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Why aren’t Labour acting on the housing crisis?

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, July 27th, 2021 - 68 comments
Categories: housing, labour - Tags:

Bernard Hickey has a post up about the clusterfuck that’s socioeconomics in New Zealand, Dawn Chorus: The scandal of worsening housing-and-power-driven child poverty

We all knew the housing supply and winter power crunch for poor renters was awful, but the latest revelations emphasise the need for even more massive new supply of housing and a root and branch restructure of the electricity market.

It is a scandal that the Government is not building many, many more homes — or at least signalling hundreds of thousands in the years to come — while at the same time prioritising ‘keeping a lid on debt’ in its spending plans. And all at a time when real interest rates on Government debt are negative, and going lower.

It is also a scandal that state-controlled power companies are allowing an independent power retailer specialising in helping poor families needing power in winter to shut its doors while selling cheap power to a smelter. More on that below.

Read the whole post for details. We’re now buried under examples of how the housing crisis isn’t being managed.

Hickey’s view,

We have a Government that has $40b cash in its bank account and is headed back to surplus within a couple of years deciding to pull funding from social housing providers because it wants to save money. At the same time, it is not building enough houses because it believes to do so would ‘break’ the Government’s ‘keeping a lid on debt’ aims.

Meanwhile, the state-controlled power industry has sat by while independent retailers who have helped keep retail power prices from rising much in recent years have gone to the wall because of a wholesale market judged dysfunctional in a Labour Government report two years ago.

And all at the same time, real interest rates on Government bonds are negative. Overnight US 10 year government bond yeilds hit a record low of minus 1.127%. The Government is sitting on its hands as poor kids without power for heating are getting poorer, it is cutting funding to social housing providers helping to look after those kids.

All the while, the next generation faces a housing affordability and climate catastrophe that the Government is reluctant to do much about because it fears a group of mostly older (multiple) property-owning median voters who don’t want change.

Here’s Labour’s dilemma: how many Labour-voting home owners are willing to sacrifice capital gains in order to solve the housing crisis? How many voters of any ilk are willing for New Zealand to have a lower standard of living and stop running the economy off the back of an out of control property market?

Because most left voters and a large chunk of swing voters wanted this government in 2017 and 2020. We might get lucky and National still don’t have their shit together by 2023, Labour gets another term but that just leaves us with treading water in the neoliberal swamp while the sea levels are rising. Which is frankly weird, given the Greens have excellent progressive policies and a strong willingness to work with Labour.

I love the idea of Labour leading on actual solutions to the housing crisis, but Labour breaking left seems significantly less likely than National becoming old school conservative. Which means the solutions must be found elsewhere. Balls in our court then.

68 comments on “Why aren’t Labour acting on the housing crisis? ”

  1. pat 1

    I believe this government unwillingness to act decisively (and not necessarily in the manner Bernard Hickey presents) is entirely related to their desire to maintain house prices until the next election…if they can.

    Meanwhile they will tinker to appear to be addressing the issue.

    Government for the people or government for the sake of it?

    • Sabine 1.1

      Overpopulation is an issue.

      Lack of building material is an issue.

      Global warming and the resulting damage will increase housing shortages.

      But essentially this government is unable or unwilling to do anything to actually regulate prices. And thus, it mattes not what it costs, those desperate enough will buy.

      Maybe the poor and unhoused should build an Adernville , and i suggest the same under Key, Keyville, just like the Hoover Villages in the 30s. And i expect soon enough that that will happen.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooverville#:~:text=A%20%22Hooverville%22%20was%20a%20shanty,was%20widely%20blamed%20for%20it.
      But heck, they are well housed those people in government, they own their houses/apartments for most part, non of them will lose their jobs even if they achieve fuck all, so why should they worry or bother? Lipservice is getting them elected. All of them. And it will get them elected again, lol.

      • pat 1.1.1

        Well at least you can say they are 'transparent'….the PM told us last year they dont want house prices to fall so it should come as no surprise to anyone they wont enact policies that will risk such.

      • Craig Hall 1.1.2

        Freedom to buy and sell houses as people wish essentially creates a free-ish market. Moving away from that, even in (and possibly especially in) housing, is a paradigm shift. I hope to see it, especially with respect to the ability to own multiple houses, but it's a big leap required to get there.

    • weka 1.2

      They pretty much said that they want house prices to not increase so much, but still increase a bit. What I don't quite get is the mental and emotional convolutions one has to do in order to hold that position and the one that wants to address child poverty (let's not even pretend that adult poverty is a priority beyond job creation).

      • pat 1.2.1

        Yes , it must be difficult to maintain those contradictions (and still be trusted) but I guess thats what is considered a desirable skill in political circles.

      • Sabine 1.2.2

        Unless government – ruling class and opposition class – is getting real as to why people are poor, nothing much will get done. And in regards to the new weather patterns etc i can see it only go worse.

        We have lost more houses in two weeks to shit weather then we can build in several moths of sunshine.

        They- and of course again, NOT all but for the MOST part – are too insulated from their words vs deeds showmanship. They will get paid, if they are successful or not the same amount of money and perks. Being a polititian is a successful career goal for many who are learned enough to write policy but not skilled enough to actually implement. Then of course there is the other side, that flat out don't care and makes a living on the false premise of the rugged individual.

        Maybe it is time to look at different coalition partners, or at least explore the options and create a coalition of the willing by need, rather then the coalition of ideology by want?

        Because the actions of yesteryear have not worked and are obsolete in this world of global weather wreaking havoc on our existing infrastructures.

        Personally i believe the best we can do is emulate a sort of a Marai system, with small paces for people and amenities being a shared resource, and intergenerational living, as that too can keep living costs down – child and elder care just to name one being done by the community rather then a for profit corp.

      • Enough is Enough 1.2.3

        What I don't quite get is the mental and emotional convolutions one has to do in order to hold that position and the one that wants to address child poverty

        Its called election 2023 Weka. The majority of the decsions that any government makes is at least partly made with a mind on winning the next election. Victory is more important than making the hard decsions.

        • weka 1.2.3.1

          yes but that doesn't tell me how they manage that internally as people.

          • Sabine 1.2.3.1.1

            They are not affected because they have no conflict about this. One is campaigning (emotional) the other is having won (mental). They will do what they must, and that is the best anyone can hope for. And by virtue of being whom they are, they expect to be protected from climate change and the economic outfall. After all, they are rich, connected, and certainly no peasants.

          • Grafton Gully 1.2.3.1.2

            They manage it having no life experience of poverty and the effect that has on the internal person. The values they support empowered them so why not others ? Democracy as practised in Aotearoa permits those most in need of state action to remain disadvantaged.

    • I don't think there is any quick fix that will crash house prices in the short term (there are long term supply fixes). Given that there are no quick house price fixes the govt (Labour) should address the reality that rental housing will accommodate a large percentage of the population for the long term. So issues like quality (not cold, damp, deadly), affordability, security of tenure… need to be addressed. IMO that means adopting the Austrian social housing model.
      https://www.wienerwohnen.at/wiener-gemeindebau/municipal-housing-in-vienna.html%22%7D%20–%3E%20%3Cfigure%20class=%22wp-block-embed%22%3E%3Cdiv%20class=%22wp-block-embed__wrapper

      • Molly 1.3.1

        Short Youtube video on how the Austrian model came about:

      • pat 1.3.2

        "I don't think there is any quick fix that will crash house prices in the short term"

        And yet bubbles burst….they dont slowly deflate, ipso facto it is indeed possible to collapse house prices quickly.

      • Craig Hall 1.3.3

        There are quick fixes, but they probably aren't practical or advisable.

        Passing legislation that houses may not be sold for more than RV or a percentage of RV, would be one way, and another would be going through with a lot more compulsory purchase at RV or just outright confiscation with no compensation if someone really wanted to crash the economy (decidedly not recommended).

        • pat 1.3.3.1

          It dosnt even need to be that radical…..bubbles are maintained by unrealistic expectations…..the government fuelled those expectations with their statements (and actions)…they can equally change those expectations.

    • Adrian Thornton 1.4

      I don't understand why people can't get it through their heads that Labour NZ are a third way free market liberal political party…that is is their core political ideology and the leaders of that party are all real believers in that political project…the way that they are dealing with housing exactly conforms to that economic ideology…in other words that is what people voted for…free market liberalism, Arden and Robertson have never pretended to be anything else.

      Turn Labour Left!

      Government kills off capital gains tax, won't happen on Jacinda Ardern's watch

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/government-kills-off-capital-gains-tax-wont-happen-on-jacinda-arderns-watch/PRAJYZ2BSONYAFTJI4HJ6JUS5A/

      NZ Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern shuts down wealth tax

      • pat 1.4.1

        There are degrees of ideology and when it is stated clearly that child poverty, inequality and housing are primary goals it is reasonable to expect that that is the case….the how may be open to debate but not the objective.

        What has occurred to date makes a lie of the stated objectives.

        • Craig Hall 1.4.1.1

          I agree, and I think there is an unstated primary goal of maintaining the current fiscal and macreconomic parameters/paradigm, and all other goals are secondary to that.

      • Nic the NZer 1.4.2

        I'm not actually convinced this 'no CGT' position is more than a word game. They have by now extended the brightline test to 10 years. That is for all intensive purposes a CGT (on houses), unpopularly to many Labour supporters something Key said.

        But in policy terms a CGT doesn't control house prices, its wishful thinking to believe it will.

  2. dv 2

    In one sense capital gains are a sort of zero sum game, as sell a house then cost similar amt to replace it.

    • weka 2.1

      not if you buy a second house and then have someone else pay off the mortgage.

      But also, if you pay off your own mortgage in 20 years and your house is worth $1m by the time you retire, and you downsize, that's a hefty retirement income incentive. The government promoted this.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        the problem you have now is that you can't down size.

        Most houses that are being build are huge. One of the big issues is the lack of small sized two bedrooms/1 bedroom places for young people to start with, and old people to live their lifes out.

        I have friends that are sitting on a rather large property – in the same family for the third generation i think, they can sell, but unless the want to leave town – they don't, they can't find anything new. And no, they do not want to buy into an Apartment – and who can blame them.

        You can sell, but you can't buy equal or less with the same amount of money.

        • Molly 2.1.1.1

          Agree. If downsizers are particularly slow in repurchasing in this inflated market, they may even find that they are priced out fairly quickly.

          The hidden costs of bad town planning and questionable build quality practices also will take their toll on residents in the future.

    • mikesh 2.2

      When a seller makes a capital gain that gain is offset by a capital loss on the part of the buyer.

  3. peter 3

    It certainly would be great if 'the government built lots of houses.'

    They could start next week. Round up a posse of builders and start building a posse of houses. They could dictate that all builders must work at building houses. For the government.

    • Crashcart 3.1

      Or they could set up a government building entity that pays above market rate to qualified builders and set them to work building houses. They could also open up immigration for qualified builders to come and work for that government building entity.

      They could then ensure that one of the priorities of this entity is to train more builders and provide them experience on the job.

      Use economy of scale to import building materials at low cost and invest in research and development of sustainable building practices.

  4. Molly 4

    Purely from my perspective, solving the housing crisis is a political problem that isn't being solved, not a practical one.

    As a culture, NZers have put a high value on property ownership as part of the milestones of adult life. If you have your own home, then you have security even in times of other stress, and can occupy a well-defined space in community and society.

    However, as other NZ systems have faced further stress and degradation – wages, work environments, health systems, ACC the hands off approach to housing inflation, and the marketing approach to state housing has meant that housing has become the touchstone for many for the last bastion of security. If own a home, then you have a buffer between you and complete rock-bottom if your health fails, you lose your job, etc etc.

    Policies since the 1980's have not addressed this. Immigration inflows have contributed to a increase in numbers looking for housing, and overseas investment with little taxation also meant that while overseas monetary flows increased the cost of housing and contributed to the all-powerful economy, it also created a large flow of money from people living and renting and buying that housing in New Zealand, back overseas.

    Housing is looked at as a commodity, both by our politicians and many of the public.

    My niece and her partner are moving to Melbourne for work, so they can save up and try and buy a houses there, while her sister, who bought four years ago, is now sitting in a house that has four year's more wear and tear, but is apparently 'risen in value" by $500,000.

    The disparity between income and housing costs for those who are unlucky not to be on the housing ladder can be addressed in three ways:

    • increase income to match housing inflation
    • decrease housing costs to equalise the two
    • improve incomes AND decrease housing costs.

    Because there is a disparity in household incomes that has not been addressed, there is a lack of urgency for those who are often in power, who hear the figures but can't actually connect it to a failure of policies or intent, because they are not adversely affected by the rising housing costs. In many cases, they are actually further enriched by housing inflation. So it's a difficult public conversation that needs to be had about whether housing is a basic fundamental need. Chile has a constitution that states this.

    We have a Kainga Ora. An institution that says it will provide state housing – 8,000 in four years, (which may not be net gain) as part of a cost of 11 billion. The majority of money is spent on Kiwibuild and profit-making partnerships, both of which sustain and promote increased housing values.

    Both our town and transport planning is abysmal in terms of addressing housing inequality and climate justice. We are still building to developer profits, not to long term community.

    The depressing thought is that Kainga Ora, which is both sufficiently funded but not politically supported, is well placed to provide state housing at levels at which it will provide long-term, affordable housing – and yet will spend billions on not doing so.

    As I posted a week or so ago, they could purchase Ellerslie Racecourse which is located close to many transport options for residents, and build in such a way as to create community instead of profit. This "village in the sky" was built in Copenhagen at a cost of €92 million in 2014. It provided almost 500 dwellings, and over 10,000,000 of retail or commercial space. More importantly, it was designed for social cohesion,

    Take a look at how residents experience the development, and how aligned something similar would be in NZ to how the cultures in Auckland live and connect. A development with something similar but inclusive of a marae would be fantastic.

    And However, could you imagine the squeals of outrage from those who are not Housing NZ tenants, at the thought that people might have affordable housing in a 'desired' part of Auckland. Yet the space of Ellersllie Racecourse would allow almost fifteen hundred or more households to be created in a connected part of town. The release of some golf courses in other connected parts of Auckland would also mean that at least some residents who have paid the costs of inflated housing, are not doubly penalised by the imposition of transition costs when they have no option other than to drive for their commutes.

    The way things are going, residents who have no choice but to live further and further out of Auckland, and ill-served by public transport or local amenities are going to be futher impacted by fuel-taxes and other transition costs, even though those that benefitted the most financially from this current situation are also well-provided for in terms of access to public transport, shorter commutes, amenities etc.

    There are a myriad number of issues that have to be addressed in order to bring housing security back to a reasonable level. But for many reasons, not least the political aversion to address the very real fear many have of losing their one tried and method method of financial enrichment in an environment of loss, addressing the housing issue is more complex than many would believe.

    But important, nevertheless.

    • pat 4.1

      The solutions are both simple and complex.

      At the simple level the utilisation of existing stock must be optimised…and with current housing stock that means we can can have occupancy levels below that we had in the 1990s (with perhaps some local disparity) but that means there will be some upset investors who currently use their housing for alternative purposes, be it Air BnB, holiday home or vacant.

      The government could ramp up its state housing build rather than its deliberate restricted programme and directly utilise its apprenticeship training programme by creating an in-house construction company and increase employment opportunities….it could do the same with infrastructure build,

      But the most important thing they could do, and they could do it tomorrow is state that they have a goal (over x period) to reduce house prices to an affordable ratio to income and outline the policy changes aimed at such covering purchase agreements, capacity/capability formation, immigration/population planning and funding.

      And they will do none of these things because they expect it will cost them the treasury benches, though I expect they will justify it to themselves that the cost to the economy will be too great…..that cost is coming anyway.

      • Molly 4.1.1

        "…And they will do none of these things because they expect it will cost them the treasury benches, though I expect they will justify it to themselves that the cost to the economy will be too great…..that cost is coming anyway."

        Agree.

        But I think that we also need to remember that for many NZers that social cost and burden has already been carried for many years. There are already breaking and broken NZers that have been run over by the housing juggernaut.

        • pat 4.1.1.1

          Yes they have been…but they dont vote (or at least to a lesser degree) and nor do they have the ear of Ministers

          • Molly 4.1.1.1.1

            That may be true, but who is there to vote for? I consider access to affordable, healthy homes to be a necessary basic for NZers and our society, and despite voting each election (including local government ones), there is no-one really sticking their head out on this issue. (Mana did, and were joyously trounced out by Labour. Green Party efforts are lacklustre… )

            Kainga Ora already has funding, and the ability to do better. The current government doesn't want the housing market to collapse, no matter how beneficial that may be to many.

            Addressing the deflation. Housing NZ could once again offer NZ Home Mortgages at zero interest, to offset deflation of equity to NZ citizens.

            By following the ability of retail banks to create money, they can allow homeowners who live in their properties this rate, while they maintain their current repayment schedules, until the loan is paid off. There is an elegance to this. Homeowners who have bought recently, will be paying their loan off in chunks of equity from the word go, and over the course of their loan will probably pay a third to a half of what they would pay a bank. Homeowners who have only a few years to pay off their loan, would still have paid a large proportion in interest, but would have a larger proportion locked in already in terms of capital gains.

            As the mortgage payments are received, that money is dissolved reducing the impact on inflation.

      • Molly 4.1.2

        "At the simple level the utilisation of existing stock must be optimised…and with current housing stock that means we can can have occupancy levels below that we had in the 1990s (with perhaps some local disparity).. "

        Unfortunately, an intended consequence of the Green's WoF rental policy may mean that this is easier said than done.

        • pat 4.1.2.1

          I dont see the WOF proposal having any impact on the quantity or use of housing in NZ….what do you see the impact being?

          • Molly 4.1.2.1.1

            (Specifically regarding the re-entry of those empty or underutilised houses that you mentioned.)

            If owners can already afford to leave them empty and accumulate capital gains without occupation, it is likely that the added expense and time required to bring houses built to previous code up to WoF standard, won't incentivise their return to housing availability.

            An empty housing tax might.

            • pat 4.1.2.1.1.1

              If they are able to be held empty (for whatever reason) then the necessity to generate rental income is obviously not a consideration so the WoF conditions can be expected to have no bearing on availability….if they are currently let and the WoF considered too onerous then they will either be upgraded or sold, either way they remain occupied….it may potentially increase rents but I would suggest that rents are largely set at what the market can stand already.

              • Molly

                (Specifically regarding the re-entry of those empty or underutilised houses that you mentioned.)

                [font changed from bold to italics to avoid confusion with Moderation such as this]

                • pat

                  Again …no impact, so I see no basis for the statement

                  "Unfortunately, an intended consequence of the Green's WoF rental policy may mean that this is easier said than done."

                  As Arkie notes the intended consequence of the Greens proposal is to improve the standard of rental accomodation….not the availability.

                  • Molly

                    "At the simple level the utilisation of existing stock must be optimised…and with current housing stock that means we can can have occupancy levels below that we had in the 1990s (with perhaps some local disparity) but that means there will be some upset investors who currently use their housing for alternative purposes, be it Air BnB, holiday home or vacant."

                    This part of your comment. and only this. I suggested that an empty homes tax might be a more effective means to achieve reintegration.

                    I support healthy homes standards.

                    However, the WoF programme would be unlikely to work in favour of a return of this section of housing stock to the rental market.

                    On its own it acts as a financial negative to owners who indicate they can weather the cost of buy and hold with no necessity for income. Something else will be needed to, as you said, 'optimise use' and return this stock to the healthy homes market available for use. I suggested an empty house tax may be needed to persuade such owners that it makes financial sense to bring their empty homes to standard and to available housing stock.

                    • pat

                      Understood the suggestion that a empty homes tax or some such 'incentive' would be needed to release those houses back into the market, what I didnt (and still dont) see is any relationship with the WoF proposal.

                    • Molly

                      Cancelled my own reply. Getting a bit snarky and need to move on.

            • arkie 4.1.2.1.1.2

              The proposed WoF is to aid in enforcing rental housing standards introduced by the last Government. There are no new standards included in the proposed WoF that aren't already law.

              https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes/about-the-healthy-homes-standards/

              • Molly

                Good God. I support the requirement for healthy homes.

                Just was passing comment on the impact it might have on reintegration of ghost houses to supply, as had been suggested.

                • arkie

                  I guess I just fail to understand how a proposed mechanism to enforce already existing housing standards has any affect on the reintegration of ghost houses. Regardless of the Greens proposal these ghost houses must meet the Healthy Homes standards introduced in 2019, if they are to be used as rentals.

                  • Molly

                    Just was passing comment on the impact it might have on reintegration of ghost houses to supply, as had been suggested.

  5. Nic the NZer 5

    To be practical we also need to acknowledge the difficulties with the housing market.

    First off there is the emergency accomodation stuff. This looks bad as the govt is paying to house people in temporary accomodation, but is there actually an alternative? I don't know exactly the causes of the growth in emergency housing applications but the opposition approach proposed appears to be to discourage applications not to sate need. Its clearly going to take some time to expand govt housing to address this more permanently. But in budget terms the govt is presently expending a lot in this area.

    Next the issue with building. This is likely to put pressure on the building sector. That can cause delays and increase building costs to present projects. The training to fix that will also take time to come through. The state of the govt books doesn't tell us anything about the effects of a major state house building program kicking off.

    Lastly price controls. At least in the middle income range the problem is that the norm for owning a house has expanded to paying it off over 30 years or more salary. But putting a constraint on that is going to have a big impact on other spending in the economy at the same time. If a house price fall causes a significant spike in unemployment (as happens with some slowdowns in house prices) this will be far worse for NZ poverty rates than the present housing issues. The people worst effected are highly unlikely to ever own a home either so don't see the upside.

    To me the NZ housing situation is what happens when you have long term inflation & wage suppression, and a significant reserve army of the under employed. House buying is not very effectively restrained by these same policies so house prices are going to get ahead of wage increases most years. Eventually (over several decades) the house prices start to cause real issues across the board.

    • Molly 5.1

      Kainga Ora is building, but not concentrating on the most inclusive lever that will have the most impact – state housing. If there is an impact on the building industry, we should at least make sure that it has the best return in terms of society.

      Emergency housing may be offset, by a policy change for Housing NZ tenants that allows them to have boarders without losing their homes. That also has a benefit in terms of people providing support for their loved ones or friends as well as sharing costs between those who are financially stressed.

      Also, treat housing as a human right, not a commodity and design regulations and policies around that view.

    • pat 5.2

      You cannot manage anything until it is measured….why have we had no stocktake of NZ housing when we have had a housing crisis for years?…nobody can say with any confidence what our current housing stock is being used for…..it suits too many vested interests for this to remain so.

      Pressure on the building sector is like most industries in NZ, a consequence of the private sector propensity to offload training costs where they can, and that has been facilitated by a loose immigration policy, While it may take considerable time to coerce the construction industry to make that investment the government can do so immediately by creating in house capacity and that provides an employment stream that reduced economic activity from the (perceived) lost wealth effect may produced….replacing private spending with public spending, hardly radical…..theres also the freeing up over time of disposable income from the bottom half of the economy who can be expected to have more disposable income with reduced housing /debt costs.

      There are multiple levers the Government can pull if they have the will.

  6. coreyjhumm 6

    Jacinda is quite open about the unwritten rule about home values going up and an unwillingness to buck this trend but wanting to stabilize them.

    The party that should be most concerned with homeownership is the National party, it's often said that you're progressive when you're young and more conservative when you grow up.

    But actually, my generation of millennials is becoming more and more and more progressive and I believe it's because we're shut out of the housing market, once you own a home you're connected to something, you've put down roots , this is now your community and you have an asset that you want to of course increase in value. This is how thatcher created new voters for herself

    As long as people are shut out of the housing market imo they are going to get more and more progressive and that's a disaster for national going forward…

    If national had any brains they'd be wanting to make homes as cheap as possible so they can buy themselves votes but they won't.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    I expect it is a problem of poverty.

    If the houseless were well-funded, they'd build their own dwellings, as humans have from time immemorial until The Great Ass-covering licensed councils to charge outrageously for permits, evidently to assuage their guilt over their inadequate response to leaky homes.

    We have the fastest growing inequality in the OECD, and Labour feels that consequently, "Steady as she goes", must be pretty good policy – which perhaps saves them the trouble of devising anything better, but cannot by any stretch of the imagination be mistaken for responsible governance.

    The poor are always with us, and will be until the incompetent neoliberals who created that demographic, are purged from Treasury with prejudice.

    • State ownership of land to redirect the wealth of surplus production into community building and technologies to address the adverse effects of a changing environment.

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        That would at least pull the inflation out of the lowest part of the market. Our poorest are looking for a roof, not an investment. Throw in some appropriate technology and much of the pain could come out of what is at present, a miserable situation for low, insecure, and un waged folk.

  8. barry 8

    While I don't excuse the Labour government for their inaction on housing and power prices, there are practical limits on how many houses they can build.

    Shortage of infrastructure, labour, materials are all holding us back. If the government builds more then all that they will do is drive up prices. The problem has been building for a decade or 3, and it will not be solved in a year.

  9. Pete 9

    I like all the perspectives on here which indicate some of the complexities of the issue.

    Imagine instead of talking about this here, and everywhere, and finding out it's all a bit hard why don't we just shelve it and talk about something else instead. Flag referendum anyone?

  10. National (remember them) wrecked social housing (among other things).

    To pick up the wreckage after douglas/prebble/moore/bolger/richardson/shipley/english/key "administrations" eviscerated social services what do you expect.

    Business got tax breaks tax breaks tax breaks.

    The electorate got poverty poverty poverty.

    How many state houses did bolger, richardson, shipley ,english ,key sell off?

    Has any of our pitiful investigative (allegedly) media track this?

    No way. Too hard. Media exploit misery (they sell theirs.

    We have not had homelessness as an issue prior to douglas/prebble/moore/bolger/richardson/shipley/english/key.

    Covid has very long consequences (decades), climate change is here big time.

    Our poverty is also a problem. Business companies need to step up and stop being so greedy and grasping (sigh).

    • Ngungukai 10.1

      Investigative Journalism has been banned in this country by successive Governments.

  11. vto 11

    Supply of homes is not the issue, demand is.. demand from investors..

  12. vto 12

    "how many Labour-voting home owners are willing to sacrifice capital gains in order to solve the housing crisis?"

    None to very few/negligible

    "How many voters of any ilk are willing for New Zealand to have a lower standard of living and stop running the economy off the back of an out of control property market?"

    Low capital values does not equal lower standards of living. Lower capital values will lead to higher standards of living as less of our resource has to be spent on deadweight 'capital', leaving more for our back pockets

  13. vto 13

    this is the end result of capitalism

    just like the game of Monopoly, one or two end up with all the properties and everyone else ends up tenants

    think of the start of a game of Monopoly… everybody smiling and moving around the board with a bit of cash…. now think of the mid-end of a game of Monopoly… one or two smiling, the rest getting very unhappy, the cohesion and camaraderie is gone, some are arguing and getting upset, and the game ends in disarray

    this is the end result of capitalism

    whereabouts in the game are we at do you think? start, middle or end?

    • gsays 13.1

      To answer yr question. I think firmly mid game.

      Some have gone off to make a coffee, others are into the chippies and dip. Just like real life though, the loudest voices are the biggest piggies still at the trough. Real Estate Institute, Property Investors, Australian Bank economists…

      On a tangent, we have been playing a co-operative board game, Shadows Over Camelot. The idea is the players vs the game.

      Despite many attempts, we are yet to prevail, mainly because the players struggle to overcome their mindset and co-operate…

    • pat 13.2

      Board not far from being tipped over…

    • Sabine 13.3

      We – the western world – are at the beginning of precarity capitalism. And it will be a steep learning curve for those that still try to hang on to the myth of the 'middle class' and 'upward mobility'.

  14. Michael 14

    Labour is acting but, as the latest CPAG erport shows, it is ineffectual. The reasons are the result of political calculation: if it allocates the necessary resources to increase housing supply, that means social housing administered by government or NGOs, not profit-seeking landlords and banks (as mortgagees). A change away from the market, of that magnitude, challenges capitalist prerogatives (maximising financial returns in shortest possible times). Capitalists will mobilise the middle classes, with tales that their wealth, from over-inflated house prices, will crash and they will join the ranks of the poor, instead of being able to ape the rich. I'm not sure whether this middle-class pathology is psychological, or even biological, but it is definitely active and the political Right know how to exploit it for its advantage. Labour knows this too, which explains the token measuers it is taking.

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