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Auckland is falling behind the rest of NZ in home building and home ownership rates, but increasing its share of overcrowded housing stock

Auckland is falling behind the rest of NZ in home building and home ownership rates, but increasing its share of overcrowded housing stock

Auckland has fallen behind the rest of the country in the rate at which building consents are issued and in its home ownership rates, according to a report by Statistics NZ.

"Building consents per head of population have decreased markedly in Auckland since the building boom of the late 2000s," the Housing in Auckland report says.

"From 2006 onwards, building consents in Auckland have been lower per head of population than for New Zealand overall.

"For example, in 2013 there were 358 building consents per 100,000 people compared with 423 building consents per 100,000 people in New Zealand overall."

The report found that since 2006, Auckland's population had increased by 8.5%, but the number of occupied private dwellings in the region had increased by only 7.6%.

"Auckland showed little spare housing capacity with the second lowest percentage (6.6%) of unoccupied dwellings in New Zealand and little change in the number of these dwellings since 2006," the report said.

It also found that home ownership rates in the region had fallen behind the rest of the country.

"In 1986 home ownership rates in Auckland were similar to the rest of New Zealand at 73.9% and 73.6% respectively," it said.

"Since then home ownership rates in Auckland have fallen relative to the rest of New Zealand.

"In 2013, 61.5% of Auckland households owned their home or held it in a family trust, compared with 66.2% of households elsewhere in New Zealand."

Conversely, the report found that Auckland had a higher percentage of households that were renting their home than anywhere else in the country and that the percentage of Auckland households that were renting had increased from 32.4% in 2006 to 35.4% in 2013.

The number of Auckland children (aged under 15) living in rented accommodation had increased from 106,209 (39.8%) in 2006 to 121,464 (43.7%) in 2103.

And while household crowding had decreased in most parts of New Zealand since 1991, it had remained "persistently high" in Auckland, the report said.

It found that in 2013 there were 203,817 Aucklanders living in crowded housing, of which 63,155 were children.

In 1991 about a third (35.7) of crowded housing was in Auckland but by 2013 that proportion had increased to just under half (49.4%), the report said.

To read the full 109 page report, click on this link


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That can't possibly be true .. can it?
John Key has gone fishing down around Milford way for a few days, then he's popping over to Chch for a photo shoot, do the cat-walk, then he's off to Hawaii for a bit of R & R

Young families and couples: get out of Auckland and buy a cheap house in a regional city.
why waste your life and money commuting and feeding a jumbo mortgage? 
Auckland is not really a city anyway, just a long clogged up motorway with stretching suburbs. 

Auckland is a beautiful city, milder climate than most other parts of the country, harbours, islands, peninsulas, beaches, lots of services.
Everybody wants to live here and Auckland repeatedly ends up on global top 5 cities to live in.
Awesome Auckland!

WAS once awesome.
Now destroying itself.

South Paw obviously wasn't born in Auckland and hasn't grown up there

Was born and raised here, mate. Probably way more legit than YOU.
Even with the abusive sh!t Aucks has taken, its still ROCKIN THE BEAT!

I think south paw is trying to be sarcastic.
If not he should slap himself and wake up :-)
Comes up in the top 5 for people who don't live in it. Or in surveys for rich expatriates.

Not sure. I live in Auckland by choice and it certainly beats all the places overseas that I've lived. However, I'd move elsewhere in NZ (Tauranga?) if it wasn't for my work and its need to be close to a major international airport. Doesn't mean Auckland house prices are not delusional. Last time I tried to argue this, the Aucklander I was talking to compared the cost of houses in Remuera to houses a similar distance from the centre of London. Hello! The London metro area has over 13 million inhabitants (by wikipedia). Auckland is a very small city by international standards, yet thinks that it needs to suffer high house prices and congestion because of its size. Not sure how to fix the congestion problem but I'm pretty sure it is not by infilling suburbs whose roads were never designed for density. 

It would be interesting to see what other overseas places you've lived in to make such a statement :)
With all due respect, like we (politically incorrectly) say in my country: Comparing London to Auckland is like comparing God to a gipsy. (I'm not British by the way)
Auckland has the worst of the big cities and lacks the best of the big cities. But yes, it has job opportunities and the weather is not as awful as in other cities in NZ.
PS: I live in Tauranga now and I rather leave the country than returning to Auckland, where I spent more than 2 years. But it all depends on what you're used to I guess..

Let's just say that they are not on any top ten livability lists. :-) 100% agree on London vs. Auckland - that was rather my point, but it's a comparison you hear suprisingly often.  

Auckland is NZ's London. It is reasonable to compare the two, and it is reasonable that prices of everything are higher in the only city which lands A380s.
By the way, it's also a hell of a lot more dynamic than nearly every EU main centre except London and perhaps Berlin, for very different reasons.

It's not reasonable.  Auckland has no where near the population, and therefore demand for, housing near the centre.  a house 5km from the centre of a city of 1.5M should not be the same value as a house 5km from the centre of a city of 12M.
Auckland also has no where near the number of highly paid highly skilled jobs that London has, and therefore should have less money to through at realestate.  If auckland was a financial capital for 400M people, then we could start talking.
Is it valid also to compare real estate prices in Port Villa?  After all Port Villa is Vanuatus' London.

It is reasonable, its simply a question of scale.
If Port Villa is where planes land and banking is done, then yes that would also be a reasonable comparison, at the very lower end of the scale.

yes, Port Villa is where all the banks have offices and where the vast majority of international and domestic flights land.
So im confused.  Do you think houses in auckland are cheap, because they are more expensive in london.  Or do you think they are expensive, because they cheaper in Port Vila?
Or to put it anotherway, what does being the commerial capital of a soverign state, make reasonable to compare?

Makes it reasonable to say that a house in Herne Bay is expensive for similar reasons an apartment in Knightsbridge is expensive.
Then its reasonable to say that they are more expensive than the equivalent buildings in Manurewa or Newham.

OK so you agree with the OP that it's unreasonable to compare Herne Bay with Knightsbridge and conclude that Herne Bay is cheap!

Seems we are on (roughly) the same page!

There is absolutely no way to compare Auckland to London or even to any big financial cities anywhere in many ways because:

  • London has the city, the vast majority of global transactions go through the city
  • Auckland is not in Europe, America or anywhere where the market could be "interesting" in global terms
  • Auckland is in a country isolated and surrounded by sea where even flight routes are cancelled because it's not profitable to stop by
  • London has history. In assets that means that the older some buildings or houses get, the more their price increases due to the historical factor and that has an impact in assets nearby.
    In Auckland an older bulding means a more expensive maintenance and a less desirable price for the asset (location aside).

So comparing Auckland to London or Port Villa to make a point about house prices is valid until certain point, but not to justify never ending price increases.
Auckland means nothing in the world. Fortunes are not gonna come to invest in Auckland assets if things get funky in global markets. Highly qualified workers are not gonna come to Auckland if they find better opportunities in other countries.
As I said before, immigration boom is just a temporary situation. Many like myself, will leave the country when/if things improve in Europe or when salaries/conditions are not interesting anymore. Even kiwis will start leaving again when things get better overseas.
No disrespect to NZ at all, which is a great country.. but just too far and isolated for those with some kind of attachment to a different part of the world.

Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut. You have complained ever since you appeared here
It is disrespectful
By your own words you are a flag of convenience.
There are a lot of people who seek the benefits provided by New Zealand. One obvious benefit recognised by people of not necessarily good repute who see new zealand as a bolt-hole or a fox-hole from whence they cannot be extradited if their home country is less discerning of human rights. That's a high-value highly prized benefit .. to some people .. who are not necessarily transients

Better for who? for you?
Sorry but nobody tells me/anybody what to say or what not to say or what to complain about
I don't understand why you mix things here.
If we talk about immigration driving the prices up I tell you many immigrants are just here temporary. And if you talk about immigrants like refugees (small percentage by the way), how is that related to the fact that house prices go up?
I don't know you, but the refugees I know are not in a position to afford a house at these prices and they rent (or get benefits for renting).

"God to a gipsy. (I'm not British by the way)", so why not spell out the nirvana you speak off??

"not by infilling suburbs whose roads were never designed for density. "
The inner suburb roads were designed for a greater density than auckland has today. Inner suburbs in auckland were denser 100 years ago than they are today, they are still recovering from the flight to the suburbs that occured after the arrival of the motorcar per family, up until the arrival of motorcar per person and accompanying congestion reversed that trend.
The problem is we used to run trams along the main routes which could handle the density fine.  Now we try to put everyone in single occupancy vehicles and there simply isn't the space for those.

That's why I said "suburbs" - completely agree we should increase the density in the inner city and along the train lines. But increasing density in hard to get to suburbs (versus both building up and sprawling out along major commuting lines) seems madness to me.

No, no, no, Bring back the TRAMS

"buy cheap houses"?
ehm, what country are you living in? Is there any place in New Zealand where a simple decent house is just 3 times or less the annual household median income of the area?
Then there is not such a thing as cheap houses anywhere in New Zealand no matter how much you compare prices with Auckland (which is just insane and unsustainable).
My advice: DO NOT BUY. Hold on. The big sovereign debt crisis is about to hit. There are economists saying that the times of abnormal low interests are about to be a thing of the past, so keep liquidity, save, rent and live wherever it makes you happy to live, because taking on a mortgage today can be the worst "investment" possible. And even worse if the mortgage is on an already overpriced asset.
Fool people will pay an expensive cost for their irrational decissions. Think twice or thrice.

Interesting advice, I remember when BH made a similar prediction in 2011 when he said something along the lines of...  Auckland house prices will drop between 30 - 40% over the next few years...  We let's just say that his numbers were right but the direction was wrong.  In a city forecast to grow by 1m people over the next 20 years, tight land supply, few builders, pro-property govn, huge FDI on the way, rampant domestic and internal migration and record low interest rates forecast to stay for a long time.  In my opinion Auckland prices are set to sky rocket. 

I've read predictions on here for years of GFC2, in the highly unlikely event it did hit you'd probably see even higher house price inflation in Auckland as investors flood into safe, hard assets.  I've been involved in Auckland property for a long time and I've never seen conditions like this, the amount of FDI (especially Chinese) is astonishing and they think big and long term. 
Is your advice based on what you really think will happen or what you want to happen?

You forget the most important. Where is the money coming from to help prices sky rocketing?
Ah yes, We have had historically lowest interest rates and a lack of bank regulation that allows high levels of leverage putting the whole system at risk and creating the feeling that anyone can afford to buy a house 5,6,...10 times the annual household income if a bank tell us that we can afford to borrow the money..
But the truth is that basically everyone in Auckland is subprime.
If prices are going up is because the demand hasn't been hit yet. As simple as that. Add some credit restrictions or increase the cost of repayments (when the new global crisis hits the money will RUN towards safer places. Look at the German and American bonds, people basically pay money to keep their savings safe..). Add some unemployment, add further milk prices drops, add that salaries don't grow at the same pace as productivity and certainly not at the same pace as house prices..
And then the question is: Who do you think will keep buying overpriced assets when a bank (and not the common sense, which seems to be failing) tells you that they won't lend you money or that you can't afford to borrow any?
It just amazes me the belief of New Zealanders in house prices constant increases. Don't complain later that nobody warned society. Have a look at The Economist, the IMF and history (not in NZ but in many other countries in the world)
PS: Population increases due to abundance of jobs. The moment unemployment increases or salaries are unattractive, the moment people stop coming into NZ and the moment population decreases. This is purely TEMPORARY situation.
Also: Who said that hard assets are a safe place? Again assuming house prices never go down?
Answering your question: I think that's what is going to happen and that's what I want to happen. I have seen MANY dramas around myself due to sudden house prices decrease or people being unable to pay mortgages. But if many of you believe that house prices can keep growing in a deflationist economy what can I do? difficult to fight against faith.

"Where is the money coming from..."  - Suggest you read up on the M3 (money supply) and where it's directed.  We print money, right now, have done for decades, we distribute the M3 through commercial channels aka banks.  Banks choose to pump that money into residential housing via mortgages causing inflation.  Every time a new mortgage is taken, debt/money is created and increases the total money supply ensuring inflation. 

I've explained many times that the median multiple measure is antiquated as it assumes that everyone starts from $0.  More than ever people have bigger and bigger deposits from previous properties, inheritance, OE savings, generous parents, etc.  So to say that a 1m purchase is unafforadable for a person on 75k per year is to prejudice their situation. 

Safe assets, read up on the OBR. 

"Over priced assets..."  Says who?  The free market decides prices and have dictated the prices we have today. 

"House prices never go down.."  take a look at a house price graph from 1970 to now, there are some up's and down's but the general trend is up.  Even better, look at a house price graph for England for the last 1000 years, average price increase of 10% yoy.  As stated above, in a debt and growth based economy inflation is systemic, especially true for finite resources like land. 

If you are going to close your eyes to history and anyones views that don't match what you hope will happen what can I do, difficult to fight against faith. 

Overpriced assets says the market. The same market that dictates the prices (your words, and I agree with you in that).
But not only the sales market, also the rent market. And rents haven't increased at the same pace as sale prices. Not even close. To the point that financially buying in Auckland without intentions of selling in short-mid term does not make any sense. It's overpriced because of the leverage, because it's debt-fueled.
You could earn money speculating? Of course you could. You could also loose it. That's a gamblers game, nothing to argue there, up to the players. The sad part is that we are talking about houses, necessary for people to live in (not to own, just to use).
You know why it annoys me the situation? Because this ponzi scheme is going to destroy the whole national economy. Not only the speculators that don't flee the market in time will cry. Everybody will cry as soon as credit is cut because of the big holes left in banks. Jobs will be cut. I don't care if speculators loose it all. But I care if people who buy houses to live in them loose it all. And this risk is exactly what's being encouraged.
It's a ponzi scheme and you described very well the situation when you say that "not everybody starts with $0". Exactly. As in every ponzi scheme the people making the biggest profits is the people who joined the scheme before or with some advantage over the rest. The people who retain its wealth is the people who will flee the scheme before it collapses.. And all thanks to the new fools that join the scheme late and badly (high leverage, SUBPRIME with borrowed money).
PS: Don't get me wrong. I am a happy tenant. I will never complain about the fact that I cannot afford to buy a house. But I will complain about the fact that a speculators game can affect me and my environment. I complain about the collateral damage that the big price correction will cause.

I get the impression that people on here think that they can 'talk down' the market.  That if they loudly and repeatedly cry "its a bubble" then prices will drop.  There is a predictions article today, have a look at the predictions the perma bears made this time last year.... 

I've been making commentary on here since 2011 and the big difference between me and the other commentators is I get it right.  You just don't like what I'm saying. 

> Look at a house price graph for England for the last 1000 years, average price increase of 10% yoy. 
I would love to see you back that up with something - of course you can't because 1000 years of year on year growth of 10% (when inflation is significantly less than that) is simply ludicrous - one house would now be worth more than the entire world's currency (I suggest you learn about compounding). The only long-term graph I've seen is for 350 years in the Netherlands - and it shows basically a flat line.
Of course there can't be growth above trend (if we're talking median prices in a city relative to median incomes) because if the two have different growth rates for long enough then normal people can't buy houses and the rental returns become completely uneconomic. 
However, what the Herengracht index also shows is that prices can stay out of whack for a very long time. I'm not making any predictions on when or how Auckland house prices will correct, but they are clearly overvalued relative to any fundamentals (rents, income, city size) that you want to name.

I think I also saw something similar for shares v bonds.

I read it on commentary...  Something else I learned from commentary, in a debt and growth based economy inflation becomes systemic and there is higher inflation in finite resources like land.  There will always be land and therefore house price inflation while we retain our current economic principles. 

I don't see it that way.
The most important condition for inflation is not the finitude of resources but the fact that the resources are desired.
If milk prices continue going down due to further competition overseas or further productivity overseas the land in NZ will suffer deflation no matter how finite it is. A resource has no value unless you use it or you expect to trade it.
Also it could be that resources are desired but there is no money to pay what their owners expect to be paid for them. And considering that most of the assets like land and houses are bought with borrowed money it only takes a credit restriction to make them undesirable.
In a debt and growth based economy, inflation becomes systemic as long as everything else remains the same ("Ceteris paribus"). Offer will have to meet demand and demand, currently, is moved by credit.
Haven't you wondered why in a system where massive injections of money have been introduced (QE) the inflation remain so low while stock markets were crazy-happy? That's the key question.

"Haven't you wondered why in a system where massive injections of money have been introduced (QE) the inflation remain so low while stock markets were crazy-happy? That's the key question."

No point wondering.

The money is created to loans given to people with income and collateral.
who has these things? investors, companies.
what happens when a company invests loans into new assets or stocks or projects? It's stock price lifts.

Government makes injections of credit, I expect it to end up in the stock market almost immediately, lifting returns there (creating "velocity of stock market" increases).

For B2B companies this is a great thing they do entremely well at such times.  The grocery and hardware seller always do well in gold booms.

But the miners and  the consumers, not so much. (money trickles up, not down).  Expected inflation and resulting higher interest rates are counter by those in wage-setter (the internal versio of price setters vs price followers) will demand a bigger part of the pie, and they get more attention and more consumption (thus are courted by more media and businesses and politicians).  
 The lower socio-economic will just need their existing plight to be subsidised at a slightly higher rate.  And those inthe middle will bear the brunt. again.

- -
Interest side note:
Today I dropped my son of a his mothers daycare employer.  Interesting looking around the place by my son's guided tour and comparing to my upbringing.   I can see why we are creating so many socialist and community thinkers.
 When I grew up I was often on a farm, or occasionally at a Playcenter with my mother.  On the farm we only had the equipment and objects which my family or myself created (I'm the eldest), my school always struggled for funds and equipment (which was in the 70's and State money was tight).
 At my sons daycare, they have a massive sandpit (filled with beach sand to keep cats from toiletting in it) it would be 20m x 15m. They have volley ball net, tennis court converted into a slalom course for scooters uses old tyres, plastic forts and other modern playground equipment, real tills and doll houses, computers, huge supplies of paper paints, music of many kinds.  and occasionally the supervisors will help organise large games and supervise the more aggressive individuals.  Each year they add on to this asset list.  They have a dozen or 30 other children to play with, and space to read or sit quietly if they like.      With such communal wealth just laid at their feet for no effort, no wonder they have no concept of striking out on their own, or see any advantage in independence.  Why try to build your own sand pit from four old tyres and loose dirt, when 30 adults provide the best solution for free.   Why struggle to play cooperative games and have to answer your own questions, when all you've known is a constant hive of 30 or more other available playmates - a wealth of companionship that simply wasn't available to my family or parents.
 No wonder the importance of persnal ownership and inhertance are lost on such children, who have always had the State Authority provide much bigger and more impressive Works for free.      Why work to buy your own music collection, when the 30 parents will donate 10 years work-equivalent to the collective?

No to finitude, ie desiring a resource doesnt cause inflation, and no I have not wondered why because its been explained to me, why, here,
"like Evans-Pritchard and many others now — believed that the Bank of Japan could surely end deflation if it really tried. IS-LM said not, but I was sure that if you really worked it through carefully you could show that, say, doubling the monetary base will always raise prices, even if you’re at the zero lower bound. So I set out to show the point with a minimalist New Keynesian model; link to the little paper I wrote here. (By the way, I screwed up the aside on fiscal policy. In that model, the multiplier is one.) To my own surprise, what the model actually said was that when you’re at the zero lower bound, the size of the current money supply does not matter at all. You might think that it’s a fundamental insight that doubling the money supply will eventually double the price level, but what the models actually say is that doubling the current money supply and all future money supplies will double prices. "
The thing is QE isnt money printing as the last line says "all future money supplies will double prices" but QEing doesnt do that, unlike printing the money gets removed later.
So QE was an experiemnt to do "money printing" without teh rosk of runaway inflation later, except it has really worked very well....maybe its kept us out of a depression event at best.
QE is of course debt, but no one in main street is taking on more as the consumer is tapped out. Ergo its beginning to look like QE is actually worse than straight money printing.
"inflation becomes systemic as long as everything else remains the same" no I dont believe that is correct.

anyway ... why I reply.

The most important cause for inflation is not extra money, nor that the resources are desired.

If you people gave it even the most basic of independent thought you would realise thise.
(1) In third world Africa and refugee camps around the world... food and water are in great they have inflation problems?  No.

(2) hyperinflation around the world.  massive amounts of increased money (currency).  has the introduction of money caused these problems...well yes..but was it the actual introduction that caused it?  At what point did they start pouring in ridiculous amound of cash?  In Zimbabwe, according to a accountant and investment advisor who was working there at the time, it was that someone had spent all the government money, and all the pensions and other reserve funds (to pay the military).  So was it the in pouring that caused the hyperinflation...or that the government thought that it could create new money and that the government thought it wasn't like a home/business cheque book and that spending the money would create an economy.

The one most important fundamental factor you have simply the inelasticity of supply.  inelasticy of scarce resource (money) in many places, and inelasticity of ability to provide.
 If a business fids itself swamped with orders it must increase it's supply by spending more, or use some mechanism to reduce customers.  In the latter controlling credit is the first obvious step, inflating prices to ease demand is the other.   In the former that's more staff, more labour hours which can increase price per hour, or increasing plant; all these things require funding.  that is why it is the primary driver of inflation - inelasticity of supply.

Problem is doing this syphons off the available spending, and spending tends to be in bursts, often influenced by sudden availability of credit.  So the investment must be low enough that the profit from the demand period will cover the life of the asset.  This is one problem with NZ farming, MPI demanding equipment which isn't required, not caring about how long its cost will take to recover.  It's not like a government funded hospital where more money will be provided if you spend all of it this year.  Or a business, where it's comes out of the invisible mans pockets so who cares.
 This means that the cost recovery to resolve the inelasticity must be higher than the cost to supply.  Which is why increasing minimum wage CANNOT work as an economy driver/crutch for low incomes.   The expense of wage costs more at point of sale, meaning that there is a net loss.

Problem with that net loss, and rising inflation through inelascity of supply is that to the idjits in comfortable offices is that according to the education they've been sold and the information-free brochures they read, inflation is the sign of growning economy.  They ASSUME that prices are up because demand is higher and/or disposable income is resulting in lifting of prices - just like the two of you have.

But what do you think happens to the business owner who has 10 widgets for sale at $1000 breakeven.  Ideal margin produces a price of $1500/widgit.   But what happens if knowning the state of peoples available cash (because they're paying so moch in rates, interest, rent and taxes) the excellent business owner realises they can only sell 7 of those items at full price.   What do you think happens to the sale price hmmm?
 It creates inflation, because the money supply is inequally, and inelasticity of _demand_ means that the cany owner must target a higher price for the same item.

 Notice how petrol, communications and electricity, absolute staples of life (communications, transportation and food) don't follow the same curve?  they have elasticity because they're life esssentials - petrol is dropping. Are other prices marking the fall?  no.  This is because of the inelasticy in the groups involved.

Yet many items ARE rising in cost. food, luxury foods.
It's not because more people are demanding them, its because less people are demanding them, and the margins have to be shifted to those who can afford to pay.  Then the last of the line will probably be sold at discount, once the batch cost is covered.  However these are the ones to watch - the few wealthy that were always going to buy, and do not have to care about cost, have done their purchase.   Where the discount point is for the less wealthy to buy the same item, shows you where you income inequality inelasticity comes into play.   If the owner plays their cards right, it looks like an expanding economy and that GDP would rise, but in reality the wealthy are just subsidising the discount required to make the minimum profit.    So the higher the price... the higher the inflation...the _worse_ the economy is actually performing.

Interesting you pick 1970 as a starting point, take a look at Australian real house prices over the 20th century,
The increase in prices is due to financial deregulation, the growth of double income households (that trend is finished and has started to reverse), favourable tax treatment and ever lower interest rates. These conditions won't happen again.
The history lesson you ignore is the one provided by numerous developed countries where prices have collapsed. That's not to say Auckland prices will collapse - but you seem blind to the downside.
The only thing holding up Auckland prices is foreign capital with a pinch of local speculation - you can be sure it will end at some point. BTW - how has that foreign capital been accrued? In China's case it is mostly via debt based property speculation!

I have my money where my mouth is, I"ve considered all arguments and if yours stacked up I wouldn't invest in property.  As stated above, we have a pro-property govn so the favourable tax treatment you mention will continue, interest rates could be much, much, lower in NZ. There has been no significant tightening of financial regulation.  But most important, growing population, check out today's headline, all these people need to live somewhere and houses are not optional, like food and water. 
What is hard to fully explain if the flood of Chinese FDI I"m seeing every day, in the auction rooms, at the estate agents offices, when I talk to my tradies, on site at potential developments. 

In my humble opinion Auckland prices are set to rocket. 

How long is "TEMPORARY"?

As long as situation in New Zealand remains better than the situation in other countries. As long as salaries and job positions are attractive in New Zealand and more attractive than in Australia, USA, Europe, etc.

Qualified health service professionals have long flown the coop for greener pastures beyond the borders of NZ.
New Zealand’s public health system has been in crisis for so long that its failings – and deteriorating performance vis a vis other developed countries – now tend to be treated as its normal mode of being. Unmet needs are rife. In 2013, a major survey of the health system’s unmet needs reported that some 170,000 Kiwis are being turned down every year from getting onto public health waiting lists. While 280,000 Kiwis a year met the clinical threshold for elective surgery, only 110,000 were being placed on the waiting list.
To function at all, the public health system has become increasingly reliant on internationally trained medical graduates (IMGs) to cope with senior doctor shortages, while also proving increasingly unable to retain them here. (New Zealand’s dependency on IMGs to meet its health needs is the highest in the OECD.) Read more
We need to get away from the "Fur Coat and No Knickers" dichotomy prevailing between funding devoted to shelter versus that to essential services.

Proponents of the Grand Cycle will agree with you Happy.

I would argue the opposite.  If big sovereign debt crises are about to hit, the last thing you want to do is save.  Governments will inflate their debts away, and you will get a negative return on your savings.  Just like in US/Europe since the GFC.  Unless you meant save in precious metals, but those have had an equally rocky ride.

Auckland:  The reason why NZ suffers the highest interest rates in the developed world (excluding Russia) & the cause of Zombie City Syndrome elsewhere 
Not to mention the new home of Parliament according to JK's designs. 

I live in Mt Eden, top spot and walk to the pub in Kingsland on a Sunday. Ride pushy to work (15mins). On the harbour every CITY in NZ but a long stretch to live and play. Just dont count on buying a house just now its abit silly. Cheap Island going for sale

Nah.  Try Bannockburn central Otago.  From the point of view of somebody who lived in Mt Eden - and Kingsland.
Well over 30 degrees for the last few days.  Cloudless.  The name "heart of the desert' comes about because it's the driest place in New Zealand.  The people in the wine industry means it has good food and coffee.
Plenty of work and 45 minutes to an international airport.  Which is closer than for those on the north shore.
The lake is blue and the mountains are stunning.

Plus (I suffer from the occasional bout of Gold Fever) there's goid the old miners missed, right under your feet.
Dig a long drop, pan it out, see for yourself....

Yes Waymad.  I know.  And back in the 30s the piece of land I am on, was New Zealand most expensive land purchase ever, to that date.  For reason of that lovely sparkly stuff.

Yeah and how many destinations can you get to from that airport in summer?

PS. Lovely place though, and you forgot to mention the ski fields in winter. 

Just a hop dt to a real hub like Sydney or Melbourne.   Just like those Emirates flights from Auckland stop off in those two places anyway.
Interestingly, people in the south have good and frequent contact with Melbourne and Sydney.   But many have never been to the north of Cook Strait.  No need.

Jeepers, you can fly Jetstar from ChCh to Sydney, or Melbourne, or Brisbane return a lot cheaper than ChCh-Auckland return

The point is in Auckland you can fly direct, and avoid waiting around in Oz for a connection. 
To put it another way, how many destinations can you get to with only one change from Queenstown vs Auckland?

Why has this deteriorated into which is a better place to live?
For some, Auckland will be better, for others, it won't be.
Move on - you'll be arguing about the colour of the sky, next.

Fair point DFTBA.  So what do you think of my point below.  Which comes from a general view that Auckland is a low income generator, and unable to afford to sustain itself.

Auckland should declare independence and become a city state. Then invade and occupy the rest of NZ and run it like Gaza, hehe.

Overcrowded houses, and poor building rates.  Sounds to me it's a case of no real money there.

LOL, haterz got to hate.

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