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Jenée Tibshraeny argues this is the opportune time to raise benefits, with homeowners happy, business confidence high and the pre-election battle for 'middle NZ' still a wee way off

Jenée Tibshraeny argues this is the opportune time to raise benefits, with homeowners happy, business confidence high and the pre-election battle for 'middle NZ' still a wee way off
Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson. Image supplied by Ardern's office.

By Jenée Tibshraeny

The Beehive was abuzz with government ministers and staffers chuffed with the Budget on Thursday.

With Winston Peters out of the way and more headroom in the books than expected five months ago, Finance Minister Grant Robertson went into Budget 2021 with options.

He picked the right time - politically and economically - to focus on the redistribution of wealth by raising benefits.

With an election more than two years away, Robertson could afford to effectively say, “Hey swing voting 'middle New Zealand', you’re going to have to sit tight for a bit while we focus on the most vulnerable.”

Public relations consultant and former National Party press secretary, Ben Thomas, made the point Robertson had to move quickly on benefit increases.

If house price inflation plummets, as The Treasury forecasts, "fabled middle New Zealanders won't feel so indulgent about the poor getting their tax money".  

Indeed, it would be rich for any of the 60% of the population who own homes to grumble about the Government providing beneficiaries with more support, when they’ve benefited enormously from the Reserve Bank’s (RBNZ) efforts to boost inflation and employment by lowering interest rates.

A person paying the average two-year mortgage rate in May 2019 (3.93%) on a $500,000 mortgage with a 30-year term, would’ve paid $546 a week.

Someone paying the current average two-year rate (2.52%) on the same sized loan, would only pay $457 a week. That’s a saving of $89 a week.

And given the median house prices increased by 19% from April 2020 to April 2021 (according to the latest REINZ figures), property owners are sitting pretty.

Sure, the gains might not be realised, but property owners have more equity from which they can leverage - an option assetless people don’t have.

Someone with a good share or KiwiSaver portfolio would also have done well. The NZX 50 Index is 17% higher than it was a year ago for example.

Asset owners aren’t in a position to complain about the Government providing beneficiaries with less support than the RBNZ has effectively provided them.

What about wealth creation?

National raised the point the Budget doesn’t focus enough on growing the economy.

It wrongly denied the reality that boosting benefits will be stimulatory. Beneficiaries are more likely to spend any extra money they receive than people who aren’t living hand-to-mouth.

But one of National’s finance spokespeople, Andrew Bayly, made a fair suggestion around how the Budget could’ve supported businesses more.  

He maintained Robertson could’ve made it easier for businesses to write off plant and equipment as an expense, rather than depreciate the asset. This would encourage investment, which would boost productivity.

But, for all the grumbling from business lobby groups, business confidence is the highest it's been since Labour came into government in 2017.

The Government has supported businesses with the wage subsidy. Business can still get part-government underwritten bank loans, as well as interest-free government loans.

The Government also made a number of business tax tweaks last year.

Businesses need the right immigration and industry-specific regulatory settings to encourage growth. These are issues dealt with outside of the Budget.

Investment in infrastructure and housing are central to the Government’s strategy to grow the economy. It’s imperative it ups its game on this front.

The issue is more about ensuring there is the capability and capacity to deliver what’s needed, than about ensuring the money is there to fund the work.

Robertson is aware it’s cheaper to invest in infrastructure now than push this out into the future. The effective real interest rate on debt has been negative since the onset of COVID-19.

But the more resource the Government uses for building projects, the less is available for the private sector.

Civil Contractors New Zealand said it needs more certainty and consistency in a government work programme, which seems to be “eternally reassessed”.

Don't worry 'middle New Zealand', the politicians will come for you closer to the election

Working renters are the ones who feel they've fallen between the cracks.

This group is expected to be thankful to have a job, and reassess their expectations around home-ownership.

Robertson could support this group by reducing the rate on the lowest income tax bracket (currently 10.5% on income up to $14,000).

He could also take up National MP Simon Bridges’ Members Bill, which proposes raising tax brackets with inflation.

Robertson has room to knee-cap National closer to Election 2023 with some sort of income tax relief that could disproportionately benefit low-income earners.

In the meantime, health might be the centre piece in the next Budget. Those reforms aren't going to happen on their own, and investment in health is more paletable for swing voters than welfare. 

But while we’ve seen a glimpse of a ‘Red Robo’ in Budget 2021, the Finance Minister remains a measured political operator, who will go to great lengths to avoid being called imprudent.

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Wow and people called John Key the "smiling assassin" , this pair are the "smiling assassin's" and are far more deadly !


Yeah not to forget their henchman - Mr Orr.


Is Mr Orr a Henchman or a HANGMAN - killing Hopes and Aspiration of average Kiwi.


Mr Orr's decisions have caused more harm to more people in NZ then almost every other 'elite' before him.


Orr's decisions will be regarded in the future as the most destructive actions on the NZ economy that any RBNZ Governor had ever taken.


Hysteria is driving these comments. It was the same when landlords decried they would all sell up, that hasn't happened. Plastic bags being banned generated the sky is falling comments. Bet you're all still shopping just fine. Grow up.



The damage takes years to manifest. By then the leaders who set the train wreck in motion would have moved on patting themselves on the back. The time delay, and reception of numerous awards will shield them from any future culpability.

Sums up National and Act pretty nicely Pat

I thought JK was the worst PM in NZ's history for flooding the country with rent seeking foreign capital, and hyperinflating the Auckland housing market. Now I think JA has taken the cake for prioritising woke political correctness over logic, and wrecking the economy.

We're actually doing really well Pat. What part has been wrecked?

Sums up National and Act pretty nicely Pat.

dcnbwz - you are correct at present but decisions are likely to have been made and implemented over time and that is when we will discover the real reactions to past policies. History tells us that effects can be sufficiently remote from the cause to be not attributed to the cause but the effects remain and in this situation we learn little and this is the story of politicians of both colours. Based on my experience of living in two countries the results of the left are worse than the centre or right.

I'm not certain that Labour could really be called truly left. They're still implementing policies strongly based in neoliberal economics.

While I agree there wont be a mass exodus from the market by landlords....don't forget some of the changes wont impact fully until 4 years. Will be interesting to see if there are any consequences for both renters and/or landlords.


They are laughing on FHB - SHAMELESS CREATURES


It's all a game to them. It's not about improving lives, it's all about getting voted in again.


Ass ass ins.

The frowning assassin


The budget missed a much needed infrastructure opportunity. Roads, drainage, money for councils to invest in longterm assets. That would provide jobs, grow the economy and create housing for those in motels. Instead the kitty will be frittered away on the usual consumption with nothing to show in a year. Benefits are already 7.5b with another 7 5b for super. 280 million each week. Nothing sustainable


WINZ just signed up 40 Rotorua motels for a year, so out of sight and mind for twelve more months.

Well they won't open the borders for 12 months then.

Really ? Source please ?

All these lucky motel owners making mega bucks out of the taxpayer and the suffering of others. I bet there are a few motel owners who are jealous as they are missing out on this wicked windfall.

They are going to need the good incomes to get their motels back up to standard when they go back to their core business.

100% agree. Just witnessed it first hand in recent trip to Taupo. Both the long termers staying in rooms next to ours had smelly dogs and smoked most of the day away listening to gangster rap at full volume.. I would stay again but I'm picking most won't

Hope you requested a refund.

That sounds utterly hideous.

Might be referring to this article - but the number directly contracted by the govt isn't stated;

Forget Bitcon/houses/stocks.
The best investment seems to be a motel in any area with housing shortage (99percent of the country)
Governmnet seems to be paying at least double the rate I would.

Yeah but motel business and call Me Robertson to rent them.

This people have really lost it and instead of finding meaningful solution, going for short term by brushing everything under the carpet.

Is it really too hard to buy some of these motels and pay someone $100k to manage them...would save tax payers a lot of money in the long run.


At least the motel owners bank balances have been transformed. Maybe thats what she meant?


The investments in property and shares are not risk free and the capital is sourced from investors themselves. On the other hand, government payouts to beneficiaries are risk free with the capital being sourced from tax payers who actively contribute to the economy and society in general. Comparing haves and have-nots without comparing risks is pretty moot.

That said, I would rather my tax dollars be spent on building more jails and reinstate hard labour.

When the sweat breaks on the back working on a new rail track, some may come to the realisation that senseless breeding and putting that bill on someone else is wrong.

And the grace of the whip might change the minds of criminals who thought they are entitled to rob that poor dairy owner. The dairy owner who invested his lifetime keeping his business afloat only to be robbed of his hard work and suffered unnecessary physical and psychological traumas.

The "Well-being budget" sounds like a palliative care program being up-sold by the the mortician and the anesthetist working actively towards a demise.


Investing in property has risk? With Orr in charge, hillarious.


Yes, Orr will try everything he can (regardless of the damaging effects to the real NZ economy) to prevent the over-inflated housing Ponzi from collapsing under its own weight.
However, even Reserve Banks have no limitless powers - there comes a point where market forces (and common sense) prevail, and when this happens many housing specuvestors will be in for a very rude awakening.Once interest rates have reached rock bottom, and QE is already in full swing, the law of diminishing return kicks in.
If inflation kicks in and the RBNZ is forced to raise rates significantly, the effect on house prices could be catastrophic. Orr, with his reckless expansion of the monetary base and his ultra-loose monetary policies, is conducting a very dangerous experiment on the NZ economy, an experiment that might implode in his (and ours) hands.

Common sense is not exactly common anymore

The sky is constantly falling for a lot of the commenters here. It will be great to review these in a year and see where the facts lay.

You believe that policies that led to the great inflation and stagflation of the 1970s won't lead to an equally bad outcome this time?
Central Banks all over the world have fallen for the specious Greenspan/Bernanke theories that printing money produces a "wealth effect"
that lproduces increased economic growth leading to job creation. Ardern/Robertson have swallowed this "free lunch" theory and changed
RBNZ's mandate to include a "full employment" target. This has predictably led to an asset price bubble, which when it bursts will lead to
a recession or even a depression.


Investment in property use to be risky earlier but not anymore, when PM of the country assures that come what may under her house price will never fall and has people like Mr Orr who shares the same vision to support by their action and inaction.

Wait for the smirk on the face of Sickman on 26th May.

Disappointing to see such a blatant misrepresentation of what JA said about house prices still getting trotted out.


Can you clarify please officebound? She did say she doesn’t want to see house prices fall and wants to see sustained small levels of growth year on year even though we have topped the housing unaffordablity in the entire OECD. Fomo still running hot thanks to that statement.


Office found, sorry to disappoint you but she did mention that she does not want the house price to fall - comming from PM also she mentioned that No Kiwi wants house price to fall.....Sorry to disappoint you again but was wrong again - please ask, if you or anyone can to get her facts :

Too add to that link Stuart for Officebounds benefit: “sustained moderation” or small increases is what she wants.

House prices need to drop to sustainable levels. 70% on NZers want this. Unless Jacinda only governs for the 30%.


It would be fantastic if the team could hit the PM up about this if they are in a presser with her.

'Research shows that 3/4's of New Zealanders want house prices to fall' but the PM stated last year that 'most NZ'ers want house prices to rise'. This isn't a true statement - shes out of touch with what a clear majority of kiwis want. What the - can we clear this up with the Labour government some how? The narrative they're holding onto, isn't the same narrative helds by most kiwis.

Yip there is some old age property owners who say they want prices to fall BUT so long as it does not affect them and their house(s). They only say it for the grandkids sake but not genuine in the slightest

Did she say she does not want house prices to fall?
Did she really?
I don't believe she did - would love to be corrected if am wrong.

I think she said 'most people don't want house prices to fall' - which you've then twisted into 'she said she didn't want house prices to fall', and then you've again twisted it into her saying prices will never fall under her, then you've gone on the internet and said it repeatedly.

It sounds like you’re twisting the natural and ordinary meaning of her words. This is like when the Finance Minister lied and later described himself as being too definitive (whatever that means). This Government has some good ideas but the fanbois, many in the media included, are not helping it (or the country) address the structural issues. The Government deserves criticism and hard questions, but too often many are willing to turn a blind eye because it’s their lot.

What she said is people expect small price increases.

She was very clear about it. As quoted by Jenee, 7 December - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she would like to see small increases in houses prices, acknowledging most people “expect” the value of their most valuable asset to keep rising.


Property investment seems risk free given that the RBNZ and government are willing to intervene in the market and do anything to prevent house prices from ever falling. A real market, with real risk, goes both up and down.

Not sure why property investors expect to be rewarded with any return at all really when it’s the central bank, the retail bank and the government (ie tax payers) who are carrying all of the property investors risk.

Property investment seems risk free given that the RBNZ and government are willing to intervene in the market and do anything to prevent house prices from ever falling. A real market, with real risk, goes both up and down.
Banks have migrated away from lending to productive business enterprises because the risk weights can be as high as 150%.

Thus around 60% of NZ bank lending is dedicated to residential property purchases for one third of already wealthy households because the RBNZ offers them an RWA capital reduction incentive, to do so.

Bank lending to housing rose from $50,788 million (48.36% of total lending) as of Jun 1998 to $305,039 million (60.75%) of total lending) as of March 2021.

NZ bank depositors face more risk for virtually nil rewards while banks reap obscene profits with virtually no capital risk exposure.

According to the Reserve Bank, the new capital requirements mean banks will need to contribute $12 of their shareholders' money for every $100 of lending up from $8 now, with depositors and creditors providing the rest.


Senseless breeding read state funded incentivised breeding.

Yep... heard one solo mum beneficiary being interviewed who had FIVE children! Like what the?!

Oh FFS, you do not know the circumstances not that stops your judgemental comments.


Build more jails-hard labour-"the grace of the whip"-i love that one. Why stop there? Surely a few hangings would help, along with the good old Dickensian workhouses, some child labour, well, lots of child labour.
In order to better mirror your Victorian 'paradise', such things as holidays should be severely restricted, with the working day increased significantly. All these ridiculous health and safety regulations should certainly go. Is your middle name Gradgrind by any chance?

Pretty sadistic person I'd say

Pretty sadistic person I'd say

What inhumanity and cruelty you display.


It’s inhuman to bring 5 children into world when you have not partner, no job, no skills, no home and no hope. I.e you are hopeless. And the woke liberal left crowd can crow as much as they like, but we have a system which is encouraging this behaviour and by heck the hopeless are responding.


Agree wholeheartedly, but then again I’m labelled a racist anytime I object to any Maori specific policy. Here is NZs wonderful fix: Pay Mums on benefits not to have kids, yes a quarterly payment of $750 for not getting pregnant between the ages of 17 and 35. Now, if you want kids whilst a solo Mum and receiving a benefit, you forgo the payment and do not get any additional payment for subsequent children. Medical care and contraception is free. Applies to all colours, creeds and religions.
NZ has too many vermin popping out more vermin and my attitude to eugenics would earn the ire of the left readership on this site.


I can't speak for others but I label you racist because you effectively called the whole Maori race lazy. That's clearly racist. I am surprised you are still allowed to comment on this website.


He never said that at all. You’re trying to twist his words to suit your narrative and get him censored because you can’t think of an intelligible reply. Toxic behaviour that’s all to common in NZ. Shameful

He did say that. I will dig it up shortly to 'prove it'

Here you go, his comment at 7.51pm.

When referring to Maori:
'The only common ground is sucking in tax payers for a sense of complicity in their poor social status. Anyone want a payout...'

So you tell me how negative comments on an entire race of people - the only 'common ground' of Maori - is not racist... go on, tell me.


Having come from a UK white working class background he as much as anyone should understand how disadvantage is perpetuated and how hard it can be to break out of that cycle.
Would he say that all white working class people in the UK are sucking off the state?
No because it would be a gross and unfair generalization.

The only reference to Maori was specific targeting of benefits to one race only which is racist, you seem to infer the other comments as relating only to Maori but that is just your perception, Maori are not referred to.

I am of Maori descent. There was nothing in the comment to suggest all Maori are lazy.

Pointless contriving and twisting of others words to suit your own agenda.

I would like to see NZ having a pro-active social and economic policy, devoid of race-based favouritism, not expecting those with police records to get Aus citizenship as others on here have suggested, not dumping basic education standards for woke, virtue signalling, not smashing productive investment, not vilifying farmers, landlords, property developers and the like, not banning mining then importing fuel from third-world countries lacking in environmental and human rights, not investing in ridiculous energy-intensive "solutions" such as the Onslow battery, not continuing to house people in motels instead of actually investing in social housing (ie. import 3D houses from China - just do it!), not engaging in separatist policies (where is Winston when we need him), not promoting endless sole-parents thereby entrenching further inter-generational welfare and poverty. And I AM MAORI!!! Why do you think so many Maori go to Aus (and most do so well there).

If you ever go in to politics, you've got my vote.

What a disgusting comment you make not knowing anything of the circumstances. Just straight inhumane bigotry.

What a disgusting comment you make not knowing anything of the circumstances. Just straight inhumane steareotyping.

There is literally nothing that you have suggested here that will make the country a better place. Hard labour, jails, punishment, etc - all achieve the opposite of what you want - unless of course your objective is to make people suffer?

The Dalai Lama has a covert interest account!

Well reasoned but too complex for most unfortunately. Responsibility is no longer necessary, perhaps we have evolved in some way?


The current government don't care about the long term consequences of getting more and more people addicted to welfare. All they care about is the next election. I don't think there is a more cruel and heartless group anywhere in NZ than Robertson and his power hungry mates.

Any facts you're basing your welfare comments on?

I think the fact incurable medical conditions cause permanent often degenerative disabilties has more to do with lack of moving off welfare. When you lose the ability to stand or lift your arms or breathe unaided you can still read and write but few orchards & even government departments will have job openings for you. Most will not even give you access to the worksite to begin with. Many will deny you any business trade outright as well.


He picked the right time - politically and economically - to focus on the redistribution of wealth by raising benefits.
What wealth?
Borrowed credit, to be funded in the future, masquerading as wealth in the form of the $40.061bn Crown Settlement account balance.

Locking in votes for the next election. Like Democrats with their amnesty.


I actually quite like that the government has increased allowance for the beneficiaries. It is depressing to sit on peanuts when you have fallen on hard times.

What really gets me is the lack of incentives to get them into the work force. When National was in power I thought they initially did a great job with getting the people moving in terms of, they had to show something in order to get benefits. Then they just went absolutely rogue and nasty with it. Forgetting that both John and Paula came from a beneficiary upbringing and how they need to help and uplift rather than suppress.

With this government, they have the right mindset but inadequate execution. I love the winter energy payments though I wish this was means tested.

Beneficiaries more than anyone need a helping hand in being lifted in our society but just throwing cash isn’t enough. They need to be provided education, internships, apprenticeships, jobs (government jobs?) and we really need to lend a hand in getting them moving.

Why are we importing construction workers, baristas, hospitality staff etc when we can train our able beneficiaries to perform the same tasks? Surely it is good for their self esteem and mental health too.

These lines of work involve waking up early and having good routines. Too hard for many people.

I don’t believe this to be the case, and if it is then the government should reduce unemployment benefits if the person has been unemployed for over an year. And should have held a job for at least a year before they leave to get the standard benefit again.

The thing is though, I think with a specialised training program, joining forces with employers and setting them up for success is what is needed. I rather have our tax money spent on improving the education and employment of these people than paying greedy landlords and moteliers to house them. Give a person a fish and he can eat a meal. Teach them to fish and they can look after their family. Empowering them is what is needed not making them dependant.

No thumbs up there passerby.

Having worked in social services and insolvency and a good mate managing a sallies I can tell you it's no secret there's a percentage of people who will never be employed as they are unemployable. They will never work, never want to work and you can't make them. Governments know this. Hence we pay benefits to keep the crime rate down.

What do you want... less benefits and more crime? Or benefits and lower crime. I know how I'd rather my tax dollars spent.

Theoracle, I can understand there is a percentage of able bodied beneficiaries who won’t work. It is a shame but I agree with that. For the children of these beneficiaries and large majority we really need to support them to progress. Imagine if the beneficiaries who can’t and won’t work have 5 kids in each household, imagine what their future will be like. They grow up knowing not much other than life on benefits and unfortunately the cycle will continue for at least 3 of the 5, if not all 5. Teachers, communities and support will be crucial to get them out of the place they are stuck in. Mentally at least.

It is sad, I agree with you.

I think NZ is lost/ has lost all self-respect as a nation and is floundering around trying to develop an identity somehow.

I would like to see a shared identity, uniting all groups, not a separatist agenda, I'd like to see productivity and massive government investment instead of namby-pamby, embarrasing attempts at investment. I guess I would like to see a "big" NZ, which is not what others want. Big in terms of policies, ideals, culture and identity. Promoting self-respect and high, high achievement through education standards, outstanding productivity (I don't mean benny breeders), but setting the bar high for ourselves, not accepting this low bar of mediocrity.

Can you hazard a guess on the percentage of unemployed who are unemployable? My daily walk past the Manukau welfare office with clients suggests it is sizeable, but my stereotyping is based on the guttural language, attire, spitting etc. When you can suck on your cigarette and throw a butt into a street whilst requiring a Gov handout I just scratch my head.....The sad thing is seeing the kids drinking flavoured water and barefooted.

Funny because most jobseekers are disabled or carers for disabled people. Fun fact there is no cure for most medical conditions causing disabilities. Not unless you are the son of God. Do you feel like a saint because you are not acting anywhere near one or even like you had a basic moral education.

There are around 25,000 job vacancies in NZ. Yet, there are 130,000 people looking for work, another 250,000 wanting more hours at work, and many tens of thousands more who would step back into employment if the right job came up. Furthermore, most of the jobs are in urban centres that are unaffordable for most.

The fiundamental issue here is that our economic model relies on keeping unemployment at around 4% - just low enough to create healthy competition for most jobs so that wages and conditions can be kept low. Given that this is the case, how can we justify leaving the unemployed in abject poverty?

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If you are in a coma or undergoing a medical event yes it would be pretty hard to wake up everyday at 7am or before that for work, however your family would still need somewhere to live and newsflash income support is not individualised so the partners often depend on the unconscious disabled one they are providing medical support for their income to pay rent.

A percentage on benefits do not want to work. Or they do cash work.

You will never get them to work no matter what you do, penalties, incentives or whatever. It is hard to accept this but it is how it is.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

Better to just let that group go, pay them the benefit, hope that crime stays a bit lower as a consequence (as opposed to not paying them).

And focus investment into people who do want further education or employment.

Full employment will never happen. Not sure why people think beneficiaries who don't want to work can be made to work. They simply wont.

I agree with you NZ could do a whole lot more re incentives and have always thought paying people not to breed is a logical incentive.

However, a percentage on benefits who can work simply never will or can never be made to. It is pointless investing energy trying to get them to. Yes it is sad, a shame, a waste. For them, their families and society and hard for those of us who do/ have always worked to understand.

I would like to see more incentives across the board in NZ similar to Australia. Ie, stop breeding on benefits, option to access your super from 60, low deposit home-loans (Australia approved 2% deposit home loans for single parents to incentivize them and housing construction), more emphasis on basic skills in education, not silly woke posturing and getting little kids to stand up and feel guilt about "white privilege".

NZ seems to have just gone down such a divided, desperate, woke track of misguidedness in recent years. Not really a "team of 5 million" eh.

The quote is like: Smile on your failures, laugh on your foolishness, learn from your mistakes.

Which I believe these drumheads don't follow they only "Smile on there failures, laugh on there foolishness".

Unfortunate for kiwis..

Beware the free lunch. Its way, way better for your long term financial health to leverage up at a high LVR and higher interest rates while housing is depressed, than it is to load up with cheap debt at the top of a market through FOMO. Incentives from govt only mask reality.

When can we next expect high interest rates & depressed asset prices though? 2050?

I respect your point but with I can easily see this being a buy high sell higher market especially given the govts current approach to inflation.

I have no idea, but I'm not worried about it.

Hi Jenee,

On Wednesday Mr Orr ( if not sick) or any from rbnz is bound to come with reason and excuses to go for WAIT AND WATCH.


Will play passing the buck with Robertson to play with time


Even if they do decide to act under pressure, will give a long window ( time frame with excuse of implimentation constrain) for speculators to plunder more ( just as, how they gave a long timeframe to reintroduce of LVR and the result was all to see that just in one month before reintroduction, house price wnt up by 10 in a month - february).

My question is why does journalist and media allow them to getaway with silly excuses or flimsy reason that they throw and get away. Should not only ask questions but should grill them ( argue / counter question them on their silly excuse) as should not be allowed to getaway with smirk on their face - Wishfull thinking.

I would guess it is so they are not in the outer. It really gets me when journalists don’t counter back to the sleuth of nonsense sometimes spouted by RBNZ and the government. When Jacinda says house prices need to have sustainable increase, why is there no counter to that? Why just acceptance when we are number 1 (yayyy) in housing unaffordablity in the entire OECD? When RBNZ gives ample notice for policy changes like lVR why not counter saying did you do this when you removed it? I really want in on the press gallery. A bunch of us who isn’t shy to ask these difficult questions because our jobs fortunately don’t depend on being nice to them. I don’t blame them, there is a line they cannot cross. Also what a terrible job the opposition is doing. A bunch of property investor MPs so out of touch with the average New Zealanders. Such a shame really.

Passerby, Jenée actually asked the question about the house price rise which eluded the now famous response from the PM at a press conference.

Is it not a job of the the journalist to ask difficult questions.

Jenee does ask but I guess has limitation from her bosses and also may be not as passionate as Mike Hosking and likes though represent elite class / speculators but do not shy away from asking or arguing in what they believe - right or wrong but follow what they believe.

Guys, perhaps I didn’t get my point across quite right. Jenee is actually one of my favourites. I would never want her to be like Hosking. We don’t need any more Hoskings. One is more than enough and hope he is on the next flight out of NZ.

What I mean is they have limitations on what they can ask and how much they can push. They are representing publications and not the public. The opposition is supposed to do that but are consumed by their own greed. It takes people like us to hold the government responsible. We need to demand answers. I am not holding my breath at the end of the month RBNZ statement. The petition to Grant Robertson fell on deaf ears. He basically reiterated that LVR is now at 40% and that the tax changes made will have a significant impact. He completely ignored the IO loans and DTI request. Nothing will change unless we show them we are unhappy. 70% of kiwis want house prices to drop. Why are we happy to type all this in comments but not keen on a March down to the parliament? We have become keyboard zombies.

Passerby, loved your first comment and agree with your second paragraph.

Big fan of Jenee here.

Jenee is asking the hard questions. Her and the Hosk.

Rest of media utterly enthrall to Saint Jacinda.

Don't expect that to change.


Imagine being an actual hard working tax payer that doesn't own property and isn't affiliated with an iwi in this country.

The message is loud and clear.


Or a beneficiary

Goodness me.
All you beneficiary bashers seem to think it's a great life being on a benefit. Yes you don't have to work but the income is a pittance.

Two types of beneficiary. Those who genuinely want work, and tend to be unemployed for months/year. Then those who haven’t worked in years/decades and are happy to continue in this position whilst living in social housing. These folk need a kick up the ass, and are a plague in NZ. My fix is moving them from a traditional house to a caravan style accomodation with communal cooking and bathrooms. Save the tax payer money, and might get them productive.
Disclaimer-I have sucked a benefit as I was too lazy to work post Uni (3months) and following a redundancy (6 weeks IIRC).

So severely disabled people still do not have enough money for a 1 room flatting and food and you say they are bludgers because no one hires people in powerchairs to pick fruit or and no one provides wheelchair office access in most jobs. Sure next we should say those over the age of 65 are all bludging because they have much more mobility and access to work than the much smaller set of people so physically impaired they need help bathing and food prep assistance. If you are in a coma or undergoing a medical event yes it would be pretty hard to wake up everyday at 7am or before that for work, however your family would still need somewhere to live and newsflash income support is not individualised so the partners often depend on the unconscious disabled one they are providing medical support for their income to pay rent. The country often saves thousands of dollars of nursing costs by keeping medical support workers down below poverty line. Welcome to the new wave where if you are without nursing care and have a severe medical event like a heart attack and paralysis your family are expected to care for you 24/7 often without enough to pay for your housing so you are all out on the street or bunking in garages, tents or emergency hotels.

Yes that's the best thing to do for many people.

I agree with you Brock. I feel incredibly sorry for the working poor.

I have a son in the US that refers to their lower paid jobs as "starvation wages". Apparently since COVID and its associated boost to unemployment benefits, they have real problems now getting people to go back to their previous "starvation wages" - and he doesn't blame them. Apparently the fast-food industry is the worst hit - they pay minimum wages and just can't get staff - it's a kind of a people-movement (they haven't got unions there) that is supported by everyone, not just those who had been on "starvation wages".

Apparently, Walmart has been forced to up their wages to above the minimum wage in many states to get needed staff.

Hey Kate is their minimum wage like USD$7.15 an hour ? You couldn't live on that over there its a joke. I guess that's supplemented by Tips but its unlikely you would get those in Walmart. Like I have said before, if you pay enough money you can always get staff.

Kate the market is fixing the problem of Govt stimmy payments in the US making it more profitable not to work, provided Govt stops interfering the market will resolve the situation and those who accept the up to $1500 work payments will be ahead of the game.


The 50s/60s = the single income household
The 80s/90s = the dual income household
2020 saw the the rise of the triple income household: husband, wife, & the house.

2021 saw my house as the single income, made working for the sort of wages in NZ unnecessary.


Thought this was an interesting tweet from Sharon Zollner:

"Your ‘inflation rate’ depends on what you spend your money on. Stats NZ data shows that beneficiaries have faced roughly twice the increase in the cost of living over the past five years (11.5%) than the top-spending 20% of the population has (6%). Housing costs are to blame."

Only decent economist around. That Tony Alexander, absolutely shameless. Still feeding FOMO fears on that (insert expletives) one roof. The guy has no integrity. Easily bought by money.

Really? If you read Tony’s View he’s basically saying we will build 27 years worth of housing in the next 12 (or less) erasing purported supply shortages, interest rate rises are likely and the RBNZ won’t be FHB’s friend, and for these, among other reasons, young buyers should be careful and perhaps even consider working in Australia over the next 3-5 years.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said: “This is a very sharp adjustment in house prices but a very necessary one.”

However, economist Tony Alexander believes that the Treasury has overestimated the impact of its policies on investors, namely the extension of the brightline test and removal of tax benefits on interest payments.

“Their assumption of flattening prices is excessively optimistic. With such low interest rates and no other outlet for investments – no bank is going to leverage four times your equity to invest in the stock market or Bitcoin the way they do for property – property is the only way to accelerate wealth.”

Basically he is saying house prices won’t flatten, process won’t come down. Today’s price is still cheaper than tomorrow’s price so go for gold. Go buy the lot.

Passer by - The only way to sort out the imbalance in housing is to reduce demand or increase supply - restrict immigration, resolve planning restrictions and councils obstructionism and ask those with empty properties why they are empty and then at least attempt to persuade them with changes to let them.

4 years he said supply will catch up and possibly overshoot. He originally said 12 years, now only 4.

Actually I prefer Tony. At least he doesn't pretend to have a social conscious.

and he's a great analyst

Splutter... again, passerby? Zollner... credible?

Why do you even listen to any economists??

You shouldn’t be on a benefit for 5 years!! It it not supposed to be a career option. Your comment shows a terrible attitude to us taxpayers.

Aren’t people on NZ super called beneficiaries. They will be on there from 65 to end of life. Majority to almost all but for some unlucky few will be 5 years or more.

Interesting Kate. Eventually a lot of the working poor will ask themselves why they bother. I would have preferred the budget to lower tax for secondary jobs, give help with daycare, ie help those who are trying to help themselves.

B&B = Boomers & beneficiaries - the voting base. If the majority of them are happy, labour will stay in power. Screw the middle class & the young.

I'm a so called boomer and those other who I know are appalled by the excuse for a government.

Have you benefited off a labour government though?

Burni, you don't get it, on Interest, if you're a boomer you're a bad guy period. It doesn't matter that they don't know you, all boomers are bad. It just shows the level of intelligence of people posting such comments

How'd this comment state boomers are bad? Simply pointing out who Labour are targeting for votes...

the asset owning class are the winners,and grinners too,as per the photo.this budget brochure is for you.renters turn to the back page which is blank.

"We expect to be in surplus every year unless there is a significant natural event or a major econ. shock or crisis."

What else would you say. If you present a bad forecast its not a good look.

Look who is talking about risk to the financial system and how rich are benefitting by digital currency.

More than risk are worried about losing their power.

No surprises there - I'm still of the view that if the Fed can't control crypto, they'll work to make it illegal for trade. And if you can't trade it for anything, what value does it really have?


I’m one of those working renters. I don’t give a shit about tax cuts, any change would be minimal in proportion to what house prices have done and continue to do. It’s the biggest tax of all. I’m OK with my median income in most respects, and if we lived somewhere where renters were treated better I wouldn’t be so angry about it. But renting still sucks, and Labour haven’t accepted reality yet: that good old ‘Mum and Dad’ will keep pumping up the prices regardless of any delicate policy changes. They will push until it breaks; and the Government are still acting as if they’d rather break society than housing confidence.


Society is already broken. The cohesive society we grew up in has been replaced with a fragmented multi-cultural woketopia where we all get to fight over the scraps of our birthright.

It’s really sad how much the politicians have divided the team of 5 million for their own selfish gains. United we stand, divided we fall.

Yep, Key and National have a lot to answer for.

It's quite striking what 40 years of neoliberal destruction has done to the country eh Brock.

Ah... now it fits - a wokeite lefty I see.. chip as well. Good on ya.

What part of my comment is wrong? As soon as any one of the ultra right comments on here gets challenged - LEFTIE!! WOKE!! CHIP!! PARTISAN!! HACK!! COMMIE!! SOCIALIST!!

Agree. Too many ad hominem attacks here.
Yours, a righty.

Let's see what these labels mean; Wealthy, elitist, power hungry, "I'm alright jack" attitude towards others, no one can tell me what to do. Usually multiple asset owner. - Right wing capitalist
Alternative; believes all in society deserve a fair go, believes there should be jobs at decent pay rates and conditions for everyone. Believes there should be welfare support for the genuinely vulnerable. Decent standards should be maintained such as housing being recognised as a necessity of life. Social centrist.

Socialism is not rooted in self serving greed, but seeks to achieve strong, healthy communities where everyone has a good living standard, but is not based on benefits. Socialism is not achieved in dictatorships or autocracy, but through strong health democracy.

Communism - is where a dictatorial Government rules every thing at all levels, and is not a lot different from a right wing facist one.

I know which i'd rather be. Look in a mirror and decide which one you are.

So where is that $38b of what was leftover from the Covid Bailout fund sitting? Or, where is it going? Is it going to transform itself into something else somewhere 'else' in the future?

It seems to be mentioned a lot but not much about what it is 'ackshully' gunna be used for.

US Housing : Risky

As Thomas Sowell says, 'People are not checking their good-sounding ideas (and plans) with the reality of what actually happens,' ie with what the evidence shows.

So yes, beneficiary increase and minimum wage increase before that, because an increase is needed to counter the losses due to higher rents, house prices, etc. But at the end of the day, these income increases get captured by the system, ie rents go up, house prices go up, etc.

So any benefit is short-lived, and in fact, you are worse of than before, and so the cycle repeats ad nauseam ...

So to paraphrase Thomas Sowell, 'Is the trend after these changes, making things better or worse.'

This will only get worse until we deal with the first principle issues.

Yep, it’s band aid that’s not treating the actual wound.

Upside down thinking.
Orr flooded the banks with liquidity.
Banks have gone on a lending spree.
Values up 30% to 40%. 12mths.
- Robertson critical & wrote to Orr. Re house prices.
Now inflation for everything else is 10% & rising.

Upside down thinking to now take those un intended consequences as glorious outcomes and planks of budget policy.

Tip. The glorious benefit increases don't make up for the inflation here now and coming.

The brittle and shallow budget has been wrapped in rhetoric of putting the sword to Ruth of 30 years ago. Pure make believe to misdirect.
Because they got nothing.

Labour's references to what happened 30 years ago just left me scratching my head, no words...

This will allow beneficiaries to compete with the working and lower middle class for the very limited supply of rental houses. Great for property investors looking to raise rents. More money chasing the same number of rentals.

If the NZ herald headline article from yesterday - comes to fruition - things could get very stocky very quickly

The herald seems to think most families have a $450 000 Mortgage- I suspect most borrowers from the last 12 months orgy of greed have a $700 000+ mortgage.

Those on a $450 000 mortgage may need to find in the next couple of years an extra 1K a month (which would require a $20 000 pay rise) - those on a $700 000 mortgage will need to find an extra $2000 a month (or a $40 000 pay rise).

Those income increase will be hard to get in a country where the government is determined to suppress middle income wages.

Come election time there might just be quite a number of kiwis with their hands out for government payments.

My mate who runs a Sallies and their food bank said they're getting record numbers of working people.

Nice link. The thing is inflation is here right now and its climbing so don't wait to read about it here. Interest rates are going to be going up, it doesn't matter if you think they cannot go up, if the FED moves then we move.

Next, canceling pensions via means tests.

Can't come soon enough

I'm a boomer and I would go for that.

How's that going to work in reality ? if you only have the one house and money in the bank you just go out and spend it on that sports car you always dreamed of then claim you have no income stream so you will get the pension. The pension will not be structured any differently from the unemployment benefit except it has a qualifying age. Hell if I wanted to right now I could have my own home and a Ferrari in the garage and still get the unemployment benefit if I want to. The only thing preventing me from getting it is a social conscience.

Nothing wrong with that? Frees up capital to be used elsewhere right away rather than slowly being whittled away in a bank account.

The Mother of All Budgets

Early 1990s - The Great Recession was a period of economic downturn affecting much of the Western world (including NZ) in the early 1990s. The impacts of the recession included the resignation of Canadian PM Mulroney, reduction of active companies by 15% and unemployment up to nearly 20% in Finland, civil disturbances in the United Kingdom and the growth of discount stores in the United States and beyond. The recession contributed in part to the 1992 U.S. presidential election victory of Bill Clinton over George H. W. Bush.

Bernard Hickey and Grant Robertson are dining out on this
And so they should
When the Great Recession was over Richardson never restored the agressive cuts

Richardson was no longer the Finance Minister after the 93 election and by 94 was out of Parliament. How was she meant to reverse the cuts?

Helen Clark was not concerned.

Wasn't the great recession over by end 1991 - the cuts could have been eased off by then


Did anybody see on tv3 the Nation that they had conducted a poll and 74% of the respondents want house prices to fall.
Robertson mumbled his way in response and said that couldn't be right and what they probably meant was that the public wanted house price rises to moderate.
Talk about being tone deaf!!!!
It reveals that Aderns statements that they will not allow house prices to fall was not just some slip of the tongue and they are dedicated to this outcome.
National based on past behavior will be the same if not worse. So there is absolutely no hope that a large % of would be first home buyers will ever be able to afford their own home withing their working life. Try saving for a deposit on a nurses salary. These people's only hope is to leave New Zealand. If they go to Australia they would be very well advised to gain Australian citizenship ASAP and perhaps consider renouncing their NZ citizenship also. Who knows what the Australians will do next to the Kiwis in Australia.
Given Labour's absolute refusal to make houses affordable for the large percentage of our people (which largely make up their voter base), you have to strongly question who's interests that they are serving. Here we have a situation where a very large proportion of the population are wanting house prices to drop and this would include at least half of those who already own a home ( home ownership roughly half the population and half of them = 25% plus say all non owners say 50% = 75% of the population) . And still they ignore the public wishes. So who is pulling the strings here? It makes the democratic process look like a rather tawdry charade and our politicians little more than political prostitutes. But to who??

Cheap Arrogant Politicians : See what they want to see, listen what they want to listen and Do what they want to do.

Chris-M, do you feel Robertson is different !

If you ever migrate to Australia - don't bother if you have a police record in New Zealand - you can get in, but, you won't get Australian Citizenship which precludes you from much of the benefits and you can't get a Government Job without AU Citizenship

17% super on top of pay for Aus federal govt jobs. Can't compare it to NZ. Cheaper everything.

No reason for young people to stay here.

If you've got a police record you're a loser. So why should Aus be obligated to take losers or give them citizenship? Sounds like an entitled loser too.

Shame for us all here NZ can't be tougher on losers.

So much wrong with this statement and really reveals much about the person commenting

Why should Australia give someone with a police record citizenship?

Not easy to get Aus citizenship and don't need to renounce NZ if you get it.

Don't get Aus citizenship by right even if you've lived there 20 years, married an Australian and had children born there. No... you still have to apply and may not get it.

Massive paperwork, why so many immigration agents, complexity and cost. Pay about 5k plus top apply and get temporary citizenship if lucky. Then after quite a few years really for permanent pay more money and maybe get it, no guarantee or temporary one can also be rescinded.

But still a great option without citizenship for Kiwis. We're very lucky to have the lucky country next door.

Free trips back to NZ as well. 501

"Asset owners are still receiving more support than beneficiaries"

Asset owners recviiving more and beneficiaries are also receiving though less but what about average middle class of NZ.

They are the people who are slogging both husband and wife in the hope of leading a good life with their family without support/ dole from government but what has Jacinda Arden done ?????

I agree with you on this. I keep wondering why Labour would go so far left and risk losing a lot of the support they had from former National voters. As you rightly explain - they will now have support from those asset rich speculators as well as beneficiaries, but I'm still guessing that those in the middle feel really discouraged. Surely this group (the working poor or battlers), as well as retirees (now making nothing on their savings) are the largest group? I can't quite understand Labour's thinking - anyone?

This budget rounded up a few more beneficiary voters. Next budget maybe they'll come back to the battlers if they haven't already lost all confidence in labour or left for Australia. The die hard labour supporters seem to endlessly forgive their sins, so I think the assassins must've known they can rely on that.

Personally if I were a benny I'd be so disappointed by Labour, I wonder what some of them think of their measly increase

For many disabled there is no increase at all and many are actually facing support cuts due to this "increase" due to the policies and rules limiting disability supports (for which many disabled cannot even access so have literally no income support and no way to access work due to severe medical conditions that make them physically unable to even cook food or afford rent). Many think the government is just hoping the disabled will die early from poverty and degradation in the value of human life. It is happening to many dying without basic living needs and without access to medical facilities for simple care. It is a bit of a downer the disabled are the worse off out of this budget facing more cuts to their basic living than the middle class and less access to housing than 2% of housing stock which mostly is not available to them due to open discrimination. There are a lot of landlords openly stating no cripples in their replies and the government refuses homeless disabled any housing support (even during lockdowns last year while housing jetsetters in 5 star hotels, how kind).

Straight from the horses mouth (Ardern) - reported 7 December by Jenee Asked to explain why a fall in prices would be bad, Ardern said: “What we’ve simply expressed here is that the growth that we’ve seen is unsustainable. So, if anything, it is much more sustainable to have those much smaller increases. I think people expect that you see that in the market.

“What we also accept is that for most New Zealanders, their house is their most significant asset… A significant crash in the housing market - that impacts people’s most significant asset.”

This one always makes me sad. The prime minister says that a crash in your house price will hurt you, so people do fear this and will feel hurt if it happens.
But their mortgage will not change from one day to the next. Unless their interest rate changes or their bank gets into trouble, nothing needs to change. Independent of other changes, a crash only impacts in absolute terms a property investor. Couldn't somebody just point this out to her?


So sad to see the beneficiary bashing masses out in force. NZ does not supply anywhere near enough jobs for everyone that wants one - and we have slipped into a world over the last few decades where both parents have to work to achieve a decent quality of life in most places (especially if they bought a house in the last five years).

What I want from this Govt is a clear 10 year plan that is sold to the public as if it was a Covid lockdown - job guarantees linked to a massive investment in green infrastructure, direct state investment in projects to boost productivity, immigration settings that bring in the skills we need *until* we have developed the capacity to train our own, 30 hour weeks by 2030 etc.

Such a shame that the next budget we will get from this unashamedly incrementalist Govt will be designed to win an election, not re-shape the country. So, expect a boost to working families, electric car subsidies, and more kindness.

Have just seen some of the most horrendous beneficiary bashing I have read in a long time. Post your real names if you want to be such foul entitled human beings. Don't hide behind your username.

Well said. True colours being shown from a few on here

I think NZ should just merge with Australia.

At the rate NZ is going, there's just no way to climb out of the hole.

That is just daft - we grow 8 times more food than we need, have huge supplies of renewable energy, thousands of highly skilled people want to live here, and many more want to visit or make films etc. With the right strategy we could all be living very well indeed.

How exactly is bringing in more ‘skilled workers’ going to improve things? More homes needed to house them when we have limited supply.. just going to make things even worse

Depends on what you call 'skilled'.

We need skilled workers to design and build things - including houses - at least until we have trained kiwis.

So we don't have any semi retired or retired builders that wouldn't mind a part time "pocket money" hands on teaching job at one of the trade academies?

What you said is true but where's the right strategy? We haven't got the right strategy and the way it's going, it gets harder and harder to right it.

It's like a company lacking great leadership and governance.

Time to put down those rose-tinted glasses and see the real situation NZ as it is in, mate.

We should have merged with Australia every time we almost hit foreign exchange parity but unfortunately "Kiwi Pride" gets in the way. We could have dumped no end of politicians in the process and this country would have been better off.

Abuse of beneficiaries is a hate crime, especially of disabled people. You cannot hide behind the fact you thought they were able bodied because you could not obviously see their disability just because they do not wear a sign around their necks saying I am severely autistic or I am blind or I have a severe medical condition that leads to regular frequent seizures and paralysis or heart attacks or I have a severe brain injury that has impaired most complex brain functions etc. Further abuse of disabled people who are the few lucky ones who can even get any income support (most of the time they are put on jobseekers even if they are unable to work with incurable diseases they did not choose or cause) after several specialist medical reports signed and sent to government departments while being denied any work at all, (and so many still get denied income support at this point e.g. if they have a boarder/live in carer nurse to help pay the rent most income support cannot even cover), will be met with the reporting any hate crime deserves. Calling the disabled a plague on this earth is literally some of the most harmful language that was employed by Nazis and in the holocaust.

1 in 4 people in NZ have a disability of some kind.

It is tough when the disability is unseen.

I applaud you standing up for the less abled.

There is much to challenge here. "Home owners happy"? Only the stupid ones are, as the Government puts more pressure on them to increase debt. Working to help the vulnerable? I have no problem with genuinely vulnerable individuals getting good assistance and being able to have a decent lifestyle, but many who claim vulnerability are not really. They just choose to be. Child poverty? If the Government were serious about child poverty they'd be forcing rents and accommodation costs down NOW. But they would also change the way benefits for parents is paid. Just giving more money does not mean the child benefits. Oh and a higher benefit doesn't stop people committing crimes and going to prison. That's caused by idle time.

So no plan to increase job creation, especially in the region and no long term vision. Our Governments are becoming very stale.

Well, Roger Douglas will be happy that his neoliberal policies torch is still alight and burning strongly in the Labour party's HQ.
Born in his shadow, Cindy and Robo know nothing else other than Latte Socialism with neoliberalism running deep in the party's veins.

I dont begrudge those at the economic bottom a little extra. What concerns me is that those producing nothing got assistance; while those who produce got nothing - especially those in "middle New Zealand"

Those in the middle got a $100k a month with the purchasing of extra houses and low-interest mortgage rates.
They also got a bung of $14b for Wage Bailouts for their businesses and or self-employment.
They also got the green light to gouge renters with rent increases to pay for their house purchases.

If you're not in one of these categories, you're poor, like many NZ'ders.

Producers v non-producers is probably a misdemeanour because everyone is a consumer, consumerism makes the world go round.