Bernard Hickey says Auckland is growing consents far too slowly. He says Len Brown needs to push back the NIMBYs or face Wellington nationalising Auckland's building consenting and unitary plan process

Bernard Hickey says Auckland is growing consents far too slowly. He says Len Brown needs to push back the NIMBYs or face Wellington nationalising Auckland's building consenting and unitary plan process
Auckland NIMBYs fight development, effectively locking out affordable housing solutions for the next generation, says Bernard Hickey

By Bernard Hickey

It's like watching a slow-motion train wreck.

Despite more than a year of Accords, law changes, unitary plans and talk, Auckland's housing consents are still lagging its population growth, let alone catching up with the supply gap created between 2004 and 20012 when building slumped in the wake of the leaky buildings crisis and rising interest rates.

Building consent figures out his week show consents across the Auckland region in the first six months of 2014 are up just 21% from first half 2013 and are actually down 6% and 9% respectively in Waitakere and Franklin.

It is true that house building in Auckland has bounced from its record lows in 2008 at the depths of the Global Financial Crisis, but the rebound has more of a feel of a dead cat bounce than the sort of surge needed to repair the damage.

Building consents in Auckland in the full 12 months to June totalled 7,732, which remains well below the 10,000 to 12,000 per year zone reached in the last real building boom from 2002 to 2004.

At a time when momentum should be accelerating, consenting and building appears to be stagnating.

Special housing areas have been created under the Auckland Housing Accord and there's been a lot of noise about new building, but very few if any new houses have been built in these areas yet.

Developers I talk to still chafe at the cost and time involved with consenting and the backlash to the intensification in the original Unitary Plan.

Despite the only just-passed law designed to harden up the rules around development contributions, the big charges for developers keep coming.

This month Watercare increased its connection fee for new developments by 23.5% to $12,075 per connection.

There appears a lack of political will in Auckland to fight the battles on the ground to encourage Auckland to grow both up and out.

One recent local dispute reinforced how tough the battle against Auckland NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone) has become.

The New Zealand Herald this week rightly highlighted a friend-against-friend battle on Franklin Road in Ponsonby about intensification. Property tycoon Michael Friedlander and QC Marie Dyhrberg want to change the Unitary Plan to allow them to remove eight villas for more intensive development. Local residents Bill Ralston, Janet Wilson, Hamish Keith and Franklin Rd identity Ross Thorby are fighting the plan.

It is just one of the many fights breaking out over central Auckland from residents who don't want change, and those who want to build more homes and develop the central city.

The missing voice in these fights is the voice of the young and poor who are locked out of home ownership in Auckland by the restrictions and infrastructure fees on development -- both out and up -- that are stifling the drive for more housing consents.

When is a politician going to stand up to the rich and comfortable and mostly old property owners of central Auckland and tell them to think of the young and poor when they block development, not to mention the rest of the country's exporters and home owners labouring under a higher interest rate and currency than is necessary?

Clearly there is political will from Wellington, which has driven through the Accord and the Development Levy law and regularly rails these restrictions. But the Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown should start representing the young and poor much more aggressively, which means pushing for much faster and more intensive development in the centre and on the fringes.

If they don't, these powers need to be nationalised.

Their first metric of success should be these monthly consent numbers and they should not rest until they get back well above 10,000 per year mark we saw in the early 2000s.

And then they must hold it at that level for a decade a more before their next metric of success starts kicking in - real house price deflation.

Mr Brown and his fellow councillors have allowed the leafy-fringed NIMBYs to drive the political debate around development for too long.

It's also time the young and the landless started getting politically active around this issue too, and began to change the tracks under this particular train wreck.

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From 1st of July last month resource consent applications under Auckland City Council changed from requiring a $1500 deposit to a $2500 deposit for residential applications.  And for commercial applications resource consents changed from requiring a $2500 deposit to a $4500 deposit.
 
That is an increase of over 66%!!........ unbelieveable...

This is like going to church isn't it?
 
Every Sunday our priest, Mgr Bernard, intones "Oh Lord when will they start building at last in Auckland?"
 
Then our choir responds singing in parts:
Sopranos: "Auckland Council is incompetent, o Lord, turn them into the jawbone of an ass (if they are not that already)"
Altos: "Foreigners are to blame. Bring down a rain of fire on Auckland Airport"
Tenors (Brendon, Phil and me): "The government has the world in its own hands. It can outlaw the MUL and we will all pass through the gates of Paradise."
Basses (BigDaddy): Be happy there is no crisis
 
Amen

There once was a Council in Awk
Whose consents would reliably Balk
over too many Rules
made by too many Fools
Making Gaps in the Market, to Caulk

Our very own MsdeMeanour is an admirer of fine use of the English language. I hope that your winkling in of "caulk" finds favour.

Rhymezone.com - magic.
 
There was an old Right-winger Hawk
Who'd run outta Rhymings for 'Awk'
But Rhymezone came through
with a dozen or two
then Lim-rick turned into Cake-Walk

Maybe NZ could move forward if the wider public heard more from Alain Bertaud. He is a sensible and very experienced planner that in various roles such as the World Bank's Principal planner has worked in dozens of cities. He spent the last week talking to Councils, government (treasury), politicians from both sides of parliament, media and giving three seminars in our biggest cities.
 
There is a small clip on Radio NZ, the NZ Institute will apparently put up the full video presentation at some stage and print + TV (Campbell Live) media will publish some feature articles soon.

Councils used to create cheaper subdivisions with cheaper sections.  In the 80s you might buy a section for $15000 and build for 70000.   Also young couples could build a lockup shell & slowly finish the house off while living in it.  
Now a section might be 200,000 and the house build 250000, so sections  at half the full capital value.  

And the section is smaller than it was......!
Several things Alain Bertaud has been saying while he has been here, is exactly what I have been saying myself for years. Like, Auckland is already a "European density" city, not a low density city like they have in the USA, at all.
 

And pay 18--20% mortgage rates for the previledge - oh it would be so good if we could cherry pick what we want between decades and counties wouldn't it.

Grant mortgage rates are not 18-20% and the level of interest rates should not affect land values which is what we have been discussing. So what was your point?
 
Grant I assume you were trying to slip into the debate that land values go up because interest rates went down. Why should that be true? Other basic needs did not change in value. In fact my basic but brand new 1.5L car is only one third of my salary. My bet is that back in the 80s to the period you refer to that cars were a lot higher proportion of wages. Yet since then the capital costs of transport -cars has got cheaper while the capital costs of housing more expensive relative to incomes. The difficulty in producing new residential land and new cars is only marginally related to interested costs so why does improving productivity and incomes help the purchase of one asset but not the other?
 
Really you are subtlely hiding the fact you support restricted competition in the supply of new housing -both up and out. Because only if new supply is limited or inelastic due to being controlled by a small group of players does it explain increased house prices relative to incomes. 
 
That small group of players require the protection of regimented city planners who have communistic beliefs in the power of planning. Ideologically it is a mess. Right wingers like Ralston want to use the power of 'planning' to gain control over other peoples property are acting in a communistic manner.  As Dale rightly points out -they have other options in how to protect their neighbourhood environment. They could personally covenent their own land and asking their neighbours to do the same. That might lower Ralston and co's property values. But is that the rest of Auckland's problem?

No sorry Brendon, I was a bit off topic, but making the point to one or two that forget that different eras and different countries have different circumstances. I well remember the 80' s and 10-15% inflation rates, but they came with 18-20% mortgages rates. Yes somewhat tougher now for young people (not that I found it easy then and certainly didn't travel etc whilst trying the save the deposit) but rates rate now hugely lower (in the 5's% for 5yrs if people had thought about it a bit realistically and acted a bit earlier), but some here still expect they should have 8-10% asset price inflation and even lower rates than they are currently - they just need to wake up and realise that the two don't go hand in hand.

Brendon – when I mentioned that Ralston lacks faith, I should have also mentioned that if they did have faith and covenant their properties, they could turn it into some of the most desirable and therefore valuable residential land in Auckland for the very reason that they are a neighbourhood/community of protected historic villas.
This is exactly what River Oaks Houston http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Oaks,_Houston  has done in regard to protecting their community. Of course it helps if the residents of the community are well heeled and knowledgeable and have the will. 
It would seem that the residents of Franklin Rd only have one of the three requirements needed to protect their street.

Alain did not have a simplistic message 'of get rid of planners and let a free for all supply response solve all problems'. He made it clear that he thought 'planners' had been involved in mission creep, extending their power and control into subjective fads such as -l'iveability',  'smart growth' and so on. Plus to areas that planners could not control such as demand for floor space i.e. density. That planners had a tendency to over-engineer their plans with too much detail when what is needed is a flexible framework.
 
But that planners and policy makers do have a responsibility to plan for the seperation of the public and private spheres of an urban area. In particular putting in place the 'right of ways' for trunk infrastructure connecting the area set aside for various private developments.
 
That these right of ways plus rules allowing up and out development gives the supply response. That if the supply response is inadequate then the policy makers need to look at competition policy -are there monopolies and cartels in land or construction limiting the supply response?
 
Alain stated that planners and policy makers should be monitoring objective measures (targets) such as medium house to medium income ratios and how many workplaces a home could access in under 60 and 30 minutes.
 
That then various policy changes (development rules, competition policy, new transport infrastructure... ) can then be measured against hoped for improvement in objective measures (targets).
 

Great to see the real issues being highlighted, I wonder how much of the supply is constrianed by the costs of materials as well. 

Surely though the biggest joke is the 'lines on a map' anti-zoning brigade - (Hooten and ACT) objecting to a perceived threat in the re-drawing of another sort of zoning line. LOL.    

"... have allowed... to drive the political debate"
http://www.elections.org.nz/research-statistics/enrolment-statistics-ele...
A debate requires that both sides actually turn up.

Bernard, there is no point turning inner Auckland suburbs into streets of dense apartments, it simply would make them undesirable and completely defeat the purpose of creating more housing of the type people want!
 
What people want in the central Auckland suburbs is a street fronting house with some off street parking maybe a garage, a deck in the backyard and a lawn big enough for the kids or grand kids to run around on (that can be as little as 70 or 80m2 of lawn (say 8m by 10m).  Building lots of Hong Kong style apartments will achieve nothing but driving the price of what people really want even higher - because you will be demolishing what they want to create what people don't actually want!
 
The people to be afraid of aren't the NIMBYs it's the BATTS (build apartments throughout the suburbs), the SAABs (subdivide absolutely all backyards) and of course the BACHs (bowl all character and heritage), because they are the ones who don't care about creating beautiful environments to live in - all they are interested in is fast cash.  
 
The fact that there are NIMBYs shows that there is something worth protecting...

Alain Bertaud tells us about his experience in former Soviet cities as late as the 90s that still had massive tomes of planning dictating stuff like a shoe factory needing 10,000 sqm of land and no other size, while barbers need 10sqm for 10,000 people because that was what was needed in the 20s and 30s when the planning books were written.
 
So maybe just because stand alone housing was popular in previous generations NZ planners/policy makers shouldn't dictate to the market what is the best use of property forever.
 
Of course since then China at least has realised the folly of planners dictating to the market.
 
Have we learnt that lesson in NZ?

Which gets us back to Kate's point above. The hypocrisy of the libertarian Act party that is not because it actually supports communist type planning restrictions and uses old fashion anti -democratic 'rotten borough' politics in Epsom to get into power.
 
The old and rich have cannily supported a system that extends their privaleges at the expense of the young and poor. Do not be fooled that they are in the right......

There is an objective, "science of economics" lesson to be learned regarding what the "demand" actually is FOR, from the experience of Liverpool, where housing is still unaffordable in spite of the population having shrunk by 1/3 in 4 decades. It is still around double Auckland's density, though, and 6 times the density of a typical affordable US city.
How is it possible for a city to have lost this much population and yet house prices remain unaffordable, and the cost of urban land per square foot still be around 100 times higher than what it is in an affordable US city? 
The simple reason is that people DO NOT HAVE the housing space they naturally will settle for if given the opportunity. All the bullshit from planners claiming to know "what kind of housing people want today" is anti-objective, anti-scientific crap; as long as the resulting market prices are unaffordable, people are being starved of what they actually want, end of story. There is no point even having an objective economics literature at all if it is so flagrantly ignored, we might as well just have a theocracy and not call ourselves a secular, enlightenment country. 
When median multiples are around 3, it is possible that people might be consuming excess amounts of land due to mandated low density (which does NOT make housing systemically unaffordable, by definition if the median multiple is 3, which it is in most low density US cities), but it is also possible that the market is nicely in balance - people are getting the space they want. Planners simply do not want to believe this. 
 

What people want is demonstrated by the price they are prepared to pay for it.
 
They will pay millions for a house on freehold land in a quiet inner suburban Auckland street but relatively very little for an inner city apartment or an outer suburban home.

Yet someone who owns several of those' high value' villas wants to at their own expense replace them with 'low value' apartments. No one is forcing them to do it. They think it is the sensible response to the current market conditions. Maybe Chris_J houses on freehold land are not as valuable as you think in comparison to apartment buildings.
 
Why do you want to fight the market?

".......What people want is demonstrated by the price they are prepared to pay for it......"
I have heard that argument SOOOOOO many times, and it gets tiresome.
People used to pay 50% of their income just for enough bread to stay alive, too, and a famous Queen of France said "let them eat cake", when they were starving.
There is a moral universe of difference between prices set in competitive free markets, with "consumer surplus" in them, compared to prices set under extractive oligarchical systems, which is what "housing" has become in many western countries. 
News flash: housing is a basic human necessity. It is not morally excusable to have an extractive oligarchical system for it, like it is for, say, diamonds.

there is no housing shortage in Auckland...just a lot of mid-20's people who dont know how to save

"Let them eat cake", eh?
House price median multiples were 3 in 1996 and are around 9 now, in Auckland, there is no problem, except with young people who can't save like they used to. 
Bring on the revolution and the Tumbrils, I reckon......

When i bought my first homes i worked my butt off.  I built, plastered, painted, and did pretty much anything that needed to be done. Sometmes i even set up spot lights outside so i could keep working till late. And I kept going until my back gave out.  
 
Some of these know-it-all little academic pricks wouldn't know what a days work is, let alone a hammer unless it hit them in the face. 
 

Whereas now, Triple, thanks to bureaucrats' empire-building, the regrettable tendency to insulate absolutely everyone from every conceivable risk, and the rampant credentialism, not to mention Elfin Safety, I suspect you would need:

  • A weathertightness LBP cert or signoff for any work on exterior sheathing or windows
  • A carpentry LBP for inside in general
  • A roofie LBP for - er - der Roof
  • Brickie or Blockie LBP for any Lego additions
  • Don't even think about Founds......
  • And yer costs for even a simple, low risk addition will - er - Triple

Hammer in face = a Site Incident report in triplicate, Triple (sorry)...
 
Seriously, though, the sad fact is that we have a dual squeeze applied now:

  • Land prices have been remorselessly racheted up by Council's economic cluelessness over planning rules and zones, the land-bankers who inevitably see a Good Thang when it is plonked in front of them, the price-diffusion mechanisms of RE and district-wide revaluations, Councils who see New Subdivisions as a cash cow for infrastructure district-wide, and the bankers and intermediaries who benefit from a fixed percentage on a rising price.
  • Housing prices have been ratcheted up by a general desire for Mo' Squares, builders and architects who benefit from a fixed percentage on a rising cost, CCR (Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions) which severley constrain housing sizes and styles in new builds, a plethora of Elfin Safety nonsense that adds tens of thousands each cycle of tightening, a materials duopoly, and a market failure in supplying small, cheap, factory-built domiciles with multi-proof consents.

There are far too many people involved in all stages, to make unwinding, let alone reversing, much of this even feasible.  We'll just have to wait until the whole gravy train runs outta track.....

Triple and KeyWest. Hard work and DYI works when land cost is 15-20% of build costs but when it is 40-50% the same opportunities do not exist. The NZ of your young adulthood has changed.
 
In fact nowadays youngsters hardwork, incomes and creativity does not completely accrue to themselves like it did in your day, now a good portion of it is being transfered to those older, wealthier residential land owners and other rentiers in the housing chain that Waymad colourfully describes.
 
We could make land costs less relevant by making going up and out easier and more competitive. We should do it and let the hardworking get on with being hardworking....

Waymad - those rules have all been developed over recent years. Dont' blame the older generation for that.  The policy planners are usually young people, not old.  And so are many of the resource management planners who are trying to interpret the BS policy written by the idiots.
 
Do you seriosuly think the older generation wanted all these bullsh#t rules???  You have no idea who is calling the shots here. Not a clue! 
 
I've acted as a professional consultant for Council so I am more than aware of ridiculous Council regulations.  And when you talk of subdivsions - the difference is i am currently leading a 200 acre subdivision right now.  The enhancement planting alone is over 200K.  Let alone the DC's and every other bullshit expense.
 

yeah, yeah, yeah - it's the fault of all those young planners, like Dr Roger Blakeley, now a sprightly 68 years of age!!!!
 
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10683011
 
Sorry Triple, but perhaps it's you who doesn't know whose calling the shots.
 
In the main, it's still the boomers.

There's nothing like an old fool leading the young fools - the old fool should have learned from the history of "planning" in his lifetime. If he hasn't, he shouldn't be running a planning department at all. He might as well have been a lifetime stooge planted in western society by the KGB, to sabotage it. 

If you are referring to me Philbest - i am 45 years old.
So i am not a baby boomer and i am also not old.
And i am not running a planning department. Quite the opposite - i am the one who is engaged to fight Council. 
Some people commenting here are nothing but no-it-alls who have never even completed a subdivision, or even got their hands dirty.
The smarter ones will be trying to learn from others with experience.  However the fools will simply push their own opinions and learn nothing. 

I was referring to Dr Roger Blakely, who Kate said is 68 years old.

Thank you for clarifying that.
I have to fight Council day and night so I'd prefer people didn't think i worked there...
 

In general, I agree with you that it is young idiots who are making the utopian and destructive planning rules. But there are definitely some old stooges devoted to ruining the economy and society, even if through stupidity rather than malice. Either way, they shouldn't have the responsibilities they do. The Auckland planning process so far has been so riddled with incompetence that these people should have been sacked already.
For example, producing estimates of supply through intensification, that failed to net out public green space such as school playing fields. Not only did they commit this basic demonstration of brute incompetence not once, but TWICE, but the SECOND time was AFTER an AUDIT had pointed out that this brute incompetence had been committed in the first place. The Auckland Planning Department went back to the drawing board and committed the same brute incompetence they had already been criticised for. And this Plan is the one that still stands today.......!!!!!!!!!
Where is the accountability??????  The Plan should have been torn up and these people sacked, if not prosecuted. The kind of harm they are doing to households, to the benefit of the finance sector and big property sector, makes them white collar criminals as far as I am concerned. 

i know the policy planners are often idiots.  And they are all ages - young and old.
In Auckland central I've fought with young regional planners - one needed serious therapy. And i have also fought with the old planners at Manukau who really need to move on. 
.... however i believe they are pawns in all this - follow the money. The banks are killing it and i do not believe it's an accident that every move or change in policy -  the banks make more money.  Somehow they are influencing the planning policy....
If you want to perfectly hydrolic prices you need 3 things:
1. create urban boundaries - limit supply
2. drop interest rates - create demand
3. allow immigration - create competition
Combine all 3 and prices skyrocket and the banks get even richer... very sneaky these bankers.  And yes isn't John Key an ex-banker...ahem. 
In the mean time most people just get poorer and the ones that can afford to buy, get incredibly in debt.  It's the ultimate scam.

You are a fool Kate.
And perhaps i am also a fool for feeling empathy for the younger generation who are struggling.  Some of them appear to be extremely arrogant who think they know it all yet have little success to support their opinions.

It would help if the young idiots stopped electing local politicians who enact policies that cause the problem. Then of course, like good brainwashed little pinkos, they blame the "greedy developers and landlords" for their high costs of living. DUH!

I don’t know whether Bernard is thick or writes this rubbish to stimulate debate, but to compare wanting to retain the character of Franklin Rd to Nimbyism is not helpful in the debate regarding housing, and in fact is partially responsible for the reason it is in the mess it is.
I have already sent my opinion to Ralston, but the solution to the problem of the likes of Dhyrberg and Co (and it is a problem) is for the owners individually to covenant their property so it can only EVER be used in its present form. And if all of them do it then the character of the street, neighbourhood, and suburb would be protected. Even if a majority did this it would be enough to stop the few that did not from progressively buying out the rest of the neighbourhood, remember Dhyrberg has progressively managed to buy five properties.
Of course the hypocrisy of the likes of Ralston and Co is that they won’t covenant their property because they don’t have enough faith that what they are wanting to protect is more valuable than the alternative, which is at the end of the day when they finally sell is they want to be able to sell to the highest bidder, which maybe someone like Dhyrberg.
As it presently stands, Ralston and co deserve no sympathy for the situation they have found themselves in, especially when they won’t help themselves. Dhyrberg did not buy these houses thinking she could not get council to change the zoning.
Between Ralston’s hypocrisy and Dhyrberg and Councils desire for profit and density at the expense of character, the outcome for this iconic street was cast long ago.
I don’t think it is Nimbyism if a neighbourhood wants to protect its own character. What is Nimbyism is denying others beyond your neighbourhood the same opportunity you had.
It seems counter intuitive to think a place like Houston which has few zoning laws gives local communities greater control to enable the protection of individual property rights by allowing those individuals to collectively agree to covenant those rights (which include the protection of special character areas like Franklin Rd) and yet not to interfere with others who may wish a different way outside that zone.
High density advocates hate the idea that Houston like communities that fringe CBD areas can continue to live a lifestyle that they have agreed to and also stop others (like Dhyrberg) from coming in and destroying it.
Bernard is also completely wrong to suggest the numbers of housing is more important than fixing the underlying dysfunctional system first, but he has had this explained before and seems incapable of understanding why. 

Well, for a start he would be kicked off the NZ Herald. The NZ herald will publish anything at all on housing except the basic facts on how it all works. Bernard had better keep his mouth shut and play dumb, even if he isn't. I notice Bob Jones never says it like it is, either. 
And you are so right. If we let cities expand naturally we could leave existing suburbs alone, for the most part, and have the best of both worlds. People who want densified development by taste could be catered for with *new* high-density zones on the fringes, or other brownfield sites. All options kept affordable with rural land values at the fringes, holding the entire market to account.

How do Counci justify raising their Resource Consents from $1,500 to $2,500?  Please, someone tell me?

In business, when you force a 67% price increase, you generally need to back that up with 67% more value, otherwise your business more often than not goes elsewhere.
Council runs a monopoly which means they do what they want.  They need to be accountable and Nick Smith should make this his priority.  

Can anyone imagine how much growth there would be in Auckland if the problems with housing and infrastructure (roads, primarily) did not exist?  All of a sudden, those Aucklanders start holidaying around the country with the extra cash and everyone wins.

"It is just one of the many fights breaking out over central Auckland from residents who don't want change, and those who want to build more homes and develop the central city."
 
Which is of course their right.  We live in a free democracy, freedom to speak one's mind and to have their say about the city they live in.  If someone has worked hard to buy a nice house in a nice leafy suburb of course they are going to be opposed to developers and council destroying the character of their suburb. 
 
And where does it all end?  Are we just going to build ghetto on top of ghetto every time a new generation wants cheaper housing?

Good thread, chaps and chapesses.
 
The current situation is that, via a plethora of rules, zones, protections, insurances and plans, it is quite impossible for an energetic (and even, a cashed-up) young couple to;

  • acquire a serviced section for much less than 2x household income
  • build a house themselves
  • build a house incrementally e.g double detached garage first, live in it for a while, get house to lock-up stage, move in, do it out as time and funds permit.

 
It's Interesting, innit, that of the four fundamental human activities:  food, shelter, transport, security, the only one that is out of DIY reach (as Triple notes, and recently at that) is Shelter.
 
I actually feel, deeply (yes, for a crusty old RWDB, depth Is possible) that this constitutes a very fundamental breach of our core Human Rights.....

Whether you are old or young - everyone is getting hit with more rules one way or another.
Look at many commercial property owners (who by the way, are typically older), are getting smashed with the new earthquake upgrading requirements. Many can't afford these repairs.
The rules are not just hurting the younger people - i wish the younger ones could see this but they have been cleverly deceived.
Instead the younger generation are turning on the older generation and vice versa.  It's divide and rule at it's best.
 
Here's a fact. Every new rule usually in some way costs someone some additional time and money.  Each time people need more money, where do they go? To the bank.
So with all the new rules and regulations the bankers are sitting back laughing as their profits soar.
Like i said, if you want to seek the truth - follow the money.  These banks are very powerful.

It is so heartening to see someone else "getting it" about the connection between all this and "big finance". You can bet that "big finance" is what is getting to John Key et al all the time to make them all wobbly on reform.
So far all they have done is try and appease those who are calling for reform, by negotiating "housing accords" that most certainly do NOT increase the elasticity of housing supply by anything LIKE enough to actually bring prices down. Probably intentionally, to also keep their big finance mates happy. You can't kid me that these people don't know full well what the facts are about housing affordability and urban land supply, and that they aren't dissembling with their "findings" that immigration or the lack of a CGT or some other red herring is responsible.

LOL I don't think so.
Been saving since I started working, nice chunk of change in the bank for a deposit, and I can only afford to buy in an area where I'd get burgled every month and bashed every month I wasn't burgled.
Realize that it's not the world you grew up in, grandpa, and pray that we don't exact our pound of flesh from you when you are no longer able to make your buddies in power sell off our future for your benefit, and realize you benefited from a not to be repeated set of factors which rewarded you handsomely. With high inflation basically inflating away that debt burden to nothing. Nice tax free capital gains, couple of trades later, and with no risk & no effort, easy millionaire. Who is the parasite? You, the one eating the seed corn (us).
I'd like to see you buy houses at 9 times average annual income. Doesn't matter how you cook the inflation books, it simply does not compare.
 

Same. Nice chunk of money in the bank from some real hard work. Can't do a thing with it, also refuse to take on a mortgage in the ghetto whereby if anything untoward happened, loss of job, interest rate hike, god forbid another GFC I'd be screwed. So, instead I'll continue to pay someone else's mortgage. It's either that or live under a bridge. You know what? If I got $2 for every person that said to me 'just leave Auckland' I could probably buy 10 houses here. The simple fact of the matter is, it's not that easy. Also, at the risk of sounding unreasonable, why should I be pushed out? Just because in the eyes of everyone else 'I'm too poor to live here'.

Who are you calling grandpa?