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Each new piece of housing-related data coming out at the moment is increasing the pressure on our central bank

Each new piece of housing-related data coming out at the moment is increasing the pressure on our central bank

By David Hargreaves

If you are a central bank fighting the fires of a raging housing market you take comfort where you can.

For our Reserve Bank, which has been dealing with a rampant Auckland market that is now rapidly metamorphosing into a rampant NEW ZEALAND market, there may have been some solace in the fact that household debt, while rising, wasn't really rising at an increasing pace.

The RBNZ's monthly sector credit figures have been showing consistent, but not increasing growth in the amount of 'Total Household Claims'. The household claims figure is mostly comprised of the total amount of mortgage monies outstanding, but also includes consumer credit.

For the past five months the household claims figures have grown at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.6% per month. Going back to and including to December 2014, there have been seasonally-adjusted monthly rises of between 0.5% and 0.7%.

To give some historic perspective, between 2003 and 2007 those borrowing totals were routinely rising by in excess of 1% a month, and by as much as 1.5%. Go back to the mid-1990s and monthly increases of in excess of 2.5% could be seen on occasions. Of course the total amount borrowed was way lower then, coming in at around only a fifth of the nearly $233 billion we now owe.

So, while the RBNZ would have been (and well, we know it was) concerned at the steady increase in borrowing figures, it may have taken some crumbs of comfort from the rate of increase not moving to match those rather more eye-watering percentages seen in previous housing booms.

Blown out of the water

The April figures though have well and truly blown all that out of the water. The 0.8% monthly rise in the grand amount outstanding (in dollar terms the rise was more than $1.8 billion) heading the country right back into 2003-2007 territory. The 0.8% rise was the biggest since February 2008. The last time there was a bigger rise was in November 2007.

To take just the mortgage figures alone, the total outstanding hit nearly $217.5 billion as of April and was up nearly $16.7 billion, or 8.3% in the past 12 months. That annual rate of increase is the highest since June 2008.

The acceleration in growth rate of household borrowing has come in tandem with the increasing spread of the Auckland house fire to other parts of the country.

Rising house prices are of themselves not really a concern for the RBNZ. But people getting into hock to buy houses is a big concern, since if they get into trouble and can't get pay the mortgage then that becomes a problem for the lender and hence a potential financial stability issue.

Has the horse bolted?

So, the latest month's sector credit figures may well be looked back on as the moment at which the horse switched from a canter to a gallop. But has it bolted?

At the moment there is nothing to stop people taking on increasingly eye-watering amounts of debt, because interest rates are - in historical terms - non-existent.

The RBNZ's Key Household Financial Statistics series shows that household debt has now risen to a record high 162% of disposable income. New figures on this are actually due out later this month. It would be difficult to imagine that debt to income figure has shrunk since the last figures came out, certainly not based on the latest lending statistics.

The latest available key household financial statistics figures show that debt servicing costs on a quarterly basis represent just 9.1% of disposable income. That's not a problem. In 2008 that percentage got up over 14%. Even at the end of 2000 before the start of the last big housing boom, this percentage was actually higher at 9.5%.

Scope for plenty more borrowing

So, at the moment there's plenty of scope for people to borrow much more heavily than they already have. BUT once interest rates do start to pick up then those debt servicing costs will kick up real quick. The RBNZ knows that and it's concerned about it.

When will interest rates rise? That truly is the 'how long is a piece of string?' question. What can be said is that the US Federal Reserve is very determinedly trying to 'normalise' the situation. And the other really key ingredient is oil prices seemingly stabilising at higher levels again.

If the Fed is able to get away another couple of interest rate rises this year - and make them stick - then perhaps rising interest rates may not be as far away as is currently imagined.

I've given up trying to predict what the RBNZ will do at its Official Cash Rate reviews because the central bank now seems to be adopting a deliberately contrarian stance from decision to decision.

What I would say is that there's likely to be two big areas of consideration for the RBNZ ahead of the June 9 decision: One is that a 'shock' (which is what it would be now) cut to rates to an OCR of 2% would give the still-too-high Kiwi dollar a kick in the kickables. Two is that such a cut would encourage yet more people to borrow heroic amounts of money to buy houses. I'll leave the RBNZ to juggle with those two.

Some time before rate rises

All that can be said is it will be some time at least before the RBNZ is able to contemplate increasing interest rates. And the longer the rates stay down then the more can be borrowed and so the greater the pain once rates do start to rise again.

So, the RBNZ's macro-prudential toolkit is going to be vital. And the next time it is deployed then it needs to be more effective than the last time. Hindsight might suggest that the move to restrict Auckland housing investors actually helped to kick-start meaningful rises in house prices in the rest of the country. This, possibly a result of the RBNZ's own handiwork, has broadened the central bank's problem from a largely Auckland one to a now NZ-wide one, although house prices relative to incomes have still got a bit of catching up to do in the rest of the country.

However you look at it, the RBNZ will want to see a slowing in that growth of household debt ahead of rises in interest rates. Because if it can't slow the increasingly rapid river of borrowed money then a few people are quickly going to get into strife when interest rates do start to rise.

Twin moves?

I would stick by my view that we'll see introduction of debt-to-income ratios announced within three months (though possibly not to be introduced till early next year) and maybe also some moves against the banks by requiring them to hold more capital against mortgage commitments.

Such a twin approach of, on the one hand limiting what a person could borrow and on the other limiting what the bank could lend, may be the best way of slowing the accelerating credit growth.

New Zealand is as it always will be a very small country that can get tossed around by global economic upheavals. Nobody can predict what will happen.

All New Zealand can do is attempt to minimise the risks within its own economy.

Right now the rising household indebtedness is a risk and something needs doing about it, pretty quickly.

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That last sentence is irrelevant to the RBNZ. Banks are allegedly doing well out of this so.....
Any measures the RBNZ bring in will be aimed at those that don't currently threaten the bank bottom line and that is FHB's and Savers in their eyes. The entire economy now has been allowed to be hijacked by speculators and money launderers with the RBNZ just watching on like a spectator watching the Cook Strait Ferry sink without lending a hand. Instead, they put more holes in the side of the ship!

To follow up this comment, we again today hear about the RBNZ looking into loan to income ratio's so claims BE. I'm wondering how that would work? Would it be applied to just new loans or existing also? As someone on here (forget who it was) brought up the great point that what say your partner is expecting a child so the household is about to go to single income? Such senario's need some thorough thought by the RBNZ etc.

I believe 'L vs I' ratio's should specifically target investors and speculators alone. Keep it simple. Families wanting just a home are under enough stress

Been there , done that...all par for course.

Simple raise interest rates and tell the rest of the mad central banks to do the same.

Correct me if I have misunderstood some of the above - that is, higher oil prices will be the driver of higher interest rates? If so, then one would assume that when these oil rises come, as it seems they must, an interest rate hike (globally) cannot be avoided? If this is true, then god help those with these massive mortages....surely they are trapped?

Depends on their 'fixed rate' and when that ends, as Fixed Rate is the great majority and ...whether any of these mortgaged to the max people have wriggle room for such commodity price increases

RBNZ is responsible for NZ's financial stability. It seems to be failing on this with the spiraling housing crisis. If this market busts, RBNZ will be in real trouble, as NZ's financial stability will be seriously damaged. They must act to try and dampen housing demand. But their previous macro prudential interventions have all failed, as the market is still rising rapidly, so it will be very interesting to see what they try this time.

The problem is we know that property in Auckland is very expensive but reality is due to the chronic shortage of stock the prices are likely to remain high for at least another year and could be another 2 or 3.
At some stage there will be a correction and policy makers need to take action in preparation. I think interest only mortgages should be banned so that whilst prices remain high mortgage holders are gradually reducing their debt outstanding every month.
Obviously get rid of all the tax breaks for second home owners as well.

I've posted this on Interest before. A Chinese customer of mine was here a while ago and while I was driving him around showing him places I asked what he thought about Auckland house prices.
He replied with one word.


Crikey, those chaps at the RBNZ are a bit slow. They keep trying to create a really big housing price and building bubble like Ireland had but somehow can't quite pull it off. Is it a form of cultural cringe that we feel we really must copy those who are just so much better at these things, like the Aussies are.

Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head there.

The best username award goes to you.

Very good RW. Yes, this "rampaging housing market" is a monster of the RBNZ's creation - they own it. And there is no way back now other than Armageddon.

During 2003 to 2007 we were routinely selling 30-40 % more homes per month than we have in the past couple of years. So the current explosive credit growth has been masked , by the lower volume of homes being sold, and that it has been solely driven by Auckland until recent months.What Aucklands credit growth has been over the past three years must bring tears to the RBNZ, a region where new household formation has halved in comparison to the period of 2003-2007.Rising prices brings speculation , until it does not.

Slavery is dead. Long live slavery.

Where are Auckland housing price levels in the RBNZ PTA agreement?
How can the RBNZ achieve the 2% inflation target midpoint?
Why should NZ free up more residential land for foreign, foreign-related buyers?

Mean Reversion
Too often, homeowners make the damaging error of assuming recent price performance will continue into the future without first considering the long-term rates of price appreciation and the potential for mean reversion. The laws of physics state that when any object (which has a density greater than air) is propelled upward, it will return to earth because of the forces of gravity act upon it. The laws of finance say that markets that go through periods of rapid price appreciation or depreciation will, in time, revert to a price point that puts them in line with where their long-term average rates of appreciation indicate they should be. This is known as mean reversion.

On a long enough timescale. This stupidity kicked off when I was a student. It wont be resolved until I'm well into my forties or fifties at this rate.

Meanwhile life was supposed to happen.

In Queensland Australia, you can earn 30% more, the cost of living is 30% less, a renovated 4 brm house is $750k and GDP is $40B more than NZ's entire economy... Just saying.


Why not say that any investor (including kiwis) can only buy a new build rather than an existing house?
Make property investment less attractive and encourage investment in business.

Wow, I like that idea. That right there is something the opposition could push.

Hasn't this been the stated policy of Labour for quite some time now? Edit: Ahh only for foreign buyers, not local speculators.

Interesting idea.

Interesting indeed. Forced to add to the housing stock is exactly the rule we need for all investors/speculators.

Because it would cost votes.

I wonder if RBNZ can do it rather than the government.
I think the time for sucking up to residential property investors and speculators has long since past and some people are making money at the detriment of the stability and performance of the rest of the economy.

If all the investors suddenly started trying to build new houses then surely it would be a positive for unemployment and wage growth statistics for the construction industry too which iwould be a good shot in the arm for the whole economy.

They arent investors, they are speculators.

Real estate markets rise strongly then dip a little then stagnate for a long time ... then it repeats itself... the only thing we don't know is when

NZ house price rises second only to Qatar apparently when incomes vs price


Key: Speech to New Zealand Contractors Federation

Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 9:29 am
Speech: New Zealand National Party

This was his last paragraph at the end of this speech:

"Over the past few years a consensus has developed in New Zealand. We are facing a severe home affordability and ownership crisis. The crisis has reached dangerous levels in recent years and looks set to get worse."

"This is an issue that should concern all New Zealanders. It threatens a fundamental part of our culture, it threatens our communities and, ultimately, it threatens our economy."

"The good news is that we can turn the situation around. We can deal with the fundamental issues driving the home affordability crisis. Not just with rinky-dink schemes, but with sound long-term solutions to an issue that has long-term implications for New Zealand’s economy and society."

"National has a plan for doing this and we will be resolute in our commitment to the goal of ensuring more young Kiwis can aspire to buy their own home."

"It’s a worthy goal and one I hope you will support us in achieving. Thank-you."

Yeah, right.
(They need four more years to sort this out ?)


Just checking but you did note that this speech was made in 2007?

JK has probably forgotten about that speech....

He had when Winston called him out on it.

Key owned by Winston

So they get an 'e' grade if they are lucky.
What a failure

John Key's epitaph

No, it wasn't me, it was some otherguy who said that - and he's wrong

So a crisis in 2007 is not a holy Heck CRISIS in 2016 - wow. John boy, its time for a mea culpa here.

21 May 2016 "John Key says no Auckland housing crisis, but 76 per cent of voters want more action"

JK quite often hangs himself with his own words, but the NZ media are just shockingly incompetent to keep record and pull him up. They have spent 8 years blinded by the guys smarmy smile. Where's the "honourable" bit in these guys which they like to call themselves?

Shame shame to our so called leaders.


The RBNZ has no control over the Auckland housing market.
The Govt has no control of the Auckland housing market.
The Govt can control immigration, numbers of international students, rules around foreign purchasing of NZ property, foreign trusts domiciled in NZ, money laundering, high wealth foreign investors/immigration applicants, wage suppression, govt spending caps, govt infrastructure spending, etc.
The Govt chooses to do none of the above.

And the RBNZ can control the banks! That is their job! That IS power enough to effect not only Auckland but NZ as a whole.

How is it we all believe the RBNZ can effect FHB's and Savers options, but not speculators via new regulation of banks?

Because billions of $$ is washing into NZ via complex channels & chains that can't be controlled under current conditions.
So the the Govt and the RBNZ is completely impotent.

Until the bubble bursts. But how can it burst when there are no controls? NZ is dwarfed by the size of offshore finance and number of players.

MB, You have proof of BILLIONs of $$? Laundering going on alright but any money touching a NZ bank can be traced

You also state the Govt are completely impotent to stop that? Is that not a contradiction to your above post?

The govt could simply put a stop to ANY non resident purchases altogether. Could be done next week under emergency legislation and the opposition would back it to the hilt.

So you feel there is no 'NZ citizen' speculation going on thats contributing to this issue?

I concur with MB. The banks have lost control, and the rbnz is powerless to do anything.

The magnitude of the problem is beyond the ability of the RBNZ.

The macro prudential tools that were introduced have been an unadulterated failure.

It is clear that we live in extreme times, therefore they need to implement extreme measures. I can think of half a dozen policies that could be introduced yesterday that would stop the rampant house inflation tomorrow .

why the delay. Where is the urgency?

why the delay. Where is the urgency?

Cause the Polls are not changing? Cause they actually believe their own hype?

ALL of this current economic environment we find ourselves in is still the 'playing out' result of the "too big to fail" doctrine/solution.

The endgame will not be pretty. And the blame game even uglier

but any money touching a NZ bank can be traced
yes but how do you trace the money put into the lawyers hong kong account then transferred to his account here, or the accountant or the RE which all three are not covered by the anti laundering act till next year.
and in case your saying cant happened some of the NZ companies setting up trusts (panama papers} are based overseas

....I suspect if an interested journalist was to do an OIA on the number of suspicious transaction reports being generated by banks it would be an eye opener.

you are bang on Rastus. the banks are complicit.

The banks will be reporting as required. But do we have sufficient investigators in place to follow up these transactions?

Justice, listen to episode # 703 how to hide a million dollars in plain sight.

I think kiwi speculators are playing the game also but I do think we have a lot of back door money coming through international students.

Talking about students when I was at AUT I remember a Chinese kiwi lad working at the subway next to the uni, I think Chu was his name, he openly admitted he was selling papers/essays that met particular grades to non English speaking Chinese students. Subway was just a front for him to meet potential clients supposedly it was seriously lucrative... Pissed me off, I had to work my arse of and these guys could buy their grades. Serious scandals like this exist in our uni system.

Justice, listen to episode # 703 how to hide a million dollars in plain sight.

I think kiwi speculators are playing the game also but I do think we have a lot of back door money coming through international students.

Talking about students when I was at AUT I remember a Chinese kiwi lad working at the subway next to the uni, I think Chu was his name, he openly admitted he was selling papers/essays that met particular grades to non English speaking Chinese students. Subway was just a front for him to meet potential clients supposedly it was seriously lucrative... Pissed me off, I had to work my arse of and these guys could buy their grades. Serious scandals like this exist in our uni system.

Yes a lot of people will be screwed if and when if interest rates rise, Others will pick up the bargains should that occur. Low rates=higher house prices high rates lower house prices, LTI could have an impact.

What a complete shambles.

RBNZ is responsible for NZ's financial stability

MR Wheeler has failed miserably in his role. 16bn a year new debt sounds like a recipe for disaster. 16bn @ 5% is 800m interest payment being sucked out of the economy in addition to the 200bn @5% ie 10bn of interest from existing debt.

Investors are the issue. Investors make up approx 50% of the demand. Stamp duty on investors of 10% when they buy existing homes. That's 100k on the average auckland home. How is this not common sense. Use any funds collected to pay for the 16bn of infrastructure needed.

New homes exempt so will encourage supply.

Loan to income.ratios of 4 to 1 (like uk) so investors can't use property alone to buy new property especially when rental yields are so low.children will be learning about the key govt and Wheeler in years to come on what not to do and how lessons were not learnt following the biggest financial crisis in decades in 2008.

You can't raise rates as this impacts exporters. Stamp duty can be targeted at investors only
I fear it's already at the stage where it is too big to fail. Shame on John Key gambling nz future for election polls.

Yes Yes Yes!
what is stopping these 'no brainer' decisions? Arrogance? Stubborness? Ideology? Vested interest? All of the above....
This country is sliding into a disaster zone and most kiwis don't realise it. Sad.....

Targeted response is what is required. Focus on the issue and then put something in place to solve that issue.

In this case with 50% of demand and a shortage of supply it is clear that investor demand is the main issue.

When you break your arm the doctor puts a cast on your arm not your entire body. Put a cast on investors. Put STAMP DUTY 10% and loan to income ratios of 4 to 1 on them. Then watch the body heal.

A completely useless government on one side, an impotent reserve bank on the other. 'Rock', 'hard place' and 'stuck' spring to mind.

Don't need to raise interest rates. Just regulate to cap rents at $200 per week for a house. As we see, nothing that has been tried so far has worked. But capping rents, and stopping foreign ownership will stop this mess, fast.

Capping rents murray86 would be like Muldoons carless days. there is no point medicating the symptoms. Solve the reason for the problems and the symptoms will fix themselves. Stop growing our population with immigrants and stop allowing anyone anywhere in the world to (invest) speculate in NZ property!! It really is that simple.

and take away the incentives to buy a rental verses buying to live in.
a young guy I know brought his first home 5 years ago with a 250k loan sold and went 1/2s with his brother with 200k loan each, it has not worked out so selling now. because he went 1/2 only got that much capital gain so now looking at 350 to 400k loan.
I was telling him he would be better putting the capital gain into 2 rentals and renting for five years he would be able to get there quicker its a new thing called rentinvest and why is it better because you have multiple income streams and you can claim expenses to offset any tax payable, and no tax on the CG after two years against owning youself and not being able to claim anything

"Solve the reason for the problems" exactly, the reason is investors (an this includes speculators) buying up large, and then being subsidised as they expect their tenants to provide the expected level of "return" on their "investment" which is just greedy BS. If they want to gamble on capital gain, fine but don't let them fleece the rest of society who don't have the wherewithal to afford their greed, and then expect the taxpayer to subsidise their "return"! The Investor virus is now infecting the rest of the country and the only cure will be to put a leash on it.

releasing more land will not solve the problem, as none can be released in sufficient quantities or fast enough to actually pull prices down. Nor can houses be built fast enough to effect a change. Plus there is also the follow-on consequence of expanding cities where high quality arrable land is absorbed for housing and impacting on one of NZs primary export earners, and our basic ability to produce food. Yes the Government's immigration policy adds to the problem as well, but again none of the already tried solutions have worked. Whats left?

Common taters who pooh-pooh the effect of Supply are ignoring the Christchurch experience.

There, a CERA-led Land Use Recovery Plan got a whole lot of large subdivisions moving toute suite, and it's possible to buy a section in (say) Rolleston, one of the new growth centres, for mid-$100K. Example: Faringdon Or try a wider search:

Read that, Awklanders, and weep into your brekkie cereal.

The solution to housing unaffordability is a complex, multi-year deal, completely out of the reach of the hapless RBNZ. Consider the following non-central-bank actions needed:

  • trust-busting action over the cosy building-materials cartel duopoly, to lower material and hence build costs
  • elimination of zoning and other Brit Town and Country Planning artefacts: zoning, amongst other evils, causes Commuting, as living and working are forced to separate areas by planning fiat.
  • Encouragement of modularised/factory built housing - CNC gear, tight tolerances, built under cover by certified workers. Not bashed together on site by occasionally drug-free hammer hands and left to stand unprotected in the weather for weeks at a time. Unemployed Planners could usefully be press-ganged into such factories - win/win/win. See
  • Self-builds and other sweat-equity schemes could be revived. The current crop of regulation is unlikely to cost much less than $50-100K per dwelling, once LBP certs, fencing, scaff, fall protection, lost time, etc etc are accounted for properly. But it's All fer yer Own Good, little serfs....If we reverted to the situation of 15 years ago, when practically none of this crap existed,.....
  • Reform TLA regulation by introducing time-money into the equation and make them responsible for accounting the opportunity costs they impose. Time costs, incremented at IRD's UOMI rate, would be a start. TLA's inject time into every process imaginable, and currently have zero awareness of, and thus have zero accountability for, the costs they thereby force onto others. Time for some transparency.
  • Bring in friction to the sale process: stamp duties, CGT, whatever. A Tobin Tax if you will. In a similar vein, make TLA's tax the living bejasus outta unimproved but buildable land. They can do this by a simple differential rate, Ten or fifty times the going rate would claw back some the unearned CG the land bankers are squatting on, and might help to get something Built on that bare dirt.

Precisely none of the above can be done by Aunty RB.

It was done in Christchurch by emergency powers - benevolent diktat if you will.

Fat chance of anything happening in a national sense though.

That would take pollies at Gubmint and TLA level with the correct combinations of brains, thick skin, cojones and vertebrae. No such animal exists, despite extensive Attenborough-type searches over the years.

For a useful survey of the vastly differing German and Oz house-scapes , see

Thoughtful, excellent comment. Solutions not complaints.

The parallels are alarming, re: this statement:

There is stil hope for Canada's housing market: if regulators finally act and stop the offshore-based buying frenzy, the market correction may be "orderly." Unfortunately, macroprudential measures never work before the bubble bursts, and since prices are going up, the complaints of the many are drowned out by those few who have money, power and connections. It is only after the crash that the rich but vocal minority is finally silent. Sadly, by then it is too late.

The CHCH situation is interesting in that regard......yes. But it took a very long time to get to this point and many were forced to pay horrendous rents in the interim until land was ready.

Even better for CHCH surely would of been initially an instant 'rent freeze' put in place due to the nature of such a National Emergency and that was possible under the powers given to Brownlee. He failed on that.

I great deal of unnecessary stress was put of the people of CHCH in that regard. I know cause many of my family got caught up in it.

Seems a bit misguided for the Reserve Bank respond to a market failure ostensibly rooted in a lack of governance. Why not fix the problem instead of the symptom? It seems like ideology has trumped pragmatism in National's office. Admitting market failure is admitting policy failure.

So long as refusal to acknowledge the problem (caused by ideology, populism or whatever) continues - we are not going to correctly address it. Fiscal, immigration policy and paucity of regulation around deed and title ownership are the issues at hand. Liquidity and land supply aren't major issues compared to the former. The sources of dysfunction are not under control of RBNZ. The dysfunction is most correctly addressed by policy changes National are politically unwilling to make.

There is an ECON101-failing elephant in the room; our unclothed emperor.

Can you imagine say they fail to get the 4th term, then shortly after the election (2017-18) the whole thing tanks right....Who do you think will get the blame? in the publics eyes?

Vancouver, prices rallied 25 percent in the month to an average of C$844,800
Which is equivalent to Auckland 950k nzd average.

Huge foreign buyers issues there however not the case in nz as the 35% of buyers in the temp visa and student buyer category are not

What a joke

Twyford was right - 39% of Barfoots buyers with Chinese names = a connection to family back home with the students fronting the house hunt in NZ. Not racist simply fact! Jonkey has the immigration floodgates wide open. All you require to get residency here is to buy one residential rental property - the only country in the world where you can slip in that easily and stash your cash eh! The Chinese Mums and Dads have their secret agent student children in a frenzy in the auction rooms of Auckland. The IRD data showed 35% of house buyers are foreign students - who is funding them - Mum and Dad back in China. The lawyers and the Barfoots agents and the valuers and mortgage brokers/bankers all know what's really going on but keeping it under cover as they are making a fortune from this immigration scam.

So let us sum up the discussion. The so-called New Zealand government refuses to:

- change legislation governing purchases of real estate by non-citizens,
- change legislation reigning in the flood of bogus international students,
- raise its voice at G20 and other international fora demanding a stop to global money printing that is clearly destabilizing New Zealand.

Instead the pressure is seen on the RBNZ which is a dwarf in terms of the printed money tsunami smashing the social structure of New Zealand or on Auckland Council which is less than a dwarf in the game that is being played.

Very convincing :-) ... I guess deflecting attention from the actual issue, a government that is consiously ignoring the needs of a large section of the populus is the main priority here.

And yet this government you appear to be trying to discredit has been consistently pleasing almost 50% of the voting population for a significant period of time now. What conclusion do you draw from that PeterPen?

Is there a factual error in my comment? Which one?

This government does not need me or anyone to "discredit" it. It does so itself.

As to voting patterns, you will agree that many people do not care to inform themselves about political matters. At best they consume mainstream media with their gross simplifications and own political interests.

Therefore it is all the more important that we have the opportunity for robust exchange of information and opinion in an independent newspaper like this one here.

Has Nationals support dropped despite the slandering it's been getting on this site over the last 3 months or so?

The reporting I've viewed certainly wouldn't indicate so.

It's interesting that polling would indicate that Nationals popularity isn't dropping despite a noticeable shift in sentiment on key issues like housing and immigration policy that's occurred over the last 6 months.

I believe that most NZ'ers care about these issues, however that they care more about the CV of their home than shifting their voting position as a means of acting out a core desire to right some ethical wrong that could be occurring in our society. As such, I don't think we'll see a shift in popularity of National until the property market correction/crash whatever you want to call it occurs.

Does this mean that voting age Kiwis are lacking in moral fortitude, that they'd sell themselves short so they can appear to become rich by the CV data they read about each month? Or doe they really dislike Labour, the Greens and Winston that much? I think perhaps it must be a combination of all these things..,

Re a post I did a while ago we had the retired in laws around for tea and the conversation went to politics - asked them how they vote and it was the Nats as was I in the past. I asked them why and they stuttered and stammered but couldn't really come up with anything. I suggested it was simply that their house had doubled under JKs watch and they got a bit defensive and a bit embarrassed especially when I asked how they felt about the young being unable to afford a house in AKL and Nats immigration policies changing the landscape.

They are nice people but in answer to your question its all about house prices when you get to a certain age for a lot of elderly Kiwis and remember these are the people who see voting as a big day out in their largely uneventful life whereas those affected directly by Nats actions for some reasons best known to themselves struggle to make it to the polling station.

I would suggest that labour and the others should focus a lot on the under 50's in the coming election. Those older have lost the ability to think of others or react to new social data and just vote National because they always have.

Labour need to also remember that New Labour in the UK was successful because they brought in policies that were more Tory than anything the Conservatives were proposing at the time.

Re Nationals support I understand it has dropped significantly and if an election was held now Winston Peters and NZ First would hold the Balance of Power.

Like smalltown has also highlighted below, it's all about self interest. Capital gain whatever the cost is to our economy and future generations. Me me me BB's mainly. Labour though are not winning anyone over.

Well, Brexit - a unique opportunity for the people of Britain the reclaim democracy and rule of law from an out of control autocratic EU - will fail for the same reason. The EU and its allies are running a scare campain on house prices should Britain vote for democracy.

Few Kiwis would object if I'd say that apathy is a strong undercurrent in the national character. And love of money, too. But I do not judge that, nor do I think that its drives current developments.

There are simply too few courageous journalists who challenge the many contradictions in the government's conduct. Why does practically nobody ask why the government is letting in unprecedented numbers of mostly low skilled migrants through a student visa scheme begging for rorting? Why is nobody questioning the morality of a government lovingly providing for so-called refugees who are none of our business, while Kiwis go homeless? Immigration is the pseudo-religion of our time. Everyone objecting commits blasphemy.

With the absence of critical media driving an open and honest debate it is difficult to expose an inapt government. The comments here make no difference. This newspaper allows a largely unimpeded flow of opinon but it does not have sufficient audience.

Nonetheless, the status quo is unsutainable and we will see big changes in the future.

NZ does lack strong jouranlist to ask hard hitying question to government. Investigative journalism is missing othrrwuse you can see from yhe comment of so many that everyone understand that government is not only interedtef in doing anything but is also a part of it otherwise their supply card and pasing yhe blame to the council could be exposed very easily.

Smalltown, that sounds like my family you just described. Where all in our 50's and doing very well from Nationals immigration and investment policies. My siblings will vote with there bank accounts. I will vote with my conscience.

Smalltown, that sounds like my family you just described. Where all in our 50's and doing very well from Nationals immigration and investment policies. My siblings will vote with there bank accounts. I will vote with my conscience.