Gareth Morgan responds to Eric Crampton in his typically aggressive way; promising that RMA reform will offer cheaper housing and solve child poverty is "drivel" he says

By Gareth Morgan*

With its increased majority, National seems likely to push through long planned reforms to the Resource Management Act (RMA).

In coming weeks we will be explaining why some tweaks might be reasonable, but the wholesale changes planned are really just opening the door up to more dumb and dirty growth.

The justification for the change is that it will allow us to build cheaper housing – The NZ Initiative (the reincarnation of the Business Roundtable) even had the gall to use housing to link RMA reform to child poverty.

But the simple fact is that we don’t need to bowl the environment for cheaper housing.

What we need is a market that shows the true cost of development.

NZ Initiative economist Eric Crampton’s argument is that the income of the poor has been rising at a reasonable rate, but that has been outstripped by the increase in housing costs.

This makes housing affordability a big part of our child poverty story.

This is a fair point – housing does suck up a big chunk of a poor family’s income.

But the real question is why is housing so expensive, especially in Auckland?

This is where Mr Crampton and many others go awry – blaming the regulations that stop more land being used for housing.

The NZ Initiative, and the Productivity Commission on who’s work its conclusions have been based, have got it horribly wrong.

Their work assumes that all Kiwis should have a quarter acre section, and house prices have gone up because Auckland has run out of these. So, the logic follows, we should rezone farmland and turn it into suburbs.

This is just dumb – if Auckland is to keep growing, we can’t replicate this old model. It is already one of the largest cities in the world in land terms, with only a fraction of the population of cities of comparable land coverage.

Concreting over the Bombay hills – the best land in the country – is not the answer.

Opening up land on the fringes might reduce the cost of housing, but it just shifts the unaffordability problem elsewhere – on to transport and utilities. Either the Council has to cough up for money more roads and public transport, or the individual does. The net result is higher costs overall, whether those are borne by the taxpayer, ratepayer or by the poor themselves.

Recent studies show that when transport costs are taken into account, denser cities are more affordable to live in, and have less impact on the environment (e.g.; lower carbon emissions). This is where the Productivity Commission’s work was poor.

The central point here is that for any market to work the price has to include the full cost of the product.

So if Auckland is to sprawl, let the developers face the full cost of the extra roads, congestion, infrastructure and even piping water from the Waikato River. Then we will really see if it is cheaper to build more houses on the fringe.

Instead, the NZ Initiative, like those other proponents of RMA reform Federated Farmers, favour business facing as low costs as possible, even if others have to subsidise that outcome. The real costs end up being borne by the rest of us in higher taxes and a degraded environment – which is dumb and dirty growth at its unfettered worst.

If we do reform the RMA as per the Far Right’s vision, we should take the advice of a commenter on Crampton’s article, and test the idea on the ACT seat of Epsom.

Take away all the RMA constraints to more intensive land use in this leafiest of suburbs. We can see how the locals like having their trees felled and intensive housing spring up in the sought-after Grammar zones. Watch the hypocritical Far Right NIMBYs come out in force then.

Seriously, land availability and the RMA, are not Auckland’s problem. Auckland is the problem.

If Auckland gets too expensive for the quarter acre dream, then the market is sending us a signal.

If the market faces the true costs, it will determine the appropriate way forward. We might see more building on the fringes, but we are more likely to see Auckland become denser in its centre.

We might also see people and businesses relocating to other regions in search of a better lifestyle. Now that would be a revolution!

We have talked at length about the other drivers of the Auckland house price boom.

There is a speculative demand for housing in Auckland that unnecessarily boosts the demand for housing well beyond what the demand for accommodation would imply. This is driven by the toxic mix of a tax break on housing along with the Reserve Bank directive to banks to lend on mortgages as first preference. Get rid of those and the demand will fall back to a level that is commensurate with the demand for accommodation.

Calling for RMA reform is a cop out, an assault on the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Better to deal to the real issues and ensure that market prices reflect the true costs.

The New Roundtable (aka NZ Initiative) has jumped aboard this recommendation, totally in disregard for the externalities that infinite urban sprawl give rise to. It’s very shallow.

But there is nothing more the Roundtable and Fed Farmers would like than to see the RMA totally repealed – we’ll explore why in coming blogs.

Promising that RMA reform will offer cheaper housing and solve child poverty is simply drivel.


This article was first published on the blog and is here with permission.

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"This is driven by the toxic mix of a tax break on housing along with the Reserve Bank directive to banks to lend on mortgages as first preference. Get rid of those and the demand will fall back to a level that is commensurate with the demand for accommodation."
"Tax break?" What  tax break?
And what would GM suggest would be a better first preference than real estate for a bank? Gold, shares, paintings or maybe just the pussy cat next door.

The fact you can write off loses on your rental houses against your own personal income tax, that must be what he is refering to  ( pretty sweet if you own a rental returning less than the interest payments though ;)

but that's not a tax break.

that's just adjusting for a persons actual income.

If a PAYE person is away for 2 months unpaid leave, do they get billed for their Annual Contracted amount, or what they received?  They get taxed on their actual income.

Same with any (non-ring-fenced) investment.  Just as you pay tax on profits that increase your income, you don't pay tax on income you didn't receive.  It's hardly a "break"

The fact that investors are able to use other peoples money to gear up and take advantage of the inflation without any inflation cost of the money from the bank. A diligent approach to deflating that (squashed by MP investors of any party) can be made to sqeeze the market.
Alternatively make interest on loan money only partly deductible and manage the market by moving the goalposts to equalize with home buyers.

"inflation cost of the money from the bank" = Time value of money, factored into the interest rate by the bank as cost of credit supply.

Okay , so whould we disincetivise businesses from setting up in Auckland ( using taxation) to encourage them to go elsewhere in NZ ?

Investors, foreign buyers and thinking that Auckland needs to grow. Eliminate the second and the third and make the first a lot less attractive and maybe things will start to look a little less skew-whiff. 

And I am totally with Gareth re the prospect of all that good growing land being chopped up for housing. Why is the human race so stupid?

That is indeed a great Q. 

"drivel" indeed.

Why is it ok for the 'rich' to buy 4 hectare/10 acre lifestyle block land at two to four times rural farm prices while the 'poor' who cannot afford 4 hectares have to pay 100 times rural land prices for 1/20 of a hectare or less?
The 170,000 lifestyle blocks in NZ doesn't seem like a good use of 'prime' farm land. The area these rural playgrounds consume is far greater than our all towns and cities combined.
What if we have a new rule -an RMA free zone for Epsom and all lifestyle blocks (rural blocks of 4 hectares or smaller). That would get rid of the one rule for rich and another for the poor hypocrisy that is going on in the housing market.

If we got our heads around the idea that we should not just grow, grow, grow the population so we can pretending we are prospering, then more people would be able to live that sort of lifestyle, not just the super rich. The problem is constantly thinking that we have to increase our population, we do not, and the world is not far away from having to figure out how to prosper without growth that we might just as well start practising now. Tim Jackson's book might be a good place to start for some ideas even though it was written a while back.
I think this whole thing is the new political battleground, myself.

Grow for ever is an utter failure in simple math if nothing else.

Amen to that, but boy, it is going to take a superhuman effort to get it through most of the population's heads, then get us all to take that quantum shift in thinking to how this can all work, and a quantum shift it will be, which is why most just choose to ignore it. It's probably not going to overly bother me, as I won't live to see 10-11 billion people in the world, but I have family who could do, if it happens (please, no) unless we start figuring out how we can do this without constantly increasing our numbers, which is the only way we have measured our "well being" since forever.
I do want there to be elephants and rhino in Africa, Orang Utans in Sumatra, Jaguar in the Amazon, polar bears in the Artic and penguins in the Antarctic and whales and fish in the oceans and all of those other less glamorous creatures that need this planet to live on as well, when they are my age and have grandkids themselves. 

Brendon...I think that you are forgetting a few things in regards to the 4 hectare block.
Firstly many of those owners have to provision their own water schemes which means putting in wells, pumps and holding tanks.  They also have to provide for their own sewerage via a septic tank etc.
Many small communities have also benefitted in having lifestyle block owners, roles arrangement of their land back to a neighbouring farmer etc. 
It also pays to remember that people on lifestyle blocks are contributing to all the city/town amenities but frequestly they are not big or often not users at all of these amenities. So Councils can get a better rate return off a lifestyle block due to the increased value in buildings etc.
I think it is important to compare apples with apples.......
......why can some cities or towns provide cheaper RMA applications and other services than other cities or towns?

This piece sounds like it was written by someone who has not taken is meds.
The RMA is not advocating slash and burn of trees in Epsom or anywhere. Eric Crampton is not advocating ¼ section sprawl and If the market is sending a signal that ¼ acre section living in too expensive as Garth says then, then it is sending a signal that ALL forms of housing are too expensive. 
And if Auckland has sprawled so much to be one of the biggest areas for its density in the world, why then are sections not the same low price as they are in Texas?
The costs of land, development costs, levies etc are twice as high as they need to be in NZ. If all the non-value added costs could be got rid of, then there would be plenty of money left to increase value added costs like better insulated warmer houses etc. which would greatly help lower income families.
What is shallow Garth is someone who has made his money (didn’t hear you going on about the environment before you cashed out) and then closes the door on NZ being able to have a crack at the same thing, - that is Nimbyism, to deny others the same opportunity you had.

I think you should know better than that
When someone pays $1.5 million for a 100 year-old old villa in Grey Lynn or Westmere or Mt Albert, they are not paying $1.5 million for the house. It's not the house that is unaffordable, it's the total package that is unaffordable. They are paying over $1 miilion for the land and somewhat less for the house
So, no, ALL forms of housing are not unaffordable

So ZaneyZane still hasn't got his subdivision in. What happened to the execellent return you were bragging about 6 months ago?

Keep cramming people in and they will not get the same opportunies in fact they already aren't. Who these days can tell their kids "just be home before the street lights come on"
Realising that we are living on a finite planet and that we have to stop this stupid grow, grow, grow thing is about as far from mimbyism as you can get. I want NZ to be an example of how life and economics can do well without it!! We will have to do it soon, why not now and in a civilised fashion

Nothing south of the bombays?

Gareth Morgan article is full of ignorant mistakes.
Firstly Auckland is not particularly sprawling. It has a population density of 28 people per hectare. Far greater than the genuinely sprawling US cities of Atalanta 6 and Houston 11 people per hectare. In fact Auckland is not that far off Stockholm and Berlin's density of 36 people per hectare.
Secondly transport infrastructure is provided by the taxation system in NZ, being a combination of rates, petrol taxes and general taxes. It is a social contract that the public pays taxes and in return we expect decent roads and public transport. In much the same way we expect decent schools and hospitals from our taxes.
Transport provision should cover the whole network and that includes newcomers. We would not expect five year olds to pay for new classrooms or seventy year olds to build new hospitals if there wasn't enough so why would it be right to expect newcomers to pay for roads and public transport?
It can't be because the taxpayer cannot afford it. A lot more taxes are spent on education or health. Another social contract we have is looking after our elderly which is the major component of our social welfare spending, again spending much, much more than transport spending.
Kiwis need to be asking the decision makers why are our housing and transport policies not serving all of us. Especially young workers on low to medium incomes with families. They pay taxes and have a right to expect good services in return.
The fact Gareth Morgan is trying to undermine this social contract by advocating for some sort of user pays public service shows how rightwing he is. 
I think it is hypocritical of Gareth to be calling the NZ Inititiative 'shallow' for highlighting the problem that unaffordable housing is causing childhood poverty when he writes an article full of mistakes and with no alternative solution to a serious social problem. If anyone is being a lightweight and speaking 'drivel' it is Gareth with this attempt at intellectual debate.
If Gareth wants to be taken seriously then he should get some proper facts and figures. I would suggest he read some Alain Bertaud and maybe some of Peter Nunns articles on Transportblog these are some even handed urban development experts. For some historical perspective Belich is great. Macrobusiness also has great articles and bloggers on this topic -unfortunately behind a paywall now but that shouldn't be a problem for the aggressively wealthy Gareth.
P.S Sprawl doesn't have to be standalone housing serviced by cars only. There is all sorts of options and choices out there. Atlanta for instance has expanded its passenger rail system because the transit company found it beneficial getting into real estate where the leases on the land around stations helped recover costs. Waymad discussed in Eric's article that we used to do that in NZ on a small scale. Is there any reason KiwiRail couldn't do it again on a bigger scale if they were allowed to 'sprawl'.

Brendon is on to it
To me its like urban legend that Aucklanders think they have this huge sprawling city.  Perhaps this comes from the fact that the entire Auckland Region is now only one Municipal Super City-rather than a normal Metropolitan Region made up of numberous municipalites as it was 50 years ago
Take the example of a Northern US Metro area-Minneaplis/ St.Paul region in Minnesota. 16th largest population centre at 3.6million.  The region consists of 12 counties and over 182 seperate city and township councils-ranging from central twin cities  populations of Minneapolis at 450,000 and  St. Paul at 250,000  together with large exurban areas which include original village or township councils with as little as  1500 people which generally operate their own muncipal services-(eg:locals demand and receive from their little councils roads being cleared of  snow by 6am on wintery days to make their commuttes possible.)
 At over 16,500km2 the population density comes down to a lowly 6 per Ha. The Metropolitan Council (non elected-appointed by the reigning state governor) serves all of these desperate local units in a way that the old Auckland Regional Council did-but with far more powers.
New Motorways are regularily built to oulying areas enabling efficient commuttes for new housing which soon followsso that growth "south of the bombay hills" occurs resulting in true home affordability with a Median Home Price of US$210,000 at only 3 times  average household income of $66,500. Now this decade transportation growth is also incorporating light rail transit  offering a green alternative for suburbs 20k to 70k from central city.
What does all this outward urban sprawl offer the home buyer?  Home and land affordability.  800sqm development sections on average cost under $50,000.Yes plenty of crop land gets mowed down with urban sprawl, but like in NZ on a statewide basis rural land supply is effected by an inconsequential  amount.
The "losers" when regions don't limit urban expansion are of course existing home owners as house inflation is miserable (by Auckland standards)  with less than 4 fold increase in 30 years compared to Auckland's 3 fold or better in 10 years.
The 9th annual Demographics International Housing Survey which studied the Auckland region summed it up best when they reported:
"If a locality limits to certain sites the land that can be developed within a given period, it confers a preferred market position on those sites. . . . If the limitation is stringent enough, it may also confirm a monopolistic power on the owners of those sites, permitting them to raising land prices substantially. Urban containment has been associated with up to 87 per cent of house price increases. 54 percent higher overal house prices. and 61 percent higher new house prices."
Hand in hand with building more houses the central government and Auckland council should be  busting open the urban boundaries to push down land prices as well as  investing in transit infrastruture to serve the outlaying expansion areas of the Auckland region-including south of the bombay hills. Smart growth means not trapping people into mind numbing commuttes as happened to the home buyers of the southeast suburbs during the expansion of  the  1990's. Never again should government be so dismissive of the needs of new suburanban locations as they were to the people below the hills of  Howick.

Au contraire, long and skinny is the new normal in urbanisation.

  • The Hiroshima-Sendai corridor
  • The Washington DC - Boston corridor
  • The proposed ("yes we want to do it too") Oslo- Goteborg-Malmo- Copenhagen corridor
  • On a smaller scale northern expansion in Perth, WA

What they all have in common is good rail and road infrastructure connecting the various cities together.

I dont have a social contract.

Don't vote then, don't use the courts or other public institutions, hand in your passport, refuse to pay taxes, set up your own republic and stop engaging with other kiwis in public forums like this that are debating changes in social contracts. Good luck!

I am with cowboy on this one. The debate about whether we have a social contract is a bigger and more important than the debate around trivial social changes that are discussed on this forum. And anywhere that is available is a good place to discuss that.
For instance, when was the last time you were asked how your money supply should be structured?

Fully agree Scarfie......and as ong as people keep getting stuck on the trivial the less chance there is of ever having a wider debate !!

you don't have a contract with me, you don't get to make that call.

you want a contract, let's talk _terms_ .   What you and your buddies want to inflict on me, that ain't no contract.

I voted because it was requested of me and I felt generous - my vote wasn't for me but for NZ to reduce the harm it is doing to itself.  I'm registered to vote because I was threatened with theft and violence.

I seldom bother with courts, but the some citizens of this country are frequently delinquent and dishonest, but it has been requested for me to use this venue even though I would prefer not to and give the other person the chance to be decent.  At other times I use your court services because your bully boys threaten me.   Other Insitutions I carry open party fair trade (this might be an alien philosophy to you), I meet their expectations....frequently they fail to deliver although many smaller organisations have decent people who at least try to honour their agreement.

I have no passport.  I am a citizen of the Universe.

I pay taxes because I've been repeatedly threatened with violence, kidnapping and theft if I don't - aren't all gangs like that when they "tax" people?

Republic? I'm on a farm, with growing PV and alternate energy gear, trying to have as little to do with your establishment as possible, and constantly promoting fair and equal trade, and open economic policy (and maths).

And why wouldn't I engage with whomever I please?   You do recall that I have had my account revoked at least once - and the owner and agents of this property, are in full rights to do as they please with it.  I'm tolerated as long as I'm tolerated, booted when they've had enough, and re-use my other sleep/sock account should it happen.

And ... this is perhaps why you can't follow my posts... I don't debate change in social contract.  _never_!   It's not my problem.... I debate mechanics and mathematics.  mechanics and mathematics of energy, population, economy, finance, human needs and occasionally, justice.  never "social contract"  (which I personally believe is a con game)

nope. not buying into it.

Threaten all you like.  Intimidation when it is onesided, is considered violence (check your sociology information).   The alternative is not guns, barb wire, fully armed police force....  unless you're saying the US has no social contract (Google : "Mike Brown", Fergusson, Missouri).  that _is_ the social contract bs in action.

A contract that is not openly and fairly negotiated is almost always one that advantages one party, and used to disadvantage the other party.
   It is a way for the "social contract" claimer to try to justify an imaginary entitlement that they do not have natural or reasonable ability to own.

In the case you've taken, by introducing guns etc as a fallacy, you try to influence the acceptance of that contract.  But I doubt you have any intention of invoking or creating guns - and in an intelligent person, it would be recognised that this will  eventually result in uncivil oppression or retailation.  Thus without a social contract being used to abuse either party, there is the opportunity for intelligent people to negotiate.   As can be seen for this example, it is the interest of the weaker party to insist contractual entitlements exist, and to deny factual evidence.  (the parable of Athena and forensic justice over the rich persons jewelry, highlights how "social contract" is often used to unethical ends.  In Greek times, the social contract was that rich people couldn't do crime to poor people, because poor people didn't have anything the rich wanted, and need not start fights or jealousy with the poor.  Thus a matriarch stole her own jewels and blamed a pretty servant girl, in order to get her severely punished by law.  Forensic Justice found the servant girl innocent - social contract found her guilty).

NZcoolie is right.  If you dont believe him try looking at history, say the French Revolution, or the Russian or South Africa for the outcome. 

In reply to 'Two Guys' above:
If my defintion of what 'house' means that is all you have got to complain about, then I pleased enough.
The fact remains the housing (which includes the total of land and dwelling) is far more expensive in NZ that it needs to be. And it is the land component that is largely resonsible for this.
The present RMA has contributed to this expense, but to blame the leglislation is to divert responsibility from who is really responsible, that is all the landbankers, and councils (especially council) who have twisted the RMA to screw large amounts of non-value added costs from it, the cost of which home owners pay for.
Changes to the Act are needed to stop this.

No, changes to immigration laws are needed first

By all means limit immigration, but we had higher than needed prices even when we had more people leaving than arriving. 
The immigration isssue is a worthy but different arguement than the changes that are needed to the RMA and LGA to make housing more affordable.

Then we also get rid of foreign non-resident ownership of land and make it less attractive for investors, but shopping up excellent horticultural land is just mad. And if we make it easier for there to be many more people then suddenly you need many more people. We do not have the infrastructre in terms of things like water supply and sewage treatment. I think we really have address the population issue and make THAT the priority.

So, what is your Plan B if changes to the RMA and LGA dont work and make no difference
What guarantee can you give that they will work ??

Raegun I would happily agree to restricting immigration but I have no trust that would satisfy you or other hardline Greenies. I suspect your demands would endlessly add up to a 'no' to everything.
I also dislike you and Gareths tactics of holding to ransom the health and wellbeing those in society with the least power. You seem to care little about the less well off, young families and those in danger of falling into child poverty or actually in poverty.
I started off lobbying for affordable housing following meeting a working family in a Christchurch playground. The mum told me that their rental had ice on the inside of the windows in winter. When she tried to discuss this with the landlord, she asked for a heatpump. He just said 'would that help' and walked off. This dismissive attitude by those in power to the needs of others is common in NZ.
Gareth Morgan is sadly repeating this dismissive attitude on a kiwi wide scale.  

You are actually not far off the mark, except that I and a few other people who give a damn, like Sir David Attenborough, do accept that change is coming whether you or I, for that matter, like it or not. Just putting it off and letting our descendants deal with it, now that we know what is ahead, is just criminal, really.
The world IS finite and the fact that in the last 40 years or so the world's wildlife population has about halved should be alarming to us all, even you, perhaps. I kind of can imagine what we have to get our heads around, and carrying on as we have, will only sentence more and more to poverty. We cannot keep growing in the belief that that way is salvation, as it isn't.
I am not wealthy by any means so don't confuse me with any chardonnay socialist. I have a deep and genuine concern for the future of this world. For everyone in it to be able to live the rough equivalent of a European lifestyle there is only enough resource for about 3 billion or so of us, so maybe even you can see what effect 10 or 11 will have. We have to face it, rich, poor or struggling in the middle, ALL of us

Well maybe you and Gareth could take your Greenie message to places like Nigeria which has explosive population and a massive appetite for resources. Back here in NZ our birthrate has fallen below the replacement rate so we are heading like it or not to stability.
I have tried to engage with the Greenie viewpoint in my small efforts to lobby for affordable housing. I would support restricting immigration. Stopping foreigners purchasing NZ land. I would support urban development that has multiple transport types, including being bycycle friendly so that people always have a sustainable option. I have tried to promote the right to build 'eco-villages' or earthship so kiwis have a cheaper and more sustainable option than lifestyle blocks if they like the countryside living option. I have put up information on that shows NZ has renewable energy capacity to switch to electrical vehicles.
But this never seems enough and I am coming to the conclusion that the Green movement is not trusted partners in providing affordable housing to meet the needs of all kiwis.

Yip the message has to get to there as well

Raegun the test for the Green movement is if they can work with other progressive movements in trusted partnerships. If they push their agenda at the exclusion of all other considerations then the wider public will not trust you. I think the leaders of the Green party understand this but the members of the wider Green movement do not.

raegun and brendon. You both have the same end philosophy, the same end objectives, yet here you are wasting your energies nit-picking at one-another

I would never have picked raegun for being a green sympathiser. more a pragmatist that can see the end-game, through the smoke and mirrors

I know I feel a bit guilty about arguing with Raegun but if there is any time to do it now is the time. In NZ the left needs to confront why we do not trust each and if that is the reason the public do not want to touch left wing progressive movements with a barge pole.

It just seems to be such a waste of time prognosticating on the issue in public forums, going round and round and round getting nowhere. Because one never ever hears from the lever-pullers. One wonders if they ever read these comments. The news-media never seem to want to touch it.
A notable phenomenon has been the silence of the bureaucrats and the politicians.
You are lobbying.
You are in touch with them.
What is their response?

I agree with Iconoclast in his desription of Raegun Brendon and you do yourself a diservice calling him a Greenie. I have lots of Greenie and animal rights friends and, while caring passionate people, they are working from an emotional perspective rather than the simple mathematics of exponents that is involved in the resource discussion.
I would encourage you to cast your net wider for a discussion on housing is meaningless unless it is combined with finance and resources in the same discussion. For instance if you permit unfettered fringe development that relies of fossil fuel to move people about then all you are doing is transferring the problem to future generations who won't have access to that resource.

I don't disagree with you, but I have my own views and don't intend to shoehorn them into any specific political party's notions. I do have to deal with the one that comes closest however but none come so close as to really push the barrow out on human having to face their own over population of the world. You and I both know what the reaction to that will be among the mainstreamers. All I can do is just keep saying it in the hope that people will think about it. It means having to think about a scary future if we do nothing

If you look at the last few terms I think you can see the Green's were pretty reasonable, maybe too much so.

NZcoolie I don't know where you live but in Christchurch heatpumps are mainstream standard. Also ice on the inside of windows is third world conditions and anybody who thinks that is acceptable for kiwi families has no social conscience.

so who is supposed to fix the ice that forms on the inside of my windows?

Get some bubble wrap or preferably corrugated cardboard and rig up something that will fit inside your window frames and presto, no frozen windows. Even newspaper will do the trick.
Old Norwegian trick

Instead of lobbying and other lip flapping exercises, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and fix the problem.

I have ice forming on the inside of my windows.
What do you think your lobbying is going to achieve?

My lobbying is going to achieve cheaper residential land and cheaper building products so the tenant can give the finger to the landlord and build a proper first world standard house themselves. Commercial pressure would then quickly apply to other landlords to up the standard of their rentals.

No it won't.  your lobbying just soothes your conscience.  If you were serious about improving things then you would be paying your money and improving your own tenancies.

Then you would actually understand what you're saying.  Which btw, as someone with actual experience, I guarantee you, is incorrect.  

Your "lobbying" if successful will result in higher costs to tenants...pushing the poorer ones into even cheaper nastier situations.   Put aside the theories...put _your_ money into it, and learn.

Cowboy you are not someone to be trusted. Most of your comments are indeciperable. You don't give your full name. Sometimes it seems you a sharemilking farmer. Sometimes a tenant, sometimes a landlord. Most of your posts are baseless criticism. Very rarely do you start a thread or contribute something positive.
Cowboy feel free to lay the cards on the table, identify yourself and your actual experience.....
As most people here know. I am a psychiatric nurse. I have lived overseas so have insights into other markets. I am a tenant in the process of building a home. I have an economics background and have read widely and attended talks about urban economics. I have had discussions with economists, former politicians and current politicians. They consider me to have some knowledge about these matters.
I will continue doing what I am doing regardless of your opinion.

Carl de Malmanche.  Usernames are common on the internet and my original username on this forum was based on my email address and hacker name.

I am indeed a tenant.
And a landlord.
I'm not a sharemilking farmer, I'm currently leasing dairy farm land and operating a dairy supply operation.     You see that leasing bit... that's why I'm a tenant.

How do I fund a dairy farming operation?  With the debt levels involved, I have security in the form of residental houses, which makes me a landlord.

I don't occasionally contribute "positive" material but as I am processing information about how to do things I limit those positive things to ideas and anecdotes about how I do things - to lay down the law of positive material is to dictate to others how things should be done... like your lobbying... And since it's not my resources and not my risk I don't like to give people inappropriate data that they, in their NZ ignorant state, will follow blindly.  Such areas are frequently the grounds of salespeople* and politicians.

I worked at retail sales in ComputerXpress Palmerston North for about 6 months.  It was a franchise store operation, and I was sole employee in this branch, quadrupling the sales of the previous two staff.  I finished in that position when the store was sold to a new franchisee.

I have attended 3 Universities in New Zealand, although was only registered at 2 of those, Auckland and Massey (Palmerston North campus). Done serveral correspondence courses in engineering, mechanics and electronics related papers (Mostly with Open Polytechnic). I have also attended polytechnics doing NZQA Engineering, Computers, Commerce, Business papers.  as you will note NZQA requires job experience which was rare in the late 80's, early 90's.  And later on the Business Computing course which I was doing decided to become a degree, and restructured the course.  I was attending part time, as my job at ComputerXpress went full time, so the tutor wouldn't let me sit some of the exams, despite his HoD's personal guarantee to me that it wouldn't be an issue.  Due to the course change I was unable to complete.

Before then I worked for a small agri-computer start up (Laretal) as the Support Manager, working vertical integration bringing computer technology together with business needs - one project was adapting Ian Boag's Satelitte Spares (auto-parts) to Dairy and Red Meat industry in order to get reports and fast communications structure between industry and suppliers.  We were also working in cunjunction with Mark of "The Board" BBS in Wellington, to impliment online hub style social communications.

I was co-sysop of a BBS system called AcmeBBS with a great friend, Craig Harding of Outpost Media (Palmerston North).  Outpost Media was the commercial split off, of what used to be Massey University Film and Media department (under the BBS/MasterBS courses).  Craig was pretty much a genius with code, although I had been doing it longer.

And it was working with BBS software and trying to create a "point of pressence" for CentralPower that got me fired earlier from my job in the Commercial Department.  Where I spend time coding in C and VisualBasic, learning marketing and preparing market fact books.  I had the honour of working alongside Chris Boyle, who was the engineer who, in his own time, designed, analysed and sourced the first of the Manawatu Wind Turbines.  I was also examining similar material, looking into use of Micro and mini Hydro, waste-recycling plants, Solar PV, and co-generation.  Part of our personal initative was to experiment with dial-up modems connected to our top 40 business customers meters - the idea being they could be dialed remotely at anytime, and load data downloaded and analysed - thus allowing the power board to spot faults, and shed load more accurately.   This was difficult as PABX's were often manually switched by receptionists and direct lines were expensive and prone to electrical interference.
 At this time I was also training in Bujinkan Ninjitsu. Our Sensei originally had connect to Soke via Michael Gent in Wellington, but later connected through Mike Hammond of Personal Protective Services (Sydney).  Sensei decided to get out of retail sales (a support your hobby job) and start a security firm.  Typical Leo behaviour. lol.  Thus we trained with him and Mike to do event and close protection security work.  Understandly I was looking into computer security as well.  Mike's major contract was with Murdoch over in Australia, so standards were quite high.

I was transferred to Commercial Department of what was the amalgamation of Tararua and Manawatu Power Boards.  The dismissal from the eventual CentralPower happened the same month the new Employment Contract Law was enacted, which gave me a ringside seat into the duplicity of the Unions and Union-men.
 When I was in the Tararua PowerBoard, I was working under Bernie Wills in the drawing office.  Operating VersaCad software, and attempting to automate the drawing process through macros, from the theodolite data.  Inkjet printers were introduced to the market, and cost around $7000 each - we used an HP plotter.  At the same time as I was coding the VersaCAD macros, GPS was just becoming commercially available.  We were operating a 286 computer with EMS of 2MB. It had dual 40Mb Harddrives.  We were using the A0+ digital tablet to digitise all new and historic records.  VersaCAD also had a materials Database module, which we had just started implimenting for property searches and BoM, at the time of the merger.   I was also the backup admin for the Xenix systems that ran as the Power Boards "server"  (also a 286).  This was the first contact I had with Un*x so was step learning curve.

With the AcmeBBS, Craig and I eventual switched to BSD386 (from Windows 3.11) in order to have more native trn, uucp and other UseNET and pop support.  It was at this time I was trying to get our drunk friend at Tait Communcations to help us with Microwave transmitters/relays, I was experimenting with data compression (especially video), computer security, and high speed low overhead transmission.
 Sadly the firing (from Power Board) and double-cross from the Union took it's toll on me mentally and emotionally - and since I had extended funding based on my secure job, the loss of that job was a major blow to me and my fiance.
When the ComputerXpress was sold and the new owner offered me half my previous (low) wage, I went out consulting as the job market was very slow, and my wife had just been made redundant from the BNZ, where she was working in the MICR department.  We had brought our first house in Woodville with some of her redundancy money, and all the cash I could scrap together.   This was my first commercial business attempt - based in Woodville, doing mobile computer services in Palmerston North - no money for advertising as it all went into the mortgage.

I kept at that for a while until answering a job for Fujutsu (NZ) Ltd at the local Dept of Labour Interview thing. This gave me great access to many larger businesses and got to rub shoulders with many people I would never have met otherwise.   Having business skills, union and legal awareness, skills in security, computers, electronics; also let me see where many of the (computer) mistakes were coming from in those organisations - being able to read the computer data also gave extra insights into what was happening in those organisations, as the "shape" of the data - gained from the analytic skills in university and growing up on farm, and learning to break down problems for programming - meant much insight into how those organisations worked.  And unlike those in the organisations, we got sent from organisation to organisation .... which is also why I don't "volunteer" information.  The best security and secrecy is to know nothing and say nothing.     But a good anecdote or trail of thought based on immediately observable data serves as a warning to the wise - and far more importantly, they think, so they know how and why (and what KPI's to put in place to watch)...where if I lay down the what's what tey can only follow my plan...which being inflexible as I am not them, would ultimate result in long-term unpredictable microactivity.  And butterfly wings...because I do maths, magic and engineering as the Chaos theory talk for unresolved small things, passing through feedback loops to become much bigger things (like a breath across a poorly poitioned microphone).
Fujitsu(NZ) bought out Southmark Services Ltd. Eventually acquiring both North and South Island companies.  I relocated to Dunedin, after my polyamorous family had problems, and PN was downsizing (sheding staff after the Southmark takeovers).   More of the same work, but my wife left, taking my son.
 Eventually made redundant from Fujutsu(NZ) and got a tech job at Desktop Technology Services Ltd (DTSL) in Dunedin.  DTSL is the split off of Unisys's Technical Support division in NZ.   The bonus of spliting DTSL off, is that the Unisys service team could directly support other customers medium and large, that weren't contracted directly to Unisys.  Unisys was Fujutsu (NZ) Ltd's major international competitor ...  The redundancy money - and my company matched retirement savings - allowed my to buy a second residental house with my previous (polyamorous) third in Fielding.  Leading to a transfer to Palmerston North.  However as DTSL has many people in PN, I was often used as the "sweep" technician, to work all over NZ, bringing me into contact with a lot of people.

The job did require much driving.  Often late at night and it was getting to the point I was frequently falling asleep driving.  The traditional field tech diet of quickly swallowed fastfood and near lethal levels of caffeine were also taking their toll.  So when my parent's farmworker hung himself after accusations from his ex-girlfriend of child mollestation, I was ready to get out of driving.  That got me into farming as Assistant Manager.  Injury to my feet put me out of work for 3yrs in 2004.   And in 2004 I managed to buy out my ex-wife in the Woodville rental.   All the rest of my money was going to paying the Feilding house off and get my family there free of transfer-costs debt (travelling from Dunedin).
  Injury put me in the line at WINZ.  very very bad times then.  Prozac tends to make people waffle on about personal stuff. With only a months taking it, the effect is permenant. So I was on sickness benefit for 3 years, at the start of which WINZ pushed me into a mental breakdown (so those WINZ shootings...good on him)

the sickness benefit isn't actually enough to live on, even in PN.  I refused to sell the house in Woodvillle (negative equity thanks to the Tararua - Longburn dairy merger) so couldn't get accomodation assistance. 
 After being mentally absued by a flatmate, who was also sexually abusing our younger female flatmate, I borrowed enough money to purchase a suitable fixer-upper 3 bd house in PN.
  I got some tools and started doing basic improvements.  I also enrolled in Massey University and started rebuilding my brain after the breakdown - studying maths, computer science and finance.   In the previous flat two flatmates were also Massey Students (including an ex-boyfriend) this gave rise to discussion on Sociology, Anthropology and application of higher maths to real world problems.
 At this time my WINZ manager got me on to a Building course to help with morale, and I also saved enough for two sessions with a shrink.  The building course came with opportunities for hands on building experience.  Where I found my earlier injuries prevented me taking it up as a career - but it was very handy in building contacts throughout the industry and gaining information and insight in the construction side of (smaller) property.

So when someone made a top of market offer for my fixer-upper I grabbed it and doubled down. in 2007.  

After receiving some flying lessons for my birthday from my new girlfriend (ex-flatmate who was being abused) I logged enough hours to qualify to go solo.  Unfortunately my health check from Dr Dave came back negative due to the foot injuries (and tiredness).  but always better down here wanting to be up there, than the other way around!

Then I got the offer to 22% sharemilk: 120 cows, no calving, winter milk, 20aside shed.  Sounds too good to be true?  I took it thinking it could pay for the rest of my uni course, and fix some of the problems with the rentals (now up to 4, woodville, feilding, 2 in PN) and give me money to look into personal alternative energy systems.   I had a computer, 6 duvets and a pillow, as total personal possesions; everything else went into the houses and family/Child support.   2 weeks in the mainsharemilker put an extra 25 dry cows on the place and told be they were my problem.  And that was the first of many "emergencies".  As mentioned previous posts, I sharemilked for just under 2 years, where the misinformation given by moy boss left me thousands in debt, so I took over his lease and started the current dairy operation. (as 160 cows, 60 ha milk plaform, 45 ha support, winter milk 110, doing 50- 60,000 kgMS)

I've appeared in 3 movies/tv ("Jaal: The Trap" (Bolliwood, as a stuntplayer), The Lord of Rings (as a "wildman" and even have my picture in the making of books), and "How the Other Half Live"  (NZ documentary starring Marc Ellis, "witches" episode)

I have studied many martial arts, as have all my nuclear family.  Ninjitsu (aka Bijinkan Taijutsu), Judo (my father repped for NZ in 75), Aikido, Fencing, Kempo Karatem Hapkido and I can teach european medieval weapon work.  My highest rank is 2nd dan black belt.  Most of my partners have also been martial artists (exception of my ex-wife)

So hopefully that puts things more into perspective.  I'm 47, born male indentified as transgender most of my life but prefer genderfluid under modern systems.  I'm bi, poly, pagan (as much as it's a cliche). I'm a Wiccan, witch, Druid and Alchemist who practices 4 different types of magical systems (low, spirit, divine, ceremonial).  

 My personal patron Goddess is Pallas Athene, whose spheres are crafts, information/wisdom, justice, and defensive warfare.  Which you will see repeated throughout the previous writing, and that means I am spiritually and religiously expected to continue to learn and study and analyse even after my final breath.

- - -
so sorry to everyone else for the lengthy dossier.

The point Brendon, about my writing style.... is I don't play for _personal_ creditbility.  Unlike the slaesfolk and politicians...or the lobbyists with their pet theories they want others to pay for and take the risks.

I am critical because I have walked many paths, with many people, and when someone is doing something wrong, only those who take the responsibility up for themselves can ever grow from up.   The data I give, is so people can take a second view point with the extra insight.

- -
for those with software access, I was born 23 September 1968, 16:05, at Palmerston North Hospital.  Stick that in any decent astrology package and there I am.  Double Virgo/Libra Cusp (Sun, Moon), Pieces Ascendant, with a noticable Saturn reversal in 3rd house alongside Aries in 3rd too.   If you know the code, you know the app.

Oh, and the thing I have which gordon possibly didn't - which allows me to take large loans, is well off parents with secure assets.  They don't give away money (true blood and stones there) they believe it creates the wrong mindset,  but if I have a good business plan, and decent security, they'll consider my application for a loan....  So I can get deposit for a mortage sale house (security, opportunity) but not ever for living costs (consumables, lifestyle) or soft projects (education, software); and at moderately stable market rate..

Ok, reheated coffee and back to Brendon/topic.

My Great Work is suppose to be in power storage and transport.  But I set that aside, because I had to ask myself why some people were poor and whether of not every one could be rich/wealthy.

After 21 years study, and 7 re-checking here is the answer to that subsitute question.

No, not everyone can be rich.   It's about priorities.  As long as some people like to play with money and re-invest and watch it grow, then they will always have more.  It doesn't matter the resource, time, friends, power, cash.... if it's your obsession and you learn its rules and make the sacrifices, and can stick it out long enough to get lucky then you will come out with more than someone whose priority is elsewhere.
 (* loss, being nasty, and overspending come under "rules")

So what is one of the key factors to being rich?
(1) Spend/waste/lose less than you gain.
  (1a) some critical points help more than others. (some friends more loyal, some investments better)
(2) see (1).

So if we take your house lobbying.
It's great that you want nice housing.  But you have to ask why the nice housing isn't there, and why people choose to live in less nice housing.

So if your housing succeeds how is it implimented?  Free isulation through taxes?  Whose?  those who are rich have leant to minimise there losses. (see rule 1).

ie to get rich, you must minimise your losses. all. the. time.  this isn't just meaning get an accountant to get you a tax dodge - and that often isn't worth the hassle compared to real investment.   It's about having the mindset that, costs are passed on, losses are sidestepped, exposure is reduced.  This is everything from bad habits, to choices of lunch, to friends you spend your valuable time with.

So you increase taxes - IF it hits the rich, they will pass it on. They are rich SOLELY because they can reduce losses. (well that and a good amount of luck).  If you track them down with some sneaky convoluted tax, they'll just burn the exposed asset at a loss take the credit, and you're left spending more to trying and find more ways.  That's why you can't get rich with taxes, it costs to make the "net" and to check it, in the meantime the fish have moved on.

If not taxes, through legislation.  then all the small holders start to sweat.   but they're the ones who are exposed, they're the ones sensitive to empty buildings and frequently charge less rent, or put up with questionable tenants just to reduce their cost of empty.  So either these folk go to the wall and sell to whom?  or they pass on cost!  In others words they're on the track of "get rich or bust".  so they  have to pass it on! to the poor people who you are supposed to be helping!!

Or they're larger holders, who tend to have higher rents because they can afford to wait, and qualify their tenants more carefully.  they charge more... and usually already have the mod-cons you want....but your poor people stuggle to meet the cost of hiring the asset.  But in this group, you pass a cost to these guys, they can do the renovation, but they just put it on the rent because their tenants are not poor in the first place.

So the ones that are well off, have or can pay for it already
The ones less well off, will get stuck with the bill,

And if you stick it on taxes, the rich get the asset, and the middle-road PAYE slave gets the bill.

You think the problem might actually be coming from elsewhere, given that information. An elsewhere, that lobbying to put up rent prices (to pay for insulation) really isn't going to help the poor....

- - 
I know what I'm talking about it not because some dodgy handshaker wants to con me, but because I'm doing the miles and the maths.


sometimes.  now cowboy.  and no doubt eventually someone else.  I have mentioned it, but didn't want to be rude to the admins so have trying to be nicer but some folks are very rude, i think without even realising it (so it does need to be brought to their attention - the rude people, not the admins).   And after all said and done, my writing style is rather "unique" ;)

Can I be so bold to suggest that you get a hold of "The Human House" by Tony Watkins. Tony is clearly one of the best minds in the country, but like a lot of thinkers he doesn'y draw attention to himself by grand standing. A warning though, his book will rip away your whole foundation.
Forget your politicians and economists, go talk to Architects for they are the ones with the ability to really understand the big picture. Maybe not all of them, some come from a white collar background that clouds their judgement. Perhaps go and do some papers at Architecture School just to see what is involved.

Yah, have that very copy on the table by the bed.
Sorry to disappoint but it misses the point we (the ones who have a sense of the Human Comedy as Tragedy) intermittently try to get across.
Land prices.
Inflated by the failed Town and Country Planning Act shenanigans, carried out under the auspices of the RMA, hence the need for reform.
Because even the Sainted Tony needs to build his Marvy Hoose on a patcha dirt......
But, speaking of the Yarts, a standard trope in Brit whodunnits is the Bent Town Planner. Who else has the power to inflate land prices by healthy multiple, taking a substantial ticket-clip on the way for the privilege of squiggling Here rather than There?
Trust the Artists to sniff out the essence of things, because even though (as in Tony's case) the results take a bit of decoding and are incomprehensively expressed at times, they do get there long before the rest of us.
Dylan, Waits, Cohen, Rea, Watkins.   Artists all.

Well what Tony might not have known he does now, I have been to see him a couple of times. Tony isn't an artist, he is a rational. In fact probably not an Architect at all but an ENTP Inventor, but like me close to the line, but that still qualifies him to get the big picture.
Most of the images in the book are of his house or environs.
There is some serious wisdom in that book. Some of it obvious, but the odd bit amounts to major insight.

Well Colin Ward addressed the repercussions of the Town and Country Acts well before it became a fashionable cause celebre to attack public servants and undermine envkronmental protections.
My favoured thinkers on the issue of human habitation are Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford, Colin Ward, Christopher Alexander, and Raymond Unwin. Their writings took into consideration the requirements and aspirstions of a broader section of society than either the New Urbanists or neo liberal market ideologues

Just like to mention with regards to that link,  The Paid Holidays Act was a necessary evil that was added to the Introduction of limited working week.  The limited working week was an introduction in the Edwardian Period, as a socio-economic improvement of the more draconian Victorian age.

Edward (UK) was much more the social fellow than previous rulers and interestingly enough came to power in a time of relative plenty (following decades of merchantilism).

Common people will still overworked and had no protect against the demands of those who control the social and legal conditions of the time.   This meant the work week tended to be continuous (7 days) and from daylight to dark (usable light) and poorly remunerated, due to social controls on survival.

With Edward this changed because of the mandated holiday period (the "weekend") for all those who could be spared.  This was backed by the Church, who were excluded due to their political influence, and tied in well with the Churches plans for "one day of rest" ( the church...don't forget you tithe where your neighbours can see you paying...).
 This wasn't one sided, as an economic action it was also an attempt for ecnomic stimulus in hoilday services (resorts) as the "weekend" and "holidays" were legally compulsory.

While that was loverly for the middle and upper classes with passive income or savings, it was extended misery for the lowest classes who were forced to work less days, and couldn't afford to support themselves on the days off, let alone bolster the new "holiday economy".   
More importantly on the socio-economic front...there were far more poor people (who couldn't spend on holiday) than there were everybody else.   Thus the introduction of the "Paid Holidays Act" to ensure that the poor people were fed and housed, and could afford to take on their responsibilities under the holiday economic initative.

Just a bit of intriguing history.  Since most people think "weekends" and "holidays" were introduced for a labour/people demanded reason.   Entirely the opposite originally....

I have to disagree with you on that, the New Zealand 40 hour working week (or more particularly an 8 hour working day) really was the result of a push from the skilled working class, particular carpenters and plumbers, of which there was a shortage in the 1800s.

The article was on Britian, the original introduction of break days (weekends, holidays)  , not the same as the 40hr week.

Dale Smith
I understand what you are "trying" to say - when you say -
The fact remains, housing is more expensive in NZ than it needs to be. And it is the land component that is largely responsible for this
Land-bankers aside (and I dont disagree with you there) the problem lays elsewhere
What constitutes the "value" of land begins in the inner suburbs - like Herne Bay, Parnell, Epsom, Mt Eden, Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, Westmere, Mt Albert where the land component has risen to in excess of $1 million - just for the section - before you put a value on the house
There isn't any land-banking in those suburbs - providing you exclude property owners who desire to live there and aren't going to move regardless of any RMA - yet the land price keeps rising in those suburbs much faster than land just north of the Bombays

I have a different view. There are many factors which contribute to the current housing dilemma, some of which are NOT dealt with in this article. And you have to wonder why

The "trickle-down" theory of land valuation?
Not sure I buy that.
So if I understand this startling new theory a section in Grey Lynn has an instrinsic value of $1m just because it does and that drags the value of a pocket handkerchief of land halfway to Hamilton up to $300K
Original to say the least.

the wages (and speculation CFD) is there.  If you can enter a contract, and it will definitely go up, don't you want a big investment not a small one.

1 - the prices will go up - this creates large amount of demand
2 - the demand isn't going relocate (orpahn) you
3 - service costs are covered or discounted by wages and service use (ie shelter) in the area
4 - demand elsewhere is lukewarm at best so competition for future "bigger fools" is low.

land is the _cost_
the value-add is in the demand   and since that isn't going to drop....

Sorry two other guys but you have got it back to front.
It’s the cost of fringe land that determines the cost of CBD land.
This correlation can be seen in any city in the world, irrespective of whether the city has restrictive growth boundaries or not.
That is the value of land increases slowly from the fringe, increasing exponentially as you move to the centre.
Thus non-restrictive growth boundary cities have a low priced fringe and also have a low priced CBD relative to restrictive growth boundary city that have a higher priced fringe and a higher priced CBD.

advertise as "built in plumbing, free access to stormwater facilities and no water charges"

Garth seems to think that changes to the RMA will result in the unwanted densification of inner city suburbs like Epsom (especially Epsom as retribution for them voting Act) and ‘all the trees will be cut down.’ And yet complains the same legalisation will increase sprawl.
But the changes to the RMA will not result in all the trees being cut down in Epsom, even if that was an option. Being a well-educated and wealthy suburb, the residents of Epsom know they can covenant their individual properties to limit the use of it, just like farmers do with QEII covenants that allow them to protect environmental and cultural features with open-space covenants.
This will allow them to protect the character of their property and if enough of their fellow residents do the same, then the character of the whole neighbourhood is protected. The residents of Epsom will soon be able to identify the imposter amongst them by who does not want to protect their future neighbourhood character. 

true we could just sell it to the Chinese... oh wait...

All commentators agree its a demand and supply problem, coupled with mounting costs. I for one note that some of the wealthiest people I know are builders. I've got nothing against builders but this is just another factor in inflating costs.
to ramp up supply what could be done? Reduce gst on new builds to Say 5%, introduce SLA's to councils and penalties to speed up the consent process. Introducing holding tax for developers  sitting on land banks. 
these three initiatives alone would help drive down costs, and speed up development relative to buying existing homes. This at the expense of forgone gst revenue, and council revenue in the short term.
This loss will be compensated for by increased activity, productivity and general tax by an ever growing population. once supply of housing stock has caught up to demand, these taxes could revert back to the status quo if so desired.
im not an expert in property, but I see the issue as one of straight out economics. The solutions are straight forward I would have thought.

Does anyone else remember the TV ads they ran to encourage us to holiday in Auckland rather than overseas? It had the punchline of  'And you don't even need a passport to visit' - or something similar.
I like Auckland, but given its problems and their impact on the rest of the country, I would like it even more if I did need a passport to visit.

It's a victory on points for Eric. Gareth is arguing about things Eric didn't say and doesn't appear to have done any homework to back up the arguments he does make.. The only reason its not a knockout is that Eric is also a bit unclear about what changes are being proposed to the RMA and what effects they will have.
There are obviously many many fallacies contained within this post that others have picked up. But let me add one more. Developers currently do pay the full costs of growth. It's not like this is anything new; developers hae been charged financial contributions since 1991 and development ontributions since 2004 to do exactly that. The only thing they are not charged for is government-provided infrastructure: highways, schools, hospitals.
But the key point both writers have missed is that there are two proposals to "revise the RMA" Two proposals to effect two different sets of changes using two different pathways.
The first is the stalled legislation that everyone seems to be talking about. I don't know much about it but it seems to be aimed at weakening the environmental protections contained within the existing legislation. This would allow more commercial proposals to be approved especially mining, power generation etc.  Here I agree with Gareth that this could be quite a backward step. But, in the context of this discussion, it will have no effect on affordable housing and is not what Eric is talking about.
The second pathway is not really a revision fo the RMA; it is the inquiry into planning practices to be carried out by the Productivity Commission over the next year. It is clear from the terms of Reference that the government have, at last, woken up to the fact that it is not so much the RMA itself as the use councils make of it that is the real problem. waymad and I (both former insiders) will continue to repeat that there are no zones, no urban boundaries in the RMA. Nil, nada,zip. They are a fabrication of councils Take away those urban limits by whatever means and land prices will drop to their real level. That is the "revision" that Eric is talking about even if he doesn't know it.

Spot on Kumbel.

There is a loop back to the District Plans in the RMA.

11 Restrictions on subdivision of land
(1) No person may subdivide land, within the meaning of section 218, unless the subdivision is—
(a) both, first, expressly allowed by a national environmental standard, a rule in a district plan as well as a rule in a proposed district plan for the same district (if there is one), or a resource consent and, second, shown on one of the following:

Can I suggest an objective test here.

  • Download the current RMA from
  • Save it
  • Word-search it for 'zone', 'spatial', and other such words.
  • Ask the question:  does the context demand squiggles on maps?

I'm more and more coming to Kumbel's view (see the Eric Crampton thread for the context):  take the garden offa the Councils altogther.  To which I have modestly suggested a small piece of legislation to abolish, overnight, all existing planning zones (and , did not think of this at the time) prohibit new ones from being promulgated.
This would have the salutary effect of forcing all proposals to be dealt with as was intended from the very beginning of the RMA:  by their Effects.
In fact, I can Imagine a tweak to the old Lennon song:

Imagine there's no zoning
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to cause inflation
on urban hectares new
Imagine all the people
Buying land for pence...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
Former Zones will be as one...
Never ignore the Yarts.....or the effect of a Gomersal Shiraz Rose


So what?
The rule allowing subdivision could be as simple as "any subdivided land must have access to an existing roadway." It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.
If we are going to quote the RMA try this one. As waymad says not a single mention of controlling the shape of urbanisation only controlling the effects.


31Functions of territorial authorities under this Act

  • (1)Every territorial authority shall have the following functions for the purpose of giving effect to this Act in its district:

    • (a)the establishment, implementation, and review of objectives, policies, and methods to achieve integrated management of the effects of the use, development, or protection of land and associated natural and physical resources of the district:
    • (b)the control of any actual or potential effects of the use, development, or protection of land, including for the purpose of—
      • (i)the avoidance or mitigation of natural hazards; and
      • (ii)the prevention or mitigation of any adverse effects of the storage, use, disposal, or transportation of hazardous substances; and
      • (iia)the prevention or mitigation of any adverse effects of the development, subdivision, or use of contaminated land:
      • (iii)the maintenance of indigenous biological diversity:
    • (c)[Repealed]
    • (d)the control of the emission of noise and the mitigation of the effects of noise:
    • (e)the control of any actual or potential effects of activities in relation to the surface of water in rivers and lakes:
    • (f)any other functions specified in this Act.


Sometimes Garath writes some good stuff.  Sometimes he writes absolute drivel. 
This is the latter I'm afraid.
He sets up a series of straw man arguments and knocks them down.  His understanding in this whole property area is that of a 12 year old.

Reading comments on this forum have made my opinion of the human race drop considerably. I'll not make that mistake again... :/

Me too !
... I was planning on joining the human race , but everyone else has Nikes , and all I got is Gummy boots ...