Observations of a renting millennial attending a Smith/Twyford housing debate with a bunch of property investors 

By Jenée Tibshraeny

On Tuesday night I did what many renting Aucklanders under 30 (just) wouldn’t deem particularly palatable. 

I went to a debate between Nick Smith and Phil Twyford, hosted by the Auckland Property Investors’ Association.

I was intrigued to find out how our Building and Construction Minister and Labour’s Housing, Building and Construction Spokesperson would sell themselves to a demographic of society we are desperately relying on to build more houses fast, yet we scowl for making money by the value of their land skyrocketing through no doing of their own.

Yes, you would expect Smith to be the flavour of the evening.

Yet I was interested to see how Twyford would vie to win the vote of what would unavoidably be a tough crowd for him to address.

In the spirit of loving an evenly matched debate, I regret to conclude he didn’t rise to the challenge.

I went home thinking Smith - yes Smith - has charisma.

And while you need more than charisma to win an election, it sure goes a long way.

So let me share my observations of the evening with you.

The Twyford approach: Say it as I see it, even if it isn’t going to further my cause

Having carefully parked my Honda between two Audis, I was surprised to feel slightly over-dressed in business attire at the seemingly humble event at Auckland Girls’ Grammar.

Tea and coffee, not pinot and canapes, were served, before the crowd - generally spanning age, gender and ethnicity - was seated in the school hall for the debate.

Twyford kicked things off, outlining the symptoms of the housing crisis:

“Home ownership levels have fallen to the lowest they’ve been since 1951. Nick’s government is currently spending $100,000 a day putting homeless New Zealanders up in motels.

“An appalling 1,600 New Zealanders - mostly old people - die premature deaths every winter because they’re living in cold damp homes they can’t afford to heat.”

He then challenged the crowd - “Why should we care?” - Before explaining how the housing crisis is the driver of poverty and inequality, transience and homeless.

“A vast amount of this country’s productive capital is being channelled into the buying and selling of houses, instead of into businesses that create jobs and exports.

“We will never get wealthy as a country selling houses to each other. It’s a necessary thing. It’s an important part of a well-functioning market.

“But our housing stock is currently worth one trillion dollars. It is a far bigger share of our national wealth and much bigger in relation to our share market than is the case in the United Kingdom, Australia or the United States.”

I couldn’t agree more with Twyford.

In fact I believe most New Zealanders would agree we need to up our productivity and rely more on our human capital to generate wealth.  

The problem with his approach - and Labour’s more generally - is that it lacks tact.

Blatantly undermining property investment and speculation to a hall of people who buy and sell houses for a living, isn’t going to win them over.

I assume the sorts of people who rock up to political debates are eager to learn and engage. The dodgy landlords we hear horror stories about probably wouldn't care to attend such events.

So if I was there as a property investor, not a journalist, I wouldn’t warm too well to a politician insinuating that me buying and selling houses and/or renting them out (albeit in a market that enables me to make a nice profit) is contributing to poverty.

A better approach to winning over this cohort of people may be to explain how Labour would make it easier for investors to build houses to plug the shortage that’s fuelling the crisis.

Labour has a policy to establish an Affordable Housing Authority to work with the private sector to cut through red tape and get new homes built fast.

It wants to “partner with private developers, councils and iwi to undertake major greenfields and revitalisation projects, building affordable homes with KiwiBuild and the private market.”

Through its Dole for Apprenticeships policy it also wants to subsidise employers to take on around 4,000 young people for on the job training in fields including building and construction.

This is all stuff that would benefit investors.

While he mentioned this, Twyford could’ve focused on it, rather than regurgitate the sort of spiel I can imagine Labour would use if it addressed the Salvation Army.

I applaud Twyford for being authentic and genuine in keeping his message consistent.

I would not suggest he avoid talking about Labour’s intentions to ban foreign speculators from buying existing homes, extending the bright line test from two to five years and enabling investors to use tax losses on their rentals to offset their tax on other income. This would be disingenuous.

Rather, he could tackle the bull by the horns and appease investors’ concerns around these policies by explaining exactly how they would be affected.

The Smith approach: Tell them what they want to hear and win them over  

This brings me to Smith.

Whilst annoyingly smug, he played politics well.

In contrast to Twyford, he started his presentation upbeat, saying the squeeze on housing is a consequence of growth; New Zealand’s “success”.

Yes - we’ve all heard this before and can identify many holes in this argument.

But there’s nothing a property investor wants to hear more as house price growth in Auckland stops, than reassurance the economy is buoyant and people want to live here.

Smith then did that infuriating thing the Government does, blaming Labour and the decisions it made when it was in government for the problems we are experiencing in our housing market today.

“The Metropolitan Urban Limit, which was formally legislated for by the previous government in 2004, saw a collapse in the number of home being built in the city from 2005 (well before the GFC hit) dropping right down to levels under 4,000 homes per year.

“What our government has been doing is systematically unravelling the different components of those long term issues…”

Blah blah. Cue eye roll.

But then by the end of his speech, Smith redeemed himself, leaving the audience feeling good, and thus most likely well disposed towards him:

“If you want more houses, you need property developers. If you want more rentals, you need people to invest in the residential sector,” he said.

This is true, and is something Labour would essentially agree with.

Smith went on to say: “We need that pragmatic realism that you get from Bill English and our Government, so that this country can both be successful, have more kiwis own their own home, but also ensuring we regulate the sector that you invest in, in that practical sort of way.”

How could investors not trust Bill English and his “safe pair of hands” to regulate the industry pragmatically, not ideologically? This is what Smith was really saying.

Savviness needed on Labour’s part to engage people in the election race

So here’s the thing, given Smith momentarily managed to instil greater confidence in me than Twyford, even though my generation has been largely shut out of the property market under Smith’s leadership, something must be wrong.

I accept Twyford addressing property investors, could be equated to Donald Trump addressing a women’s rights group.

But (like empowered women), we need property investors and it’s a shame Twyford didn’t do a better job genuinely connecting with this group.

What’s more, he rambled for longer than the time limits set by the event organisers. He also didn’t use enough anecdotes to show some personality and demonstrate that he’s out there talking to people.

You can have the policies (and a housing crisis to make them all the more pertinent), but politics at the end of the day is about connecting with people, so you can lead them.

While Smith pandered to the crowd, he at least engaged with them. And engagement is what we need for people to make good decisions at the polling booth.

In the interests of having a truly competitive election, I urge Labour to up its game.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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81 Comments

Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum. Very handy for fancy dress parties, I mean who could tell the difference anyway, let alone get anything meaningful or purposeful out of either. Trouble is how could you vote for either & all of that, more or less, applies equally, to their respective parties.

....But there’s nothing a property investor wants to hear more as house price growth in Auckland stops, than reassurance the economy is buoyant and people want to live here.

Attend a BBQ or any social setting and you'll get the same comment. It's the common thread that sounds good and doesn't require much thought.

“We need that pragmatic realism that you get from Bill English and our Government, so that this country can both be successful, have more kiwis own their own home, but also ensuring we regulate the sector that you invest in, in that practical sort of way.”

Spare me.

I am someone born in the 90s (well under 30) Who was giving serious thought to voting for Labour because I perceived that their poorly designed policies would cause rising values in the housing sector by constructing less houses than National would while at the same time putting private developers off building as much due to the potential of Labour causing a market crash that might wipe out all their profits (resulting in fewer privately built dwellings). Given that most people my age have only recently purchased their houses, a rise in the value of our assets seems like a good thing. Unfortunately my wife seems to believe that I need to vote with the good of the nation in mind instead of the prospect of personal gain.

When I think about how National removed depreciation on buildings, abolished LAQCs, offered tax threshold increases only for the bottom brackets and presided over that largest dole increase ($25 each last year I think) I can remember, it really makes me want to vote Labour.

Especially when you consider that Labour provided me with an interest free student loan (which enabled me to buy my first house) and is targeting benefits at the top 20% of income earners (those who can shift incomes via combinations of trusts, LTCs and private companies, to fit within the target brackets) who already pay 65% of all net income tax!

I was your age once. And while you have sound logic, take it from me this Labour Party have no clue. They are muppets.

It is precisely because they are muppets that I was considering voting for them. I have no doubt that they fully intend to help the bottom when their poorly designed policies end up helping the very top (I hope to be a part of the top so I vote accordingly).
The "unintended" consequences of labour's policies have usually helped me make money. National thinks their policies through and as a consequence there are less opportunities to make money off their new laws :(.

sadr001 -your comments over a long period consistently show you are a property troll. I very much doubt you have ever been interested in voting for Labour.

Until I got married I just voted for whomever would help me make the most money. This cycle I genuinely believe that labour is less capable of implementing their housing policy and more likely to dissuade private developers from developing and as such are more likely to cause increasing property values, making them the superior choice as far as it relates to profiting from property. I've also considered the possibility of Labour causing a housing market crash that would enable me to expand my portfolio ( that would be good too). However if you can provide a reasoned response that is capable of convincing my wife to let me vote Labour as I intend then I'll send you a coffee voucher :)

Here is Andrew Little's speech to the Property Council’s Residential Development Summit at the end of last year. It was well received. Labour made it clear that it wanted to work with the private sector to build more affordable houses. Big builders like Mike Greer have had several meetings with Labour's housing spokesperson -Phil Twyford -they are quite supportive of Labour polices.

The difficulty is explaining these policies in short sound bite media bursts. This process only very slowly educates the public. As Jenee says Phil Twyford and the rest of the Labour team -Andrew Little, Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern need to work on that.

Here is the link to the speech. http://www.labour.org.nz/andrew_little_speech_to_the_property_council_s_...

(No need to send any coffee vouchers -I happily provide this service for free)

I am already convinced that a Labour government would be incompetent and that incompetence is what I find so attractive about them. Sure they sill have to pay building companies to engage in their building program, but I reckon that privately funded residential development will slow down under Labour and kiwibuild will achieve less than half of what they have promised. They may then react in such a way as to throw the country into recession (which is still good because: portfolio expansion). What I need to do is convince my wife that Labour, Green, NZ First together are competent (difficult given that I only like them because I don't believe that they are).

I await Phil Twyford's next forum appearance, where he goes to a brothel to espouse the virtues of celibacy

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Conveniently Nick Smith can claim the reason we have brothel issues is due to Labour, too.

Oh Jenee. You warmed to Nick Smith.
And the problems are a consequence of our success !! I appreciate you were there and I was not, but as a renting millennial does not sound at least corny.

Twyford will be aware his party's policies will exacerbate the current slide in AKL property values so it would suit him in this setting, to confine the debate to historic blame apportionment and social housing philosophic dogma, rather than risk engaging with a hostile audience and attracting media coverage.

I suspect his 'stick to the party script' positioning at this seminar is part of a general moderation of party comments on the housing issue. Probably arising from concerns about home owners mounting realisation they will become the collateral damage from Labours plans to stick it to property investors.

It sounds like Twyford is gun shy after the reaction to the Chinese names issue.
If he was on song he could have been even more forceful by mentioning the "interesting" house purchasing methods of Mr Ron Hoy Fong who may or may not be Chinese. (We don't know. That may not be his name. And besides, he may be an old white dude who is wearing a mask).
On that topic: actually, I await with interest to hear what Mr Fongs' recommended approach to house sales will be when the tide has turned. Its sure to be amusing.

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We have had 9 years of "tact". Time to actually do something.

but who will do what is good for the country and not just to gain power?

No one other than minority parties.
Unfortunately radical policy shifts will not be contemplated until it's too late, and the s@!t has already hit the fan

Why do you think they are different?

What would be an example of something a would-be Government could do that would be good for the country, but which would lose it power?

What would be an example of something a Government could promise in order to gain power, but which would not be good for the country?

What NZ desperately needs is a competitive urban house and land markets. NZ needs to return to its long term average of houses being 3-4 times median incomes. This would solve much of NZ's inequality problems. It would solve the problem of NZ having to subsidise the working poor with ever increasing grants, such as, WFF, FHB mortgage deposit assistance schemes, and accommodation supplements. Competitive urban property markets would allow urban areas to have lower costs which would help NZ transition away from its exporting primary produce dependence.

But none of that can be honestly advocated for because it would threaten the 'wealth' of existing property owners..... the possibility of negativity equity means all the politicians are pulling their punches.

Nothing can be achieved. There is lots of spin about how successful NZ is -but it is bullshit -NZ is drifting down in all the wrong numbers economically, socially....

In my lifetime this problem with potential negative equity was handled by generous doses of inflation.

Yes Bob if a government genuinely wanted to solve the housing crisis. As it was freeing up the supply blockages (land, infrastructure, building materials, labour.....) and reducing demand (immigration, foreign investors, tax system advantaging investors.....). It would have privately prepared beforehand with the Reserve Bank, so the Bank would have accommodative monetary policy ready. Then at the same time as the housing reforms were being announced the Reserve Bank could also announce that its priority for the housing market transition period would be financial stability not general price stability. Interest rates could then be lowered and for a period inflation may track higher.

My personal thinking is for Labour to be successful on housing and to meet the needs of millennials like Jenee -it needs to go hard. There is no point in being timid or promising half measures.

There would be no point in promising to remove half an infected appendix. I think the housing market is the same -either commit to fixing it completely or leave it alone and hope it doesn't spread and infect the whole system......

They are already getting as lesson in politics, just look at their recent polling.....27% and lets not even look at Littles numbers in the Prime Minister stakes he is below Winston Peters. Basically he is gone after the next election.

Yep - the more left they go, the worse they poll. Goff was just left of centre, he did alright but was up against key in his prime. Cunlife was a bit more left, he did bad. Now we have little, and even though national are not exactly loved and have a pretty average leader, he's polling worse than ever. What were they thinking?

And don't forget Shearer, nice guy but not a lot of guile, which in normal life is to be applauded. Clark & Cullen did not leave much of a succession plan. In their own way, equally arrogant and conceited as the present lot.

Well I think if they went way to the left they might do quite well. Especially if they taxed capital more and high incomes. Only a minority would be worse off the majority would be better off.

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I'm a bit confused. For houses to become more affordable, it means prices need to drop. End of story.

Trying to sell that to a bunch of greedy property speculators is always going to be like pissing into a hurricane.

They might be greedy but if they are still buying are they stupid ? the answer is probably not.

" An appalling 1600 New Zealanders - mostly old people - die premature deaths each year .... "

... if they're so appalling Phil , who gives a monkeys that they die prematurely ... although ... if they're already old , and appalling , it's hardly premature ... is it !

On the other hand , if 1600 nice older Kiwis carked it every winter 'cos they couldn't afford the cost of heating , then I for one , I would be appalled ...

... twaddle .... twang .... twat .... tweak ... twerp .... twiddle .... twist ... twit ... twitchy ... twitter .... two-faced ...

Ummmmm ??? .... aha ... there it is , last but not least .... Twyford !

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Time to get away from giving landlords warm fuzzies.
Every landlord with five houses has one vote only plus maybe one from a hanger-on.
The tenants may have from five to perhaps fifteen votes between them, should they choose to vote.
Why bother placating landlords who are the only ones attending such a meeting.

Everything that Labour says may be true. Housing is in crises; the amount we spend on the accommodation supplement is proof of that. The problem for Labour is that few think they can solve the problems.Until that changes they can promise the moon but it won't get them the votes.

Nice and balanced reporting Jenee, ...

Well .. time and again, Mr Twyford just proves that he is between a rock and a hard place and running out of ammunition and time, in addition of not having anything else to say or promise, he keeps moaning and playing on people's emotions as if he is on a charity event ... he does the same in parliament ....I get the same feelings you described when I watch his speeches.

the fact is that labour Cannot go further to the left and PISS off most of the investors and property related businesses who are generating the bulk of the money they need to give away and make them look good with their Mates !! ... he cannot tax them too much either, for the same reason .. so they have to please them privately while bashing them a bit in public ( and sometimes they go a bit too far so they back off a nudge) - Private business is the bread and butter of the Government's Tax income .... so all this BS about bashing the rich and landlords pocketing subsidies etc is very obvious and just playing on the emotions of what some supporters like to hear and ammunition for their cheerleaders. ..

How can anyone square the fact that Labour will need investors and private money to achieve their policies in building and spending large etc while they are announcing other policies to bash and tax the same contributors and possible future business partners ?? .. Its a Joke!! .. makes No sense, unless they are silly enough to shot themselves in the foot before the race.

Labour or ANYONE do not have any plans or ideas to invest say a $100B dollars of private money if it was freed from the housing market tomorrow and made available for business ... Exports will not increase significantly (that is supply and demand to a certain extent - even the number of cows will be regulated lol!!) .. No new businesses will be Opened ( to employ people as they claim !!) unless they are viable projects ( and there is plenty of cash in the market to do that if necessary .. and it has been for many years - most of that money is parked in property for a reason!! there is nowhere else to put it !!! ) and our markets are quite saturated and competitive as they are. So what else will the private money be used for ? ... mum & pop's will park their extra cash in any PROFITABLE business as soon as they see one, be it an infrastructure or any productive project ( look at the IPO and corporate bond subscriptions) - they don't need politicians to tell them what to do with their own money ... or is it that Mr. Twyford is telling us that he knows better ?? - the only thing that he and his mates know and want is to free the money to spend it ( or waste it) as they wish ...

the major difference between Labour and National is that the first tends to force its way on people while the second engage them and works with them -

they are sinking in the polls because they are acting like snake oil sales people, the more they push the more frustrated their customers grow and see clearly what they are on about.

Unfortunately the other minor parties are not much better than them.

Great work Jenee.

the fact is that labour Cannot go further to the left and PISS off most of the investors and property related businesses who are generating the bulk of the money they need to give away and make them look good with their Mates !!

Are you kidding me ? How much tax does the average negative geared investor pay ? A : F all - in fact they lose money and write off the loss against personal income giving a net result of paying even less tax. They also receive accommodation supplements making them even more of a waste of oxygen.

One of the senior out of hours hospital supervisors in the hospital I work for is a big landlord. This supervisor is on a 5 figure salary, they get govt super because they are over 65 and yet due their property 'investments' they pay no tax. This situation has be going on for at least 20 years...

Can anyone explain to me why this is good for NZ and why we collectively support the policies which allows this nonsense to happen?

It's not good for NZ - it's a sort of mutual exchange of votes and dollars between mates, at the expense of young and upcoming generations of Kiwis. Greed-fueled sociopathy, perhaps.

Thanks Rick I agree it is sociopathic. What I also notice is their 'sense of entitlement'. These leeches who contribute nothing to society which they are benefiting from have no sense of shame. In fact they are the same type of people who will attack others for being 'bludgers', 'having too many children', 'spending too much money on smashed avocado', for being 'pretty damn hopeless workers', for being druggies.....

I notice none of the regular landlord commentators -who comment profusely elsewhere -are willing to justify the benefits society gives them....

Indeed - yet witness the squealing if anyone suggests welfare should be given out on the basis of need and we should consider not giving welfare out to elderly multimillionaires via the pension. At that point, they're "entitled" to that welfare.

Darklords are part of an evil underbelly in NZ - the negative consequences on society could well be worse than meth use in terms of total financial damage and the causes of poverty in the country. Therefore one could conclude that meth dealers are of higher moral standing than darklords as they cause less damage to society (NOTE: this is a troll aimed at angering darklords and darklord supporters, and yet there may be some truth to the statement, no apologies to those that are offended).

Labour is and continues to fractured rabble with a thin veneer. Would have had quite a bit of notice on this meeting, could have pitched a property reset and why, as unpopular with specuvestors as that would be. None of this group would vote labour anyway, votes lost...nil.

Perhaps the duddering is a result of Labour mps having rentals as well (was popular under Helen)?

Thanks Jenee for this excellent review

Exploding the supply side myth:

The RBA, APRA and ASIC have recently gone to long overdue lengths to explain the damage to the economy and risks to financial stability posed by record household debt levels and house prices. Yet the most significant mea-culpa inadvertently presented by regulators is that restricting growth in mortgage credit will lower house price growth. This is an implicit admission that rising mortgage debt drives prices higher, a fact long detailed by economists like Steve Keen and Philip Soos, and alternative economic media outlets like MacroBusiness who originally led the charge for macroprudential measures to slow the housing market back in 2013.

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2017/04/the-great-housing-bubble-arse-c...

...dont read that article if your a property bull. Its full of way too much logic..

"Buyers who tell me that they don’t mind buying on a yield of 2.5% because they will get a capital gain need to understand that the capital gain will only come when a buyer is willing to accept an even lower yield.

There is no controversy to the fact that money expansion and interest rates are inversely correlated. The thing that I worked out a year ago is than any asset that demands a yield behaves the same way.

All very good on the face of it, a dropping price increases the yield on a rental. The trouble is when it is credit fueled, which is leverage.

The lesson has been about for some years now, in a low interest environment the concern becomes more a return of your investment, not the return on it. But we all know property in New Zealand is different.

Watched this video recently and couldn't help but think it is a fair reflection of what National and its older 'property investor' supporters have being doing to the younger generation the last 9 years....Think you can buy a house in Auckland....I don't think so....buy their third rental and hi 5's the mates at the next get together...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdWMfm2QZs8

Funny and a fitting analogy to National's sign of success argument

“What our government has been doing is systematically unravelling the different components of those long term issues…”

Blah blah. Cue eye roll.

This is great politics on the part of National, because this is the section of evening where the audience learns that the government is quite happily preventing...

"...the value of their land skyrocketing through no doing of their own..."

...by removing Urban Limitations from cities. But since it is delivered in a Nick Smith mumble-drone and framed as consultative work with councils it can be ignored. The Nats are not going to push the issue and override the wishes of Auckland Council. All is well.

Urban limits are a problem but if you really want to see where construction productivity fell off a cliff have a look at the MBIE graph for the sector from 1990 to today. The cliff face that construction fell off - and has never climbed back up - appears in 1991 when NZ welcomed the now hopelessly flawed RMA.

The Ministry of Works was also was disbanded in 1989 and NZ had a mass culling of small local governments. The larger local governments -such as, Christchurch City Council had greater ability to obstruct what people could do development-wise on their private property. But Councils ability to encourage development -by creating infrastructure/right of way corridors, open spaces etc on publically owned land has always been lacking due to NZ's centralisation of political and fiscal power to Wellington. NZ compared to other developed countries is an outlier in the degree of centralisation of political and fiscal power to central government.

Nearly 30 years later this imbalanced 'urban development machine' can handle very little city growth, without it causing massive hikes in house prices or distortions to monetary policy or massive social economic problems. If NZ had a properly functioning housing market we would not need Macro-prudential policy.

Yet our government allows NZ's population to grow faster than ever -most of it by immigration -which is a policy choice -all non-NZ/Aust citizens immigrants need to get permission to live in NZ. http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/estimates_and_proje...

All of this is head shakingly stupid. Frequently I despair over how stupid NZ is and how gullible it can be to have its attention diverted with dumb messages like 'sign of success', beneficiary bashing, blaming young workers for being 'pretty damn hopeless'. In Christchurch -Brownlee avoiding discussing the biggest event in NZ history -the destruction of NZ's second biggest city -by attacking people for the likes of 'buggering around on facebook'.

So here’s the thing, given Smith momentarily managed to instil greater confidence in me than Twyford, even though my generation has been largely shut out of the property market under Smith’s leadership, something must be wrong.

Not really.

National Party housing policy is better than Labour Party. And you have just sat through a presentation of the two. The current NZ government housing strategy is pretty much okay.

The problem is Auckland, Auckland Council, Len Brown and Phil Goff. The Labour Party has been restricting City land supply and inflating City land cost in Auckland for 8 years now. Labour has locked a generation of Aucklanders out of the property market. Len Brown inflated building costs and Phil Goff is concocting huge sprawls to devour the infrastructure budget.

Unaha-closp I have repeatedly asked you to explain why you think opening up land supply without having a means to provide infrastructure to the land will work. Auckland is growing by a Tauranga every 3 years -this is an infrastructure deficit in the many billions. Explain how that will not create land supply bottlenecks, which opportunistic land owners will use to hike up the asking price of their land. It is a rort and National knows it -all the politicians if you talk to them privately know it. But they are all too scared to touch it. That goes for central and local government.

Phil Twyford is probably the person who has come closest to being open about the issue -by saying he would use a national policy statement in the RMA to make local government abolish urban growth boundaries and he would create a Treasury infrastructure bond unit which would fund the infrastructure which developers need.

He also said he would put protections on Pukekohe growing soils, I sincerely hope he is sticking to that

"National Party housing policy is better than Labour Party??" And you have just sat through 9 years of National.??

(You obviously don't have children or any concern for future generations)

The problem is Auckland indeed and National's opening the floodgates on immigration and foreign ownership has been the primary cause. Its not just housing, its education, hospitals, traffic, crime, race issues - the list goes on.

Chicken /egg and National has been the chicken. You can see how embarrassed Smitty is with the BS he has to sprout by his red face.

I've sat through 8 years of a Labour Auckland Council and 9 years of a National government - the National Party are less worse.

Well here's the thing - last time I looked National run the country and if there is a hiccup they legislate a correction - for an example see what they are thinking after being stymied on the free water for the cockies at the taxpayers expense.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503462...

"The Government is considering a law change that will allow projects like Ruataniwha Dam to go ahead despite the Supreme Court's decision to reject a land swap proposal that was vital to the project."

Regardless - if you want to ignore the immigration point and the query on being childless and ignoring future generations that's fine too....

Auckland Council has swapped around land to create huge oversized suburbs, not some minor water feature.

Auckland Council designs suburbs that are huge sprawls extending miles into the distance, destroying valuable farmland and creating pointlessly long polluting commutes.

1, It illegal to build SE of Kumeu, but if you want to build NW of Kumeu then Auckland Council will spend $millions putting in infrastructure to quadruple the size of Kumeu - only to the NW so the commutes are longer and more polluting, never to the SE.
2, It is illegal to build south of Dairy Flat, building must take place north of Dairy Flat.
3, Building on the horse paddocks next to the railway station at Swanson is forbidden, but Auckland Council will triple the size of Warkworth so everyone can drive 50km more for pointless polluting commute.
4, Ardmore has lots of flat drained swamp next to existing infrastructure - illegal until 2037. Pukekohe a hill miles off on productive cropland - paved over and all at the cost of $millions.
5. Whitford - no. Wellsford to be doubled.
And so on...

Paving over great swathes of the Auckland region is awful. Extending commutes by pointless wasteful miles is environmentally unsustainable.

And the point is that, unlike that dam, this pollution is actually happening - due to regulations written by Labour.

Go on play the "oh look over there, an immigrant, it must be her fault, get her" card, because that is all you have.

Labour's land use restrictions! Yet another reason to vote Labour. They have helped raise the amount of equity held by all existing homeowners. You have got to wonder why poor people ever vote for Labour!

Wrong "due to regulations written by Labour". Phil Twyford as Labour's housing spokesperson has a policy to remove urban growth boundaries -which would include the boundaries to the areas you specify. Further he has a policy to provide infrastructure funding so those areas can be opened up. This would let the market decide -not planners -those areas with the best sales prospects -due to closeness, amenities, cost etc would sell best.

It is sad when a political party promises to do one thing, but keeps on doing the opposite. But hardly unusual.

The RUB was written by Len Brown (LAB) and is currently being implemented by Phil Goff (LAB). This is an Auckland Council regulation, seriously. Our Labour Party Mayors have the power to implement the largest part of that so-called Labour Party policy and yet don't. More than that they actively set out to do the opposite.

"Hey Labour Party! Are you struggling to make headway in this election campaign? Are you losing ground and voters? Does it look increasingly unlikely you will make it into office? May I offer some advice? You have a good housing policy. And your politician Phil Goff, who you got us to vote into power, has the power to implement the policy. Without trying to offend you or upset anyone. Would it be okay if you stopped acting like an incompetent shower of party and actually implement your own policy?"

DO IT ALREADY.

Unaha-closp

Here is an article from the NBR titled -"Debate over Auckland's urban limits rages on" -discussing your complaints -10 years ago in 2007 -so before the SuperCity -and before Len Brown and Phil Goff's were the Mayors of Auckland.

It is immensely frustrating that NZ in 10+ years has made no progress working through the issues causing blockages to its housing supply (ignoring demand for the moment) -which consists of the following factors -land supply, infrastructure supply, building materials duopoly, skilled labour shortages. With the first two being the most important. Unaha-closp I think it is naive to blame one side of the political spectrum and two politicians.

Here is the relevant bits of the NBR article.

"The research, conducted by Dr Arthur Grimes and Yun Liang from the Motu economic and public policy research centre found that since 1998 (when a formal policy on the urban limit was introduced in Auckland) the main reason for the significant increase in house prices had been an increase in land values......

But their calls were questioned by members of the audience who said that not all factors were being taken into account.

An Auckland City Council representative said the study failed to address the cost of supplying infrastructure to new housing developments outside the limit - particularly sewerage plants that were hugely expensive.

The housing affordability issue has heated up recently with the National Party wading into the debate, saying it would release more land on the outskirts of urban centres (NBR , Aug 10)."
https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/debate-over-aucklands-urban-limit-rages

So land supply and infrastructure supply was known about 10 years ago and what has been done about it? Why didn't National solve it like it promised?

Note: Auckland's urban limits date back until at least 1998 -so that is nearly 20 years worth of politicians to blame.

Brendon,

I think, Auckland now uses too much land. The amount of land needed under average city development, with the sort of population increases Auckland anticipates, is about 20-25% expansion. Auckland currently plans to consume about 30% or more of the surrounding countryside. Which means our infrastructure costs are high and inefficient.

In 1998-2008 Auckland probably didn't have enough land to expand on to and that article is relevant to that time. What National did was solve that problem by telling Auckland to open up more land and then Auckland Council complied in a very weird way.

Auckland weirdness is very weird, approximate sizes of planned urban limit growth of towns under the Unitary Plan are: Wellsford - 100%; Warkworth - 200%; Helensville - 15%; Orewa - 100%; Kumeu - 300%; Riverhead - 70%; Auckland - 15%; Clarks Beach - 80%; Pukekohe - 80%. Additional to this lots of smaller urban units have been stripped of an RUB completely.

Now looking at those figures (check on the plan viewer) and remembering the 20-25% growth Auckland needs means two problems. Firstly - the council have short supplied Auckland City. Secondly - the council is spending way too much on sprawling land supply.

BTW - I do blame 2 other politicians, John Key and Rodney Hide, who created the legal fiction that every urban area in the Auckland region is a part of Auckland City. But the loophole they created (which allows this mess) still required a wilful manipulation of planning by Auckland Council, so that makes the council worse. And the Labour council know they could solve the problem by carrying out their own Labour Party policy. It is not like they aren't aware of the solution, they own the solution.

Weirdly Unaha-closp -I tend to agree with you that Auckland (also Greater Christchurch which I am more familiar with) is sprawling too much.

I think this is related to;
1. Councils having too little funding to make upfront investments in infrastructure -public transport in particular -that would shift Auckland away from automobile dependent housing developments -which is incredibly land hungry.
2. Land prices not falling as much as they could -so what new building is undertaken tends to be trophy housing -McMansions -not housing to meet the needs of a typical Aucklander (or Cantabrian).
3. Car dependent sprawl does not pay the full cost of their development -these developments add to road congestion -but without congestion charges -developers are under no incentive to change the way they design new housing suburbs.

I blame Wellington for each of these points because they prevent local government from having the powers to make the needed changes.

Brendon,

I am familiar with Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga (not Christchurch, though it would be sad if it has the same problems there as Auckland).

1, Very little new upfront investment is required. Councils already have existing public infrastructure in their Cities. This requires merely marginal increases over time. Cities that utilise this infrastructure advantage are successful in growing. Auckland has idiotically decided to build suburbs absurdly long distances away from Auckland City and ban suburbs adjacent to the city. Tauranga and Hamilton build close to their cities. As a result, where Tauranga and Hamilton utilise their city's existing public infrastructure to develop, Auckland refuses. The modes of development employed by Hamilton and Tauranga are much more efficient than Auckland. Consequently the rate of housing construction in Hamilton and Tauranga is much faster than in Auckland.

2, Land costs are impacted by land supply, Auckland short supplies land to Auckland City. But Auckland oversupplies land to the Auckland Region. As a result city land costs have increased to retard building in the city and yet there is an oversupply of land available suitable for sprawl.

3, Car dependent sprawl is hideously expensive not just in the terms you mention, but also environmentally. Auckland Council has decided for no reason whatsoever to build lots of car dependent sprawl. Developers would love to build in the city or close to the city, because lots of potential customers want live there. However the idiotic Auckland Council have banned proximate suburbs and ratcheted up land costs in the city.

Auckland Council already has the power to allow building next to Auckland City - the only power it needs.

BTW - I wouldn't congratulate the government for the success of Hamilton or Tauranga. Rather I'd congratulate Hamilton & Tauranga Councils.

Unaha-Closp you still do not understand the way Auckland's car dependency motorway sprawl growth model has reached its infrastructure limits. Auckland local government is stuck between a rock (housing affordability) and hard place (infrastructure limits). Doing what Tauranga and Hamilton is doing, which is what Auckland did post WW2 is no longer an option. We need to try something different. Try reading this http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/81705/david-lupton-says-we-need-approp...

.

Unaha- "Last time I looked National run the country - not some city council."

So no kids then or any feelings towards future generations.....

Keep it classy. You are fine credit to your type.

It's simple - Labour and National are both equally to blame.
However putting aside their vast under-performance in the past on housing, it is Labour who have the superior policy moving forward.
Still won't be voting for them though (and I won't be voting for National either)

Smalltown. Of the dollars generated from irrigation, 'the cockies' you cite receive only a fraction. Significant income benefit also goes to suppliers of inputs and labour to those farms and the towns and people in them who thrive wherever irrigation schemes are built. Witness the transformation in Canterbury in places like Ashburton and Timaru. If advancing an 'at the taxpayers expense' argument, the gains to the tax system from the entire production chain also need to be factored in.

And to spare the blood pressure of environmentalists, this discussion is about economics only.

Yeah - thats right up there with the theory that the NZ paid for David Beckham soccer team visit a while ago generated much more in tax revenue than it cost NZ or the World Cup in NZ did the same - both shot down big time. A few groups do well - in the dam case it will be the cockies increased farm value in having a reliable water supply.

Immigration is the root cause of most of our housing crisis .

Who knows how many migrants have arrived since the building slump of 2008 , but I guess its around 250,000 people ( 75,000 last year alone) .

With virtually no houses being built in 2008/9 and even up to 2011, what was the Government's strategy to house everyone arriving ?

My biggest beef is that the Government did not even bother to give us the heads up .......... for God's sake they knew how many Visa'a they were issuing to people overseas to come and live here .

Why on earth did they not ( and / or still dont ) tell us what they are doing opening to doors for all and sundry?

And we did not build anywhere near enough houses over the past 10 years

With so many people arriving what did we expect ?

That house prices would remain static, and that we could all afford to buy one ?

Unfortunately , Labour seems hell bent on keeping these immigration settings in place , so the crisis can only continue and could get worse before it gets better

Approved residents from 2009 to 2016 inclusive = 351,107 and 2017 will be much the same once the last months data is released by MBIE. Then there are working-holiday and other 'temporary' work visas. And record numbers of students and tourists who may be WWOOFing.

But even our PM has admitted that if we slow down the immigration flow that we risk going into recession - so the thing that is putting us in trouble (housing bubble caused by immigration as you say) is also the thing that is keeping us afloat (preventing recession). So in reality, National has paddled the country up sh^t creek and we have no paddle (oh and the captain jumped ship last year). Well played National, well played.....Round of applause please of JK and his team for leading this rock star economy up sh^t creek.

Simply put, National have not proved to be competent economic managers of the country. They've built their economic house on the sand, not a firm foundation.

Short-termism at its finest, to cling to power - at the expense of Kiwis who follow.

But worthy of a Knighthood....

His knighthood and $5.50 will almost get you a coffee at most AKL cafes.

Less if you sport a nice blonde ponytail.

um

... thumbs up ... very good point !

The thing is the under 30s are not voting, the property "investors" are. It is simple, get out and vote so you become a voting block worth politicians time to not ignore. From looking at how UK Labour did in the last election where the young voted they made a difference, so its up to you.

Turtles, Turtles all the way down...