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Salvation Army says govt should make housing affordability top priority as Housing NZ refers clients to it

Salvation Army says govt should make housing affordability top priority as Housing NZ refers clients to it

The Salvation Army says Auckland's housing crisis is now so bad that Housing New Zealand is referring clients to it and housing affordability is the most urgent problem the government needs to address, Radio New Zealand reports.

Labour Party leader David Shearer also reiterated to Radio NZ his party's view that a Capital Gains Tax is "absolutely necessary" to reduce property speculation. Shearer also suggested Labour's policy of building 100,000 houses at an average cost of about NZ$300,000 each was plausible because building new homes on the scale of 10,000 a year would bring costs down by about 30% to 40%.

And Finance Minister Bill English said the solution to the Auckland housing problem was building more houses and "thousands" would be built over the next couple of years.

Their comments come after the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand yesterday said the national median house price reached a new record high of NZ$389,000 in December with the Auckland median up NZ$50,625, or 10.5%, in the year to December to NZ$535,000.

Listen to Radio NZ's interview with the Salvation Army's Major Campbell Roberts here and its interview with David Shearer here.

Roberts said in the past the Salvation Army had referred people to Housing NZ but now this situation had reversed itself, which wasn't appropriate.

"We don't have a large housing supply. We are forced to look in the market like everybody else," Roberts told Radio NZ. "We have a situation where the chief government agency (tasked with) looking after housing is not able to do that and so has to refer to the community sector and it isn't really an answer because we don't have the housing."

Roberts cited examples of people paying between 70% and 80% of their income on rent meaning they were struggling to cover other essential basics such as food and healthcare for their families.

"There isn't (housing) stock in the areas of high need, it's difficult to get rental stock and it's difficult to afford when you do. That's forcing families two, three to a house just so they can afford somewhere to live."

Lack of leadership & market failure cited

He said this was now a "very serious and critical issue" and suggested there hasn't been sufficient leadership in terms of housing in New Zealand.

"And really it is the most urgent problem that New Zealand needs to address. If we can't get housing right then we are going to affect economic growth, we are going to affect the social wellbeing of New Zealand communities and I think we're seeing some of the impacts of that now."

Roberts told Radio NZ housing ought to be the top national priority, viewed as vital infrastructure just like roads and electricity.

"If you've got nowhere for people to live then that is the most critical area and so housing has got to be seen as New Zealand's number one infrastructure need and government's got to move all the resources it can. What we've got is a large market failure. The market is not providing housing that's needed so that requires government intervention. It requires government resourcing. And unless that happens then we're not going to solve the problem in a way that is adequate for the future," said Roberts.

Capital Gains Tax 'absolutely necessary' to help enable the 'kiwi dream'

Meanwhile, Shearer said on top of a shortage of housing stock in Auckland there was nothing to discourage people from speculating on residential property.

"And that's certainly what's happening in Auckland," Shearer told Radio NZ. "There is no Capital Gains Tax so if you buy a property today for NZ$500,000 and you sell it a year later for NZ$550,000 you pocket NZ$50,000 and you don't pay any tax on it. And that's why a Capital Gains Tax, we've been proposing for a long time, is absolutely necessary."

Shearer said Labour was proposing to build 100,000 affordable houses over 10 years principally to enable first home buyers to "get a foot on the ladder" given home ownership is "part of the kiwi dream." However, it would also stimulate the economy and create jobs.

"It's not about standing back and letting the market do it. It's about the government having a hands-on policy, being smart and active, and getting into the housing market and ensuring that those people - first home buyers - are able to get into the market," said Shearer.

'Building 10k house a year would reduce costs by 30% to 40%'

He said the price of NZ$300,000 per house Labour was referring to meant terraced houses, apartments and compact houses, 130 square metre houses not 200 square metre ones.

"The New Zealand Housing Foundation, for example, has been building houses for around NZ$300,000."

"It is part of the kiwi dream to own your own house (and) we are seeing house ownership falling in Auckland (where it's) now down to 60%, and 65% across the rest of the country," said Shearer.

"This is something that the government can do something about and instead of sitting on our hand and saying 'the market can do something about this' or fiddling with the Resource Management Act, actually getting in there and rolling up our sleeves and doing something about it."

He said this would also enable young New Zealanders to have a real opportunity in New Zealand rather than forcing them to look overseas. Shearer also told Radio NZ housing affordability should be the National Party-led government's top priority, which was what it was for Labour.

A thousand new state houses coming

Meanwhile, English rejected criticism the government wasn't doing enough to tackle housing affordability and availability in Auckland, Radio NZ reported on Wednesday evening..English said the government would build 1000 new state houses during the next couple of years and the private sector would also play its part.

"The answer is to get more houses built," English said. "Over the next couple of years there will be thousands more houses built in Auckland, some of them from government and some by the market. We will need the assistance of the Auckland Council to cut through the red tape to make sure the lower value houses get built," English added.

(Update adds comments from Bill English).

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Yeah...come on Tweak...time to act...recall the 'working group on housing affordability' for another bash at churning out some humbug...get some space between you and the mess...

Thanks for your contribution Wolly...very enlightening once again

Blame the Reserve Bank for a start by making it too easy to get mortgages on investment property (even if indirectly on finance using the family home).
Risk weighting resulting in banks needing capital of 3% of the value of the mortgage lent compared with more than double on any other lending means the sysytem is truly distorted.
The result is:
1.  Investors are competing and starving home ownership
2.  Residential prices are over the top because of too cheap financing
So the first step may well be to up that 3% to 6% being close to the true risk free rate of return.
Get on with it Wheeler. Ignore Key and English and stop being their lap dog.
A further point here is how the bank's use of securitisation is adding to the problem of excess lending without adequate bank capital.

300k houses.
i feel a song coming on.

They will all need 4br 3 bath and a media room

Salv Army
First thing first, teach them how to be wise with their money; most people in low income areas seem to have full SKY subcription and latest iPhone and gas guzzler cars.  I've spent fair bit of time in those areas in my last job, so it's not made up stuffs!

My scarce observation agrees with your statement.
But need firm household consumption data to pin that down.
Perhaps, when the ‘food card’ is introduced, we may observe the speed of updating to the latest digital gadgets slow down dramatically in the mentioned areas.

Hmmm.  So a situation caused largely by Gumnut Intervention (let's count the ways - see below) is proposed to be resolved by....
wait for it
Yet Mo' Gumnut Intervention!
I fink this is called Cognitive Dissonance.
Oh, the ways:

  • Zoning which directly causes a rural-urban land value multiplier of 10x opr more
  • Leading to land banking by them as wot hold land on the Rural side of the squiggle on the map
  • Reserve Bank emphasis on housing loans as part of Gumnut policy (see Gareth M on this, yesterday)
  • A materials duopoly to which ComCom turns Nelson's eye
  • Regulation (LBP, fencing of sites, Working at Heights, electrical tools annual certification) which has good intentions but causes incremental costs everywhere ya look
  • Local Gumnut greed - if it doesn't roll up into the Rates Required tree on the Annual Plan, look out buddy, you are fair game for swingeing charges, fees, levies, and other rackets.  Because you are by definition a greedy Builder or Developer, and can therefore afford it.  And ya cannot vote the Staff out, who dream up these rackets, so don't be thinking aboot Replacing a Mayor or three.  Cos it won't alter thing one.
  • Gumnut total cluelessness about the time value of money:  lengthy, leisurely, adversarial processes (notified resource consent, anyone???) which cost simply squiilions on carrying costs while the bureaucrats dawdle over their in-trays and report to their hapless Councils that ' we are awaiting a report from the Applicant's <insert your massively expensive consultant here>'. And did I mention that Staff cannot be voted away?
  • And an economic bywash effect:  all the added costs to New homes, see above for details, promptly washes sideways/backwards into Existing home prices.  Because as the Christchurch rebuild is showing up in spades, the historic cost/rateable value of an old home even if cashed up by being in a Red Zone, is nowhere near the actual $ needed to move into an equivalent shack elsewhere.  Mr Market moves much quicker than Mr Gumnut.

So there we have it.
Bit of a Gordian Knot, eh?

Fair comment.
I think the licenced buiding practitioner legislation, hysterical OSH requirements and other obstacles you mentioned are going to throw a huge spanner in the works. If and when we get Christchurch under way, plus increased construction elsewhere, there will be a significant shortage of tradespeople. Those still operating will be rising their prices for sure.
I know of a lot of older builders that have jacked it in in our area, most site increased beurocratic requirments as a key reason. One large local roofing company has closed their doors just recently, the owner tells me that new scaffolding requirements (policed by OSH gestapo aspirants) are a factor.
The LBP laws were introduced by the government in response to the leaky buiding fiasco. A problem that had little to do with builder incompetance but was the direct result of shonkey guidlines from the government's own Building Research Institute. And so it it goes on. Is there any problem that the State's "solution" doesn't ultimately make worse? 

Nice summary Waymad. But what is the solution?

KiwiDave - what area?
And yes, well before the latest ridick-ooo-less demand of roofies - that they (seriously!) have to wear steelcapped boots - a roofer of my acquaintance told me that a typical re-roof used ter be $14K - 7 each for materials and labour.  With the Rise of the Scaffolders (certified, of course, but let's hope they tested drug-free this morning...) there was an extra $7K overnight:  a 50% rise in the re-roof cost.   Did wonders for demand.....
Gareth - there are so many dimensions to what needs to happen that no Gumnut is gonna get them all done.  It will take a crash and another generation.  But a preliminary list:

  • Stop the local Gumnut racketeers.  Roll them all the way back to reserve contributions in land or cash, and no other levies or new-section imposts.  Because every such section-cost input, has to be paid for by householders, from a mortgage, with interest.  The message is slowly getting through, but not to the bureaucrats, who quite rightly perceive that cutting off funding is cutting off their oxygen.  I delight in making a submission every year, using fairly much this language, to the local Council's Draft Annual Plan, and demanding to speak to the Council in person.  Does absolutely no good, but it puts a non-bureaucratic view on public record.
  • Restrict Local Gumnuts to core specified activities in infrastructire provision.  They've gone hog-wild over Social and Cultural Wellbeings these last 10 years, and their costs are unsurprisingly through the roof thereby.  But in Other Thasn Rates cost trees, natcherally, because we cannae have a Rates Revolt, can we.  So Rates are wound back, and Other Fees and Charges reach for the sky....Release the buskers, event planners, community liaisers, cultural advisers to better employments such as factory hands (building houses of course, see below) with a massive productivity gain/deadweight decrease.  But do expect some blowback.
  • Find a way to tune house-related lending:  LVR's, capital ratios, whatever.  Cheap credit just fuels the fire when supply is so restricted.
  • Do away with zoning.  This causes massive MUL land value distortions, and as the rise in capital value is untaxed once yer local friendly Planner does the next squiggle on the map to incorporate Your bit inside the red line, better to ban map squiggles for a generation or two.  As Hugh P notes, a direct result of MUL's is the rise in rural lifestyle blocks, which typically grow only ponies and thistles, and occupy far more physical area than the relaxed or abolished MUL could have ever consumed at urban density.  An Unintended Consequence....
  • Yes, a Tobin Tax - stamp duty, CGT or something to increase friction in sales, would help.  But results around the worls are decidely mixed, and one has to shudder at the thought of Yet Mo' Gray Suits needed to be administering the whole shebang....
  • Light a fire under ComCom re the materials duopoly, or heck just tweak the duties on said items, and import a few dozen shiploads of Chinese gib or US cabinetry, tools, fittings and doodads, and bankrupt the sods.
  • Do away with local Council planning and inspection, and use a uniform, centralised mob. The differences between jurisdictions are crazy, drive builders and engineers mad, and raise costs as common solutions cannot easily be created, disseminated and used.
  • Factory-build houses and drop-ship them to sites.  Only foundations ever need to be truely localised to site and circumstance. Once you have a platform anything on top should be assembled in QC-controlled spaces, by anyone but drug-addled hammer hands, and picked/packed/shipped/assembled by factory certified putter uppers.  This will drive unit costs through the floor, and will cause a great winnowing of the Exterior Decoration crew - architects and designers - into more productive employment.  Factory hands, what else.  Win/win/win/win, I'd say.
  • Wind back the LBP nonsense (the factory cerrtification should cover all competencies) because it's an overreaction and an overhead and has driven many older craftsmen right out of the business.
  • Mandate eaves, pitched roofs, external guttering, and a design ethos which allows easy access to plumbing and electrics for repairs via access panels, conduits, etc.  Lack of these features causes unmaintainability, lack of watertightness, and other woes.  The guidebook here is Stewart Brand 'How Buildings Learn (what happens after they're built)'.  Exceptions can be permitted only under a notified resource consent process (make the buggers really suffer....)
  • Institute a central photo database of every new build showing the as-built location of services (wiring, pipes, etc) before walls or foundations are skinned over.  Index photos to site/floor plan and elevations.   Huge help in later additions, maintenance etc.  Keep this as-built record up to date (yes, I know, counsel of perfection....)
  • I could rant on but y'know, I do believe I'd better stop right now.  Because not one of these is politically possible, can withstand the deadweight of custom, guilds, unions and convention, or can be defended against the Legal eagles of said duopolies and assorted corporate interests.  But it was a fun thought experiment, hey. 

Yep to all of the above, waymad.
I'm in Kerikeri, Far North District but I don't doubt the available tradesperson problem is widespread. A lot of the younger ones (with famillies) went to Oz when building collapsed here in '08, '09 - caused a real problem since building was a big part of the economy. The older guys (50s and older) hung in but are now just doing small cashy jobs (no red tape, no taxes) or have hung up the gone fishing sign.

Cheers Waymad. Good stuff.

Here's one example of what should have been a relatively simple Resource Management consent process in Dunedin. While the application is not for housing it is very much a good example of what happens to any business wanting a consent down there.
In regards to the over-zealous health and safety inspectors some of who do not belong to the Labour Dept but are acting on behalf of a large construction company here in CHCH (who ironically don't have the same trained staff on their own job sites) but request that builders they contract insurance works to will be prosecuted if they do not have their work boots at the bottom of the scaffold ladder if they have been wearing different footwear while working on the roof of a building.
The same jumped up private inspector recently arrived on a building site and cut all the electric leads in half as he hadn't seen the safety tags which are attached if the chord has passed a test. 
Yet again this same inspector arrived on another job threatening to close the building site down if scaffold wasn't erected. The work being carried out was under the height limits requiring scaffold.
I understand 3 of the large construction companies have got together to sell OSH programmes to the builders in Chch. All the builders already have their own OSH policies in place but if you want to undertake contract work from these companies you will have to pay and complete their course. Ironcially the staff who work in construction at these companies do not have to undertake the course. 
Government and Councils created the shortfall in housing by legislation and Policy. If the Councils are unwilling to address the issues in their areas then the Council and staff should all resign. The Councillors all take an Oath and they need to be reminded of the Oath that they took, from where I'm looking they seem to be in breach of that Oath.
To all you Politicians in parliament get your pants back on your seats in the beehive and get this sorted out immediately.  If you can't sort it out within 12 hours regardless of what party you represent do the right thing and resign as you are unfit to be in office.

It will not be long before one of the jumped up fools has a long spell in an A&E dept. Cutting the power leads is an act of wilful damage and demands charges be laid. If it is true that some fathead has acted in this way, then the sites across chch should shut down. If the building companies and LBPs acted as one, they could bring this idiocy to an end.

I don't understand why people think a captial gains tax is going to help. I live in Australia now and they have captial gains and stamp duties. Prices of property here are ridiculous. Small old falling to bits houses 30mins from the city are a bargain at AUD$500,000. What does help here is that rent is cheap. A $750,000 house can be rented for $400 a week.... hence captial gain would be the only gain the investor was making. I think the captial gains idea is a failure. Is there any evidence of it helping property affordability worldwide? Enforcing LVR 20-40% would slow investment quickly when the market gets hot and help keep our banks well funded.

Yes, property prices are ridiculous, BUT, that is asking prices, not selling prices. Over the past year, volumes have tanked, realised selling prices have gone down, not up. Properties are hard to shift. It's a buyers market now, and vendors are having to take a reality check. Prices began to fall the mintute the Australian government introduced restrictions on non-residents. And surprise, surprise, property prices in Auckland began rising as AU prices began falling. Not hard to guess why. The eastern seaboard states which have relied for so long on the rivers-of-gold flowing from stamp-duties are in all sorts of budgetary strife. All states are implementing swingeing spending cuts to health and education and infrastructure spending.

bang on iconoclast...and if you talk with agents here about who's buying you quickly find out where the money is coming from - China. Do we need Chinese non-residents buying up our houses and driving the prices up here to hide money? I don't think so. Very harmful for our young people. Not just houses, but farms also.

Lol yeah EVERYONE in New Zealand will be a millionaire one day, all they have to do is buy a house in Otara right? I bet in 1000 years Otara will be the new Parnell. They call our currency the pacific peso for a reason...

'Building 10k house a year would reduce costs by 30% to 40%'
He said the price of NZ$300,000 per house Labour was referring to meant terraced houses, apartments and compact houses, 130 square metre houses not 200 square metre ones.
Welcome to the new slum of NZ, packed with $300k compact houses.

None of this is going to be sorted inside 2-3 years at the earliest and judging by the building permits we are going backwards from what is now a very bad situation. Unemployment is also rising.   Accordingly it is utterly irresponsible to let any immigrants into the country until we can adequately house and employ our existing citizens.  What are the government trying to achieve?  3rd world status?

NO immigration would help. It may even get a few of our own home if the recruiters were made to seek only those who qualify to return.
Also get rid of the free loading overseas ownership of residential property. Betcha they don't trouble our IRD with an annual cheque.
Tax them as if they earned a 6% return even when the real net is 3% or lower.

exactly Chris-M...hold immigration until we need them, and can house and look after them with housing & infrastructure. It's crazy to have rising unemployment, a housing shortage and to have government departments running around the wrold promoting immigration here. 

Goverment prints the money to build the houses.
Goverment prints the money to buy the land.
Goverment buys the land and starts building (sadly - cold, damp (poorly insualted houses that leak) "kiwi" houses).
Goverment sells housing as it's built; depressing the price of ALL properties and recouping its "money" to re-invest in other value creating projects.
This creates a lot of needed jobs to reduce unemployment (i.e. the Christchurch effect is not short lived).
The dollar falls to save what exporters we have left.
Personally; Ghettos should be created and tenents be thrown into them if they misbehave in State Housing; until they learn to be a compatible member of society.

AND... Goverment prints the money and loans it First Time buyers for 25 years at 1% interest through a new "Goverment" controlled bank.
Stop the overseas banks making the millions in interest on the money they just "make up".

Sounds like North Korea - the state (govt) owns everything and does everything (badly)

Build what you want on your own land in red guide...your problem...your's called democracy!

And for the guy next door who gets his sun completely blocked it's called bullying.

In NZ the lower and middle income has been left behind and house prices in the cities don't add up. Addtionally New Zealand although a nice country is getting over rated . When we have high house prices we see less activity in the real economy as no one has any money to spend eating out , shopping etc. Additionally when the house prices go up we have to give more money to the council as they use this as an excuse to put up rates. As time goes on the poorest people in our society will continue to move to Australia as they can easily get a job and stay with family until they get settled in Australia.  I dont see this changing.  The big risk for NZ longer term is whether it is heading in the same direction as Zimbabwee or similar problems in South Africa. Probably in NZ if you a desperately poor , you are probably better off in the countryside with a few chicken than the ghetto's of Auckland. We definitely need to do lots of low cost cheap housing soon to keep the poor in this country otherwise the government will need to provide visas to Indonesian to come to NZ to do the jobs that are missing in the unskilled labour market.   The Salvation Army do some good stuff for our people and have a good idea of whats going on in our wider communities.

The rantings of the left wingers about a capital gains tax is one of the major drivers of the over heating market.
Investors are climbing in now because of the threat which may become a reality in a couple of years if and when the lefties get into power .
Such a tax is unlikely to be retrospective so now's the time to buy.
One thing is for sure.
A CGT will increase prices even further as many will refuse to sell rather than pay.
If you don't sell you don't pay tax- it's that simple.
No one has ever explained how a CGT will control prices.
It has never worked in other countries and it will never work here especially if family homes are exempt.
Home owners make up the biggest market and are the biggest speculators of all .

Correct. Just goes to show how unthinking and reactionary people are. And, it also shows how clueless those who seek power are. Those power-seekers who advocate such a tax. Pure jawboning, dog-whistle politics, playing to their support-base. They are in fact exacerbating the problem they promise they can solve.

Seems to me, I remember a spruiker hereabouts saying "I have good news for you".
But of course, that wouldn't have influenced any of the idiocy, would it?
Actually, the Lefties and the Righties are both idiocies, in this matter. You can build perfectly good houses for well south of 100k, without going to any extreme, but that isn't the problem. Attempting to grow physically and exponentially within a finite sphere is the problem.
Not many with the brains to work that out, either side of the House. Nor on the cross-benches.

Big Daddy - The reason not to introduce a CGT has been thrashed out on these pages.  All this people whinging about house prices makes me think they can't afford one and then they want to go and put the price up even further.
Maybe these whinges actually own a house and want the price going up so they can think they are worth more.  
A CGT will put property  prices up just the same as a rise in GST puts prices up. If you look at the redistribution of wealth via Government who want people to spend this, CGT will be spent on mainy consumables which mostly ends up back in the country who manufactured the consumables from where NZ imported them from.

Great spelling skills snippy.

Just ignore him snippy...or her...! I doubt he/she knows what Africaans is.

Oh dear- the lefties have woken up.
Snippy - keep taking the pills

Get rid of non-resident foreigners investing in housing (and everything bleeding else as well)

Blame the foreigners - I've read about a political party that rose to power in the '30s who were big on blaming foreigners for the troubles of their country.

Now, what would that country be and who would those foreigners be? Let me think. No, can't come up with anything on that front. Oh oh wait a minute, do you mean Nazi Germany and the Jews that LIVED there. Pardon my ignorance but I thought that were actually citizens of Germany till Hitler decided otherwise.
I don't think comparing looking after our own citizens and seeing to it they can afford to live in their OWN country with a mad man who did what Hitler did in Nazi Germany, one little bit

"Blame the foreigners"..
yeah, blame the Chinese, English, Australian, Irish, scottish, French, German, South African, Korean, Japanese and everyone else that made up us, the kiwis .. incl. few Martians amongst us.    But don't blame the Maori, they aren't foreigners...

what irks me is hearing from an Auckland counciller how the new Auckland plan, approved by government, has engineered a housing shortage for 50,000 people. i.e. they know Auckland is going to be short of houses for 50,000 people.
This is madness. Whenever I hear Len Brown interviewed in the media about hosuing, he plays dumb and talks about the available land, about building here and there going on currently etc.. He doesn't mention what he and all the councillers know, that they have purposefully created a shortage. The man is the worst kind of fraud, and will seriously damage this country, along with current government

Len Brown has been mayor for how long? Auckland housing problems have been bubbling away for how long? Gee he must be some kind of magician.
Sour grapes, methinks, from a Banks voter

not really raegun. I'm talking about the Auckland plan going forward....

Clearly Shearer doesnt understand the tax laws here. Speculators should be paying tax on their capital gains, its long term holders that dont a capital gains. Or so would be the case if the IRD was doing its job properly.

Its a bit rich the whinging from Labour about house prices now, after crowing about how good they were at managing the economy during the housing boom they seemed quite happy to let it inflate back then, whats changed?? Votes to buy perhaps?

I remember when everybody was learning Japanese. Seems to have fizzled out...

$300,000 small two bedroom terraced houses with a raw land cost of $45,000 per section as quoted by both National and Labour in an earlier report still equals a raw land cost of $1,400,000 ha. This is before any consenting fees, development levies etc.
Part of the answer to reducing the price of any product is to remove non value components (waste), which also includes, in the case of land, the ability of speculators/ land bankers etc. to make massive super profits without adding any value.  This of course is where one person’s waste is another person’s profit.  There is plenty of waste in the price of housing and land. Remove these costs, without allowing them to be high jacked by others, including overseas purchases, would go a long way to making housing more affordable. For any of the suggestions as mentioned by others here to work, like LVRs, then it has to progress in the order of reducing the non-value components first eg a lower land price automatically allows lower LVR’s to be introduced without requiring any further deposit.
Shearer says not to fiddle around with RMA, so what is Labour suggesting? Are they going to override it for their own benefit, but everyone else just has to stick to the status quo. One rule for Governement and another rule for us.
Labour and the Greens solution are to subsidize housing which encourages further waste because this cost (profit for those that provide it) is subsidized by others.
National know what needs to be done, but don’t have the political strengthen to make it happen except by making changes to the LGA and RMA and allow a slow organic reversal  of the damage done so far.
Get the price of housing down by removing waste, and using other measures to stop the savings being captured by others, will solve a lot of other social issues as an aside, leaving the likes of the Sallies more resources.
Excellent Jim Chanos piece, he reckons the Chinese were building 10 million units/per year. Now he says they are building 15-20 million, with 5 million being "low-cost".
In NZ you're lucky if housing starts are in the thousands.