Why not just – build some damn houses?

Written By: - Date published: 3:46 pm, June 2nd, 2016 - 91 comments
Categories: housing, national - Tags: , ,

Today the Nats released a National Policy Statment (NPS) on housing – New policy to require Auckland Council to open up land for housing:

Auckland Council will be required by law to open up enough land to build houses for its rapidly-increasing population under a new policy released by the Government this afternoon.

There is already plenty of land open for housing. In Auckland there are around 50,000 sections ready to go, around 6.5 years supply. What is missing is the HOUSES.

On top of freeing up land for housing, the statement required councils to:

• Monitor and respond to housing affordability, building consent and land value data

• Co-ordinate infrastructure and ensure consent processes are “customer focused”

• Recognise the national significance of ensuring enough land is available for housing With predicted population of 18 per cent, Auckland was classified as a “high growth” region in the NPS.

Blah blah blah. Does the NPS build any houses? No.

Dr Smith said there was no “magic bullet” to solve housing affordability problems, but land use was the key driver behind rising house prices.

Rampant speculation is the key driver, and a trickle of new houses that only the cashed-up can afford will only fuel the flames.

Labour Party housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the policy was a “damp squib” which was unlikely to make any different to Auckland’s housing crisis.

The NPS failed two crucial tests, he said. It did not give guidance on how infrastructure would be financed. And it said nothing about abolishing Auckland’s urban limits – a move which had been signalled by National and was supported by Labour.

Instead, Mr Twyford said, it set up a “bureaucratic system” for assessing housing demand.

“Where’s the promised game-changer?” he said.

Where indeed? The Economy Hub: Why new housing policy won’t work

Long time property investor Olly Newland says the Auckland property bubble is too far advanced for the National Policy Statement and other land supply solutions to fix it.

Other pieces –
PM’s housing plan moronic – economist
Housing game-changer: Spreading the blame
Government still MIA on housing crisis

91 comments on “Why not just – build some damn houses?”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    Since Muldoon the Gnats have been wreckers, not builders. It is the Brierley formula as much as anything – a conventional profitable business isn’t enough any more, they want the superprofits only obtainable by takeovers or foreclosures.

    The water thing is an obvious instance – why cheat New Zealand? The new water companies could easily have made a deal that fairly compensated New Zealand – 5 or 10 cents a bottle wouldn’t have affected their business model. But they had to cheat – cheating is who they are.

    These Gnats will build no houses – they are shabby, pathetic, worthless crooks.

    • Jack Ramaka 1.1

      100% correct National following the Ron Brierley, Fay Richwhite Business Models of State Asset Stripping, the merchant banking community raped and pillaged most of New Zealand’s iconic companies and our State Assets the small shareholders and the taxpayers have been systematically f**ked over by this lot.

  2. KJT 2

    Anything but the solution which worked in the past.

    Print money to build 10’s of thousands of State housing and infrastructure.

    Limiting immigration, speculation and foreign buyers would also help.
    As would a real CGT.

    Unfortunately politicians cannot afford to make house prices drop. That will expose their economic fantasy world.

    • greywarshark 2.1

      KJT
      Unfortunately RW politicians cannot afford to change their method of working. That would expose all their policies and actions from the past to scrutiny and comparison by the public, as to their hand in causing problems they had managed to deep-freeze. And their biz friends might lose their free-market-entrepreneur-wealth-creator halo of invincibility. Bring reality into the picture and it could be the beginning of the end to all their empires.

      It would create a precedent. As PM James said to Sir Humphrey:
      James Hacker: You mean that if we do the right thing this time, we might have to do the right thing again next time. It seems on that philosophy, nothing would ever get done at all.
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0751808/quotes

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      Money isn’t the only problem though, it’s also skills.

      Modern houses are more difficult to build than houses in the 1930s. We have far more advanced technology that needs to be planned for – way more electrical devices and lights, more advanced plumbing (ie, not a long-drop out the back), much flasher kitchens etc. The technologies also include things like insulation, which needs to be installed properly, and ventilation systems – instead of just relying on air infiltration. We also expect our houses to meet certain safety and earthquake requirements, which wasn’t the case in the 1930’s.

      So while in the 30’s printing money and getting a gang of men together to do the physical building may have solved the problem, that same approach won’t work now – unless we wanted to build 1930’s style houses that no-one would choose to live in.

      • KJT 2.2.1

        Having renovated 1930’s houses, and built replica ones, as well as modern ones, the skills are no harder to acquire.
        The 1930’s houses, in fact, required a degree of carpentry skills which modern houses do not.

        In Lyttelton it was the 1930’s wooden houses that mostly remained intact.

      • Colonial Viper 2.2.2

        Lanth, plenty of people take a 1940s state house, knock down a couple of walls to open plan it, insulate it, put in a modern kitchen and bathroom, chuck a bit of paint and paper around, and sell it off for a nice earner.

        Not that difficult mate.

        • Lanthanide 2.2.2.1

          Yeah, people renovating state houses for their own private benefit on their own time scales is hardly the same as the government rounding up a sufficient labour force to crank out 10,000+ entirely new houses every year, with strict cost and time budgets for each house, that need to be finished to a high standard in order to sell at market rates and avoid structural problems such as leaky buildings.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.2.1.1

            I agree with you it’s not the same thing, but with 160,000 unemployed and another 160,000 under employed, I’m sure something can be done.

            And if we can’t manage that basic task just import immigrants to do it like the right wingers do.

    • Well… y’know…perhaps the REAL reason National doesn’t want to build more ( besides the fact they’re trying to arrange a fascist overruling of the Auckland council to create more bucks for their mates ) … is that it might just screw up a big part of their voting block…

  3. Enviro Gal 3

    Surely there is a moral law for government to house all our people ?

    • Wensleydale 3.1

      Ethics and morals are two concepts with which the National Party are utterly unfamiliar.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        Not quite – they are able to imagine them when in opposition – and conjure towering outrage over a signature or the Diplo squad hurrying for the footy game.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      It would be nice for us to have a constitution that said that people had a right to be housed and that if they weren’t then the government had to house them.

  4. save nz 4

    Prime Minister announces he wouldn’t have shot Gorilla – but would have paid it $5000 to leave Auckland

    (from dailyblog)

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      Key would have had the baby shot.

      • save nz 4.1.1

        Yep, shoot the baby, it is from a poor family so it doesn’t matter. He can import another baby in for the family with better skills.

  5. save nz 5

    How about getting the gorilla to build houses for the Panda?

  6. save nz 6

    In fact that’s hit the nail on the head, get the Gorilla from the US to build houses for the Panda from China and blame the kids parents for being poor. Send government crony commissioners to take over the zoo, and we have government logic in action!

  7. BM 7

    Who’s Greenbour going to use to build all these houses?

    • KJT 7.1

      Same people we trained to build houses in the 50’s.

      You know. The ones who have no jobs at present.

      • BM 7.1.1

        Right, the unemployed are going to build all these houses.

        Who’s going to train them?

        • KJT 7.1.1.1

          Me. For one.

          • BM 7.1.1.1.1

            You must be one impressive fellow.

            Builder, plumber, sparky,painter,tiler,carpet layer,roofer,concrete layer,bricklayer,drainlayer,plasterer all rolled into one.

            You’re going to be busy.

            • KJT 7.1.1.1.1.1

              You forgot boatbuilder, business manager, Teacher, designer. 🙂

              Not a very good plasterer, though.

              • BM

                Yeah, plastering is a prick, one of my least favorite jobs.

                • Richardrawshark

                  Reruns of Tool Time? Could merge with Winz seminars and get three things done at once,

                  Training,
                  Attending a seminar that actually is useful
                  Attending Winz worthwhile.

                  • KJT

                    There are plenty of tradesmen (mostly men unfortunately. Building trades have been a good job for the women who have taken them up) who are too old to stay on the tools, but are well able to teach skills.

                    Our average age in the trades must be well into the 50’s as we have had the huge gap from the 80’s until the 2000’s when apprenticeships disappeared.

                    Much better than the expensive, and largely useless, make work courses that WINZ forces on the unemployed.

              • M. Gray

                good on you that’s the attitude we need

            • greywarshark 7.1.1.1.1.2

              BM
              You could be a modern songwriter with your version of Theres a hole in my bucket.

              A Hole In The Bucket Lyrics
              New! Highlight lyrics to add Meanings, Special Memories, and Misheard Lyrics… (and ones from BM)

              Henry: There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
              There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
              Liza: So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
              So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.

              L: With a stick, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
              With a stick, dear Henry, dear Henry, with a stick.
              H: But the stick is too big, dear Liza, dear Liza,
              The stick is too big, dear Liza, too big.
              L: So cut it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
              So cut it dear Henry, dear Henry, cut it!

              And so on. A lazy government not using its resources available to do what it needs to do has a follower and supporter in BM.
              The song goes on with one problem after another.

              L: Use the hatchet, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
              Use the hatchet, dear Henry, the hatchet.
              L: So, sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
              So sharpen it dear Henry, dear Henry, sharpen it!….

              At this point Liza takes the chair and goes off to live with her mother which is probably what Henry wanted in the first place!
              ** The original version has the bucket to be thatched with hay that ends up being too long and needs to be cut with a knife that ends up being too dull

            • save nz 7.1.1.1.1.3

              What I find odd, is that with 8 years of intensive immigration of importing in hundreds of thousands of ‘skilled people’ for our massive ‘skill shortage’ John Key’s government has still have only built 1000 houses (while selling 2700 state houses) but we need hundreds of thousands more to house the ‘skilled people’.

              Talk about creating the crisis that did not used to exist.

        • McFlock 7.1.1.2

          seriously, BM?

          Your spin line is “it’s all too difficult”?

          If we can’t build the houses, what’s the point in “freeing up land” they’re supposed to go on?

          Tell you what, if the government can’t do anything substantive, maybe they should just get the fuck out of the way so other people will have a chance to try to fix things.

          • BM 7.1.1.2.1

            I’m just pointing out that the left is either willfully ignorant or they’re being purposely disingenuous.

            Government can’t just miracle up builders to build these houses.

            • KJT 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Where is National going to get the builders for all the extra land, then?

              • BM

                That’s probably where the hold ups are, just got to wait for builders/building companies to become available.

                Government rather neutered itself when they got rid of departments like the ministry of works.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Luckily, government has the amazing super power to uncastrate itself. Except National. They miss, and sew their legs together instead. Then deny it all.

                • mickysavage

                  Day one of the Chch earthquake and one of the local training providers approached the Government and said “how about we put on a few new classes of builders? We are going to need them.”

                  The Government’s response? Nil, nada zip. Don’t lecture the left on not having enough builders available.

                • KJT

                  Agree there. Lost a huge bank of skills and knowledge as well as a place to train people.

            • McFlock 7.1.1.2.1.2

              If they can’t “miracle up” the builders, why are they insisting that Auckland council free up more land, when more than enough land is already available?

              Why aren’t they increasing apprenticeships and other trades training with massive incentives?

              Your attack on the left is predicated on the fact that national’s lethargic action does nothing to address the housing problem, because there’s nobody to build anything on the land they want freed up.

              You’re all out of ideas, dude. If the problem’s a shortage of builders, do something about that. Training incentives, immigration incentives, whatever. But you and the nats are serving us this tripe and calling it steak.

              • Lanthanide

                “If they can’t “miracle up” the builders, why are they insisting that Auckland council free up more land, when more than enough land is already available?”

                Deflecting blame and hoping the public buy it.

                “Why aren’t they increasing apprenticeships and other trades training with massive incentives?”

                Because it’s National and they don’t do things like that, it’s Against Their Beliefs.

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2.1.3

              I’m just pointing out that the left is either willfully ignorant or they’re being purposely disingenuous.

              No, you’re trying to distract from what actually needs to be done.

              Government can’t just miracle up builders to build these houses.

              No miracles, just training and support so that we have builders and they’re not running from the job as they are at present because of the rules National have put place.

            • Richardrawshark 7.1.1.2.1.4

              – BM For a start why do you play political parties as left or right. Labour greens are anything but left or right, probably not a term that should be used.

              Or how about communist/Nazi as an example. Because each is left and right. So are National Nazi’s then? Or is it just the left that are commies?

              One day, you’ll fix the problem instead of acting like fucxking kids point scoring same as what I seen in parliament today.

              Then I come here and BM’s playing lefty righty kiddies shit.

              I wonder why at times I lose it and use terms like oh FRACK Off.

            • b waghorn 7.1.1.2.1.5

              In the lead up to the last election , the head of master build was asked if labours kiwi build policy was achievable, he said that it would take two to three years to get to full speed but yes it was.
              Going by that labour would have built about 8000 houses by now.

  8. Bill 8

    If banks were too big to fail and warranted the creation of huge amounts of money, then isn’t society too big to fail? And shouldn’t huge amounts of money be generated to build and to retro-fit and generally prepare for likely conditions circa 2050?

    • Reddelusion 8.1

      Yes bill but society ain’t failing, hyperbole

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Society’s on a collision course with physics. That’s not hyperbole. It’s on track to get smacked real hard in coming decades (that’s not hyperbole either), hence the suggestion that building and retro-fitting get under way right now (and at any cost).

        edit – just thought you might have been thinking I was saying society was failing because of homelessness. I wasn’t. A market system will always create poverty, but that poverty is never really considered a failure and a reason to ditch our economy – sadly.

        • adam 8.1.1.1

          That’s because of people like Reddelusion who are amoral, cupidity loving, hypocrites.

          Plus they happier whinging rather than looking for solutions. That be BM and others.

        • Lloyd 8.1.1.2

          Remember to build all your new houses at least 60m above sea level. Everything below that is going to get very wet. (and salty).

  9. Rosie 9

    Been wondering what kind of effect Nat Govt’s non policy will have on current and potential Nat voters who belong to the former middle classes but have been shunted down the ladder and can’t afford their first home. I’m not just talking about young people – there are plenty of Gen Xer’s still renting.

    Are the nats not burning political capital by refusing to meaningfully address the housing crisis, in Auckland in particular where the bulk of nat voters are?

    I mean they couldn’t care less about the working poor but the above average income types, their target voting group must be affected by the housing crisis. Are the nats so indifferent and arrogant that they will give up on them too?

    • KJT 9.1

      Plenty of boomers still renting, or with large mortgages.

      Plenty who live in the provinces still also.

  10. Enviro Gal 10

    If you are the Government and
    you oversee allowing a high level of immigration
    you would build some houses when you saw that
    many people who live had become homeless ?

    • Reddelusion 10.1

      Or you get rid of the blockages that is preventing market to respond, much more efficient than building another bloated state agency where half its expenditure will be wasted on administration and no one who works for it really giving a continental barring its union

      • dv 10.1.1

        Oh like the freeing up that gave us leaky building and crap steel

        • Reddelusion 10.1.1.1

          Not talking specifically building regulation, talking land, municipal bonds re infrastructure ( private and public etc) Allow companies to bring in skilled labour short term etc, a bit of regulation re RMA, council consent process ie speed it up The market will then respond way quicker than a big bloated state agency

          • dv 10.1.1.1.1

            , municipal bonds re infrastructure ( private and public etc) Allow companies to bring in skilled labour short term etc, a bit of regulation re RMA, council consent process ie speed it up

            Yes I would probably agree with that.

            There does not be any willingness to create a joined up plan.

            It will cost 17 billion for the infrastructure OR about $2000 per auckland rate payer for 20 years.

      • McFlock 10.1.2

        The market has responded. It’s increased prices. That’s how it responded. There are no “blockages”. There’s the land freed up, the property developers are all doing well, the builders are making boutique bars. The market just doesn’t give a shit about poor people. Or middle-income people.

        • Reddelusion 10.1.2.1

          The market responded exactly as you would expect if you create restricted land boundaries, countless research shows as such, oh By the way OAB go play with yourself once you find your magnify glass

          • McFlock 10.1.2.1.1

            The market, as always, responded exactly as you would expect a sociopath to respond.

            Restricted land boundaries is bullshit if there’s already 50,000 lots available.

            As BM pointed out, homes aren’t being built on the land that’s available – national’s “solution” ignores the actual problem. There’s a word for that: “incompetent”. As in “national are an incompetent government”.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.3

        Or you go for a model that works instead. There are plenty of examples of well-housed populations the world over to choose from. Or, for those of use who aren’t fuckwits, we can simply do what we used to do before those self same fuckwits got in the way.

        If you’ve got an example of Randistan somewhere to support your funny ideas, go right ahead.

      • Richardrawshark 10.1.4

        Please, spare me your nonsense. Because your willing to take a massive gamble on societies most vulnerable, A massive gamble removing the blocks so builders can make lots of money that.

        A they would buy sections and chuck dirt cheap housing at low rents on them?
        B Not develop the land for maximum return
        C That the Market before state housing hadn’t solved the issue hence state housing was bought in and reverting to the status prior will solve the issue.

        I could go on, so many reasons your talking out of your rs.

        • Reddelusion 10.1.4.1

          Are not those beautiful house the state built also killing people, how about those state driven disaster tenament blocks built in the UK or those lovely apartment built in soviet Europe by the state, real cosy

          • KJT 10.1.4.1.1

            Or the 50’s NZ State houses that sell in Auckland for huge amounts of money because of the quality, non-leaking construction. While the modern chilly bin house next door has to be totally rebuilt. Thanks to Nationals “market will provide” experiment with building codes.

            • Reddelusion 10.1.4.1.1.1

              By far the majority of nz houses built by private sector are fine, what’s with unfettered god like belief in the state, shit just look at history, just watch re runs of gliding on

            • Reddelusion 10.1.4.1.1.2

              It not the house dummy, it’s the land

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.5

        That’s what we have now after thirty years of neo-liberalism. The result is not enough houses and house prices in an asset price bubble.

        We did far better with the government department which also had far less bureaucracy than the private competition model.

        • Reddelusion 10.1.5.1

          Shortages, lack of quality and choice are a daily occurance for every goods and service under socialism and communism, just ask venuzala, North Korea Cuba or look at the history of any planned economy our little housing crisis pales in comparison comrad

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.5.1.1

            Cuba pretty much has all it needs. It certainly doesn’t have a housing problem or poverty.

            Venezuela is being attacked by the capitalists. The DPRK is pure, unadulterated feudalism and has nothing of socialism in it.

            Thing is, the capitalist world is heading rapidly in the same direction because there’s no difference between capitalism and feudalism. Capitalism has never worked and it’s still not working as all the poverty that it creates shows.

            • Stuart Munro 10.1.5.1.1.1

              I’d say the DPRK is something different – it’s a god king outfit – feudalism is notable for feudal lords or factions – the Kims are the only ‘nobility’ in the DPRK.

              Between Discord and Cooperation(Japan and the two Koreas) Byung-Chul Koh is a fairly useful study if you’re interested.

  11. McFlock 11

    The government wants more land freed up when it’;s not building anything on the land that’s already available for the same reason that the PM is unfamiliar with what’s available in Auckland for under half a million: uncaring incompetence.

    National should just surrender and admit they can’t govern worth a damn. They’re killing people.

  12. ttd 12

    http://www.scandia-hus.co.uk/design-build/prices-specifications

    Times the sq ft rate by 10 to get m rate
    Timber framed so very easy to build for eq just chuck a few bracing units in
    Tripled glazed
    What’s the problem?
    It is not difficult to set up a large kitset manufacturing premises to knock out cheap kitset homes. would not be that hard to train people to do it. Not that highly skilled
    I reckon you could do them easily for under @1200 a sqm delivered

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      This is entirely doable and it is entirely doable to a high quality.

      • Macro 12.1.1

        Indeed it is – we already have the technology – I can personally vouch for the quality of these Go Homes as I have had one for 6 years.
        Mine cost around $100,000 and came fully finished with fridge freezer dishwasher carpet decking and only needs to be connected to services – electricity sewer and water

        http://www.go-homes.co.nz/

    • John shears 12.2

      2ttd
      I recall that there was a serious shortage of houses about 1948/9 and not enough capacity to build so State Housing imported kitset houses from Austria. They were erected in Porirua or Titahi Bay I think.
      Anything is possible just needs a bit of thinking and some decision making.
      I also recall that there was a bit of resistance to the idea but it went ahead.
      I wonder if they are still being used.

      • Jones 12.2.1

        The Swedish make some great wooden kitset homes… we could import the specs. We have the wood.

  13. Stuart Munro 13

    They should make a few k of container temporary houses for the currently homeless. These can cope with elastic demand, be trucked to provincial NZ for seasonal workers or shipped abroad for cyclone relief. Cheap durable practical stopgap. If state housing actually becomes available, expect a flood of demand.

    • Reddelusion 13.1

      No problem with that short term and then let the market fix the problem long term

      • b waghorn 13.1.1

        “let the market fix the problem long term”

        Jesus is coming back about the same time I’m reliable told

      • Stuart Munro 13.1.2

        Key could have made a market based solution – were he not a lazy corrupt prick who is perfectly happy with the disaster we have now.

        It is possible to have good rightwing governments – Key is not an instance of one.

    • mauī 13.2

      They had the chance to practice all that after the Canterbury earthquakes but they didn’t even bother. I think they relied on Bob’s temporary portacom solutions which couldn’t meet demand so people just stayed in their ruined homes. No vision, opportunity wasted, problem solving ability non-existent.

      • Stuart Munro 13.2.1

        Yup.

        “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” – Deng Xiaoping

        I think Deng would’ve put Key in a sack with a brick & we could get on with solving our problems. Never caught a mouse in his life and not about to start.

  14. millsy 14

    Too bad that Key said the other week that the massive state house building programs ‘weren’t really successful’.

    OK.

  15. ianmac 15

    If the building actually started in big numbers, Key is terrified that when, not if, the bubble bursts, there will be a huge oversupply of housing and investors will be tumbling over themselves struggling to escape.
    Maybe Australia will get back up again and an exodus from NZ will be on.

    Not our fault Key will say. Those pesky Labour/Greens made me do it.
    Hence delay, delay delay hoping for a burst not of his making.

  16. Peter Lewis 16

    We have been far to busy training Lawyers – Lawyers stop things happening.

    We have been far to busy training Lawyers to bother about training builders – builders make things happen.

    How many parents with high aspirations for their children expact them to become builders/plumbers/elecricians/drainlayers rather than Lawyers?

    • vto 16.1

      Agree it is a misguided thing. See Chch the last few years as builders/drainlayers/plumbers/the lot have made small fortunes with their eye-watering charge-out rates and ripoff ways…

      Next year will be different though – look for the tears and crying from the same bunch

    • save nz 16.2

      Peter, we also need a lot of accountants to hide the money in the 0% tax havens aka ‘financial hub’.

  17. vto 17

    Has Key or English or Smith been asked why they don’t just start building some houses?

    After all, the government builds;

    roads
    hospitals
    motorways
    national park infrastructure
    schools

    In fact the government builds more shit than anyone else in the country

    so why not houses?

    Seriously, someone ask them directly and comprehensively.

    the National Party – numpties since dot

  18. Jack Ramaka 18

    The problem is land prices have become so high it is not economic to build cheap housing, so the private developers are only going to build more expensive homes where they can make a margin. It is one big artificial market and Ponzi Scheme.

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