Bernard Hickey says a 'negotiated settlement' of the Productivity Commission's 'prescription for shared pain' on the Auckland housing issue would be preferable, or else...

Bernard Hickey says a 'negotiated settlement' of the Productivity Commission's 'prescription for shared pain' on the Auckland housing issue would be preferable, or else...

By Bernard Hickey

This week's report from the Productivity Commission on "Using land for housing" is the bureaucratic equivalent of one of those forensic science shows that rips apart the victim's body to conduct a post mortem and identify the murderer -- let's call it CSI Auckland Housing Crisis.

It shows in excruciating detail how Auckland's land prices have spiralled over the last decade and the toll that is taking on New Zealand's economy, and particularly those on lower incomes. It dissects the myriad of decisions by a self-interested minority of rate payers and property owners over the last 20 years that have cost the rest of the economy many billions of dollars and consigned a generation to poverty.

Restrictions on where people could build, how high and dense they could build, what materials they could build with, how many car parks they needed, how much councils could borrow and how rates were assessed have all combined to pump up land prices and rents to economically and socially disastrous levels. It made millionaires of a few and has consigned many thousands to housing poverty. Here's the post mortem in shocking detail:

* Land costs have trebled over the last 15 years in Auckland and now make up 60% of the value of property. That's up from just over 40% a decade ago and above the 40% seen in the rest of New Zealand.

* Unlocking supply of greenfields and brownfields land for housing in Auckland could cut the cost of housing by as much as 47% if it was done in a way that created the large scale developments that improved economies of scale for builders.

* The average size of new houses has increased 50% since 1989 because rising land costs in tandem with density restrictions force developers to build big houses that only a few can afford. Over 60% of new homes are now sold at prices in the top quartile price bracket, which is more than double what it was 20 years ago and six times what it was in 1960.

* Even with the elevated new building levels now of 8,000 a year, Auckland will have a shortage of 60,000 homes by 2020, double the shortage in 2015. 

* To have any hope of making up that shortfall, Auckland would have to build the equivalent of 11 more Hobsonville-sized developments immediately and then complete four more every year from now on. The Hobsonville development is already touted as the biggest in Australasia and will take a decade to deliver 3,000 new homes. That's how monumental the shortfall is. 

* The share of New Zealand households that have to spend more than 30% of their disposable income on housing has almost trebled since the late 1980s to over 25%. The average share of disposable income spent on housing in New Zealand is over 25%, which is the second worst in the OECD behind Greece.

* Over-crowded, expensive, cold, damp and mouldy housing is estimated to be responsible for the hospital admissions of over 1,300 people with infectious diseases each year. This entrenched poverty is costing the Government at least NZ$2 billion a year in rent subsidies and countless billions a year in health and other costs, let alone the lost economic growth from a generation growing up unhealthy and unskilled.

The prescription for recovery is just as forensic as the diagnosis. And it's just as confronting for the Government, Auckland Council and property owners as the worst scenes on 'Bones' or 'Embarrassing Bodies'.

The Commission recommends:

* Creating an Urban Development Authority with the power to compulsorily acquire large swathes of idle land-banked land to create more large scale 'Hobsonville' developments.

* Changing rates from being based on capital (building) values to just land values, as it was for most of Auckland before the Auckland Council amalgamation in 2010. Also, Council should look at targeted rates for those areas with extra up-front infrastructure costs and the potential for a special idle land tax.

* Allowing Council to charge Government rates on land it owns. LGNZ estimated that could raise NZ$180 million a year. Allowing Council to impose congestion charges and allowing Watercare to differentiate its Infrastructure Growth Charge for more expensive developments that require big pipe upgrades

* Council should remove requirements that apartments have balconies, minimum numbers of carparks and private open spaces. It should also lift height limits and review minimum apartment sizes once the Building Code for air quality, lighting and acoustics is updated.

* Government should exempt foreign investors from Overseas Investment Office rules if they're buying land to develop homes within a certain time frame.

* Council should look more at increasing its debt to fund infrastructure.

Most of these measures would appal a generation of land owners who created the current mess and are profiting from it.  A negotiated settlement based on the Commission's prescription for shared pain would be preferable. But if ratepayers and their elected representatives don't relent, the Government should threaten intervention to take over the Council in the national interest.

-----------------

A version of this article has also appeared in the Herald on Sunday. It is here with permission.

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NZ is like a patient in a vegetative condition: still clinging to existence via life supporting top ups, and in no immediate danger, but the long term prognosis is bleak.

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Another prescription could be to lay off the unprecedented mass immigration.

Just what is the good reason to displace Kiwi's out of Auckland?

Too many vested interests, there won't be enough building, just some lip service.

Just what is the good reason to displace Kiwi's out of Auckland?
...
It all began with the Labour Party's Review of Immigration in 1986

The immigration policy review in 1986 was part of a much larger
agenda for change in New Zealand (Bedford 1996). It was not essentially a
change in state policy with a primary focus on one region of the world, as
Parr (2000:329) suggests, although clearly through the 1980s and 1990s
immigration from countries in Asia was a highly topical issue for both
politicians and the public. The attitudes of New Zealanders in the mid-1990s
towards immigration may not have reflected the positive perspective on the
value of diversity in our society that is contained in the Review of
Immigration Policy August 1986. But this does not mean that the globalisation
of immigration to New Zealand was an “unintended consequence of policy
changes in 1986”. It was a deliberate strategy, based on a premise that the
“infusion of new elements to New Zealand life has been of immense value to
the development of this country to date and will, as a result of this
Government’s review of immigration policy, become even more important in
the future” (Burke 1986:330).
The data on arrivals, departures, approvals,
refugee flows and net migration gains and losses reported in this paper
indicates that “the infusion of new elements” into New Zealand society is
proceeding apace. There is no suggestion in immigration policy in 2002 that
this will not “become even more important in the future”, as Burke (1986)
assumed in the mid-1980s.

New Zealand’s population is undergoing a profound transformation in
terms of its ethnic and cultural composition. This transformation is being
driven by two key processes. The first of these is differential ageing of the
major components of the resident population with the dominant “white”
population experiencing structural ageing more rapidly than the Maori and
Pacific Island components (Pool 1999). The second is international
migration which is seeing a replacement in numerical terms of tens of
thousands of New Zealanders who are moving overseas by immigrants from
countries in Asia, Europe and Africa especially. This process of population
replacement is occurring at a time when natural increase amongst all
components of the New Zealand resident population is falling
. International
migration is thus playing an increasingly important role in changing the
ethnic and cultural composition of the population, but to understand this
role it is necessary to examine both the immigration of new residents as well
as the emigration of New Zealanders. Both dimensions are essential for
appreciating the globalisation of international migration in New Zealand.

The Globalisation of International Migration
in New Zealand: Contribution to a Debate
RICHARD BEDFORD *
CHARLOTTE BEDFORD
ELSIE HO
JACQUELINE LIDGARD

The goal is to defeat the idea of a nation state based on a common identity and history.

There goal is justification of immigration, everything else is just dressing. There is no mention of causative pressures (eg colonial shortages, where labour is essential) or post World War (where capital is low and debt is high and menial labour is the norm). No mention of development or technological or academic interdependence.
No this is just a knee-jerk "old style" response to what used to be called "the brain drain". Where quality NZ educated and creative people realised and were often forced to admit, that the NZ government had no support or ability to engage them, and worse had every intention to gag and shroud them to stop them being "tall poppies" and challenging the governments pronouncements. (ie if the likes of me and you object thats one thing but if a bunch of official NZ scholars stood united then the government would have to start retracting it's reports...and eventually policies. We saw that with the "fart tax" and with the need to break the farmers solidarity (co-ops).

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The Graph says it all. The housing shortfall is a relentless slow moving train wreck. It is totally irresponsible to allow any more immigrants into the country until the mess is sorted, we catch up with the backlog and establish a competitive market in a state of equilibrium.

Server error= 2x posting

Auckland is fubar. Like most problems the answers now lie in the past, like electing a competent government with long term vision.

Successive governments and this one have shown no leadership on this issue and this current government has to go as it is incompetent.

There are both supply and demand drivers to the housing crisis.

This government could easily lower the 12 month immigration rate to something closer to the rate that we can build infrastructure.by adjusting the points to enter the country. Better still give it to the RBNZ as a macroprudential tool. This would also allow the NZ dollar to drop.

NZ has had one of the highest % immigration rates in the developed world. Yes there probably is a need for NZ to have a higher population for economies of scale, but it needs to be achieved at a sustainable rate. The governments goal should be to increase GDP per capita, not just total GDP through population increase.

Just rezone all land as residential by right.

Problem then is the bottleneck moves to the land bankers and developers.

All they have to do then is let it go piecemeal holding the price up.

A better way is determine the land's fair agricultural value and compulsory buy it at that and the change it to residential thus selling it off pretty cheap.

Are the foreign money and immigrants (especially those buying there way in) buying land from the bankers? Is anyone buying from the "bankers"? I know in Dannevirke they aren't because the guy insists on contractual obligation to construct one of his firms houses on the property. The houses are rumored to be only mediocre design and massively overpriced. - but he won't develop the houses himself (plus for buyer is they can choose which overpriced house they want, upside for him is he doesn't have to foot the development and spec outlay).

Perhaps the State needs to look into such undeveloped areas, because the sections are generally not maintained, look terrible, act as dumping areas and vermin nests, and retard the overall development of the neighbourhoods (futher reducing the likelihood of sale).
Perhaps it is the time for the Council to be given the power to purchase sensitive areas, and wave the caveat. While I understand the validity of his business model, I know for a fact that several people have offered him well above what the land is worth, even above what the land and margin on the house construction would be, but he refused because he wants the work for his building company...but the people don't want his houses (for various reasons, eg one is an electrical business and wants a small workshop/office, not a house). And the houses are too expensive for using as rentals. So it's a deadlock

Productivity Commision:

We recommend that you:
a agree to the inquiry selection process set out in Appendix 1
Agree/disagree
b agree that Commission’s second tranche of inquiries be selected on the degree that
they:
• are relatively uncontroversial given the desire to establish broad political support for the Commission

• utilise the Commission’s unique position as an independent agency with high
quality analytical ability and community engagement approaches
• support the establishment of the Commission by developing its capability,
capacity and reputation, and
• have the potential to improve productivity and support the overall well-being of
New Zealanders.

http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/productivit...
Whereas:

“Among policy and analytical circles in New Zealand there is a pretty high degree of enthusiasm for high levels of immigration. Some of that stems from the insights of literature on increasing returns to scale. Whatever the general global story, the actual productivity track record here in the wake of very strong inward migration is poor. In an Australian context, the Productivity Commission – hardly a hot-bed of xenophobia or populism – concluded that any benefits from migration to Australia were captured by migrants and there were few or no discernible economic benefits to Australians. And that was in a country already rich and successful and with materially higher national saving and domestic investment rates than those in NZ.”

http://www.treasury.govt.nz/downloads/pdfs/mi-jarrett-comm.pdf

Ours is a one sided (PC) Productivity Commision

yes, looking more and more likely we're going to have to go through the committee and staff _names_ to see where the New Zealand departments are getting their nonsense from. In the past I was happy enough to assume that they had been just working of sources that were "spin" reports generated by working off other similar reports from other departments. Look slike we really need to start disregarding the "good faith" approach, and start counting heads and looking and links between these decisions (especially if, as the highlighted portion hints, the direction is being patroned from a political interest)

to emphasise from the above
Among policy and analytical circles in New Zealand there is a high degree of enthusiasm for high levels of immigration

NZers have had no overall benefit from recent immigration at all except to inflate the prices of existing houses.

Indeed immigration has cut wage growth at the same time.

Overall NZers are so substantially worse off due to mass immigration that in reality there should be unrest on the streets if the general populace knew the facts.

If the Government continues on this current path, NZ is set for disaster, either through a divided nation, or an entirely impoverished one.

We need leadership with brains, not the bunch of dimwits that currently occupy the beehive...

"CSI Auckland Housing Crisis."

Crisis? What crisis? The only crisis is in the minds of the left wingers who want to see the government embarrassed no matter what untruths and half truths are trotted out to full fill their agendas.
Our Bernard seems to be on the road to becoming one of them. I'm sure his great talents could be used to better effect elsewhere.

There have been some unfortunate examples of the poor having a bad time but that has always been the case. A couple of life times ago I owned dozens of flats and houses and I saw with my own eyes how some perfectly fit tenants brought ruin on themselves through drink, drugs, gambling, violence and indifference. Then when they half demolished their rentals, claimed it was all the landlords fault and wanted everything fixed that they has smashed up. There is a mentality among a few that they are entitled to free rent, free food, free money, no responsibilities, can have as many children as they like, with no steady partner and it's everyone else's fault. In my experience the Church was the best antidote. Those tenants who were Church goers were the finest, even if they were poor. What a shame religion has fallen away to be replaced by "self" and "I want" .

11
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While those folks do exist, we are in crisis because those who actually work and try hard are sliding into the same abyss. That is how you know there's a problem. That's one of the problems caused by charity (and in that I include government patch up services) they pave over some of the symptoms but don't create pressure to solve the underlying problem - the worst must always be managed, life is like that. But we are heading into territory where the small but keen are also unable to lift themselves up, that is the breeding ground for misery.

I think that goes with the territory if you choose to be a slum landlord.

Can happen with really nice places too. The main difference being the size of the bill and heartache.
Helps if you're not desperate for tenants then you just put in ones that you know that are going to have income to cover damages if you sue. It's the low income ones who know that even if you sue they won't have anything to lose that are the biggest risk, them and socialists (a big overlap between those two groups strangely enough) the latter just don't have respect for other peoples' property and don't see why _their_ actions should carry any responsibility towards property they use.

If you push up the pension age then people will keep their jobs longer keeping the younger generation on benefits.

Also, if you reduce pensions, they will keep working longer keeping the young on benefits.

If you have a big Kahunda, it keeps the younger generation on benefits.

Benefits destroy the younger generation

My solution, briefly
Put retirment age up to 70
Pay over 70's a Bg Kahunda
Introduce volintary retirement for everyone over 50 and pay them the Big Kahunda if they do not have paid employment.
If youth are still unemployed keep reducing the volintary retirement age untill full employment is achieved.

Have to encourage business to create opportunities for employment AND useful opportunities for wealth generations (the Kiwisaver is a step in the right direction for that, since those who can't or don't want to manage their retirement wealth get it done for them.)

Do they call it the Big Kahuna, because you don't have a prayer? (Kahuna means priest)

should like mike h rant
oh the joys of being a landlord, no one says its easy and a lot of wannabe landlords don't know the pitfalls all they hear is how much money they can make. I would say anyone that has owned rentals would have had a bad tenant or two, on the same token sometimes you strike it and get good ones.

Other thing with the money: rates (in Palmy) = $50 a week. insurance = about $50 a week. based on 50 week occupancy. get more rent, then those numbers go up with the capital of the place that would allow more rent to be demanded.
Those two numbers are for places only making $210 a week, market val approx 155k.

Gold.

Olly for president! This guy cuts through the layers of complex problems to show us the truth!

The Auckland housing crises is caused by mass drunkenness and drug taking amongst the population, and a good bit of Church medicine will bring the house price median multiples back down to normal level.

well it would have everyone leaving the place in droves :)

National years on still tinkering, arguing, delaying the supply of more houses to sort affordability. Meanwhile billions in interest lost out of NZ, competing with wealthy foreigners and professional speculators to buy land that’s here? creating yet another crises compromising our economy and peoples lifes

$2b a year in rent subsidies. That's more than the total that gets paid for the dole isn't. A subsidy to those who then get a capital gain tax free, WT$. And that probably doesn't even include WFF 30% of which most likely heads to rent.

Is it subsidy to the property owner? Who doesn't get a choice about letting to beneficiary/WFF ?

or a subsidy to the employer? Who doesn't have to pay a higher wage that makes it affordable to live?

or to government? That's just giving back some of the taxes that makes WFF unable to afford the rents?

or to the banks....? who are the only benefitters of constantly rising house prices.

or to the families who still need to find a place to live and shelter, regardless of rent and OTHER places they can spend their WFF.

The property owner, who doesn't get any say in WFF, is hardly the one you should be levelling your accusation at.

The accusation is directed squarely at the government. As with any such subsidy they have a huge distortionary effect further down the line, in particular someone has to pay and someone gets something for free and it never gets better or has the intended effect.
While the subsidy is not the root cause it obviously has an effect, but most I'm just surprised at the size of it.

" A subsidy to those who then get a capital gain tax free, WT$. And that probably doesn't even include WFF 30% of which most likely heads to rent."

This targets those "who get capital gain tax free". Which is not the government (who don't even pay rates as a local community contribution to services). Clearly aimed at property owners and owners who rent out property.

"Of which heads to rent"
Clearly landlords and property owners then.

Sad thing is, if we drop drop property prices now, then foreign financed buyers will clean up if we don't close the door.

Even if we close the door, folks like myself who have access to very high equity ratio property (eg only small or no mortgages, especially in cases like mine where the assets and funds belong to Trusts and companies), will have a _field_ day. Since our developed position will give us plenty of capital to leverage against low price opportunities. And they'd have to ensure supply outstrips _all_ _potential_ demand otherwise our own buying in a limited market will give us capital gains from scarcity, and lower alternatives for low capital, low income renters.
Pretty much only first-time once-only home long-term lock in (hey, you can rent it, but not sell for 15) with an interest free or government-rate-interest-only additional loan of 10-20% of FHB price - on qualified properties. the loan to be repaid on future resale of property. is only valid option I can see.

Allows low incomers to compete, every natural born citizen only gets one (non-naturals don't need domociles), it's not a money bonus since it gets repaid, its selected properties which allows quality control and location focusing, will be repaid in future so only costs inflation, gives alternatives to renting, but because the property _can_ be rented isn't a dead end. Could even have approval-based clause for those whose jobs transfer.

However government doesn't usually want to _fix_ things. they wouldn't have many jobs if things worked and were fixed.

wff is a subsidy to employers to be able to pay wage rates at a level so they can compete with world business. at the moment the winner is banks who is getting the money through mortgage interest payments.
it washes through a few sets of hands to get there, so then the argument is that the best use of the money.
I would say no they are far more efficient ways to redistribute wealth. I favour making the first 10 k tax free or you could go the other way and incentivise corporations to provide housing for there workers ala Toyota

"“There was a general sense of euphoria.... real estate prices kept going up,” said Vourloumis, who has run banks and telecommunications companies and battled unions along the way. “And then, with the European debt crisis, the whole thing was revealed -- our economy was built....on borrowed money.” (Bloomberg. 19 June)

GALLERY: Take a look at huge £90m apartment complex set for Pall Mall (in Liverpool, England)
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/gallery-take-look-hug...

90 million pounds for 366 luxuary apartments is 245 thousand pound each, say $500k in NZ dollars.

Isn't in interest how in a world where the privileged are protesting animal rights and fighting Battery hens and pig crates, they're paying many thousands to put people and families in the same situations.

Land is not something made, designed, or created by people and therefore should not be owned by people

Land should be owned by all the people with hefty land taxes.

Half of Dunedin is on created land.

If you don't want to live in a cave, then land is designed or created. that's why I say people need to "build their own fence. Get muddy, get sore, learn to get it straight. That stuff don't "just happen". "Land" is not much use. It's location, improved, human sweat and time and energy that make it worth _anything_.

And that _work_ is what makes it owned. ie the capital that a persons limited life essence and time has gone into developing. THAT deserves the protection of ownership, especially from a governance body of the human tribes whose overpaid privileged members have been entrusted with community and law for the betterment of all.

So go build your own house and fence and developments... and stick your taxes where the sun don't shine.

I no longer waste time being polite to people who think "society owns all, tax everything". They are simply parasitic scum whose only thoughts are about how they can justify getting their greedy paws on what other people have worked and sacrificed to build and earn. They have not a thought for reason or human decency, only their own laziness, privilege, and greed. Most have never even sweated 1000 hours labouring for anything!! but they're bloody keen to take it for no return or kind.

Cowboy, when you are unable to answer to someone you abuse them.

The section my own private building sits on was not created or designed by people, not even Maori.

Ownership was allways by way of warfare, not by construction by humans. When land is not aquired by war it is aquired by wealth. As such poor people have no say in the matter.

Land was created by nature and can be destroyed by nature (earquakes, volcanoes, etc). The people of Christchurch can vouch for that.

I am not proposing that land should not be used but i propose that it should be taxed by those who make use of it.

I am adding

The taxpayer had to foot the bill for land losses in Christchurch. Yet you say "the government can pay me if it is destroyed by nature but it should not tax me"

there are more countries than not in the world that only allow its citizens to own the land.
http://www.sacommercialpropnews.co.za/business-specialties/legal-and-pol...

Yes there is a _technical term_ for that. Please look it up.

"First world" means private ownership and personal equity. It is that which has made the First World what it is.

Those countries which have government or rulers or tribal council "owning" the land (and resources) on behalf of "the community" or "the people" is known as "Third World"

That's the definition of those terms. First, Second and Third World.
The policies regarding private wealth and ownership *IS* the _actual_ difference between the terms.

Don't take my word for it, look it up.

And that "Third world" proerty/land doesn't belong to an individual worked out _SO_ well for them didn't it.
Even as far back as Plato, it was recognised that even a beneficent ideal Philosopher King could not create a better world than one whose people enjoy the results of their labour and made decisions for their own community at a local level, a demos (voter people) goal - the one system that values a _person_ and encourages them to be wise, creative and to grow. Every other system dishonors and destroys it's members beneath it's collective heel.

"look it up"? Where? What you are describing, all land and resources owned by the government, aka communism, is called the Second World.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World

For a long term look at the virtues of investing in Canadian real estate versus the stock market have a look at

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/bruce-yaccato-youd-have-to-be-...

Misleading

What you don't mention is that

(a) the comparison is Toronto Real Estate (Canada) to Dow Jones (USA)
(b) the US FED has pumped squillions into the hands of the US Merchant Bankers
(c) who have pumped the DJ up by 247% in the last 6 years, since start 2009
(d) that's 42% per annum
(e) those who are holding stocks are now sitting on the edge of a precipice
(f) staring into an abyss
(g) as the FED attempts to withdraw its QE trillions

Now the FED is staring into the face of a second moral hazard of its own making

Wonder who gets hurt this time?

and what do you think the FED will do :)

If Auckland can't even provide housing for the current population and there is no possible way of jam packing more in, why the hell is Auckland being filled up with poor migrants who have (in many cases) net worth of less than a years rent in Auckland! On the other hand we have another group of migrants obsessed with buying property.

(I continue to be amazed at the buyers turning up in $2,000 cars to look at $2m houses in Epsom. What exactly is going on??)

Stop the Invasion, Auckland is full.

Cut out the poor migrants and the ones bringing in money of dubious origin as well.

Chris_J - It's a snow job

You are not alone. What you say, and have been saying for some time is self-evident

Any forensic analysis will tell you that
What you need to ask yourself is why is it that

(a) it never gets any traction - anywhere
(b) the Productivity Commission didn't even come close to touching it - like it's ebola
(c) it never gets any serious attention by any serious media columnists
(d) Bernard Hickey avoids it like the plague
(e) Bernard Hickey has brushed it lightly in passing just once
(f) Government spokes people - don't ask - don't tell
(g) it gets buried in intellectual academic theoretical spin

..

I am a migrant myself so I have no prejudice against concept of migration based on needs of a country however my view is that current rate of migration is far in excess and it is primarily aimed at lowering cost of labour and to benefit some vested interests such as stakeholders in housing and Influential Kiwis benefitting personally from overseas business interests at the expense of ordinary folks. There are open examples of intertwined personal financial interests. I am personally aware of NZ graduates (nursing/OT and even local medical graduates who could not get jobs as DHBs found cheaper labour.
How fair is it that migrants parents are getting pension and free health care without contributing anything. I know families where original migrant has moved to Australia and the parents are left behind and collecting pension. Given that this is Nationals third term reflects the general voter apathy or ignorance and most Kiwis( barring the Big end of town) will pay dearly for such policies in future. When people are voting for such policies so they deserve the outcomes.

Add to that the overseas qualified professionals who hold no qualfications that are recognised in NZ, and become taxi drivers or work in service stations.

I will give an example of some tenants I took four years ago. A family of 5, father was a teacher from a country NZ does recognise qualifications. They had a total of NZ$10,000 in life's savings (barely enough to return home), he ended up working in a service station. They moved on after a few months, not sure where. They were English speaking (not from Europe, Asia, or the Americas) and not Caucasian.

In all likelihood they would struggle through until they manage to get themselves entitled to receive benefits and also probably utilised our education system to retrain as well.

How on those facts did they get residency as skilled migrants?? (They were not refugees).

The mind baffles.

I have a neighbour who is a trained Engineer (Cairo), he has work as a taxi driver the past 15 years he has been here with his large family.

I had a colleague who originated from China. Subsequently both his and her parents and a sibling all moved out to NZ. His wife was pregnant, and although she had a professional job, the sibling only worked at a restaurant and all four parents were on pensions, so once the child was born, one 1 proper breadwinner in a family group of 8. On top of that the job he had was a keenly sought after financial services job that any number of dozens of graduates would fight over. The chap himself was perfectly nice enough, but that is not the point.

When will the madness end. Why import deadbeats and no hopers, we have enough of them ourselves? Why import one graduate professional with a shed load of clingers on, when we have graduate professionals swimming out of our ears and unable to find work?

Why not debate the issues instead of calling anyone who wants to discuss the impacts of immigration a racist.

I am not a racist. I detest anyone who would harm or abuse others for things they can not change. But immigration is not a question about race, it is a question about how people on the breadline already get residency, it is a question about how people who need either our pension or our health care system to survive get residency, it is a question of why we take people into a city that can't fit any more people...

Discuss the real benefits of immigration and ask ordinary NZers if they have benefitted from immigration, not just the leftist social elite who force feed us this tripe like it is some indisputable fact.

..and on it goes. Have a chat to our health professionals. The drain that elderly very sick migrants are having on the system is immense and growing hugely. Years of poor living, chronic smokers, heart/kidney issues and so on. This is all upon the strain on othe infrastructure, and 'broken' Auckland.

When did the NZ voter ever sign up to such madness? Instead we get to vote on a damn flag...we should be voting on migration ... a real issue!