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Stats NZ reports that a 2.7% lift in monthly building consents for November saw the annual level of consents around the country hit over 37,000 for the first time since the 1970s

Stats NZ reports that a 2.7% lift in monthly building consents for November saw the annual level of consents around the country hit over 37,000 for the first time since the 1970s

Residential building activity in New Zealand over the past 12 months has been running at levels not seen since the 1970s, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The latest figures from Stats NZ, for November 2019, show that in the 12 months to the end of November there were 37,010 new dwelling units consented.

That's a 45-year high.

There were 37,919 new homes consented in the year ended September 1974, while the overall record is still 40,025 in the February 1974 year.

But while the activity is currently continuing at strong levels, the latest figures do suggest activity could be close to, if not at peak levels.

For the November month there were 3204 new dwelling units consented around the country.

That's up just 2.7% on the 3120 consented for the same month in 2018.

However, ASB senior economist Mark Smith pointed out that the housing market is strengthening "and we expect house price growth to pick up over the year ahead". 

"Higher house prices typically boost demand for new builds and we expect dwelling construction to remain elevated at high levels over the year ahead," he said. 

"However, we are wary that construction costs look to be accelerating - up 7.7% [year on year] according to the consent data - which could dampen future construction activity.  The fall in pricing intentions for the building sector signalled by today’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) is especially welcome."

The 3204 new dwellings consented nationwide in November 2019 comprised of:

  • 1,980 stand-alone houses
  • 722 townhouses, flats, and units
  • 291 apartments
  • 211 retirement village units.

And if we look at the largest city Auckland (and the city purportedly with much the biggest housing shortage problem), the number consented in November actually fell compared with the same month a year prior, to 1120, from 1172.

However, the monthly figures, particularly for Auckland, are notoriously volatile.

For the 12 months to November 2019 the number of consented new dwellings in the Auckland region was 14,866, which was up 16% on the figure recorded for the 12 months to November 2018.

Going back to the national picture, Stats NZ says the number of new homes has been generally increasing since late 2011, coming off lows in 2009 and 2011 when fewer than 14,000 new homes were consented annually.

Nationally, 13% more new homes were consented in the November 2019 year compared with a year ago, reaching, as said earlier, 14,866 in Auckland, 4,176 in Waikato, and 5,310 in Canterbury.

Canterbury consented 14% more new homes than in the previous November year. Although this level is below the 2014 peak, it is still higher than the level before earthquake rebuild activities.

Wellington region consented 3,036 new homes in the latest year, the highest annual number since over 4,000 new homes were consented in the mid-1970s.

Stats NZ says across the 16 New Zealand regions, only three (Northland, Nelson, and Marlborough) consented slightly fewer new homes in the November 2019 year than in the previous year.


In the year ended November 2019, non-residential building consents totalled $7.4 billion, up 4.9% from the November 2018 year. This series can be influenced by price changes – non-residential construction prices (as measured by the capital goods price index) were up 5.1 percent in the September 2019 year.

In the November 2019 year, the non-residential building types with the highest values were:

  • education buildings – $1.0 billion (down 1.5%)
  • shops, restaurants, and bars – $1.0 billion (down 5.4%)
  • offices, administration, and public transport buildings – $981 million (up 6.3%).

See the interactive chart below for the full regional trends.

Building consents - residential

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Per 1000 population, this is a 40% drop on the 1973 number. NZ population in 1973 was 2.96m vs 4.9m now.

An improvement but still a way to go

Affordability has become a big issue.

Baby boomers have been a spoilt generation, sucked in by price inflation engineered by banksters. The net result being the creation of large homes, that the next generation can no longer afford to build.

Once Councils (which are always behind the eight ball) and land developers recognise this, expect to see alot more smaller homes and sections come to the market.

Bringing back smaller affordable housing will see a marked increase in building consents nationwide.

While I agree with some of this comment, the market isn't going to just "realise" what you think it will. People demand big homes and that's what they get. It's not up to McDonald's to realise that you want to eat healthy. It's up to you to change your eating habits.

I can't help associate your last two paragraphs with the various failed socialist housing schemes around the world. "It doesn't matter as long as they have a roof over their head".

I would like to aim a bit higher. The United States has plenty of big cities with big, beautiful and diverse looking homes for affordable prices. It's possible.

I can't help associate your last two paragraphs with the various failed socialist housing schemes around the world.

New Zealand used to have far more government involvement in boosting the supply of housing in decades post WW2, hence why we had such a high rate of home ownership. There was no "own two feet" about that affordable housing folk got access to from the 70s-90s.

Neither is Singapore a failed socialist housing scheme.

The numbers don't support your assertion. The private sector has built around 95% of the houses in NZ. In the 70's-90's this would have been about the same. Keith Hay alone has built around 25,000 homes - the Govt only about 100,000 of the 1.8M homes in the country.

There were state advances loans and the ability to capitalise the family benefit to get a deposit. But there are broadly equivalent to Welcome Home loans and Homestart grants and Kiwisaver. The change today is the restricted supply of housing land and over-regulation of house construction. Both government interventions - so it's a socialist problem we have.

" But there are broadly equivalent to Welcome Home loans and Homestart grants and Kiwisaver. "

What a load of rot.

Capitilising the family benefit was often a 20% deposit all by itself. A $5000 first home grant (x2 for a couple) is ~5% at best.
Kiwisaver is by and large your own money, its not a handout, its come mostly out of you own earnings.
Welcome home loans (now First Home Loans) are not at half the prevailing bank interest rate like the State Advances loans were when they were introduced.

Keith Hay, you say? One of the companies that was involved in taking advantage of Family Benefit Home Ownership Act brought in by the Nash Labour government, and the State Advances Corporation set up to help support people into first homes?

Before that the free market wasn't achieving high rates of home ownership.

However, agree we need to free up land and reduce regulation (and associated costs), while perhaps using something such as mandatory industry insurance to cover the costs of shoddy product quality and the ability for folk to use short term LLCs to avoid standing behind the quality of their work.

I just don't see the connection. How does some body who wants to build a large house preclude some body building a small house? If you want to build a house then surely you can build it any size that you want.
My reading of it is that our market for building sections and building materials are totally dysfunctional, monopolistic and pretty much corrupt. Certainly not free and competitive markets. I can remember about 5 years ago when there was a slight soft patch builders were advertising new houses for not much more than $200k , now you would be lucky to get anything for less than $350k. The supply sectors have simply racked up prices as they feel and the government has done nothing to improve competitive forces. The reason that not enough houses are being build is that building prices are far higher than the people who need them can afford.
Catching up with some German friends over the holiday I learned that in Germany only municipalities can develop building sections. They are not that cheap but are affordable. The councils make a lot of money from this activity, but that is fair enough because it is the councils that have to provide all the infrastructure and facilities that make the cities work and everything that that increases the value of farm land to city property. In NZ private interests capture most of this profit while the municipalities pick up a lot of the cost.
Here is a really good point also, In Germany building sections are sold to first time house building individuals at half price.

We should also consider the amount of houses built since then though, since houses don't really "expire".

Unfortunately a large number of recently added New Zealand homes ,apartment blocks and the like struggle to "inspire", such is the increased need for plastic wrapping.

Inspire? I thought you wanted them to perspire! Doh!

The owners of this apartment block will be perspiring: (Warning: Granny Herald link)

Looks like the local NZ branch of the international company Brookfield Multiplex has been folded without paying the bills.

Very handy to be able to simply fold a company and start another to avoid the costs of one's underperformance.

Kiwimm, It's still a building boom, with prices flat for the past 3 years in Auckland. Makes me wonder if we really need that many more.

Only compared to the paucity of building in the last few years. This number put us at 7.5/1000 people - the same as 2003 and lower than 2004.

People do struggle to understand just how incredibly awful Auckland planning was in the 2011-2017 period, during this time housing construction was restrained by elevating the cost of Auckland land supply. Auckland had historically built at about the same rate as Brisbane, but Auckland Council's insane policies of the 2011-2017 period meant Auckland slowed building by more than 50% for those years.

From 2017 onward Auckland reversed its cost inflation policy - so building has increased whilst prices fell. The price flattening in Auckland had little to do with a lack of demand, it was more the underlying land costs of Auckland fell - the profit of building housing grew and more houses were built, because Auckland Council increased land supply.

Now we are entering a new period where Auckland land supply has almost normalised and prices are likely to increase with increased building activity.

Very good point kiwimm

Good point. often comparisons are not equal, and this is why

We're unlikely to see much relief on the nationwide housing strain since migration and credit growth continue to overshadow such increases in building supply.
For those looking for positive GDP signs, an upbeat construction sector should keep overall business activity growing at healthy rates as well.

Advisor, Umm, prices have been quite flat in Auckland for 3 years, even with that migration "strain". What's going to happen when this near record number of new dwellings start to come to market?

Going to need it if we have returning expats from Australia.


Why do you keep pushing that narrative? Its sounds like you're working your way backwards from a desired outcome. Do you think there will be an increase of returning expats, or hope?

The number of NZers in Australia is increasing. The surge of returning expats simply won't happen, and its amazing to see how many expats that have returned over the last few years have already left NZ again (I'm one of them).

Unless you're starting a family and/or like things on repeat (ie. your day) you can and likely will do better for yourself outside of NZ.

Sounds like your the one who's working back from their desired result - Its yet to be known what impact the recent aussie Bush fires have and if it only reduces the number leaving nz for Australia then the impact would be noticed.

I have my own evidence of wealthy, skilled immigrants now looking more favorably on NZ where in the past Aussie would be the clear first choice - guess we'll have to wait several months to see if net migration numbers do infact tick up, clearly risks are to the upside now as a result of the aussie fires


I don't have a desired outcome. I'm just calling BS on what is nothing more than a pub yarn. If you're a Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane based kiwi, the chances of you returning to NZ due to bush fires is non-existent.

Just look at the numbers mate. The beauty about them is they don't contain emotion!


Yes it seems a total over reaction to suggest that lots of kiwis will return because of the bushfires. The cities aren't burning are they?
Things are far from perfect here
And Most cities in the country could be devastated by an earthquake, as ChCh escapees to Aus can testify

The total over reaction was Masher's responses. Would have been easier to just disagree and move on, but less humorous.

Masher ain't just the bush fires... so I call BS on you. Go and actually read some climate modelling. This heating of AUS has been predicted accurately. I recently meet some travelling Brisbane folk scouting NZ as a place to live - the reason was they were finding summers unbearably hot and saw no future living there..

The emotion bit comes from ignorant folk like yourself who refuse to believe science - unless it suits.

Rastus - Spot on I've just been in South Australia for 2 weeks. My first day in Melbourne was ugly at 43 deg very windy the whole city was covered in a blanket of smoke like a overcast day in London. Adelaide was better still smokey and hot. Canberra was just terrible they must be really sick of that heavy smoke now. I enjoy Australia particularly Queensland in July/August but to live there permanently with the extremes they experience is not for me. I had a tear in my eye coming back to 25 deg and a green envoirment heaven !

Only a few days are that hot here in Melbourne. One a few day have been smoky. The rest of the week will be mid to low 20s. Melbourne is great city and they’re currently making even more improvements to public transport. They just get things done here.

Agree - uninhabitable.

35k nz citizens moved back to NZ permanently in 2019 - a hot and getting hotter aussie will only increase this number while putting off all those who may have been thinking of heading over there. The aussie dollar isn't worth much these days either so the idea of making big money over there is long gone just like the mining jobs..

We won't know the numbers for some months so very confused as to how 'looking at the numbers' in the past months helps to say anything about the impact of these bush fires

You must have me confused with someone else, it's the first time I've commented on anything remotely to do with NZers returning from Australia. You could have just stuck with your second paragraph instead of getting on the defensive, no doubt you'll move back to NZ again very soon and one day you might find happiness? Good luck!

And yet he avoids the subject at hand......what is the basis behind an increase in expats returning from Australia? If you think its bushfires, you have rocks in your head. Also, I wouldn't call it defensive mate, more just stuff you don't have a rebuttal for.

Happier and wealthier on the other side of the ditch, even with the smoke!

It was a flippant one liner that really didn't require any further debate, I throw these around here from time to time. But if you must, yes a combination of the fires and increasing temperatures ( Source ) could play a part but at most I was merely surmising at best.

Apologies if I've offended you though, I thought this site was predominately grown ups in control of their emotions. Try to relax and enjoy what you have, it's just pixels on a computer screen after all.

I think this whole interaction is a poor reflection on you, not me.

You clearly don't like being challenged.

I don't feel challenged at all, I was actually surprised at how you responded to my fallacious comment. But it's cool, I'd love to continue swinging keyboards with you but it's getting old. Please accept my apology and move on?

Yes the climate lot are convinced kiwis will return because of a rare weather event, but ignore the actual data of kiwis abandoning ship at an increasing rate due to low wages caused by socialist policies.

Another one who should be following the kardashians or Prince Harry story....

One of the characteristics of a cult is that its adherents belittle and attack those who question its principles. We've stayed silent for years - no longer.

Would you mind elaborating on your story? Why did you return, and why did you leave again? Which countries are we talking about?

That's a big "I told you they could deliver" to all of those who thought Kiwibuild was a flop.

Eh? Kiwibuild is a flop.

Most of this will be private development. The state housing redevelopments and community housing providers are doing almost 5x what kiwiBust is according to the govts own figures:

Sorry forgot to put /sarc

No, I should have guessed that was implied given it was you :)

True, I'd be hopeless playing both sides of the political divide.

The extent of the Kiwibuild flop is exaggerated. The Kiwibuild underwriting is helping many developers progress their developments.
The gross numbers are disappointing with KB but it's influence has been a bit more positive than commonly acknowledged.

I think you are being extremely flattering in your assessment. 37000 consents. What proportion of those were kiwibuild underwrites? The govt would be desperate to claim anything that they had any input to, but to date only 275 homes. That would be a miniscule 0.6% of 37000 ie a close as damn to zero influence.

I have been a harsh critic of KB, but it's still had some benefits.
I've been involved in multiple developments in the last 6 months where around 30-40% of the dwellings in the development are KB. That underwriting has been a big factor in the developments progressing. I can only go from what I am seeing, and what I am seeing is the progression of many developments being supported, at least in part, by KB underwriting.
With all these developments, including KB, in the pipeline, we'll see those KB numbers rise.

So how many kiwibuild houses total are in these multiple developments where 30-40% are kiwibuild that you've been involved with? a few thousand?

I have been involved in one development of circa 200 homes total, where around 60 were Kiwibuild.
In another, 80 units in total, around 30 were Kiwibuild.

Sure, the KB numbers aren't large but they are helping support developments to are contributing more housing supply, KB or otherwise.

I'm just one guy working on a couple of projects, if you multiple that out then a fair bit might be in the pipeline. Sure we aren't talking 10,000 a year, but we are still talking of something that is contributing to 'the solution'.

Fair enough, maybe there is more going on than what published figures reveal.

Good trend in numbers. The cynic in me says it must be election year....oh yes it is.

Picking a decline in immigration and more housing performance, with laborers transitioned to house building from capital roading projects that were stalled/cancelled at the start of this Govt's term. This will be promoted as this Govt's key score card metrics going into the back half of this year.

This is not the government's doing (well, it is a little, as a result of immigration and general economic conditions). This is the market responding to demand. A good trend.

The roading maintenance budget has been DOUBLED for the coming year, that will keep everyone busy till the new roading projects kick off...can't see a decline in immigration...ever...where are you picking that one from?

True, BUT all the lead in work now has a two year delay (survey, design, land acquisition etc etc). This will absolutely lead to a two year delay in construction unless every worker and heavy plant moves to transmission gully.

I strongly suspect the entire waikato expressway will need rebuilding as it is technically unserviceable and only being kept in service by ongoing nightly patch ups. Its incredibly embarrassing for the people who designed and built it. Everyone can keep themselves busy on the mk2 version. And people complain about kiwibuild....

interesting trend building now. I'm forecasting a solid pipeline of regeneration work stemming from the new healthy homes legislation, so many rotten old houses being foisted upon the renting public by the amateur landlord industry that will have to be demolished and replaced with adequate replacements. Good to see. Hopefully will result in less strain on the health system from sick tenants repeatedly showing up in Hospital due to cold damp houses.

Only if building costs come down a bit. Very pricey to rebuild now. I’m rebuilding so I know. Good news above though, that there is a "fall in pricing intentions for the building sector..."

Can't see cost being too much of an obstacle with the amount of regen work already underway. I suspect the architects and specifiers will just reduce the amount of walk in showers and polished concrete to reduce costs and make builds a little more affordable. Can't get away from the cost of a fully engineered foundation now though...ribraft or bust!

David do you have a break down on HNZ's contribution to the increases? I am seeing building activity going gangbusters on their sites around the Hamilton area, am guessing they are furiously trying to recoup the lost stock that idiot Nick Smith sold off to his mates...

For the record, I think we’re heading for an overshoot in building, and the shortage was/is overstated. It has been a speculative bubble more than a dire shortage (remember all the flipping?). Either way, prices should become affordable again, probably the hard (landing) way.
Answer me this: if prices have been pretty much flat for 3 years in Auckland, with no lower immigration, and there's a 45 year high in new dwelling in the immediate pipeline, what's going to happen to prices?

I think all the flipping, especially of rentals but also owner occupied homes certainly manifested itself as a housing shortage as there would be several households affected by just one house sale i.e. moving out to a new rental if the one you're in gets sold on vacant possession or needing to move into a short term rental before your new house is finished in order to complete the sale of your own home. With so many people moving about and doing deals that would definitely spike demand for homes.

Prices are going to go up

spruiker! Get 'im boys.

Not really, I'm just answering VOR's question

I don't know about others but I am still hearing of quite a few acquaintances (high skilled professionals) moving out of Auckland.
Typically to the Tron or Tauranga, but I've heard of a few going to places like Taupo and their existing Auckland employers hiring them on contract. If the trust is there, and they can do the work remotely, why not?
So we'll keep seeing the middle class hollowed out of Auckland. That's going to cause more and more issues, given that the middle class comprises teachers, nurses, firemen, policemen etc

Maybe this increase in housing construction will suppress house price inflation like it has in Christchurch.

Yes, or send it into reverse if there's a substantial overshoot.

You would think so. Remarkably, Stuff are publicising the opposite conclusion:

"Housing consents have hit a 45-year high, a fact that one economist says will likely support higher house prices next year."

A bit silly, more houses built will of course not support higher house prices. What may, is increasing construction costs, continued high immigration and record low interest rates. Whilst the new 45 year high consent numbers are great, they are for a population of close to 5 Million today whereas in 1974 it was for close to only 3 Million.

More housing being built does not, of course, support higher prices.
It's the other way around - increasing prices, or expectation of increasing prices, supports more house building.


Until the music stops. That’s an unsustainable situation. Also, “increasing construction costs, continued high immigration and record low interest rates” are all variables that can change fairly quickly. A recession would drive down costs, immigration fluctuates (see history), and interest rates can change direction due to any number of unexpected international factors.

Hmmm, I'll refrain from replying in order to continue our newfound "agreeance" LOL

Love the affordable housing in ChCh.
Give great yields and bigger yearly income.
Well bought property always hold their prices.

I think this is a good sign. I think the existing dearth of property listings can mainly be put down to uncertainty, which could be alleviated with a bit of new stock in the pipeline. Once new builds start selling and a clear trend emerges - either way - the sales will start to flow again.

Building in Aussie seems to be drying up so there will likely be a flow of skilled workers heading over here, so hopefully costs won't go through the roof. Let's just hope they build them a bit better this time round...

Are listings capturing all the new build properties for sale?
I've recently seen a number of developments that are being marketed direct from the developer, and not through Trademe

Good point. It's not really clear from the REINZ website. Anyone here in the know?

There will be a huge amount of repair and replacement activity after the fires, no one will be coming home to leave Aussie award rates for relatively crumby labour only contracts...unless they are 501s

meanwhile infrastructure Is not being added as fast as the houses or people
where is the drinking water going to come from, we have not built a new water dam in NZ for drinking since the 70's
will our sewage systems handle the increase in all citys
and that's before we get onto transportation.
and who will pay for all this, mostly existing ratepayers

Repeat after me: "Growth, growth, growth!"

And such things like: "Import more people, widen the motorways, import more people, widen the motorways..." and

"All the people coming to NZ are highly skilled scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs who will create huge businesses!"

One View about housing situation in Australia :

Hi Team,

I am a FHB family and looking to buy in the regenerate Tamaki areas in Glen Innes to Panmure. We inspected the GJ Gardiner home on the weekend and it is a well designed, well made home for a first home and rung on the property ladder. However, I am concerned about the impact on future capital gains the 30% social housing component of these new areas will have. Can anyone offer some advice or insight on this concern. I know this is late in the day to post so may repost again tomorrow if too little traffic to comment.

Would appreciate any insights or analysis.


Hi Pat
Very good question.
Keep in mind that social housing is 70-80% of that area at the moment. While the number of social houses will remain the same, the proportion will be heavily reduced or 'diluted'.
Still there may remain an element of stigma.
Conversely, it's a central area by Auckland standards, near nice beaches.
The prices of the new builds look quite high though, I am not convinced 3 bedroom townhouses in GI going for circa 900k are good value, and that there is much capital gain upside.
Also keep in mind it will be a very long transition. The whole Tamaki project is way behind on its plans.
The schooling there is poor too. Again may improve with time.

What are your concerns regarding social housing? It would be interesting to hear them. A friend of mine did very well out of a social housing scheme, it was in a rough part of town but the development actually lifted the neighborhood somewhat and because it was a co ownership scheme he has been able to take that foward into his own hands and now has a couple of places to his name and has used that capital to leverage a thriving business. There should be more of this. None of that would of happened if was trapped renting off some lazy boomer.

Most private landlords look after their properties because it is in their interests to do so. Compare that to HNZ which are the most unlooked after houses around filled with .... The Govt even had the audacity to grant itself an extension to not comply with the healthy homes act. Case closed Genious.

I'd check your facts einstein...have you heard of the swamp house?

If I were you I would think of the proverb recommending those who live in a glasshouses to not throw stones. You point to the swamp house and go "look see over there", it is a near isolated case for the tens of thousands of private rentals. You wouldn't try tarring all landlords because of it now would you 4thE, of course not.

Oh come on HW, there is a river of prosecutions being handed down as the MBIE finally go after the amateur landlord industry in this country thats been costing the economy untold millions in sick tenants and arguably a very poor return on the accomodation supplament. Admit it, that can only be a good thing as it will bring much needed professionalism to the sector and good returns for taxpyers funding the accomodation supplament.

There is some research that would suggest that having a 30% social housing component is too much, and is likely to have some negative impact, especially if they are all clustered together within the development. But of course this can vary a lot as it only takes one extremely bad occupant of any social economic class to ruin it for everyone.

A 10% ratio that is evenly scattered throughout the development so they don't have the same cohort as a neighbour is seen as best for holding up the values, which is really about allowing any stigma about social housing to be absorbed into the fabric of the 'better' housing (and better of financially neighbours) around them.

There is also the psychological benefit of, 'if you want to be successful, hang out with other successful people.'

Thanks Dale. Are you able to site the research at all. Much appreciated it. Funnily enough on the way to the open home I was saying to my wife, 10% would be a number I am comfortable with. 30% does seem high - 1 in 3.

I'll see if I can dig it up, it was a few years ago now.

One other thing I should point out is that the term social housing is more broader than it used to be, and also the cohort that need social housing assistance is growing.

Part of this is because certain political parties see it as the states role to provide housing, but generally it has been the failure of all political parties to make housing affordable without the assistance of the state. More and more people are needing state assistance, from total support to the likes of the Welcome Home package.

Another issue with these type of medium to higher density housing, is that they are not designed for the higher density living, this is just part of how we build all housing in NZ by world standards, ie poorly, but specifically to higher density when it comes to design and acoustic issues.

It's one thing having to contend with a bad neighbours public area display, but when you can see or hear everyone's good or bad behaviour within their private walls, then it is not the best option for any party.

If you are buying it as a family home I dont really know why you would be worried about capital gains.

How could I not worry about the future value of the single largest investment I have made up to this point in my life?

Pretty brave to buy in an area with 30%. It inevitably leads to a lot more local crime, and schools where many kids have parents who don't care about or encourage education, creating discipline problems and a lot of time wasted on managing problem kids instead of teaching. Although I hear Stonefields school is good if you can get in the catchment. Forget capital gains, won't happen until or unless the social housing proportion drops.

Thanks Foyle, not really what I wanted to hear but probably what I need to :-). Essentially, echoing my own fears. Similar to another comment, I actually applaud the decision to revitalize the area and to spread the social housing among the private houses - which is what they have done - but 30% does seem high. Would be great if the social housing could be spread across the whole of Auckland instead of just the Tamaki regen project but that ship has likely sailed. I wonder if as more houses are built they will lower the proportion over time.

And this discussion has shown why the Tamaki project will fail. They won't get enough market interest.

Can anyone answer without getting all too emotional why does Australia have restrictions on kiwis when we are only nearly 5 million of us here and we have an open door policy for Australians to move here i.e 25 million or more can potentially move here?

So what would happen If half of nearly 600k kiwis from Australia moved back here and say another couple of hundred thousand Aussies decided to make the move to the only 'lucky country' left in the world now?

I have it on very good authority that 300k kiwis will not move back from Australia.

My question is how would we deal with it if it ever happened?

Well they'd probably need a job and a place to live lined up before they came over. You wouldn't have 300k people stepping off a plane at Auckland Airport camping in the terminal to browse rental listings on TradeMe. We'd see an increase in housing demand and an increase in unemployment. Rents could go up.

We would deal with it like we always do, by paying thousands of dollars a week per low income family on emergency housing.

To answer your first question (unemotionally :)) the main reason is the disproportionate migration figures between the two countries and therefore the imbalance in social security costs. The costs to Australian taxpayers was becoming a significant political issue, so the NZ and Aus governments of the day in 2001 came to a reciprocal agreement whereby each country continues to cover the cost of unemployment and sickness benefit payments for each others citizens BUT with the limitations on the availability of social security introduced to lessen the imbalance. The alternative would have been to introduce a reimbursement scheme whereby the NZ taxpayer would have had to stump up for Australian-based beneficiaries (and vice-versa).

If the migration flow were to reverse significantly, then presumably the arrangement would have to be renegotiated, but these things happen very slowly, and we'd likely have the imbalance trend for a number of years before anything was formally arranged.

It might seem "unfair" that Australian citizens have more access to NZ than we have in Aus, but it's a numbers game, really.