now rent. The proportion was 34 per cent in 2006.

Yet, the Auckland housing problem is being redefined by the politicians and the media primarily as a home ownership problem. This is not fair to those who rent.

To resolve our current housing problems, and build a more inclusive, livable, well-functioning and sustainable society, we need to return to the ideals of the 1930s: aiming for more state and council provided, non-profiteering, rental housing, plus other forms of social housing.  So far, only the Green and Mana Parties have such forms of housing policies explicitly on their agendas.

Green Party Housing Policy, includes,

increase acquisition and building of state housing units by at least 3000 units a year for the next 3 years.

Green Party home for life

And John Minto, Mana candidate for Auckland mayor, has council housing on his manifesto:

Minto for Mayor would build 20,000 affordable council rental homes to address the sharpest point in the crisis with other plans to promote home ownership opportunities for every New Zealand family.

Glen Innes housing protest


43 comments on “(Un)affordable rents in Berm City”

  1. Ad 1

    I would suggest that seeking a policy answer from central government is no longer the first direction to look. From the NZHerald today:

    “Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown are expected to announce a deal with communityhousing and Maori groups to build almost 300 homes on a 15.6 hectare farm next to a Child Youth and Fmaily child protection residence in Weymouth.”

    The partners taking this on are: the Housing Foundation, the Community of Refuge Trust, the Tamaki Collective of Auckland, and the Onehunga Hostels Endowment Fund.

    Just to pull one of those out, the Community of Refuge Trust (CORT) was set up in rection to Mayor John Banks selling off much of Auckland City Council’s public housing. It began out of Ponsonby Baptist Church, and started acquiring houses and flats in the Popnsonbly and Freemans Bay area, and now has over 90 of them.

    It focussed on helping people coming out of jail, and people recovering from mental illness.

    In discussion with Molly yesterday I was admitting that we are too far down the neoliberal paradigm in housing to expect the state or city to really help other than as broker to NGOs. I have seen the work of CORT first-hand and it’s really good. It’s the NGOs in my view that are really sorting the desperately needed from the remainder of the stressed (where state and city have long since abnegated any role).

    Maybe seeking the same old policy fix from political parties is looking for the solution in the wrong direction. The scale of the NGO response in the Weymouth example means it’s a whole lot less likely for policy outcomes to be overturned by successive governments (eg Hobsonville) if the NGOs are enabled to get on with allocating for need, and developing it.

    • Molly 1.1

      Hi Ad. Back again after a couple of days away, haven’t returned to that thread… will do so when I catch up on the Standard news.

      Agree with you on the impact small groups can make. I personally would buy into a mixed housing scheme, and be comfortable doing so – one that sells houses, rents some out, and keeps a proportion in perpetual affordable housing. But I have not seen a development that offers that choice.

      If small groups of individuals or NGO’s felt able and supported in created small-scale affordability models, we might end up with a wealth of successful models to give inspiration to others (and the failures while disappointing, would not be on a such a scale as to be unrecoverable).

      (Realised later, that I was coming from a mostly social and affordable housing perspective, but if middle class purchasers are willing to buy into these schemes, not only do they end up in a more diverse community, they may pay more affordable rates themselves.)

      • greywarbler 1.1.1

        Agree with you on the impact small groups can make. I personally would buy into a mixed housing scheme, and be comfortable doing so – one that sells houses, rents some out, and keeps a proportion in perpetual affordable housing. But I have not seen a development that offers that choice.

  2. fambo 2

    As per usual, the Greens are the only one of the three major parties serious about finding genuine practical solutions to social issues like housing, and the only party one can be certain will act on them. Nice to see Labour go up in the polls but sad to see the Greens who have been doing all the opposition heavy lifting for the past two years with just 13 MPs drop so quickly. Hardly the reward they deserve.

  3. Penny Bright 3

    3 October 2013

    Press Release Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright:

    “Cut out the consultants – mow the berms!”

    “According to the Auckland Council 2012 – 2013 Annual Report, the total spent by the Auckland Council ‘Group’ on consultants and ‘professional services’ was $169 MILLION,” says Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright.

    (The Auckland Council ‘Group’ includes Auckland Council, Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs, plus subsidiaries).

    [http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/reports/annual_report/Documents/annualreport20122013volume3.pdf (Pg 23 ) ]

    “Rodney councillor Penny Webster says that at a time when household budgets are tight, the council cannot afford the $12 million to $15 million cost of mowing berms for the whole region. ..”


    “The answer is simple. CUT OUT THE CONSULTANTS and mow the berms!”

    “The blinding hypocrisy of Auckland Councillor Penny Webster sickens me.
    Councillor Penny Webster, (Chair of the Auckland Council Strategy and Finance Committee), wants citizens and ratepayers to provide their lawn-mowing services free of charge, although there is no legal requirement to so do.

    However, she and her husband have entered into transactions with the Auckland Council Group, totalling $32,189 during 2012, for services provided by their jointly-owned private company, All Rural Fencing Limited . ”

    [http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/reports/annual_report/Documents/annualreport20122013volume3.pdf (Pg 80 ) ]

    All Rural Fencing Limited (NZ Companies Office)


    “In my considered opinion, this is a clear ‘conflict of interest’,” continues Penny Bright.

    “As an anti-corruption /anti-privatisation ‘Public Watchdog’, I am totally opposed to any elected representatives personally profiting from contracts with Council or Council-Controlled-Organisations (CCOs) .”

    “I believe in the ‘public service model’, where people seek public office to look after the public and the public interest, not to ‘feather their own nests’, and enrich themselves from the public purse.”

    “The problem with Auckland Council, as proven by this 2012- 2013 Annual Report – is that ‘the books’ are NOT open – and we are NOT given the ‘devilish detail’ which explains exactly where our public monies are being spent, invested or borrowed.”

    “This is why, if and when I am elected Mayor pf Auckland Council, I will establish an Auckland Mayoral ‘Commission Against Corruption’, and will ‘open the books’, in order to find out where every dollar of citizen and ratepayer’s monies are being spent, invested and borrowed.”

    “This Auckland Mayoral ‘Commission Against Corruption’ will be staffed by a small team of forensic investigators, (whom I shall appoint, and who will report directly to me), funded directly from the Mayoral Office, using the budget which is set aside in order to help achieve the Auckland ‘Mayoral Vision.’

    “My Auckland Mayoral Vision is – to stop the corrupt corporate control of the Auckland region.”

    “Here is my ‘Action Plan’ to stop ‘white collar’ crime, corruption and ‘corporate welfare’:


    “For those who really want to know who is running the Auckland region, ‘like a business, by business, for business’ – check for yourselves http://www.committeeforauckland.co.nz (membership). ”

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    [lprent: I thought you’d already said this? Ummm nope the last one said much the same thing but was different and in a different post. But it is starting to feel like astroturfing with big cut-n-paste comments. ]

    • Ad 3.1

      Why not tell us where you’re really going to get the $10m plus to to this for the old Auckland City residents. Because your media release is a joke.

      And while you’re at it tell us where you’re going to get the $40m (approx) that would be needed to ensure the whole Auckland region gets their berms mowed not just your elite few in the isthmus. Because not to reinstatte mowing for all is to drive home one service standard for one set of residents, versus the great majority of Auckland who have been taking care of their own front lawn for many electoral terms without any of this petulant whining.

  4. bad12 4

    Nice Post Karol, very timely, and again it silently asks the question of Labour, where does that Party stand upon the need to seriously address the dire lack of affordable rental housing for those trapped in the low waged economy,

    i am here asking the question in relation to the number of houses provided by the State via HousingNZ,

    In my opinion it is not good enough for Labour to be proposing the building of 10,000 homes which in the main only the middle class will be able to afford while retaining what appears to be the vows of silence on the fate of HousingNZ as an entity that is the only possible means of housing the numbers of people who’s working incomes and housing situations demand that the State take the necessary actions to house them,

    Carving up the HousingNZ portfolio in favor of having special interest groups,(NGO’s), own 20% of that portfolio can only have any effect in a positive societal way if the actual numbers of Social Housing is increased by at least that number of houses,

    Carving up the HousingNZ portfolio in favor of special interest groups is simply more of the Neo-liberal abdication of responsibility which successive Governments have foisted upon the electorate as ‘progress’…

    • Ad 4.1

      It’s been carved up several decades ago and will not be reversed. Doesn’t matter whether you like NGOs or not – they are the the most active and response players in the market. The command and control policy response is no longer possible.

      • bad12 4.1.1

        Perhaps you would care to explain that dribble of drivel in more basic English, as it is written it’s a perfect piece of gobbledy-gook…

        • Ad

          OK try: you’re dreaming it’s no longer possible.

          Read my first post at the top of the page you will figure it out.

          • bad12

            No longer possible, now that is a statement based upon dreams if i ever seen one, the decision to either build Social Housing through the Governments own HousingNZ or through NGO’s is simply the neurons of the brains involved moving in response to certain impetus,

            Such an impetus if applied loudly and for a long length of time could change such decisions, i am tho operating under a certain belief that matters surrounding HousingNZ going into the future may have been to a certain extent ‘decided’ by an unsaid political consensus,

            National have it would seem silently agreed that the HousingNZ stock will be rented to tenants at 20% of their income,

            National have taken on board the previous Labour Governments idea looking to alter the mix of Housing stock they possess by selling off some houses and adding bedrooms to others,

            i assume that having NGO’s provide rental accommodation to their tenants at 25% of income and gaining the same subsidy as HousingNZ was also in the pipeline from Labour and was simply half-inched by National as they really do not have a clue about low cost rental housing or how much is needed,

            i see in your previous comment no valid reason why Governments have chosen to try and wind down the role of the State in the provision of affordable rental accommodation to be inclusive of only supplying monies to providers in the private sector except for politicians wishing to remove themselves from that responsibility,

            Having said that there is nothing wrong per se with private NGO’s being involved in low cost rentals especially when they are both housing and delivering other social services to those that they are housing,

            However there is still a gross shortage of affordable rental housing which has in the main left the lowest waged working families shut out of State provision that needs to be addressed and addressed urgently…

            • karol

              Well said, bad.

              Also, ad’s line of argument just seems like capitulation to the neoliberal scam, rather than planning seriously for the future requirements of livable communities.

              • Ad

                You say capitulation, I say delivery of full project by 2017 that really helps vulnerable people.

                Shift all the neurons you like.Today, Smith, Brown and the NGOs won and delivered. Can the Greens or Labour deliver any better or faster?

                • bad12

                  Yes i can see the banner headlines and election billboards, National deliver 120 affordable rental homes to Auckland in 6 years of Government,

                  Really really good numbers i think not…

    • McFlock 4.2

      The economy delivers jobs across a wide range of remuneration levels, always has [at least 6.4% of the country would disagree with you, probably closer to 30% if you include under-employed and people bullied into other benefits or prison]. Those on lower incomes are massively subsidised by those on higher incomes via income distribution methods such as Working for Families [and yet a fifth of children in NZ live in poverty and hardship]. Housing is more affordable in Auckland now than it was in 2008 (cite: Roost)but people are still paying most of their income on unhealthy hovels], thanks to lower interest rates and taxes[which only help the already rich, as the poor got hit by the GST hike and ended up worse off] . The housing crisis is another left wing lie, just like the manufacturing crisis was, that made Labour the laughing stock of NZ [well, for those New Zealanders who haven’t lost their manufacturing job in the last thirty years]


    • bad12 4.3

      Yeah right, as National tumble in the polls i think the laughter at the laughing stocks is becoming apparent from another direction,

      (…PS, if you are going to cite something pleases do so in a usable fashion)

  5. Penny Bright 5

    “Why not tell us where you’re really going to get the $10m plus to to this for the old Auckland City residents. Because your media release is a joke.

    And while you’re at it tell us where you’re going to get the $40m (approx) that would be needed to ensure the whole Auckland region gets their berms mowed not just your elite few in the isthmus. ..”

    What is a ‘joke’ about being consistent in calling for our supposed statutory rights to ‘open, transparent and democratically-accountable’ local government being enforced?

    You may be a bit ‘sheepish’ about upholding your LAWFUL rights ‘Ad’?


    14 Principles relating to local authorities

    (1)In performing its role, a local authority must act in accordance with the following principles:

    (a) a local authority should—

    (i) conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner;



    Part 2

    Recordkeeping requirements

    Subpart 1—Key duties

    17 Requirement to create and maintain records

    (1) Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.

    I am not.

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright

    PROVEN ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate


  6. Penny Bright 6

    errr… before I can ‘show you the money’ – by opening the books – first I need to get elected as Mayor of Auckland Council.

    I look forward to your vote 😉

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright

    PROVEN ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate


  7. Tracey 7

    I dont have a lawn mower, but if I did I would mow our verge.

    Never heard of a berm til this week.

  8. vto 8

    We live in a non-gated community where people let their animals eat the verges and berms. And various empty sections, Stops the gorse. Keep the goats in milk and the horseys happy too (why do they never just step over the single wire and waltz to freedom?). Perhaps city folk should try it too. Goats and horses are great for verge and other grassy maintenance. And the kids love them. And the grown-ups love them.

    the city could learn a thing or two

    go organic

  9. Clement Pinto 9

    Last night, John Campbell had an interesting item on this. He also referred to Auckland as ‘Bermingham’! That I found funny!

    • karol 9.1

      Yes. That neo-language was funny, CP. However, this post is more about affordable rental housing.

      However, I also like vto’s no-gated community of borderless vegetation. Not sure where may renter s would keep goats & horses, though.

  10. Steve Forbes 10

    I wrote the Stuff article from 2011. Funny how little has changed in the past two years.

    • karol 10.1

      Thanks for the article, Stephen. Well, it’s sobering and frustrating that little has changed.

      Any change has been for the worse.

  11. Paul 11

    The Herald are taking the piss, right?

    “Man jailed for berm scan”
    “A former North Shore City Council employee has been sent to prison after signing off more than 150 invoices for road and berm maintenance work that was never completed.”

    Is it possible to satirise one’s own paper?

  12. Tanz 12

    The middle class is not the enemy. Why does the left hate the middle class? The middle class once voted Labour and could do again.

    • karol 12.1

      You miss the whole point of the post. The problem is that the people on low incomes, and renters, are treated as the enemy, or ignored.

      PS: did I say I vote Labour?

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      The middle class is not the enemy. Why does the left hate the middle class?

      Same reason that the Right hate the poor.

  13. joe90 13

    Could something like this be constructed to demonstrate the problem?.


  14. xtasy 14

    From the Housing New Zealand website, see also this link:


    “Current waiting list

    As at 31 August 2013 there were 5,017 people on the waiting list. Of this:
    1,315 were Priority Eligible – A
    2,698 were Priority Eligible – B
    593 were C (assessed before 30 June 2011)
    411 were D (assessed before 30 June 2011)

    Priority C and D applicants confirmed on the waiting list before 30 June 2011 remain on the list until they accept an available state house not required by any priority applicant, or they exit the list.”

    I read above from a quote from the Western Leader from 2011 that there were about 1,000 persons on the waiting list in West Auckland then! Now that was before Housing NZ changed their whole priority system and how they work. Where have they all gone that were on the waiting list?

    I can tell you, they have been “off-loaded”, as Housing NZ no longer bothers with those that have no immediate, desperate need for housing. Even staying in a boarding house in a room, with shared toilets and whatever is considered as being “adequately housed” these days. A non leaking roof, four walls around you, damp or not, a door that can ideally be locked, and no heating, that is “adequately housed” according to Housing NZ!

    Categories C and D, which were cases where a socially and economically justified need once was accepted, have since been excluded from the list. Those that remained on the waiting list in those categories since mid 2011 have been sent letters every three months, to ask them to contact Housing NZ whether they still required “help”. Many will not have bothered to respond, as Housing NZ staff would also have told them, that their chance of getting a Housing NZ home would be next to zero, given the new focus only on priority categories A and B. Indeed it is only category A persons that have a realistic chance to get a Housing NZ home now, as category B ones mostly only get “supported” to find other suitable housing on the market. C and D waiting list persons will have dropped away by the thousands, unless they would have stubbornly stuck to the gun and insisted on being kept on the list.

    See also the present waiting list figures by offices:

    I went through the new process mid to late 2011 with a friend, supporting him, and it was a nightmare!

    What New Zealand needs is a large scale public housing program, ensuring that at least all long term beneficiaries, plus those permanently on low incomes and with little chance of improving their income circumstances, get housed in an affordable manner, by paying rents they can afford.

    All else is tinkering with bits here and there, and catering for the middle class, some of whom would not buy or rent in more affordable South Auckland, for the simple fact, they dislike living among “brown folks”, and having their white or olive skin coloured kids share classrooms with brown skinned kids!

    • bad12 14.1

      4079 people who have accommodation that puts them and their families ate ‘risk’ or have an urgent need of stable rental accommodation that they can afford with a severely limited income and what has Nick Smith and National achieved in 6 years of Government,

      The short answer= NOTHING, except announce the selling off of even more of the HousingNZ portfolio claiming the homes being sold are ‘unwanted’,

      ‘Unwanted’ of course is a subjective term depending who you are, how much you earn, and how badly in need of stable,affordable rental housing you are,

      Smith, the Minister of Housing has recently been attempting to scam the electorate with a number of publicity stunts, having sold off into the private sector at least 1000 HousingNZ homes in the past 5 years Smith and National are now trying to appease the electorate with the sell off of even more with the false claim that these houses are ‘unwanted’,(when shortages in the major cities could have been relieved by offering long term city tenants such ‘unwanted’ tenancies further away from those main centers),

      The latest publicity stunt from Smith will include 120 odd affordable rentals in a new housing development, of course once the publicity has been wrung from this particular announcement there is no guarantee that the housing will in reality be used for that purpose,

      Hobsonville Point is the classic case to point at where National after having wrung the publicity from making grandiose announcements about the number of State rentals to be ‘pepper-potted’ among the new housing estate have then cancelled such additions to the social housing stock presumably not wishing to upset the ‘new’ home buyers with a wish not to have the poor living among them…

    • AsleepWhileWalking 14.2

      Hi X,
      I agree with all your points, particularly the need to prioritise those who are CLEARLY unable to work in the long term. For these folks it is bad enough to have a severe disability without being discriminated against in the housing market, and suffering financially because of it.

      HNZ just don’t handle disabled well, particularly when it is a mental issue that has a medical requirement for a specific type of housing in a location suited to the disability.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 14.2.1

        In case anyone is interested : )

      • bad12 14.2.2

        AWW, in my view everyone loves to hate on HousingNZ, that organization can only operate with the tools that a particular Government gives them,

        It is a political matter as to WHO is considered to be most in need of a seriously rationed number of houses, in the current climate HousingNZ and it’s staff are nearly as victimized as those who are in desperate need of affordable rental housing…

  15. xtasy 15

    OECD Better Life Index:


    “In New Zealand, households on average spend 26% of their gross adjusted disposable income on keeping a roof over their heads, one of the highest levels in the OECD, where the average is 21%.

    In addition to housing costs it is also important to examine living conditions, such as the average number of rooms shared per person and whether households have access to basic facilities. In New Zealand, 92% of people say they are satisfied with their current housing situation, more than the OECD average of 87%.”

    In contrast: In Australia households on average spend 19 % of their gross adjusted disposable income on keeping a roof over their heads.

    In any case, these are national averages, so living in Auckland, New Zealand is living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, especially when you are renting, as most rents in Europe and North America are lower in most places, except perhaps the top metropolitan cities in places like Paris, London, New York and the likes.

    Yet another perspective on housing ownership versus renting:


    “So what keeps prices down, and why don’t more Germans buy? Firstly, there is the supply of good quality rental accommodation. According to CB Richard Ellis, German housing associations and municipal authorities hold about 12% of stock, private housing companies 10%, and property funds about 1%; the rest is held by private investors.”

    “Regional variations are enormous – in Berlin, the rental property share is an incredible 90% of the total residential market, which obviously keeps prices down; even in prosperous Hamburg the rental market is nearly 80%. But in other states like Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, homeownership is almost 60%, the highest in Germany.”

    With high home prices in the UK no wonder so many Brits, also like some investor Australians and Chinese come to buy property here, as few countries make it so easy to buy property as a non resident, as New Zealand does.

    This all affects the local first time buyers and also the renters, paying through the nose to be “housed”, while incomes in New Zealand are for many not that high at all.

    • bad12 15.1

      The question New Zealand need ask itself has 3 fingers but nonetheless is simple: (1), Is a Man, His Wife, and, their 3 children, working variable hours for the minimum wage, all living in 1 room in a city boarding house an acceptable standard of housing,

      (2), Is any number of families, because of their economic circumstances, living in garages, many of which have no basic services, an acceptable standard of housing,

      (3), Is having invalids beneficiaries living in private rentals, paying $290 a week rent, being told by WINZ they will have to move as the top ups to their benefits cannot be legally sustained long term by WINZ, an acceptable standard of housing,

      These are the people that Nick Smith and this National Government consider to be adequately housed and therefor having no need to appear on the A or B list of HousingNZ’s waiting list,

      These are the people in my opinion, in a decent society, the State should be building housing for…

  16. Neoleftie 16

    If berms are as we call them in the south grass verges property owner maintains them as a civic duty either directly or contract out of thier duty.
    Very sad reflection that people are neglecting thier civic duties and that, as Karol, has pointed out overshadowed such other more important relevant issues that we face as a community.

    • karol 16.1

      I’m a born and bred Aucklander, and never heard the term “berm” before this week. Always heard it referred to as grass verge.

      I often mowed our grass verge when I was growing up, as did others in my family. Sometimes a neighbour did it and vice versa.

      In the earlier days we used a non-motorised mower.

      But, yes, there are far more important issues for local body candidates to focus on.

  17. AsleepWhileWalking 17

    This is from the Wairarapa, but how long before we hear an entire family (like the one in the article above) is wiped out this way? Garages are NOT suitable housing just because it has become common.

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    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    2 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    3 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    3 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    3 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    4 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    4 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    4 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    5 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    5 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    1 week ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    1 week ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago