United Future's Dunne attacks home affordability, says families should be able to capitalise Working for Families entitlements in a lump sum to buy a house

United Future's Dunne attacks home affordability, says families should be able to capitalise Working for Families entitlements in a lump sum to buy a house

United First leader Peter Dunne, who is also Revenue Minister

By Alex Tarrant

United Future leader Peter Dunne has called for government to allow families to ‘capitalise’ their Working for Families entitlement as a lump sum to buy a home, or extend their existing home.

Dunne, who has been Minister of Revenue in the current and previous governments, and is the MP for Ohariu Belmont, said in a report titled the 'State of the Family' that for many families it currently was simply not possible to service a mortgage on a median priced house.

"Stable families need stable housing. Servicing a mortgage on a median priced house represents 55-60% of a median single income. For many families, that is simply not possible," Dunne said in the report released Saturday morning.

"Even taking account of the income of the entire ‘household’, it takes 37% of the median take-home household pay to pay the mortgage on a median-priced house. It is only in the recent recession, that this figure has fallen below 40%, which is considered ‘affordable’," he said.

"Provisions within KiwiSaver allow those with at least five years of contributions to draw down on their savings for a deposit on their first home, but that does not take effect until 2012. Recent changes to the treatment of residential housing in tax regulation have also improved housing affordability however trends suggest that this may not last long."

"Families should be able to ‘capitalise’ their Working for Families entitlement as a lump sum to buy a home, or extend their existing home. Those doing this would be entitled to a small additional incentive to acknowledge the savings in administrative costs for the government. In addition, high-value state houses (some are valued in excess of $1 million) should be sold to fund the purchase of more reasonably priced new state houses," Dunne said.

However Dunne later said precise details on how WfF capitalisation might work had not been finalised.

"Bearing in mind that WFF payments can be quite substantial, my thinking is that the amount to be capitalised would be set on an annual basis, with the usual square up provisions applying. That way, the contribution towards a home deposit could be built up over more than one year without disruption. In effect, therefore, what we would be developing would be a form of taxpayer subsidised home savings scheme," Dunne said in an emailed response to questions from interest.co.nz (see below).

Income sharing tax breaks

Meanwhile, Dunne reiterated his call for government to introduce income sharing as a form of a tax break for families.

"Income Sharing specifically recognises the costs of raising a family, and in particular, those situations where one parent is either a full-time carer for their children or works part-time. For tax purposes, the income of both parents would be combined and divided equally, which can mean that they pay less tax since it is levied at a lower rate under our progressive taxation system," Dunne said.

Election 2011

Dunne has been Revenue Minister under both the current National-led government and the previous Labour-led government and first entered Parliament in 1984. He has been an MP in successive governments since 1999, with United Future entering into coalition with whichever party formed government.

The early announcement of a November 26 election last week by Prime Minister John Key has set off talk of possible coalition partners for both National and Labour, with Key already ruling out working with a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First. Dunne would be expected to fit in with either party.

Dunne responds

Following the release I sent two questions to Dunne. His responses are in bold:

Q. Just wondering how families would capitalise their entitlements in a lump sum - does this include future entitlements? If so how can one be sure situations won't change and incomes won't rise above the WfF threshold in the future after the family has been paid out to buy a house?

Precise details of how UF's WFF capitalisation might work have not been finalised, although the issue you raise is important Obviously, such a scheme would be optional,  with WFF recipients able to enter their scheme if they felt it suited their circumstances. Bearing in mind that WFF payments can be quite substantial, my thinking is that the amount to be capitalised would be set on an annual basis, with the usual square up provisions applying. That way, the contribution towards a home deposit could be built up over more than one year without disruption. In effect, therefore, what we would be developing would be a form of taxpayer subsidised home savings scheme.

Q. Also, if people at 65 are still capable of making a valuable and valued contribution to society (ie this sounds like they are still able to work) then would Mr Dunne support raising the retirement age and age of eligibility for NZ Super payments? If not, why not?

UF has no plans to change the age of NZ Superannuation, because we do not think such a move is necessary at this stage.

Here is the 'State of the Family' report from Peter Dunne:

Introduction: How good a place is New Zealand to live in today? From infancy to adulthood to life as a senior citizen, what does living in New Zealand look like and feel like in 2011, and how well are we doing as a nation?

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne runs a ruler over 10 key indicators that people go through on their life journeys as New Zealanders and takes a look at how we stack up as a nation. They are simple – but not exclusive – indicators that most New Zealanders would have as life priorities, milestones or goals at various stages of life. They range from things that are important for children, in young and mid-life, and as we age.

Each indicator is given a grade on how it is achieved or otherwise, and some recommendations are made on how we can do better.

Ten Indicators of Living Life Well in New Zealand…

Housing Affordability

Parental Leave

Cost of Raising a Child

Household Income

Access to Healthcare

Educational Outcomes – Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary

Work / Life Balance

Access to the Great Kiwi Lifestyle

Fathers in Children’s Lives

Retirement and Superannuation


Housing affordability

Stable families need stable housing. Servicing a mortgage on a median priced house represents 55-60% of a median single income. For many families, that is simply not possible. Even taking account of the income of the entire ‘household’, it takes 37% of the median take-home household pay to pay the mortgage on a median-priced house. It is only in the recent recession, that this figure has fallen below 40%, which is considered ‘affordable’. Provisions within KiwiSaver allow those with at least five years of contributions to draw down on their savings for a deposit on their first home, but that does not take effect until 2012. Recent changes to the treatment of residential housing in tax regulation have also improved housing affordability however trends suggest that this may not last long.

Grade: C–

UnitedFuture recommends: Families should be able to ‘capitalise’ their Working for Families entitlement as a lump sum to buy a home, or extend their existing home. Those doing this would be entitled to a small additional incentive to acknowledge the savings in administrative costs for the government. In addition, high-value state houses (some are valued in excess of $1 million) should be sold to fund the purchase of more reasonably priced new state houses.

Parental leave

New Zealand was a late starter in joining other developed countries in introducing paid parental leave, when it implemented a 12-week policy in 2002. This was lifted to 14 weeks in 2005. While New Zealand couples can transfer parental leave between them, we still lag behind most European countries which offer up to 52 weeks paid parental leave, often at 100% of income. New Zealand’s maximum entitlement of $402.36 a week is less than the minimum wage.


UnitedFuture recommends: In 2007, the Families Commission recommended that paid parental leave be extended to 13 months, including one month for fathers. UnitedFuture endorses this recommendation.  This would enable infants to be cared for by their parents during the crucial first year of childhood, which has been shown to improve family stability, reduce child poverty and lay a foundation that reduces the incidence of child abuse.

Cost of raising a child

It costs parents between 17 and 20% of the average weekly income to raise a single child. The move from a dual-income young couple without children, to a single income family with children actually puts many people below the poverty line. Given that New Zealand actually needs parents to produce the next generation of our citizens, this can never be an acceptable situation. WhileWorking for Families has improved the lot of such families, the choice made by many parents to act as stay-at-home carers goes largely unrecognised and unrewarded.

Grade: C

UnitedFuture Recommends: Quite simply, Income Sharing. Couples with children often face a choice between both parents working full-time, employing others to care for their children, and one parent working full-time and the other staying home to care for the children, possibly on a part-time basis. Introducing an income-sharing tax credit would give parents greater choice in their work and caring roles, and more choice around their work and home-life balance. UnitedFuture currently has the Income-sharing (Tax Credit) Bill due to be reported back by the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.

Household Income

Over the recession of the past two or three years, average annual household income fell slightly from $78,019 in 2008/09 to $76,584 in 2009/10. Compared with 2006/07 however, average annual household income rose significantly, up 11.5% from $68,710. So it can be said that New Zealand is generally heading in the right direction. However, by far the greatest change to household incomes has been the impact of the Budget 2010 tax changes that came into effect last October. Using the example of a family earning the average household income of $76,000, with two children (and receiving Working for Families) and repaying a mortgage of $300 per week, this household is better off by $45 a week under the new tax rates.  Even with last year’s increase in GST costing them an extra $21 per week, this typical household is still almost $25 a week better off, or $1300 per year.

Grade B+

UnitedFuture recommends: The recent tax changes are a welcome step in the right direction for household incomes, however further changes could be even more positive, specifically the introduction of Income Sharing for families. Income Sharing specifically recognises the costs of raising a family, and in particular, those situations where one parent is either a full-time carer for their children or works part-time. For tax purposes, the income of both parents would be combined and divided equally, which can mean that they pay less tax since it is levied at a lower rate under our progressive taxation system. As well as reducing the tax burden and elevating the household income of families, Income Sharing would provide choice and freedom to parents.  It could be the ‘tipping point’ that allows a parent to stay home and care for a child, or on the other hand provide the financial incentive for a parent to return to part-time of full-time work.

Access to Healthcare

In real dollar terms, health spending per capita in New Zealand is lower than the OECD average. Despite this, New Zealand spends a greater proportion of GDP on health, than the OECD average. New Zealand – along with most developed countries in recent decades – has improved life expectancy, reduced infant mortality and recorded a decline in the rate of smoking. However, New Zealand faces an obesity epidemic, with 26.5% of adults being clinically obese (the third highest rate in the OECD). This will have huge flow on effects with regard to diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Access to Medicines is a critical part of healthcare. Since its establishment in 2007, the new National Medicine Strategy, Medicines New Zealand has provided a far more clear and coherent approach to managing access to and funding of new and innovative medicinal outcomes for New Zealanders. An additional $60 million has been invested over the past two years, which means some 250,000 Kiwis are receiving subsidised medicines they would not have got two years ago. In the same period, Pharmac has funded 24 new medicines and increased access to another 24 medicines, benefiting more than a quarter of a million patients.

Grade: C+

UnitedFuture recommends: To cope with the increasing healthcare demands of an increasingly obese and ageing population, New Zealand must really put action behind the truth that prevention is better (and cheaper) than the cure. To that end, a free annual ‘warrant of fitness’ check-up should be offered to all New Zealanders. Most other OECD countries spend a greater proportion of their healthcare dollars privately. While a modern, accessible and free universal healthcare system is a cornerstone of New Zealand society, under-utilised surgical capacity in private hospitals could help cut surgical waiting lists. New Zealand should make use of this capacity in the private health sector by requiring DHBs to contract out work to private hospitals.

The Medicines New Zealand strategy has ensured that since 2007, we have had a world-class framework to deliver medicines to New Zealanders. Given the gains that have been made in this area that has been directly and successfully pushed by UnitedFuture, we will be seeking to have the strategy continued and built upon, as outlined in the April 2010 Medicines New Zealand Action Plan.

Education Outcomes – Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary

Early Childhood:

Since July 2007, the government has provided 20 hours of free early childhood education or care for three and four year olds. However, the sudden increase in demand for places in centres that offer 20 hours per week for free, has resulted in insufficient capacity and in many cases, waiting lists, even though the government is spending more than  ever in this area. Recent funding cuts will impact financially on early childhood education centres and, down the line, potentially on the cost to parents.

Grade: B

UnitedFuture recommends: Closely monitor the impact of recent changes to early childhood education funding levels. Support lifting over time of the qualifications of early childhood caregivers. As a pilot, UnitedFuture would also trial the use of early childhood education centres as contact points for family support services, such as parenting courses, budget advice, health and counselling services.


In international comparisons, New Zealand primary-age children are broadly strong in literacy, weak in science and average in mathematics. Despite achieving internationally credible outcomes in primary education, there is alarming evidence that too many children are still ‘slipping through the cracks’ and reaching secondary school without even the basic skills required to progress.  A widely agreed method of improving primary educational outcomes is reporting the progress of a child’s learning. The Government undertook prior to the last election to bring in just such a system, however the implementation of National Standards has caused considerable angst among various stakeholders.

Grade: B–

UnitedFuture recommends: Broadly supportive of a system of National Standards, however the current system has been poorly conceived, inaccurately portrayed, badly communicated and hastily implemented. This has generated no small amount of animosity and mistrust among the numerous stakeholders. Amid all this, outcomes for children must be the top priority. UnitedFuture wants to keep teachers, parents, schools and the Ministry of Education on task to ensure that the overall objective of improved primary education is kept at the forefront, when taking the important step of implementing a system of National Standards.


As with the discord in the Primary sector over National Standards, there is a level of ongoing discontent in the Secondary system over the NCEA system, with a number of schools opting to offer alternative systems to their pupils. The issues underpinning such moves are concerns about the perceived quality and competitiveness of NCEA. The arguments against NCEA and its strong reliance on internal assessment as opposed to more external exam-based models are also among the arguments raised when dealing with the difficult issue of boys continuing to fall behind girls in NCEA achievement and completion rates.

Grade: B–

UnitedFuture recommends:

NCEA must continue to be focused on results to ensure that it best serves the educational needs of young New Zealanders. The reasons why some schools – and among them are some very good schools – are changing to other systems needs to be explored, and not dismissed on the basis of entrenched ideological positions, as is too often the case. UnitedFuture supports an equally pragmatic look at the raising of the school leaving age but only if it is accompanied by a range of options for students to use their years 12 and 13 for more career-focused learning options like trade training, and as long as students capable of moving on to tertiary opportunities during those years are not blocked from doing so.

Work/life Balance

On average, New Zealanders work 1729 hours per year. That is slightly higher than Australia, but slightly lower than the OECD average. As with the rest of the developed world, New Zealanders have realised that flexible working hours hugely benefit individuals, families, communities and society as a whole. According to a Department of Labour survey, flexible start and finishing times are available on a regular basis to some or all staff in 63% of workplaces. The Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007 was introduced to increase the availability and take-up of flexible working arrangements however research shows that only about 64% of employers and 40% of employees are aware of the Act.

Grade: B

UnitedFuture recommends: Employment law cannot remove the ‘double-burden’ of paid work and unpaid parenting, but what is required is a fundamental financial recognition of the work involved in raising a family. Again, there is a ready made answer in Income Sharing, whereby each partner in a relationship caring for children under 18 can be taxed on an equal share of their combined income, can ease the financial burden of parenthood. Income Sharing will give couples with children the option of having a parent work fewer or more flexible hours, be at home raising their children, and able to increase their combined after-tax income,

Access to the Great Kiwi Lifestyle

We often hear about the ‘great Kiwi lifestyle’, but is it more myth than reality today? A small population and a huge conservation estate have allowed generations of Kiwis to enjoy access and opportunity to enjoy the coastline, lakes, rivers, mountains and forests that is the envy of countries the world over. However, bit by bit there has been incremental encroachment of corporate and government interests that have got to the point of threatening this way of life. While the media’s attention is firmly focused on the perceived threat to the foreshore and seabed, there is a far more real threat to our public right of access going largely unnoticed. It is the deliberate locking up of publicly owned resources, such as rivers and lakes, from public access. The most sinister representation of this is through the commercialisation of these public assets by way of ‘exclusive capture’. This term describes the actions of land occupiers using their occupier rights through the Trespass Act to lock the public out of publicly owned trout fisheries on or adjacent to their properties. They can then charge exclusive rights to guides and clients to access that fishery.

Grade: B (and falling)

UnitedFuture recommends: Ensure that New Zealanders have clearly defined legal rights of access to public land, including the Queen’s Chain. This can be achieved by empowering the Walking Access Commission to actually enforce and resolve issues of access rather than just facilitate negotiation. In order to ensure that conservation priorities are not enforced at the expense of outdoor recreation considerations, it is important to restructure the Department of Conservation into two semi-autonomous divisions – one responsible for the “conservation” aspects such as scientific research, pest control, and native plant and animal stewardship; the other responsible for the “recreation” aspects such as land and waterway access, track and hut maintenance, game management and tourism.

Fathers in Children’s Lives

The increasing prevalence of fatherless children as the result of relationship breakdown is an extremely concerning trend in New Zealand. Nearly one in three children grows up in a house without both biological parents. More often than not, it is dad who the children do without, while many do not even know who their father is. This is not good for any child, but for boys in particular, research constantly confirms how important it is to have a strong male role model in their development.

Grade: C+

UnitedFuture recommends:  While governments cannot control the causes of broken relationships, they can provide an environment that supports and incentivises keeping both parents fully engaged with their children once a break-up has occurred. Firstly, the Care of Children Act needs amending to make the presumption of shared care explicit when determining care arrangements for children when parents separate. Of course, this relies on the assumption that both parents are competent and willing, and that it is in the child or children’s best interests. There also needs to be a full review of the Family Court system with a view to making it less adversarial and legalistic, and with better access to mediation services at the beginning of the process. Secondly, Compulsory DNA paternity testing would allow a man who believes he either is or is not the father of a child to apply for a paternity order. This would empower the Family Court to instruct that a sample be taken from the child and the man. The law currently holds that unless the mother agrees, an estranged father has no right to prove whether or not he is the biological parent. Equally, a woman should have the right to insist a man take a compulsory DNA paternity test if she believes him to be the father of her child. On a related matter of male role models, the Government must do more to encourage more men into teaching.

Superannuation and Retirement

Financial security in retirement is a fundamental part of the New Zealand way of life. New Zealanders entitlement of 66% of average ordinary time wage from the age of 65 strikes the correct balance of being both adequate and affordable, and is comparable with rates in other developed countries. However, the introduction and support of KiwiSaver by both major parties should signal to New Zealanders that in the future, the government will play an increasingly reduced role in ensuring the financial security of New Zealanders in their retirement. The current system fails to take into account sharp increases in consumer prices, that is, entitlements are adjusted in the year following price increases. This lag cheats superannuitants out of their full entitlement and places the burden of inflation on retirees. Section 70 of the Social Security Act, allows the 56,000 foreign retirees in New Zealand to collect a New Zealand pension, which the government appropriates from their overseas retirement savings, in reciprocal arrangements. However, this applies to discretionary contributory retirement savings schemes abroad, which can result in huge loss of income for elderly immigrants that chose to retire in New Zealand.

Grade: B–

UnitedFuture recommends: Superannuation should be calculated on the basis of forecast changes to the consumer price index and increases in the average wage for the following 12 months. In addition, it is important to promote the continued engagement of retirees in their communities. This engagement can take many forms. It could be superannuitants working, possibly part-time, beyond the age of 65 to take advantage of their skills and experience. It could be business mentoring, voluntary charity work or involvement in SAGEs, which involves older people providing one-on-one life and home skills to young families. Regardless, we must recognise that at 65 most people are capable of making a valuable and valued contribution to society, as they enjoy their well-earned retirement years. With regard to Section 70 of the Social Security Act, the provisions should only apply where the overseas pension in question has been fully funded from general tax revenues. Overseas pensions that are based on either a compulsory individual contribution, or are in the form of a national insurance scheme, should be exempted from the requirements of Section 70.

(Updates with Q&A with Dunne, section on Income sharing tax breaks)

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What a plonker he is. More state welfare to buy homes will only push the prices higher! Where does this fool get his ideas? And where does he think the money comes from to fund them?

Yup !... Time that Dunne was heaved out of  his cosy lushness in parliament  ;  and out into the chill winds on Struggle Street , NZ ... ..Plonker !

Ive heard he's trying to "retire" but get a cushy overseas Govn job...like an ambasador or something....


Some won't like this but I say:  Never let religious people in parliament.  We need rational secular people who live in the real world and don't believe in fairytales and state funded miracles.

I think Dunne was more the opportunist on joining with the Christians than an active Fundie christian (IMHO) it gave him a "party" and not a one man band...

Religious ppl, well if they get enough votes to get an MP, that's democracy and that's their representation...I mean I think ACT is obnoxious, but they have a right to be there, I'd dislke a fundie MP but the same applies.......otherwise before you know it we start excluding all sorts of minor groups........and who decides that?


I'm talking strickly religion, not political ideology Steven. Religious people have no place in secular government because it can cloud rational judgement. I'm no fan of ACT either in many respects.

Democracy is where the ppl get to vote in an MP....ok even if he's a wacky christian....how many ppl detest the Green's? how many ACT?....I would quite happily contend ACT MPs are not rational either....


Yass , Christianity is not to blame for Dunne being a dumb-arse ! ....... Parliament is all the better for a broad representation of society ....... But Dunne is one dumb-arse too many ......

...... And that is why I have ripped into Goofy , over his shadow cabinet . Why continue with the old thinkers and failures of the past when there's so much raw young talent rearing to give it a go . Shame Goofy , you're stomping on the dreams and ideas of young Labour , by pandering to the old .

Dunne & Dusted ! Old mummies and dummies  in a museum , modern politics .

So true

I disagree with your definition of 'democracy' Steven. It's got to be more than that as i have explained to you.  I still don't  see why your mixing up secular and religious views? It is NOT 'irrrational' to not like/dislike political policy! whether greens,act, labour etc

It IS however 'irrational' to believe in things that there is no evidence of at all based on some forever rewritten human fairy tale book about a superbeing no one has seen,heard, or appears to play any role in nature.


I would argue that ACT for instance believe in an economic model that never worked as based on the evidence of the last 30 years therefore they are just as illogical and intelectually blinkered as a fundie christian.....before considering peak oil and how it will effect out economy.... To me simply ripping into one time resources to enrich a single generation at the expense of the future ones is even more illogical and immoral than being a fundie christian IHMO..........

But what ppl believe does not matter, the point is as a % of the population they are entitled to a representitive.  You cant exclude any decent % of ppl from representation because they believe one particular thing thats illogical to many others, before we know it we'd have a one party state like North Korea, uh no thanks.


Yes you can because God does not contribute to the Tax fund! This is why we make 'secular' decisions. You really want the likes of BrianTamaki with a portfolio in his hands?

Do you scorn anyone who doesn't share your particular beliefs? Comes accross as rather arrogant.

(I'm not religious. Although I do believe in fairytales so I suppose you should scorn me too, if you don't already).

Ok, I will

What fairy tales irrational one? So, you 'believe' I'm arrogant because you don't share my beliefs? (economic and ideological) That's your 'opinion' about something that is not my religion because i don't have one. Seriously people, if your telling me you don't believe in seperation of 'church and state' then just say it! 

I will then tell you to go live in Iran

Nah, I didn't say that I believed you were arrogant. I said (your post) comes accross as arrogant. That's different. There is also a big difference between having a religion forced on you by the govt (Iran?) and members of parliament having personal beliefs of their choosing. NZ is a free country, right?

What fairytales? Hmmm, the kind involving a prince charming. I suppose in today's world you could substitute prince charming for gentleman (you know, 10% gentle 90% man). Is that allowed?


This gentlepong would prefer to start the day with a delectable Chelo-Kabab Koobideh ....... than with weetbix ! .......

....... Iran rocks   !  ........ [  Especially if you bonk someone else's partner !  ]

Too right justice.  I often wonder about the psychology of adults who hold on to the delusion of imaginary friends.

Agree...affordable housing does not mean paying the inflated price, but the real market price. Let the market drop so that young people can alteast buy the house. These WFF is now turning into a WTF payments

FFS, so just like the OZ handout....it will make houses even more un-affordable as huge sums are pumped into the bottom of the market and that in turn is leverged for the sellers to buy even bigger houses....

What a clown.......


How about dealing with REAL problems like this Dunne ?


He should call it Working For Investors because as pointed out in the comments it's the investors who get higher property values. 

If he was serious about giving families affordable property he would approve of high density inner city housing.

He is yet another political idiot who has no idea what he's talking about. Can't see the forest for the trees! Families get way too much unaffordable welfare now. If he really wants to help as "Revenue Minister" he would get stuck into tax dodging PI's! via his IRD portfolio

He's doing the bidding of his RE and PI contributors.

I don’t have any time for that man. He's nothing but a political prostitute, willing to turn tricks to whichever party will keep him in Govt. Where’s the principle, other than a relentless self-serving one, in that? But do I blame him for allowing that to happen? No, I blame the people who voted for MMP and the electors of Ohariu-Belmont who keep voting him in. It's not the pollies fault that this country is in the dog box; take a look around you, it’s New Zealanders fault.

It's both. We definitely get the government we deserve (hence i don't vote) but many of we the 'people' also allow ourselves to be fooled time and time again by 'buzzwords" and "smiles" and "rich pricks". This comes down to an education system that has failed and morality that has become corrupted by worship of all things 'material'

He is right about housing being seriously unaffordable....but he has not a bloody clue as to why it is unaffordable....

I suspect Dunne is just trying to secure himself some support to retain his fat salary.

"Political prostitute".....yes that fits him like a glove.


Capitalise WFF?! Over what time frame? So, if we pop one or two out now, do we get to 'capitalise' the next 18 years worth  in one go up-front ( you beauty)? And what if the lilttle blighters comes a cropper before their 18? Do we have to give the money back?

'People don’t like tax reveals Peter Dunne'


And the SWG attributed about 50% of property price gains in the recent upswing, to what?

We may not be lions, but seems we are sure led by donkeys.Dismal thinking, but should be good for porking some votes I suppose.



Oh boy.........says it all about this fool! Why the hell has this guy got the "revenue" portfolio? 'Dumme' is clearly his real name

Thanks to Alex for doing this on Saturday.

Unfortunately this is same old thinking from Dunne. He's thinking housing affordability is a finance issue when it's a valuation and supply problem.

Allowing (encouraging) home buyers to borrow from the government (because that's what it is) simply pumps more credit into prices. We need real income increases from productivity growth, not more tax breaks or income support from the government.

I think Dunne should be a lot more focused on the tax breaks still there for property to reduce valuations and on the various impediments to adding new housing supply, in particular construction and section costs.

Here our Double Shot interview with Peter Dunne from last August where he was cautious about new tax measures that might reduce house prices




Next time he's on Bernard you really need to get stuck into him! This kind of avoiding key issues by this guy cannot go on! He must be held accountable. NO pandering! Make him sweat. I realize he may never come back to DS but ............It's for the greater good that EDUCATED people like yourself speak up for the realists. He simply needs removing from his portfolio and job.

Example from this vid;

Dunne: "land is not a strategic investment"! What ? Tell that to Fonterra Peter!

I think most Pollies would be wary of reductions in house prices....it could spiral...

Oh and what about the likes of me....I could and can  afford my house, before I know it ppl earning less than me will be walking around with many $10k's and pushing housing up so I could afford something better.......thanks Dunne your idiot....and they made him finance minister? bloody hell.........


Anyone read this? Bernard you should highlight this too Peter Dumme?.

This article highlights EXACTLY why Family Trust have become nothing more than a tax dodge with many future state liability issues.  These "family trusts" have become nothing more than a asset hiding scheme so as to claim future benefits/pensions, pay as litttle tax as possible and shy away from business debts



 "Dunne has been Revenue Minister under both the current National-led government and the previous Labour-led government and first entered Parliament in 1984. He has been an MP in successive governments since 1999, with United Future entering into coalition with whichever party formed government".......so he had both hands in making the policies which resulted in property being seriously unaffordable....now he wants to get back to the pig trough claiming he has the policy to solve the problem he helped cause........why are we saddled with this bloody fool.?

VERY good point Wolly!

It's a point that needs to be shoved in Dunne's earhole...with force. He is a classic example of the sort of parasite we should make dam sure never gets near Parliament.

Absolutely,spot on, Hugh.

I suspect the collective IQ of the voters of Ohariu is in question.

What a plonker.

Is Dunne really a Christian, if so what Church does he actively attend?

What piffle you write JUSTICE.Everyone has their own religin whether it is a spiritual God or love of money or just thier own ideological construct. Religion is what each believes in and is the pivot of each persons wolrd view. Don't deny it embrace it.

LOL, WTF are you again? You can't even consistently spell the word! 'religin'? "wolrd"?

If you actually knew anything about "Religion" you know the strict definition must/has a 'deity', a set of rules one is expected to live/lives by and a believe that the 'deity' does or has existed.

Your clearly consider yourself a 'Christian' or my FACTS  would not bother you. Call it piffle if you like, much like your religion

UPDATE (in story above as well):


Following the release I sent two questions to Dunne. His responses are in bold:

Q. Just wondering how families would capitalise their entitlements in a lump sum - does this include future entitlements? If so how can one be sure situations won't change and incomes won't rise above the WfF threshold in the future after the family has been paid out to buy a house?

Precise details of how UF's WFF capitalisation might work have not been finalised, although the issue you raise is important Obviously, such a scheme would be optional,  with WFF recipients able to enter their scheme if they felt it suited their circumstances. Bearing in mind that WFF payments can be quite substantial, my thinking is that the amount to be capitalised would be set on an annual basis, with the usual square up provisions applying. That way, the contribution towards a home deposit could be built up over more than one year without disruption. In effect, therefore, what we would be developing would be a form of taxpayer subsidised home savings scheme.

Q. Also, if people at 65 are still capable of making a valuable and valued contribution to society (ie this sounds like they are still able to work) then would Mr Dunne support raising the retirement age and age of eligibility for NZ Super payments? If not, why not?

UF has no plans to change the age of NZ Superannuation, because we do not think such a move is necessary at this stage.

The first point.... the 'capitalisation of a means tested benefit'... I just can't grasp this.

a smaller point... surely any lender treats the benefit as income when assessing eligibility for a loan.

I'm very confused.

What a good idea. When I was younger we used to get the Family benefit and that could be capitalised against for a first home purchase. Re inventing the wheel. If it gets people into their own homes why not.

And after capitalising it Janette, what happened if the child died? Did you have to give the money back? I didn't see you as one who advocated giving people money to 'bid up the price of houses', - to make them 'more affordable', and thereby getting into debt they possibly otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford. 

It was irrelevant if the child died.

Capitalising on the Family Benefit didn't push the price of houses up. What it did do was increase building of affordable homes and didn't push the price of houses up. It was done in an era when family and home mattered. There was a limit to the amount the capitalising funded and at the same time there was the State Advances loan available which people were able to apply for which was affordable first mortgages.

The whole concept created stability for families and gave everyone a chance at home ownership.But of course we could scrap the whole idea and spend more money on prisons and DPB  and watch society go down the toilet. Not the New Zealand I want. I am not a religious person at all, atheist as a matter of fact, but I do believe in the common good.

I guess the other alternative is too pay people accommodation supplement and we all know what that did , created inflated rentals and government subsidised landlords, and the property investment boom.


So your saying, that if the circumstances change, the capitalisation  ( and the resultant loan) remains intact? Regardless, maybe in the past it did increase the building of affordable homes; but  at a time when they were already, affordable! On  about 3 times the average single income houses were affordable to a family, already. Now, they aren't. And getting those who cannot afford to get in to the market without the 'subsidy', is just the start of our 'sub-prime'. It will haunt us if we allow Dunne's madness to eventuate. I too, believe in the common good. But this idea, Janette, is not it.

Ok, this is one time when I'm going to agree with all the chicken-littles out there. Any government hand-out for housing is a bad idea and will only help push prices higher. We only have to look as far as Oz and the first home buyers grant to see how well that worked...

What I disagree with though, is people banging on about house price / income ratios without considering interest rates.

Sure, you could buy a house in the 80s at 3 x household income but the high interest rates at the time meant servicing the loan gobbled up 75% of your household income!

Currently it's something like 5 x household income, but at current interest rates servicing the loan only takes around 35% of household income, making housing 2 x more affordable now than it was in the 80s.....

Hugh, I see what you're saying but I'm still not sure about excluding interest rates. Most people buy property with a mortgage, particularly first home buyers, so to a large extent "Mortgage affordability"  IS  "Housing affordability".

It's hard to see nominal house prices falling with the myriad of costs involved in new house builds, material and labour costs increasing, very little fat left to trim from section prices (apart from the infamous council fees!) etc etc.

So a median house price of $225k (3 x the current household income) I would say is unachievable. What could happen is nominal house prices remain unchanged until household income reaches $120k, which would get us to the magic "3 x" number, although I think that too is unlikely.

After polishing my crystal ball really well, it showed me that in 2020 the median house price will be $500k and median household income $100k leaving us stuck on that terrible "5 x" multiple. It also showed me that we would be in the depths of another recession and interest rates had tumbled to 4%, so servicing that $500k was only costing $20k (or 20% of household income) making houses the most affordable they had been in decades!......

Hugh, I'm sure you are far more noble than me, I choose to go with the system rather than against it, I don't make the rules I just play by them.

I agree with many of your arguments and admire your tenacity, but I just don't see how any of it is achievable. Material prices, labour rates, land prices etc are all set by markets and the markets have spoken. By late 2007 land was over-valued and the market has corrected that by around 30%, more in many cases. I can't see material prices, labour prices or council costs coming down any time soon - in fact they will probably all increase....   not trying to justify anything just calling it as I see it.....

I like to keep things simple, and I believe simple supply and demand laws control any market. If we want cheap houses, we should be looking at building lots of them (supply) and/or restricting population growth (demand). Trouble is, governments like population growth as it fuels economic growth, so that leaves building lots of houses which is something we're not doing at the moment.

The way I see it, as the world population grows exponentially, demand will soar for food, energy and shelter which will keep pushing the prices of those 3 things. Particularly when most fuel and many building materials are currently made from resources that aren't renewable, which will further restrict supply at a time of unprecedented demand. I'm not saying I agree with any of it, but I certainly wouldn't make any investment decisions on the hope of those 3 things getting any cheaper....

I'm not sure about that claim Murray, very suspect

Just did a quick calculation, if household income is $100,000 ,and that household buys a $600K house (6x income), having put down a $60K deposit (left with a 540K mortgage) over 30 years at just over 6% interest that equates to a very similar weekly payment (and similar  proportion of income) compared to a house bought for 300K (3X income) having put down a 30K deposit at a mortgage rate over 30 years of 15 %  

So it seems comparable rather than your "2X affordable" claim 

Remember too the difference you have highlighted is extreme - for most of the last 30 years interest rates have been a lot higher than 6% and a lot lower than 15%. Someone buying a house with a value 3X their income in the 1980s would have enjoyed much lower interest rates over the ensuing 20-30 years.  Someone buying a house today at 6X the value of their household income is likely to see interest rates much higher than the 6% or so now on offer

Because interest rates change so much over time, that is just one reason why the median multiple is the best measure and used by so many credible institutions

by that most credible measure, prices in NZ remain overvalued      

Matt, I agree 6% is the lower end of interest rates and 26% in the 80s was the extreme!, although I think the lower interest rates will be more the norm for quite some time.

Regarding your figures, I'm not sure where you're getting 600k etc from... I thought we were talking medians which is currently approx 75k household income and $350k for a house (4.67 x income). A 350k loan would currently cost around $25k per annum, or 33% of household income. In the mid 80s, income was around $20K and median house around $60k (the magic 3 x income), but that $60k loan at 25% cost $15k or 75% of your income!

33% servicing now vs 75% servicing in the 80s = twice as affordable currently.....

Matt and Murray,

Back in my parents day (60s) interest rates were between 3-6% (the good old days when govt controlled lending). Also dont forget the impact of inflation. If mortgage rates were 20%+, a first home owner may have had their backs to the wall, but 2 things conspired to make the journey a lot easier

1) with inflation in double digits, pay also went up in double digits. So the real cost of a mortgage halved in 5 years. Good luck with that in our low inflation environment

2) as Mattt pointed out, rates dropped.

I'd take low debt and high inflation over high debt and low rates any day.

But I think we can all agree that Peter Dunn is a tit. I'm in Aus now, did not realise he was actually in govt. Quite worrisome that a revenue minister would be trying this rubbish out. Hope Key and English arent dumb enough to go for it, especially at a time when the party that happily presided over the bubble is wanting to get rid of negative gearing now its in opposition ....... that said, NZ political situation is far preferable to Aus where neither major political party will even discuss the issues of housing debt, neg gearing etc (although the greens have finally come out against tax breaks). In fact, Wayne tit Swann went so far as to say his govt would NEVEr ABOLISH IT when he rejected 99% of the Henry tax groups suggestions. If you want an example of big business running govt, look no further than Aus - our leaders are far more on the money now, perhaps in part because they dont have the luxury of high commodity prices to air brush over the cracks.







"therefore, what we would be developing would be a form of taxpayer subsidised home savings scheme".

No sh#t Sherlock and guess who that taxpayer is?.......me! -And the rest of the relatively self sufficicient kiwi schmucks insane enough to work in this country supporting all the bureaucratic beneficiaries and other rorts. WFF was a vote buying rort propping up the already overleveraged credit and property based wealth transfer system and PD is proposing yet another insane concept to keep the ponzi scheme going. -Been contacted by the REINZ by any chance?.....to 'help' Kiwis into overleveraged debt servitude?

As Steve Keen pointed out that the first home owner grant just got leveraged into the already insane bubble leverage that was already occuring in Aus. 

With statements like these it just rienforces how out of touch with reality that most of our politians are.

Capitalising WFF to use against a house doesn't seem like a smart idea...

On the other hand, bringing NZ on par with developed countries re-parental leave, sure go for it.

Capitalising the Family Benefit was very popular when the Family Benefit was still paid, and I’m sure that there would be many contributors to this board who were raised in homes where their mother had capitalised their Family Benefit to buy the family home. But there were tight rules around it, it was no lolly scramble. From memory it was means tested, so only poor families would actually qualify for it, and the home purchased had to be used as the family home until the child reached 16 years old. And Mum had to be either the sole or joint owner. If the house was sold, or rented out, or the child no longer lived there, it had to be paid back. If the child died within a year of it being capitalised, it had to be paid back, and if you capitalised it, you ended up getting less than if you had collected the Family benefit in the normal way. There was a set maximum that could be capitalised too, about 2.5 kids/ family.

It was a good scheme for its time, but the world is very different now, and I’m not sure it would work.

Good to have some commonsense and some facts around capitalizing on family benefits. As for the leasehold land idea I personally think good idea also, so much of new Zealands buildings and housing on leasehold land. A way to make things more affordable. To those that think the have nots are undeserving of an opportunity to have a better life, shame on you.I am sure that a workable solution could be found and saying getting people into affordable housing smacks of subsidy is a red herring and serves no purpose at all when trying to construct a housing policy that works.

Some of you wouldn't know about TB in this country, it was endemic and it wasn't until housing was made available that the TB cases started to go down. Good affordable housing does impact on society in a positive way. Families are the lynch pin of any society. For those that employ people on the minimum wage maybe if family support was removed those employers might like to put their hands in their pockets and pay people a reasonable wage. I will duck while you all shoot.

Okay, Janette. I'll let you be the one to let the unfortunate people who get invloved in any leasehold scheme that requires final principal payment 'at market' how much exactly they owe. If I'm right, and property prices collapse, you'll have an easy job :) but if OllyN is right, and hyperinflation has kicked in, then telling them that they owe a squillion is not going to be as easier task. Getting the 'have not's to take on debts ( and  debts of unknown future amount, at that) is not the answer to housing affordability.

Nicholas, who said the leasehold scheme requires final principle payment. The leasehold land would remain that in perpetuity. we might have to agree to disagree.Cheers

Dunne says that poor families should be able to "capitalise their Working for Families entitlement" as they can't afford to service a mortgage on a median priced house.

Now, without getting too deeply into this I think he is suggesting that taxpayers money in the form of benefits be used to provide the downpayment for poor people to buy houses.

Q: After the poor family falls behind in their mortgage will taxpayer money also be used to bail them out?

I find it hard to believe that this guy holds public office. What an idiot.  

In order to get poor people into 'median priced houses' may I suggest getting them off the benefit & into productive work? 

Instead of helping benefit bludgers 'capitalise their entitlement' may I suggest they be trained & licensed to operate heavy earth moving equipment & sent to Western Australia where they will find high paying jobs. The costs associated with their training & outward flights will be easily covered by their non qualification for 'Working for Families entitlement'. 

Dunne is a parasite & thief. It is because of him & his ilk that I left New Zealand. None of my taxes will go into this working for families rort. 

Iksteve you confuse benefits with pork for babies!...Dunne wants to solve a mess he helped create by handing out the cash for babies pork as one quarter of pork instead of slices over many years..as long as those entitled to the leg of pork spend it on beefing up the price of properties to make the PIs happy...especially the PIs in Parliament.

To qualify for the leg of pork you have to produce babies or immigrate to NZ with a ready made bunch...it probably also helps if you are a member of the Labour or United we go Broke Party.

Instead of being honest and saying something like   " I was a member of the useless govt that made sure housing became seriously unaffordable and I refuse to support policy that will prevent PIs and landlords from creaming the capital gains out of the bubbles".........Dunne has shown himself to be willing to turn past stupidity on his part into future gains for himself by promising to hand out the pork in one lump for buying an over priced house..this leads to more votes for Dunne and more capital gains for PIs and landlords.

John Key has said National will not work with Peters....but John Key will get into bed with Dunne!

Having just had a read of this: http://www.mea.org.nz/documents/465-people_dont_like_tax_reveals_p.pdf I want to know whether Peter Dunne has investments in property and if so, in how many and I want to know what capital gains he has been making...give us some answers !


Same here, mine now goes into charities of my choosing like th SPCA and Red Cross etc

".... the favourable tax treatment of property investment" accounted for about 50% of house price increases between 2001 and 2007, the working group said, ... "

'Government policies blamed for house prices '


So here's an idea - let's just ignore that cause, because it only accounts for about 50% of the problem. What? Oh, we are ignoring it, of course:

'People don’t like tax reveals Peter Dunne'


Other causes to ignore are the effects of land-supply, immigration, RBNZ, defective monetary & prudential policy.

Anyone think of any other nettles not to grasp?

If these issues were resolved adequately there'd be no justification for benefits like WfF and certainly no platform for this proposal, that will only make things worse.



"Anyone think of any other nettles not to grasp?"

An in depth analysis of how the system from 2001 benefitted those "pulling the levers of power"?.

Colin - see:


Alex did a job on poly's and property. There was an earlier article too, but before I started commenting on Int.co. (Alex could probably find the link for you.)

See in particular the last 20 or so comments on link above. About 5% (ish) of the population involved in property investment, but about 60% of parliamentarians, at least as declared under  the pecuniary interest lists, where direct involvement is declared. It's both sides of The House.  Strange, that we expect parliament to vote on stuff that restrains the property ponzi and nothing meaningful happens? No matter which 'silver bullet' one might favour, or a little each of solutions to all well recognised causal factors, let's get real, no matter who is in government - "Turkeys don't vote for Christmas." Simple.

Cheers, Les. 

Les, I am not sure where you are coming from.

Yes, the media has in the past touched on low level corruption by MPs in rorting systems. Does that sort of corruption make it onto your list of "nettles not to grasp"?

But that was not what I was on about when I suggested:
"An in depth analysis of how the system from 2001 benefitted those "pulling the levers of power"?."

First, those "pulling the levers of power" and MPs are not one and the same.

Second, "in depth analysis" is not something the media does.

I want to understand whether those "pulling the levers of power" from late 1999 (and to a lessor extent earlier) knew the inevitable outcomes of their actions. Or were they simply incompetent? Or a mix of both?

Colin - I was coming from the potential broader conflict of interest angle.

If, "those "pulling the levers of power" and MPs are not one and the same," then who are you on about in terms of lever-pullers?

Whoever they are, if we are trying to assess whether said lever-pullers, or MPs, knew of the inevitable outcomes or were incompetent, who knows. Maybe it's just a random confluence of influences with no one guilty of much more than ignorance. We are all capable of that. However, various taskforces and working groups keep coming up with similar evidence and comment on causation. A determined reticence to resolve said outcomes seems more and more obvious, and more and more I'm left wondering, why so?

Cheers, Les.

It is a poor reflection on our understanding of our system of democracy that people still think we have MPs in parliament making the big political decisions on our behalf. Exactly who are pulling the levers of power is hard to know, but in terms of parliament it is the executive that has all the power. Within that control probably rests with only a handful - and those who advise or have access to them.

As an example of the levers of power, on 24th December 1999, Helen Clark (PM) met with the chair of the Dairy Board. Afterwards Helen Clark announced that the government would override the Commerce Commission and allow the formation of a dairy industry mega co-operative (Fonterra as it was later named). In making that excutive decision Helen Clark also ignored the weight of ministerial advice.

Similtaneously allowing the formation of Fonterra, overiding the Commerce Commission and ignoring ministerial advice added up to a major political decision for NZ. Were our MPs in control of that decision? Not at all.

The following report bothered me in a similar sort of way:


"We have worked with the Reserve Bank to ensure that the speed of implementation has been slowed down on their new “prudential measures” and capital asset ratio requirements of banks. While there has definitely been a tightening on availability of capital, the implementation of these new policies will now be at a far slower pace than originally planned, thus reducing even more stress among the farming community. We argued that speed on implementation was not the solution New Zealand needed."

I've always wondered if things like this might have influenced RB to start tightening, with the OCR, sooner than they might have otherwise and so the resultant "stress" has gone a little further than some areas of the farming community - areas that had little to do with causing monetary "stress".

Anyway good on RBNZ for thinking as they orginally did. More precise targeting of the causes of non-tradeables inflation would mean less "stress", across the wider economy,  from NZ's version of of 'The Dutch Disease'. At least RBNZ tried I suppose:


Does anyone know the progress of this particular regulation that RBNZ wanted to implement earlier? 

Thanks Colin.

Les, there is no problem - no matter how bad - that politicians can't make worse.

Your link is good example of power and the politics of advantaging one industry sector over others:

What struck me most though was that Conor English never once mentioned the word "understanding". Given he was claiming:

"It’s not enough just to identify problems. That is only the first step as we navigate towards successful solutions for farmers and our rural communities."

I would have thought that before offerring a solution it was important to first fully understand the problem. But no - it appears that the current nature of politics is selling piecemeal solutions to complex problems not well understood.

Indeed Colin. Perhaps if FF had been lobbying RBNZ to speed up more effective prudential lending regulations, a few years ago during the upswing, then these sad situations may not have happened, or been as bad:

 'The $47 billion rural hangover' (#1 on the 10s today)


'Loan one challenge too many'


If tomorrow the Ministry of Transport started taking the same view on road speed limits, as RBNZ did with limiting credit growth in the upswing, who would we blame for the increase in speed related road accidents?

Why ever did RBNZ not recognise earlier the problem they have lately tried to address?

Weren't thinking the OCR alone would effectively restrain credit growth, were they?

Why weren't FF lobbying RBNZ to speed up more effective prudential lending regulations a few years ago? Surely they must have seen what was happening in their sector? 

Cheers, Les.

Here's the good news, though, Les! "Christmas always comes around, no matter what the turkeys vote for! " The longer we delay a controlled cull, the more turkeys there are for  a savage slaughter...Do we believe that those in the legislature in Ireland, Britain, The States, Portugal etc., also didn't have significant property 'investments'? Politicians are no different to any other part of the herd. When the inevitable panic to sell property starts, they will be two things : (1) No different in behaviour pattern than any other paniced seller , but (2) probably ahead of the game, as they might know when it is coming.....

Right about what?...that the Herald is a front for property sprookers?...of course some suburbs will buck the downward trend as they become the bubble suburbs until one day somebody decides to ask... what are the properties really worth!

Now a professional journalist would point that out from the start...but not in the Herald where BS rules.

Quite right, Wolly, all journos write BS.  BS sells.  Except Bernard, of course, he's always unbiased and never picks facts to suit the story eh.......!?  ;)

An agent said this about Titahi Bay;

Euon Murrell, from Tommy's Real Estate in Wellington, says Titahi Bay is a good place to buy. It's close to beaches, 20 minutes from the city and a good three-bedroom home fetches $400,000 to $500,000. 

So I had a look at 3 bedrooms in Titahi Bay.  90% of them under $400,000 and none even near $500,000.

Agents are dreamers.

The owners of The Herald are missing a trick here....they could make heaps selling their BS printed on toilet rolls...think of the advertising revenue to be had...users could be encouraged to consume more bog paper with the odd tissue promising a prize in the next twenty tissues!....

million plus for an average villia, good stuff, wonder what the average mortgage is in this area or mostly people trading up.

Gee thanks ost rich!....

Great timing, Dunne!   Just as the Savings Working Group agonises about how to move Kiwis to a savings culture, and how to avoid repeatedly porking up property prices, you come up with this little gem!  The SWG must be weeping over their lattes.  And must be election year. 

Cheers to all. 

Anyone read this? Bernard you should highlight this?.

This article highlights EXACTLY why Family Trust have become nothing more than a tax dodge with many future state liability issues.  These "family trusts" have become nothing more than a asset hiding scheme so as to claim future benefits/pensions, pay as litttle tax as possible and shy away from business debts



na don't agree, very simple view on life, trust have serious purpose rather than emotional dribble. Tax advantage actually are rather limited, go see a good tax accountant and you will find out.

For the average family speckles they do not. It's become a rort, hence just about every MP has one, including Bill English as I recall who used his quite well for the reasons ive stated

Well given the actual numbers of trust it hard to say average families do not use them. The actual number is well in excess of the 200,000 highlighted. 

The rules/laws/policies are the problem not trusts as evidenced in the case with Bill English you mentioned.

Rest home care is rules based and with the five year claw back is the only reason Trusts have advantages in this scenario, that is a policy issue not the trust.

I provide some services that cannot be entirely covered by insurance, they are vital services however have cross boarder jurstiction issues and therefore I use a trust. It is an area that provides economic value to this country yet would not happen without the use of some protection as no one would front to do it, potential liability would be in eight figures, simple as that. So it is for streight commercial reasons, nothing more, nothing less.

Nothing wrong with trusts they have a specfic purpose, problems with rules, laws & , policies, there you have a legitimate gripe





"The rules/laws/policies are the problem not trusts as evidenced in the case with Bill English you mentioned."

Agree 100%, don't get me wrong Speckles I'm not saying 'ban" outright! I'm saying change the rules also

Look, there is a simple easy, partial solution for low income families home affordablity.

The crown owns lots of land in and around our towns and cities, if the govt were to create new subdivions of leasehold sections(the govt as the developer) this would take out roughly a third of the cost of a home, bring the affordablity well into line, at some point in the future 10-15-20years when the families income has grown/equity in the property has increased/kids left home, they can therefore afford to refinance and buy their leasehold section (at current market price) off the govt, that section has been a good little earner for the govt, the family got the start they wanted, builders get to build, and stable families are easier to tax. Subdivisions are cheaper per section to create than building piecemeal (council fees) and a small annual lease paid to cover admin costs of the project...me thinks 


For it to work Neil you would have to keep a tight grip of local councils and make such land available to only a select group based on say asset testing. i.e, only first home buyers can buy.

You will still get parasitic RE's trying there luck also so some regulation around who sell's (the chosen land )to the public (Housing NZ) would also be required.

If you just openly dump cheaper land on the free market then it will just go straight into the 'haves' hands again and not the 'have nots'

Thanks Neil - no one else ever discusses this idea (leasehold  land) - its almost like we choose to 'paint ourselves into a corner' . So many options available if the intention was there.

A risk with leasehold land , no matter who has the freehold title.


In this situation would have you expected any other out come Nick???


No. But neither would I expect a different outcome just because a statutory body did the leashold excersise. Leaseholders have no control over what their payment committment are, ex the current period of tenure. However well intentioned the project...one just never really knows what the future holds.( Hong Kong being a case in point; it could have gone all sorts of ways at lease expiry time)

Unbelievable!!! Hong Kong was always going to be handed back to the Chinese, and if you invested there you took a calculated risk. The british took the lease out to create a trading base (opium) and 99yrs was long enough for that purpose!  This is a social issue we need to find solutions too, totally different to HK and if we can't trust our Governing bodies to act in our best interest then why the hell are any of us still here? The idea is to give young families a chance/start (the early years are the hardest aren't they?) and when their are able to, freehold the section, This is the intended end out come, there could ever be a 'sunset' date for each project, maybe 15yrs, compulsory purchase, so the govt interest ends, the quicker the section are freeholded the better as the admin cost will reduce accordingly.


It doesn't work that way, NeilD, no matter how well intentioned. Just have a peek at Working for Families or Student Loans. There's just a couple of little numbers designed to assist  young/struggling or even average families. And look at the 'opportunities' being expoited there! Subsidise anything,  ( which is what the lease-to-own scheme would be) and it will be exploited. The answer to affordability, of anything is...price. If people, whoever they are, can't afford something , they shouldn't buy; be encouraged to buy, or subsidised to buy, it. And what happens to price when something remains unsold? The price falls. That's how best to assist the young/start families. You, me and the rest should stop paying the prices that we do for property and the price will fall. But will we do that? No.Why? Because it could affect the price of property for those who currently hold it, and that's a sacrifice that they aren't willing to make in the name of the common good.

WFF has poor defined boundries, and its setup to be rorted. In this situation if the mortgagee gets behind the lender sells them up like all others not able to meet their debt. Its a risk you take but as the whole point is AFFORDABLILITY then by nature is a lesser risk!!....and its not a lease-to-own scheme if you don't wish to purchase the section, sell out and use the equity you've built up in the dwelling to buy elsewhere


Nicholas, are you being bloody, or just trolling?
I don't accept that you cannot conceive of a workable leasehold scheme.
Just ideologically stating that 'subsidy is bad'...
Neither do I accept that you consider 'waiting for the bust' is the only way.

"More turkeys for the slaughter"???

My problem I guess...

I don't have a problem with leasehold per se, KWJ. I accept it as a valid method of business like many others. My bone of contention is with it being targetted at those who would not otherwise be able to 'get in' on property. We live in a diverse society. There are those that 'have', and those that 'do not'. Encouraging those who 'do not 'have the means to buy, (well committ  to actually,) leasehold property is not the answer to affordability. ( it's just delayed payment in other words, and the day of reckoning eventually arrives. Do you think they will have saved for the bullet final payment?). Affordability is a function of price. That's either savings/wages; another covertible asset or debt. Which one of those would the less well off/starter family be using with a leasehold deal as suggested?

Look the goal posts have massively shifted within less than a generation, and if we wish to continue to live in a safe egalitarian society (that we seem to take for granted at present) then we must Come upwith new options. I agree, don't 'trap' people in a scheme they can't afford but there would be alot of families that would be worthy of giving a 'start.' 

On that we agree, Neil. And when New Zealanders start treating houses as homes, and not investments that are seen as 'the only path to wealth', that will occurr.

Yeahhh...or should i say 'Hallelujah'

Thanks Nicholas

"My bone of contention is with it being targeted at those who would not otherwise be able to 'get in' on property."

Thanks for the clarification (you should have told me to sod off!).  I agree with you.

I'm interested in whether  new leasehold land could be used to reduce/stagnate price of the existing stock!

I wonder whether leasehold  could be used as a potential means of removing the 'up-front' land cost. Part of a deliberately targeted attempt to 'build HOMES better/cheaper'  maybe - a social policy. Not 'investment' properties - just places to live (they can be a broad mix).

I'm not even sure that they should be built to last (tongue firmly in cheek). I also do not see any requirement for them to increase in price over the period of the lease (given that they can be moved off of site if required). The eventual land ownership doesn't even have to enter the discussion. Leave the land for later development or reversion to farm etc.

Deliberately provide cheap land.

Glorified trailer park? Not my intention - just a different market type...


Sorry KWj but your well of track, to get ppl buyin the standard of dwelling would need to be reasonably 'comfortable' (brickandtile) and permanent. Ppl well buy where they feel they are investing in a sound community, where the once the kids have gone is still the best place for them to be. The land tenure is the very bit that makes this scheme work...

Ta, a different track maybe?
After a period where one lot of pollies want to sell us things we already own,  another wants to 'capitalise a means tested benefit', and a third just wants to lose, I was after something more Kunzian I guess. Bit snug in here now. Thanks again.

Yes i am saying totally control the sales process, much like the old farm ballot scheme the buyers had to meet certain conditions ie, be first home buyers, have saved an amount for suitable deposite, qualify for wff.

If the avg house price is $350k take out the section value, $150 leaves a very servesable $200k home, RE agents would be needed for the sale process so if the purchase price was around $225k with the future option to freehold, that would give young families a great start and help create stable (normal) kids. Nappie valleys made this country what it is today.

I think some of the idea or aleast a version has merit Neil ASLONG as no more state borrowing or huge sums of money is required to make it happen

"Nappie valleys made this country what it is today." What do you mean exactly? We are almost bankrupt!

We are rich/blessed with wonderful COMMUNITIES Justice!!

We live largely at peace with our neighbours and in this regard are far from bankrupt!!!

And there wouldn't be any need for govt borrowing, i should think that families looking to purchase in this way would be a reasonally attractive bet for our mortgage lenders.

And the cost of admin of the project for HNZ would be recovered from annual lease payments

Councils recover development contribution fees/costs at settlement date as the govt is the vendor

The scheme could be renamed Working The Families;  the acronym would then be a totally appropriate WTF.



Intuitive of you Simon P!

LOL, another classic example of the lunacy of religious people. Have a listen


Someone needs to bail up JK or BE and arsk them , after the 2011 election , are you gonna :

1 :   Retain  Michael Cullen's  seriously dopey WFF  as it is  ?

2 :   Alter Michael Cullen's seriously dopey WFF  ? ....... or ........

3 :   Scrap Michael Cullen's seriously dopey WFF  ?

Yes, and the answer will be...

"We'll appoint a working group to look at the dopeyness of WFF, DoWFF."

...6 months and few $m of taxpayers money later, the working group has their findings and recommendations...

"We found WFF turns out to be seriously dopey and recommends the Govt to seriously alter, or scrap it completely."

David  Cunliffe intends extending WFF , if he becomes finance minister . So we know where Labour stand ..... Directly behind Michael Cullen's " I know best " policies.....

....... . Does National still back Cullen , as they have for the last 3 years ...... or have they some fresh ideas of their own ....... ?

...... Seriously wondering what was the point of booting out Clark and Cullen , if all their financial policies have been faithfully retained by John Key .

I reckon WFF also aided the house price boom as many young families (and perhaps even the banks?) factored that additional income into their calculations regards their ability to repay.

Scrap it now without lowering overall tax rates for these families to compensate and I think we'd see lots more mortgagee sales.  And I reckon, most of those families who find themselves unable to pay the mortgage and facing a forced sale would likely register for state housing assistance, as the debt owed doesn't get wiped but stays with them.  Change that aspect of our mortgage system (in other words like the States, the defaulting homeowner takes none of the residual debt on with them) - and perhaps yes, we could scrap WFF.

Sad as it might be that we encouraged young families to take on debt through that particular policy, it would be extremely inequitable to change the rules on them now.  

If the cost of living was more in line with incomes, there'd be no need for WFF. Anyone going to address that?

My power bill has been multiplied by 4 in 8 years (yes we've had kids so more washing & heating required but still) and food prices are so high that any visitor we have from Europe comments about it (food bill must have gone up 10% in just a few months, and I'm still buying the same old stuff). That luxuries are expensive is fine, but basic stuff that everybody needs? Apparently we pay twice the price for milk than Australians do, and we sure must have more cows than they do. Lamb is unaffordable but NZ lamb in France is extremely cheap. Go figure. For us all it's meant is less saving each month, but I can imagine how tough it might be on people on lower incomes especially if they have a mortgage. All this to say that maybe if these things were addressed then we could save a lot on paying people simply so they can make ends meet (anyone keen on bringing another supermarket chain in NZ for competition, eg Lidl??)

If the cost of living was more in line with incomes, there'd be no need for WFF. Anyone going to address that?

More to the point, if incomes were more in line with the cost of living - there'd be no need for WFF.  The real problem I understand the Labour Govt werre trying to address by implementing an in-work tax credit for working families (WFF) was the failure of wages here to grow in line with the CoL price rises which most affect families (e.g. school fees/uniforms, rates (rents), water, electricity/wood, transport, communications, clothing and food).

I am not sure why it is that our wages (particularly for the unskilled and the trades) just haven't moved in line with, for example those of Australia.    

Well yes, either the COL needs to drop (or stop inflating at the rate it does) or incomes need to go up. I still think NZers should be a bit more vocal about the rip-off re-power and food prices. Something just isn't right here (or rather, someone is making a lot of money at other people's expense!).

Trouble is at the moment we seem to be a country with a 1st-world COL and 3rd-world incomes. Not a good combination.

Very true!

Funny thing - that Don Brash working group on the wage gap - wrote lots about how to solve the problem through growing business - as opposed to growing wages!!!!  :-)

And they never researched the fundamental reason why Australian wages had risen so well above NZ.  From my reading of history it had to do with the ECA introduction - and Helen's attempt to right that with it's repeal and the introduction of the ERA, didn't change the fact that the union movement had been all but destroyed - and continues to be a relatively weak influence on our labour market..

Well WFF has in some sectors depressed wages as they have been packaged to maimise WFF for particular employees. A nice wage subsidy for certain sectors.

Same with Kiwi Saver i'd say

Kate, theres no doubt WFF added more fuel to the fire that is rising house prices when it was introduced in 2005.  Whilst it serves its main purpose of helping low income families, i believe it creates a tax loophole for higher income families by reducing their household income through losses on investment properties thus qualifying for WFF. 

I actually think the number of working families who took advantage of this loophole is relatively small in comparison to the overall amounts paid on WFF.  In other words, there are alot of working families collecting WFF who do NOT own a rental property.  The majority are just struggling to pay their own mortgage (and/or rent) as they attempt to live in a good school district.  Zoning has alot to do with the inflated price of housing in the good school zones, and as these prices rose rapidly, the rest of the market (the not-so-good school zones) rose on the coat tails.

Yesterday it was immigrants who were blamed for driving the house prices up, today it's WFF. What about the release, or rather lack of release, of land?

We tried to buy a section in Chch for years but there was hardly anything for sale, and of course the few sections that were for sale were very expensive. It's not like there is a lack of land in NZ yet if you look at any real estate magazine there are hardly 1-2 pages of "sections for sale". Maybe if more was available to meet the demand of a growing population, there wouldn't have been such a pressure on house prices?

Elley, just because there was not much vacant land for sale, it doesn't necessarily mean there was not much vacant land available for residential development.  The trend is called land banking.  Many developers release new greenfields development in stages for very good reason - once the first stage sections get sold at their inflated prices, the second stage can be sold at similarly inflated prices (usually inflating higher than the CoL) and so on for the third stage and so forth.

The maximisation of profit from speculation is part of the free market in operation.

Making land 'cheap' by decree, would be ?

Oh dear, Hugh didn't think it though.

But there are more realistic reasons to address whatever happens on the peripheries of cities.

Two-garage suburbia-clusters don't address peak oil, or the collapse of the just-in-time food distribution system.

And unaffordability will be impacted by lack of energy, severalfold more than by 'removal of consrtraints'.

40 degrees in Timaru right now!......the sort of heat that needs to be put on the plonkers in the Beehive.

Shouldn't you be down at the marae , celebrating Waitangi Day ? ...

.... Better enjoy it  whilst you can , the new owners of Aotearoa ( Aussie Bwanks / German & Chinese owners of our dairy industry )  may insist that this silliness cease !

What has made my job that much easier, is the calibre of the adversaries one has had to deal with.

Um, no Hugh. Arrogance and/or ignorance are not enough to give you the intellectual high ground.

Let's take you 'rebuttals' of what I have posted on this site. All of them (2)


That meant one of us understands the exponential function, and how it relates to a finite planet. That one ain't you.

"Most people don't think like you".         

True, but so what?  There is a truth, regardless of mass non-cognisance.

Seriously, you are quite right - housing is 'expensive', relative to incomes. What you fail to grasp, is that energy supply (and globally, that's fossil fuels) underwrites - almost stright-line - economic activity. So your prospective buyers are going to be progressively ham-strung from here on. You fail to address permanent reduction of relative incomes, and/or whether that process has begun.

The 'property bubble' was actually proof of physical limits. It was unsurprising that the need for exponential growth of financial activity, encouraged more activity in every sphere (fat people are good consumers in market terms) . Only one sphere could have carried the most recent doubling-time, and it wasn't frisbies. Or baby strollers.

Only by arttificially inflating the value of something, way past relativity with it's underwritability, could that last 'growth' doubling-time be supported, and the only sphere folk would accept that nonsense increase in, with nothing being done in real terms, was real estate.

There will be no more 'doubling times' - the energy isn't there. Equally, we are using the current energy source at full-noise (peak) just to support BAU, so you have a little issue with where the energy to effect any morph will come from.

I had a wee discussion with an idiot the other day. He thought 'Mores law' would save us. I pointed out that the energy required to raise mass X up height Y in time Z, is immutable. Hasn't changed since the times of Newton, Watt and Kelvin.

Those who don't get the physics of energy are the ones you should regard as being of low calibre.

WFF is a problem. But there are bigger problems out there. WFF is a symptom. If people have to put all of there income into mortgages and have families they are poked and it's not their fault. My bro has a good job, he has 3 kids, he is paying down debt and is tighter than a .... His wife works part time, but is largely home with the kids all under five. They spend 150 week on food. They don't travel, they don't spend. They live an hour out of welly because it's what they could afford.
WFF is keeping them afloat. It's not a rort, it's not free money. It's being used what it's designed for.
For 2 parent families with a stay at home mum its hard out there. People need to look past the numbers and the generalising sometimes.
He is raising 3 kids who will be hardworking taxpayers. There are no silver spoons, take WFF away and he'd either have not been able to afford his family, or he'd be raising a disadvantaged family because mum would HAVE to put a 2 and newborn in EXPENSIVE...RORT... Daycare.
For people that rode the wave, and are now sitting on the shore line it's pretty dastardly to shaft others.

Its always very easy for the have made it's, to slag off the haven't got there yets. Protect your place on the ladder, by kicking those below them and howling at those above them, and feeling ever so pius and self righteous at the same time.

I like this site and the ideas that come off it, but not everything is forged, and not everyone is cunning and snakey.

WFF has some holes, but it's keeping some afloat.

And before some acerabal prat says have less children, stop and think about it first.

It is a 'rort' if you don't have kids Mont. Will you then say "well, that's their choice"? when that exact same argument could be reversed?

People 'chose' to have children so they must except  the financial responsibility that comes with it . I have a younger brother in much the same circumstances as yours also and he agrees with me. It was their choice.

The question needs to ask : WHY can we not afford to bring up a family WITHOUT such benefits? What happen to our wages? our industry? our costs of living?

Why have our leaders not addressed the fundamentals of these problem?

If they don't then we can expect worse for the future

P.s. Also it has become a rort for many rich families to exploit as was highlighted not to long ago in some stats put out by IRD and WINZ

Agreed. Mostly entirely.

Like every price of knee jerk policy there are huge loopholes created. I'd like to see them tightened, but not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

There is a problem, there definately was a cause, but that is irrelevant now... What is important is the solutions, solutions that don't hurt those that actually need the help.

Education is the answer to doing better in life financially and spiritually etc.  Not necessarily school or Uni education, but pure learning, mostly from those with knowledge who have done well and are happy and prosperous.  Seek successful, honest people out and learn from them.  Read a true classic proven book like "Think and grow rich" -  Or stay dependent on WFF.

Why not capitalise your super as well on an actuarial basis

IF WFF is a good idea - then Super is even better !

Then everyone can buy an overinflated house and push us over the cliff.

Read Brian Easton in The Listener last week who says it all on one page.

IMF here we come  and with Loonies such as Dunne in command maybe the sooner the better !


Hear hear!

Peter Dunce...if you are reading this blog...and I am sure you are, you are a plonker.

Stop working out ways to waste our taxes, leave the Beehive and get yourself a real job.

And stop perming your hair.  It makes you look like the twit you are.


If he gets any worse, he'll be bludging GG welfare payouts like those worthless bene loser slimebags who piled in to SCF once they knew their "investment" was going to be guaranteed by people who work for a living.

Dunne is probably a good mate of Hubbard.

So some Wally who gets a WFF handout takes my hard earned tax dollars and buys a house.  It's MY money buying his house!  If Wally bought less wide screen TVs, less ipods, less iPhones, grew veges, saved $1 a day for his whole life, he wouldn't need MY money to put a roof over his poor family's heads.  OMG the world's gone mad - who voted this guy in?  Quick, get rid of him.

Get orf my back FYI...you didn't earn you money anyhow....

Two stories in the herald:

 "Demand for rental property in Auckland is at crisis point, with some houses now attracting as many as 200 would-be tenants. Desperate tenants are often having to spend months searching for a place to live, and some even engage in bidding wars. Landlords are sitting pretty."


 "Residential rental property vacancy rates are double what they were last year as house sales continue to dawdle, according to the First National Group. The company's quarterly survey of its property managers from Northland to Southland shows an overall vacancy rate of over 6 per cent, twice the 3 per cent of January 2010.

What's really going on?....the answer is simple...one location has become a mecca for employment opportunity and so you get a massive demand for accomodation...which paints a picture of prosperity, activity, wealth, capital gains to be had...and so the property speculators get a rush of greed to the head and they dive on in.....bubble bubble bubble

Meanwhile across the rest of the country the exact opposite is happening...in the face of mortgage advertising BS, communities are well into the financial down side collapse. Households are learning to grow their own, to live on less because they have less, and property is in decline as an asset to chase. There will be a concerted effort by the banks and the govt and Bollard to stop this rot from spreading. Expect waves of lies and BS in the poodle media. Anything to protect the bank profits. And those covered bond securities! 

I am expecting the valuation "professionals" to come under bank pressure to boost the numbers!


I just spotted that too Wolly. More BS from the Herald?!  Surely not!

I certainly wouldn't recommend First National as property managers if they have 6% vacancies when other companies have none....

It's no surprise things are heating up in the rental market though - despite what the lefty loonies like to tell themselves. We have a steadily growing population at the same time as very low building rates and almost non-existent investment in residential rentals. Right about now Bill is suggesting to John that maybe their timing wasn't the best, and maybe they need to encourage some more rental investment rather than discourage it.  I wouldn't be surprised to see some new incentives announced for rental investment at some point, but no back-track on depreciation - a typical government "give with one hand, take with the other"......

Who would be dumb enough to invest in rentals outside of the Auckland bubble?....indeed many landlords are waking up to having fooled themselves for two years and are now dumping property...but it's too late and too pricey....the buyers have shot through or can see the collapse for themselves and know dam well things are set to get worse. The mobile are off to aus or auck. The export sector is fully employed thankyou...no new jobs in the numbers needed there....Throw in the retail downturn and the fiscal blowout..$50million a day!...

But hey the RWC is just months away and with any luck another city will be slammed by an earthquake leading to a chance to tell bullshit stories about job creation and GDP happy happy numbers for ever and ever.

Let's not forget the contribution of the local councils...they are doing their bit to make work and grab money off households...don't let it ever be said that local councils failed in the Keynesian madness. Will rates increases be near zero...not friggin likely.

The subbie's on your back for space-filler, but you're too lazy to do your job properly, so instead you take a fluff piece REINZ press release from an RE mate and call it a "story".

Welcome to Modern Journalism!


Friends in Grey Lynn have just moved rentals, and had absolutely no problem getting sorted. Why did they move? Because they wanted to pay less rent. Sure, it's a smaller place, but so is the outgoing.

Hi Justice, I have just read your anti Christian rubbish on this site,  you seem to know a lot about nothing.  There is more written proof about Jesus (non christian) than any other person in history.  I assume you don't believe in anything from the past unless you have seen it on TV.  Try listening to Dr Hugh Ross, Astrophysicist on this link,  it is long but the questions at the end are from people like you who have never bothered to check history and science.


What ever! Didn't you lot not too long ago celebrate the birth of this lying dude on the summer soltice? Yet the biiiiiiiible does not give a date for his birth in Dec, nor does it barely mention this clown you worship! Seems there's more written proof on Horus &  King Herod being born in December.

Your 'kiiiiiiiiing' was actually born on the 17th April 6 BC according to the Roman Calender AUC, something even the CNN and the History channel reported 4 years ago, the BBC and Discovery channel reported 7 years ago

What was wrong with the Old Testament? No longer politically correct enough for you lot as it mentions killing people and homosexual behaviour

Tell me, why no mention of the Jurassic period & dinosaurs in Genesis? What's with the BS belief that the Earth is around 4000+ years old? Something science has clearly proven wrong vi a fossils and carbon dating.

Tell me, How did we all get here if Eve only had two sons? Could it of been an incestious relationship from then on, Oh ....is this why Christians treat their women as second class slave beings cause she told that sucker Adam to eat that apple and then had sex with her OWN sons?


Jezz, i could go on and on and on but why bother? YOUR not "rational"




Sorry,  I don't know your neighbours so I cant comment,  I can only speak as a Cristian.  We believe that we can only inform people once and then it is up to them to decide if they want Jesus in thier life.  You have to feel sorry for the Mormons and JW's as they have been brainwashed into beleiving things that are not in the bible. Unfortunately religion causes problems for Christians with their strange customs and idiology.  I encourage all to listen to my last post.  I think it only uses the word God once or twice but why the guy says is fascitating even if you do not believe.

 "...as they have been brainwashed into beleiving things that are not in the bible"...where as Keriwin has not been brainwashed.....   doh

If people receiving WFF can afford to save their entitlements towards buying a house, then why are they receiving WFF payments in the first place?

It's a bribe BR not an entitlement. Dunne is chasing the votes. He is on the hunt and his weapon is a pile of pork slices. "Give me your vote and I will give you other people's money"

Who is he trying to bribe? I would have thought his target constituency was average NZers who work for a living and are trying to start a family. He talks of median incomes vs median house prices, then gives a solution that works for anyone but the median-income NZer struggling to afford a house.

I trust that median-income NZers are not receiving these WFF benefits?