Labour Leader says Key should sack Nick Smith from Building and Housing portfolios after controversy over Auckland land sales plan

Labour Leader says Key should sack Nick Smith from Building and Housing portfolios after controversy over Auckland land sales plan

By Bernard Hickey

Labour Leader Andrew Little has called on Prime Minister John Key to sack Nick Smith from his role as Minister of Building and Housing, saying Smith misled the Prime Minister and the public about the possible sale of Crown land in Auckland.

Little's comments came after it emerged the Ministry of Education had sent an initial letter to the Tamaki collective of Auckland iwi in February December advising them that the Government could offer land at Massey East back to the iwi under Treaty 'right of first refusal' provisions if it was not required.

Previously, Smith had said the land, which the Government plans to sell to developers, was not able to be offered back to iwi under Treaty provisions because the Government had reassigned the Education land for housing purposes in May under the 1955 Housing Act, under which Treaty provisions do not apply. 

Key repeated that claim in a news conference yesterday, saying Ngati Whatua did not have the right of first refusal. Last night Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui announced they were taking legal action to block the sale of the 9.5 ha of land on Moire and Graville Roads in West Auckland. Smith has pledged to agree development deals on that land by October and to have houses built there by the end of next year.

Confusion around the issue deepened on Tuesday when Key told reporters he had been wrongly advised that Ngati Whatua did not have right of first refusal, while Smith insisted that his position was legitimate and that the letter was only a preliminary one that was superceded by the Cabinet's decision in late May to buy the land from Education for Housing purposes.

"Everything that Nick Smith has done to address the Auckland housing problem has turned to custard. We now have a situation where two weeks ago he showed journalists plots of land where houses would be built and we have John Key saying at a Press Conference that there was no issue of right of first refusal by Ngati Whatua and Waikato Tainui, now it turns out that the land isn't available for house building and there is an issue of first right of refusal," Little told reporters.

"Nick Smith has blundered his way through and I think it's time for the Prime Minister to relieve him of that portfolio," he said.

"If I was Prime Minister and I said things at a press conference that were based on advice from my Minister of Building and Housing that were wrong and could not be sustained then he would be relieved of his portfolio," he said.

"You do your homework before you start making announcements or declaring that there is no issue about first right of refusal. You don't raise false hope and mislead people. The Government has reacted in panic mode. All the measures they've announced, whether it's the bright line test or rules on foreign buyers and now releasing crown land. They haven't done the homework. They haven't thought it through and now they've landed up in the swamp, and that sits at the feet of the Minister of Building and Housing."

Little said a Labour Government would run an accelerated building programme in Auckland that was led by the state.

Smith defends his stance

Smith told reporters in Parliament that he had told developers would need to work with iwi, but that the formal right of first refusal clause was not triggered on the Moire Rd site.

"We need to be very clear. There is a first right of refusal and there is the protocol. They are two separate legal obligations. The government's view on the Moire Rd site was the right of first refusal was never triggered. It is true that the government has a discussion with the Tamaki Collective under the protocol of working with them on developing that site for housing. That has always been the intent," Smith said.

He then went on to differentiate between Ngati Whatua o Kaipara, which has a settlement with the Crown and which the Government was working with on its Hobsonville development, and Ngati Whatua Orakei.

"Ngati Whatua O Kaipara is different to Ngati Whatua Orakei. Ngati Whatua Orakei has no right of first refusal, except that through the Tamaki Collective, and that is why the Crown has consistently met its Treaty obligations by talking with the party that the legal obligation rests with, and that's the Collective," he said.

Smith said he was disappointed with the legal action and said he had talked with Waikato/Tainui spokesman Tukuroirangi Morgan earlier on Tuesday.

He said the Government remained committed to its plans to sign the first agreements in October and build houses by the end of next year.

"We've got some complex issues to work through, but I still remain absolutely committed to that programme and that timetable," he said.

Smith went on to suggest that development could carry on while a dispute over land ownership was being resolved in the courts.

"In the arrangements that we have made in other areas, a key feature of this programme is that the land ownership remains with the Crown through the development phase and the title only changes going from the Crown directly to the home owner, whether that's a social provider or a family looking for a first home," he said.

"Any legal interruption in that process would be in the time the land ownership changes and that's at least a year away until those first homes are completed."

'Judge me on my record'

Smith rejected Little's call to resign or be sacked.

"He hasn't built too many houses. I think this programme is a very positive one. It's an opportunity to build houses and any questions on the programme should be delivered on results. I've said that this programme is going to deliver a contractual agreement in October for housing. I've said it is going to deliver new houses by the end of 2016. I think that should be the real way that I am judged on the performance of this programme."

Smith also denied he had rushed the process.

"I make no apologies for wanting to work with some urgency. There's not a single day that the media does not challenge me as to whether I am doing enough about growing additional housing so we have been moving at pace and we will continue to move at pace," he said, adding the Government had consulted with the Tamaki Collective a month before the Budget.

Smith said the Tamaki Collective Treaty Settlement legislation required that any government agency no longer requiring a piece of land had to give preliminary advice to iwi.

"That letter in December very clearly says preliminary advice. It says the Ministry of Education no longer requires that piece of land. It then says very clearly in that letter that section 40 is triggered. Section 40, in its second component, says that there is the opportunity for government agencies to put their hand up for that piece of land. In about March, I think, the piece of land was brought to my attention. We did a preliminary investigation and then we made a decision to use that land for housing purposes."

'Doing the best he can'

Earlier Key had told reporters that comments made at a news conference about Ngati Whatua not having right of first refusal were wrong because he was wrongly advised.

"The advice I had was wrong on that piece of land. I never said they didn't have first right of refusal. I said we used that structure for that piece of land, but in fact that piece of land the advice I have had is we acquired it after settlement," he said.

Asked about whether Smith had kept him fully informed, Key said Smith was doing the best he could.

"It's a bit of a complex situation. There are lots of different agreements and sub-agreements and all this stuff," Key said.

(Updated to correct month of letter from February to December)

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"....... and all this stuff." lol

He should be on the cover of Vague

This is now out of control

What a nasty little man Little is!

An accelerated building where are you going to get the labour from? How are you going to comply with all the friggin rules and regulations? Is accelerating the building plan only going to apply to the State's housing programme?


The solution is easy. Restrict the foreign buyers and immigration until you have the supply side issues sorted out.

Easy for everyone but the government apparently! Has there ever been a more incompetent (or corrupt) government?


Does the government really care about the chaos? The main policies are in place, they are running around pretending to look worried and putting band aids on the problem. It's just politicking. The real agenda is going to plan.

The govt is saying one thing and doing the opposite. The reality is a first home buyer struggling to pay their mortgage and rates does not help make Auckland a global city. The govt wants foreign billionaires to buy everything, allowing huge rate increases. They have to pretend they care about first home buyers because they still need votes.

Totally agree. The only solution in the short term is to cap the immigration rate to a reasonable level while we dig ourselves out of this mess.

Yes. Stop the international immigration. Here in the rest of New Zealand we are concerned we will be dragged down with the problems exploding in Auckland. And suffer the solutions that might be applied country wide for the Auckland only problems.
And note this. In New Zealand the internal immigration seems to be out of Auckland. Repeat - outwards from Auckland. The stress in Auckaland is not created by internal New Zealand growth.

Problems exploding in Auckland

Too late.
It's out of control
It's out of the governments control
The problem is too big
The damage is done
There is little they can do now to solve it

The frantic antics of Smith and Key and RBNZ are just a forerunner of what's coming

So can the money laundering into Auckland be stopped by requiring a tax number for property buyers?

Two other guys. There are things they can do. 1. Tomorrow they could immediately stop the student visas rort 2. Tomorrow they could limit land (and house) purchase to NZ citizens only. Those would have immediate and dramatic effects.
But i would not propose such. What they seem to be doing with the new IRD registration rules etc is introducing things slowly in steps. There will be more steps to come i believe. Stepped introduction is probably to limit the collateral damage from change. To slow for me, but it's an understandable approach.

But govt depends on International student fees to fund a sizeable proportion of universities etc.
So they would need to fully fund the tertiary sector if they stopped/slowed student visas. Plus give up the 5th highest export earner.

The original University model going back thousands of years relies on students paying professions and patrons hiring universities to do research.

It's that the student system is being seen as a side-door to getting job offers and marriages (and speaking the good English, which with a degree put the family high on the immigration list) for the _cheap_ price of international fees. Fees which are often comparable or less than the rates back home.
The real issue IMO is not the foreign students but the number of extra/extended family they tend to bring with them.
Also what can be a large issue is often the parents who send their wayward or underperforming children to NZ are often hard working and very wealthy by NZ standards. Some do get in a contribution skills and work to NZ, but some just buy expensive cars and hang out with their foreign friends - in itself not a big issue, but they can cause problems (extended family moving over), little care for local people and no interest in adapting a healthy lifestyle let alone a Kiwi one, or they get into heirarchial positions and cause all sorts of nuisance (often just from their complete lack of familiarisation with having to work for a living - we often see these in entertainment or technological organisations and others who *want* the lifestyle but don't have wealthy family latch on to them as role models.

How do you un-pick the damage that is already done?

Do you want to get serious?

Need regulations as from 1 July 2015 with 12 month sunset clauses that

1. Make interest on any purchase of investment properties non-tax-deductible
2. Freeze all foreign property purchases
3. Require all foreign purchases over past 5 years to prove source of funds
4. Freeze all citizenship applications subject to 3 above and 7 below
5. Close the door to migrants
6. Properties $1m & up, bought last 5 yrs by new migrants prove source of funds
7. Plus tax clearances from country of origin for all migrants subject to 6 above

Harsh I know - that's where it's at - if you want to fix it, that's what's needed

Temporary measure - 12 months only - see what happens

This maybe radical but is THE MOST SENSIBLE SUGGESTION and one that could turn the tide.
The banks would get a decided headache which is warranted.

why #1 ?

The oxygen has to be taken out of this market completely

If you want to be absolutely serious about it
you have to crush the top end altogether,
and it's politically painless

Yes. Stop the international immigration. Here in the rest of New Zealand we are concerned we will be dragged down with the problems exploding in Auckland. And suffer the solutions that might be applied country wide for the Auckland only problems.
And note this. In New Zealand the internal immigration seems to be out of Auckland. Repeat - outwards from Auckland. The stress in Auckaland is not created by internal New Zealand growth.

Whats the demographics of those leaving? And which "zombie towns" are they going to?

Obviously migration to satellite areas of Auckland isn't as significant as relocation to areas further away.

Lots to the Waikato and BOP. Call those satellite if you like. Fair spread to other places. Interesting Otago. (probably Central)
So in summary it's external immigrants into Auckland, balanced by an intermal movement out of Auckland. My pick those would not include as many foreign born.
The 'Zombie Suburbs' of Auckland are a worry for the future. Have a look in the southern one.
Used to be the joke that Aucklanders believed New Zealand stopped at the Bombay Hill. Apparently now some think it's Epsom.

Restrict foreign buyers and NZ might just get told to stick its milk, beef, lamb, wool and other exports products where the sun doesn't shine......

Restricting immigration - who the heck is going to do some of the physical work? Immigrants are flat out in the building, horticulture, agricultural industries because many in NZ don't want to do that type of work.......If Aucklanders won't shift for the work then I damned sure the rest of the country shouldn't come to a stand still because of them.

better than being owned by those foreigners.
Last time I bought whiteware, house or a car, I didn't get a share parcel for the company with the purchase, and I think they'd think me daft if I expected it.

NZers don't want to do the work? stop paying benefits then see who will do the work.

That's a rather hypocritical position for you to take cowboy, given the number of times, you've admitted needing to take advantage of social support in the past. I don't know whether you moralistic Puritans realize that the majority of people have to be coerced, indoctrinated, or compelled to work for others by pure desperation, because it's a fundamentally degrading state of existence. In ancient Greece, manual labour was considered too demeaning for free men, and was the sole preserve of slaves. During the early years of the American Republic, it was considered ignoble and base, for white people to menial task, which was viewed properly the tasks best done by slaves and free blacks.

People are social creatures who are driven to seek social standing and when manual work lacks social esteem, what reason is there to impel people to be willing to do it? Money and income are just numerative measures of social standing.

Be sure, that the capitalist political theorists were only too aware of what drove the commen man.

"In colonies, labourers for hire are scarce. The scarcity of labourers for hire is the universal complaint of colonies. It is the one cause, both of the high wages which put the colonial labourer at his ease, and of the exorbitant wages which sometimes harass the capitalist.55

Where land is cheap and all men are free, where every one who so pleases can obtain a piece of land for himself, not only is labour very dear, as respects the labourers' share of the product, but the difficulty is to obtain combined labour at any price."
E.G. Wakefield

And Henry Ford, a practical man of commerce if there ever was one, doubled the wages of his employees, not out of benign generosity or to allow the workers to purchase the produce of their work as traditionally cast, but because it reduced staff turnover with its associated costs. Staff retention allowed management to enhance the productivity of their workers through training and enabled them to speed up the assembly line to control per unit labour costs.

"At the time, workers could count on about $2.25 per day, for which they worked nine-hour shifts. It was pretty good money in those days, but the toll was too much for many to bear. Ford’s turnover rate was very high. In 1913, Ford hired more than 52,000 men to keep a workforce of only 14,000. New workers required a costly break-in period, making matters worse for the company. Also, some men simply walked away from the line to quit and look for a job elsewhere. Then the line stopped and production of cars halted. The increased cost and delayed production kept Ford from selling his cars at the low price he wanted. Drastic measures were necessary if he was to keep up this production."

What are you talking about?

Yes As my right by the Law of New Zealand, I had to to fight like F... to get what the NZ law said the NZ agencies owed me. Usually with 6 week or 3 month standdowns.

I was more than happy to get into work...however when the employers don't even both with interviews or a phone call saying "no thanks" how am I supposed to support myself ? In some cases I physically was unable to do the job, I was on sickness benefit for planar fasciitis in both feet, having a maximum standing time of about 5 minutes, walking about 1 hr, provided no leaning forwards. the job that a friend of a friend turned down that I was asked to try was mopping up at MacDonalds. Which due my injury I could not do - but they had no use for someone unable to stand.

It's not that I wouldn't but that I couldn't.
Same as when I heard there was a shortage in Refrigeration Engineers and Electricians I went around all the businesses I could find and drive to in an hour radius - and got the same answer from all of them - yes we're hiring if you have your ticket and five years experience, but we won't hire apprentices at all.

And when I heard there was demand for sciences teachers and a scholarship was offered for those wanting to teach those courses, I phoned them up as I was looking for funding to finish my degree...the first thing they wanted to know is when did I finish my degree. Turns out that to teach basic year 11 and 12 maths you need a bachelor in maths...or anything. Not just the ability.

Yesterday I was crawling under my house connecting up PVC drain pipes. Today I'm working Matrix solving equations and stacking timber. Next week I'll probably be giving the timber to my neighbour who has got some recycled corrugate plastic, which he hopes to make a green house. I can only dig a couple of holes a day, due to it requiring leaning forward while standing, but if you're thinking I'm afraid of manual labour or dirt or cowshit you are really conning yourself. don't let the old title of managing director, or run down on the marketing mix fool you.

If you want to know what I consider "disgusting" work - it's retail , with the fake smile, and having to push only the solutions that the employer is supporting. And advertising, When I worked retail I refused to sell the IBM with the big margins, when a better PC-compatible would do the job - not that I'd stand in the way in the customer wanted it, it's their choice after all. And when I was in marketing and doing advertising/profile work I refused to stretch the truth, or leave out things, I would _only_ sell on an integrity based image, something which lead to my eventual dismissal from the position.

for the _wealthy_ money and income are things of social standing ... that's why they can never get enough, and the more they have the less secure they are.

but I grew up poor. dirt poor. redneck poor ;) that's why in the farm business I would put in 17 hour days. In dairying and animal work starting out, it's all about the animals. There is no room for social BS or "too good to do this work". ruined a good suit helping the vet one day.

that's one of the "real" Kiwi culture things I'm trying to remind people about.
One of the few colonial values worth holding on to. No-one is "too good" to work for a living, grow food in a garden, or clean their own families latrine, or help build the families dwelling. that the governments are overpaid and privilieged and got away from that is our shame and loss. that's why I'm hesitant about "Generation Rent" (aka Generation fast food and hotdesking) as they have no relationship with their grass roots living needs. They've never had to dig a long drop or live without a toilet for a fortnight, in their world a sanitation engineer needs a degree, and has flunkies to do the physical side of the work for him, and chances are all the parts are shipped in.

I've been happy to do any of that work - heck I've even applied to be a housecleaner (you don't fit the profile), I've tried to get jobs as a cashier on a till (you'll get bored), car cleaning (we would have to pay you too much), afterhours parttime cleaning in hospitality (where looking for someone who is only after a part time position you know like they just want spending money).
Seriously I didn't look at childcare though, because I'm not great with kids but I wouldn't turn down the offer.

Because I've been poor, and to poor people money is a social thing.
It's food on the table that won't make you or your family sick, it's an education for your kids, it's a way to get to work, or a roof over your head.

Which is likely why I don't get those interviews because I'm no money poser.

and why I don't "need an income now". Because I don't need to be a money poser, got food on table, roof over head, used clothes on body. no landline, no fridge, solar HW, soon PV. The only real big expenses are paying the people at the council so they can have posing money.

so how much money do you "need"? How much is enough?

For me, when I went on those benefits I had less than nothing, and got turned down from many dozens of jobs.

Which is also why I get annoyed with socialists who have more expensive lifestyles than mine, tell me I must donate to their "collective pool" and that "the resources belong to the community", in order that they can pay money-posers and social-flowers to provide _wants_ (not needs) to a group of folk unwilling to make the effort to build it themselves.

You _want_ it, you go do it yourselves.
You _need_ it then we have to ask why things are like that (in the community) and we'll help out, but if you aren't trying to improve why should others give handouts...others that might actually have leaner lifestyles than those in "need".

Like when I was looking at the "absolute shortage of skills list" on the immigration site the other day.
They still have Electrical Engineers listed on there! But Electrical Engineering undergrad courses are overcrowded and have been for 30 years (competitive entry). So how can NZ government complain and demand more certifications, if they won't make the courses available, and won't allow NZ people to do that work, and discourage institutions being created to do that work?

and they stratify the workloads, so its almost impossible (without nepotism) for someone working in a labour or low skill position to get that training.... and with the debt loading, anyone who isn't from rich parents being more than a debt slave to IRD.

Why do you think _cowboy_ has studied the university texts of many courses, yet hasn't yet completed one? Why do you think I still put in my own ceiling and underfloor batts? run my own Cat6 cabling and config my own linux servers? weed my own garden and harvest my own fruit and veg? pitch in with the builders, sparkies, mud boys, and plumbers; soldering my own pipe work, pulling ceiling cables (I have to be "over seen" for safety purposes), shovel my own mixes and check my own slump.....

I was referring to this statement you made.

"NZers don't want to do the work? stop paying benefits then see who will do the work". It appeared you were advocating, that if benefits were removed, jobs which currently go to foreigners, would be done by Kiwis, who live on the dole in preference, because the work is considered undesirable.

It appeared to me a rather curious position to take considering prior revelations about your past. I don't judge your work ethic, nor your aptitude, because you are obviously highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and have a wide range of experience. Rather I was challenging your apparent moral posturing, which you appear to have in common with a legion of conservative political commentators who revere work as a measure of personal virtue, a cohort who rears their ugly head at every election cycle with the perennial political theatre of benefit bashing.

Yes I reacted to retail work just as you describe when I worked for Dick Smith Electrics back in 2005-06,, though I have applied for other retail work since, with little enthusiasm, I have never gone back to it. I'm a glorified janitor for Mt Hutt skifield, but though I believe myself capable of better, I am content with the job I have. Since 2007 I have watched with bemusement as the modern Greek tragedy unfold and the modern, Western social edifice teeters on the brink of the abyss and decided I am better off not exerting too much effort to partake in a system I regard as being rigged to serve the interests of the financial sector and having little chance of a long term future.

The NZers don't _want_ to work implies that there are valid employment offers out there.

That there are valid employment offers that can't be filled... Now that is the kind of thing that those who plan NZ's future need to be grasping as a major priority. Admittedly I think they're completely out of their depth and totally ill equipped mentally and educational for the task, but that's just me observation. to be fair to them, I also opine that they wouldn't know if their own asses were on fire.

IF we have excess people that dont want to work.
How is it they have that option? Is it a valid option?
Are they expecting decent taxpayers and ratepayers to fund their lifestyle choice?

IF we don't have the population what are valid options? Is the industry and business profitable? Is it profitable long term/national importance? Where are it's markets? Why can't it attract NZ labourers if the labour pool has capable people? What is it about the business that stops it being mechanised in part (to reduce shortage of labour) or that stops it being able to provide enough incentive? what is causing the bottleneck? Is it that the products are being sold too cheaply and the lack of margin should be destroying the industry business? Or is it the case of engineers, that the businesses just won't train the people they need, _won't_ (not can't) recover the cost of doing training or providing temporary quality accomodations and entertainment.

So if the labour is there, and the employers are offering fair pay, AND willing to take on people.....
...what grounds is there for continuing to pay them support from taxpayers.

Although I might be baised. When I found I was falling asleep driving doing computer field repairs, I had to find another line of work before I killed or injured some innocent person. That was my first foray into dairy farming (which I loathed). But the mother of my daughter, just said "I'm not going". and so the government paid her more for that choice (no matter where she choose to live or how) than I got working stuck on the farm 6days x 10hrs a day (she got mortgage top ups, I had to pay rent and support to IRD).
So I might be prejudice on people who are willing to take taxpayer money when valid alternatives exist.

And I do "get" what you're saying about social status, one of my Chinese tenants thought it was amazing when his property owner turned up in a suit, put on scruffy clothes and was climbing about under the house to put in a phone & network jack for his room. And then discussed the differences in horticulture and social media with him. Apparently that kind of thing "just doesn't happen" in China.

I have research Ford.
Yes the higher wage for the worker was not only so they could buy the product, although from a marketing point of view that was a major breakthrough, well ahead of it's time and education of the time.
The major factor there is that Ford's workers were median middle class (upper working class) good reliable jobs and highly technical in demand for their time. they were, exactly what ford's mass target market *should* have been. Not the broke can't afford a garage to keep it in, not the chauffeur driven money, but the bulk of the average population with discretionary income.
Product pricing of the Marketing Mix, identify the customers, the ones who can afford your product, the ones who have a need and time to utilise your product.

Yes Ford was the target of deliberate industralial espionage/sabotage.
Rather than make a better product, his opposition would buy the contracts of his foremen. They would try to identify key personnel and give them promises and job offers. Unions would constantly try to get in on the action and were constantly trying to create altercations and supply shortages, Ford responding with attempts to isolate workers from the influence or by providing inhouse solutions which constantly got treated as "corporate control".

It's like fonterra's 1080 scare. that's the way business is done in many countries. None of them are serious about getting a great product to market cheaply. If you try that there's always someone willing to put pressure on your suppliers or to hit you with a nuisance suit, often just because you dare to try.

The walk off's are interesting - do some research into them. You'll wonder how they ever got to market at all.

From what I've read, the Ford Model T, would have been eclipsed even without industrial espionage and seducing his management team. Sloan at GM recognized he could sell more autos than Ford and be more profitable without devoting so much effort into optimizing his production processes to the level that Ford did, because consumers could be enticed to buy on the basis of an illusion of choice based on mere aesthetic qualities of the car, which varied slightly year by year, though the basic structure of the car remained unchanged for decades.

"Brisk sales of the new-looking Chevrolet convinced Sloan that to compete with Ford it was not necessary to lead in engineering, but merely to offer consumers better looking cars with more variety. As a result, there emerged an expression among the engineers at GM: "Whatever you do, don't let GM do it first." Technical innovation was expensive and unpredictable; the best ideas required long development and could ultimately prove infeasible. Aesthetic innovation--changing the cosmetic look of the car--was relatively cheap and predictable.".

Nope that ones hype. Check into some of the process design and techniques used by GM. Like their "appearance of choice" their appearance of competency is also the product of image-manufacture.
The processes and internal processes still haven't developed they still chasing their tails and don't have decent feedback from top to bottom, and bottom to top. As can be spotted in the GFC headlines.
Like Fonterra they are the first victim of their own image manufacturing.

GM offered more "options"
Ford offered 1 option that worked well which is the kind of mentality behind Apple, and early Microsoft. Don't try to make 10 products well or hunt two rabbits. Work out 1 product make that well and sell variations that can be easily made. You'll also see this philosophy used well in successful median restarurants where margin is an issue for the customers, the have a couple of basic lines but two standard deviations (95%) of the menu can be made from the same core ingredients, the differences are small and often highly preservable.
For wider, wilder selections they need to have much much higher margin and cater to a very much smaller pool of customers (demand)

It is also much harder to find quality staff - not just in the technical end, with ability to master rare dishes. It is also much harder to locate line and support staff because it's a difficult mentality, especially for young people with little experience, to be able to grow and make valid recommendations around lifestyles which embraces values much different than they've ever experienced (eg much more expensive).

While what you say Cowboy might well be true it is also true that we have to operate within the system that we have until that system changes!! There is absolutely no agenda on the table to withdraw benefits for people who don't want to work and much of private enterprise cannot operate today, tomorrow of next season etc without knowing that a pool of labour is available. I have to deal in the here and now and not what should or shouldn't happen in parliament and the public services!!!

So if a foreigner came along and offered you a higher price than a local for an asset that you were perhaps selling are you telling me the the capitalist in you would not make the sale to the highest price?

"There is absolutely no agenda on the table to withdraw benefits for people who don't want to work" um isnt that what WINZ is constantly striving to do? ie if you dont look for work you dont get the benefit?

What enterprises have no pool of labour? There is I'd suggest almost always labour, its just its cost. So if there is no labour what about training? so a business take raw materials and using labour and energy makes a finished product or even a tool to make their goods. Why are NZ businesses so unwilling to train ppl ie use labour and energy to "make" a more skilled worker?

the stats show more people leaving for the rest of NZ than entering from the regions

Sorry notaneconomist. The situation is we have a whole range of skillsets and motivations to work. And we need to cater for all of them. Not just some. But what has happened is we have allowed labour to come in and do jobs that were previously the role of the lowly qualified. eg. petrol stations. Agricultural labour. Your 'physical work'. And a whole sector of our own folk are maintained on benefits. Note the Zombie suburbs of Auckland.
And yes of course you will say those New Zealanders are unemployable etc yadda yadda. And it's partially true. Employers would have to pay more. But I would rather pay $20 for my cheapy meal than $12 if it meant New Zealanders were employed and I did not have to pay taxes for their beneifits and social housing.

KH, I have some sympathy for your arguments, but at least will challenge the suggestion that Auckland is somehow filled with zombie suburbs. I live here and haven't noticed such suburbs. Auckland's unemployment rate at end 2014 was apparently 5.7%.

New Zealand's rate at the same time was 5.8%.
Neither are desperately bad by historical comparisons, while presumably from these numbers unemployment is similar in Auckland to the rest of the country.

Yes, but the official definition of employment is having worked one hour in the previous week and one doesn't even need to receive payment to be considered employed. A thoroughly dubious measure given that the majority of people need an income just to survive.

On the employer side, you can't usually risk training people or even having them turn up and help out, as the employer has to put them in official contracts, offer them minimum wage and kiwisaver, can't get rid of them if they're trouble, if he lets them help out in return for food or aid it's considered tax evasion and wage crimes, and even if there's no contract the government can declare them employees, even if they were never hired, and then the employer can be charged in court for criminal acts towards the employees that they never hired. And often the 30-40hrs minimum rate adds up a lot - but it's taxed so heavily and prices so high - it's often not worth working for minimum wage (if you've got kids you have to pay more than minimum wage for qualified child care) and yet your employer might struggle to get enough income.... and then if they are or were on a benefit the employer has a bunch more documents that they have to fill out with the compulsory threats of fines and punishments if you even dare breathe a hint of wanting to recover costs for your time.... (let alone if you don't bow to the great masters of WINZZ)

More a case of it's just not economic for businesses to take on those New Zealanders and it's unaffordable for those New Zealanders to take on low income or parttime work.

It's ok to work part weeks, if you have a partner to make up the difference or you're a lawyer getting huge hourly rate but the "competition first" model in New Zealand and the "make families with both partners working full time the bare economic norm" philosophy mean that many options just can't work for employees or employers. Yet that's unlikely to change as long as the decision makers piloting the change can legislatively pull whatever cash they want out of the New Zealand citizens.

Basically the govt. wants richer people in Auckland, people that won't complain about the huge rate increases required to make it a global city ( and those people are foreigners). We are experiencing the same thing in farming, if you are not big enough to absorb the tide of compliance costs you will be forced out of business. Welcome to globalism. Kiwi home owners in Auckland are not wanted! The government wants the mega rich to own it. That's their agenda.

"Restrict foreign buyers and NZ might just get told to stick its milk, beef, lamb, wool and other exports products where the sun doesn't shine....." well if you don't restrict them then you can hardly call the products ours, so I say to hell with it, restrict them.
Then on restricting immigration, immigrant workers are only there to do all that stuff for the increase in immigrants and to undercut the locals. Not much point in going in to this work if you can't get ahead on the wages

"Labour Leader says Key should sack Nick Smith from Building and Housing portfolios after controversy over Auckland land sales plan".. Just a Little too late for that!

The obvious solution is to have the Government build the houses (in a joint venture with a builder), then offer the Iwi first right of refusal on any complete houses.

Obviously the Iwi won't want complete houses at market value, and if they do, that is good as you have a guaranteed buyer. If the Iwi don't take up their option the houses can be sold.

The Government can act as a developer (along the lines of Labour's election policy), and still meet treaty obligations.

Also the Government could directly sell vacant lots to the public again offering them to Iwi first. Iwi don't have the right to buy land at a discount, just market value. If they want it, good! Just don't sell the undeveloped blocks and try to make it look like you are circumventing treaty settlement legislation.

Spelling it out for the Nats in simple terms:

Government owns, subdivides and develops sites in the name of the Crown with a joint venture partner who is merely a builder or developer who provide services based on an agreed cost structure.

The Government then offers these single residential vacant sites or completed dwellings to Iwi at a fixed price, if the Iwi doesn't take the offer to buy (which in most cases they won't), the properties are then offered to the open market at that fixed price (and the condition that no offers below the benchmark price offered to Iwi will be considered), the property is then sold to Joe public. All is fair and above board. No developer gets an opportunity to make a killing off Crown land, but they do get the opportunity to make a profit from the actual construction work they do. The contractor would have to provide quality and warranty guarantees and do work to the highest standard.

It's a very simple solution. Only problem it looks more like Labour's election policy!

Only problem is that it appears the govt need to offer he land when it changes use not after they build. It it goes to court who is going to partner and build with no one knowing he outcome?

The Crown is entitled to do with the land what they want, just when it is sold Iwi must have first right of refusal.

The Crown is always transferring land within departments.

The problem with Smith's scheme is that he is essentially offering undeveloped blocks for sale with a deferred settlement with the sale to the developer occurring when it is sold to the public.

Instead if the Crown retain ownership and pay the developer for the physical works then directly sell to the public at a fixed price, the Iwi would only be entitled to the finished product (which they won't want).

Problem solved. Move on. (Only issue is that it looks like the Labour policy of the Government building the houses - which in reality is the only way it is going to work because of the Treaty process).

Civil war or re-ignition of the Maori Wars? I can feel the Springbok tour all over again.

Nope, that's why notification is at the moment it's first considered to stop those kinds of shenanigans.
Just offer the Iwi as part owners, income for a long time if they aren't using it for anything else.

Actually if I were the Collective I would want to be offered the final product. It would be a slightly risky strategy but they stand to make a lot of money out of it. The great thing about having RFR over all those completed houses is that the calculation of price is not some back room deal with valuers etc - it is transparent. The govt redefined "affordable" as $550K last week. You will be able to look at those completed dwellings and do simple assessments as to what the market value of those dwellings actually are. It's hard to imagine them not being able to squeeze 5% out of owning these places for a few weeks. That's a cool $275m.

In real life the government need to sell the land at about the point where a Resource Consent to develop has been granted but before the work starts. That will allow the govt to pour RC's into the Auckland Housing Accord as well as get money in the pot for the 2017 Election Year Budget. They couldn't care less what happens after that.

lol. "The govt redefined "affordable" as $550K last week."

Shows you where government salaries are at.

Take a look in palmy or wanganui. 95% of the place is under that "affordable" level. that government think 550k is affordable just shows they're only in touch with what goes in their pockets, no wonder the rest of the country is struggling if policy and pricing is being set by people who think 550k is affordable.

Lot of words written about this, but

Somewhere in the swamp the IWI have said, if the land is used for state housing, they have no objection. But if it's to be built and then sold. on the open market, they will exercise their rights

ie - if ownership remains in crown hands - no problem

If Crown retain ownership, Iwi have no rights. If they intend to sell they need to offer it to Iwi first, but not necessarily as undeveloped land, can offer it as individual sites or complete homes.

That's not how RFR works. IF the iwi want to have state housing or market share, then they have to buy, _or_ refuse. They don't get a say in how it's going to be used. If Iwi aren't willing to Buy, then they must refuse, and then the Crown can do as they choose.

Strictly speaking its how the Act works. Land is not classed as RFR land if it is developed for State housing. So iwi don't get a choice in that case.

However other law defines State housing as housing owned by the Crown. This programme is not State housing.

yes that's what I trying to say. As soon as "option B" hits the table, then they have to be notified.
As long as the government stuck purely to State housing then it's not an issue. If the government even _considers_ something else, oops...

the hot potato is if the government want to divest the whole lot into another ownership model/owner/PPP and they do the entire area at once, the RFR is only given once. the iwi would have to make up their mind which bits they can afford to buy, and possibly move it to court if they want to reserve any rights to the rest. If pieces came up, they could afford to buy or develop it, like normal developers do. But how much can they afford if the whole affected area is put to them at once?
I would hope they see either a part ownership, or full ownership of a part, as I detest losing their own lands like that.

[Correction added]

The RFR has to be offered piece of land by piece of land. And each piece of land requires 40 working days notice of its potential future disposal (i.e. before the Notice offering First Refusal goes out).

As a matter of practicality I don't think the government will be able to bomb them but even if they do the Collective have 12 months to make up their mind. So it would be a real own goal for the government to basically force the Collective to slowly work through each offer.

This situation is slightly different from, say, the settlement with Ngai Tahu in that the iwi and hapu that form the Collective are still processing individual treaty claims. If I understand it correctly the assets that the collective build up now through the RFR process could well be applied in future to settlement of those individual claims. If I am right then the Collective would probably prefer to just pile up cash rather than a property portfolio. That being the case, they would then prefer to clip the ticket rather than buy and hold. There will be plenty of people willing to provide a grub stake to get them going until they start generating their own cash to fund these deals.


the Collective has an internal process to allocate the RFR to an individual member. A not bad summary at

This article says: "The Government says the term 'state housing' does not apply solely to Housing New Zealand houses". The legislation empowering the Collective specifically talks about "State housing" being excluded from RFR land. I suggest the capital "S" in the legislation may end up making all the difference.

This is the actual line from the Housing Act:

a State housing purpose "means the erection, acquisition, or holding of dwellings and ancillary commercial buildings by the Crown under this Act..."

So the government has to formally declare that a piece of Crown land is being re-purposed for State housing (capital "S"). Then the government either has to build, buy or own houses on that land. None of which it plans to do at this stage.

Even if you kind of buy that, the exemption from RFR only applies when the government is disposing of State housing land to achieve the Crown's social objectives in relation to housing. I would suggest that building a whole lot of houses to be sold at market value is going to be hard to pass off as a social programme.

No matter what legal/contractual fig leaf the government pulls over "build" or "social objectives" the courts will almost certainly be asked to consider whether this is just a sham device on the government's part to avoid their legal obligations to the Collective and whether they have been acting in good faith.

I think the government are going to be asked to do a lot of explaining. And while our MSM are just poodles for this government, Russell McVeagh, the High Court and the Supreme Court are not patsies.

The other aspect to consider is what has happened to _every_ major social housing project in Westernised countries. I really hope they won't try it but with government think who can tell (just reading some of the new 'elf&safely rules' - you think a person of at least average intelligence would realise Pike Lake failed from negligence and failure to follow _existing_ rules and guidelines, so inventing more rules won't fix that kind of issue)

piece by piece... yes it's on EACH title.

But if the iwi are presented with 5000 titles to "buy or refuse" deadline: 30 June 2016. They aren't likely to be able to buy all 5000. Even through there's no way all the building and subdivision would be complete-able by 30/June/16

But if they came up 500 at a time then the funds might be findable. And it would be a struggle under existing building conditions to get even the easiest 500 sites to completion by 30/June/16. That's taking into account that with the modern methods it still takes councils longer to consent a building than it does to build it.

Two things:

- the first houses are scheduled for completion by the end of 2016

- again, as a matter of practicality, the government won't be able to bomb the Collective. It will end up issuing a steady stream. In that case the Collective only needs a small streak to get started if it plans to mark them up and flick them on. They will eventually end up with enough of their own capital to fund the ongoing programme.


National remind me of a school kid who's had seven years to do their assignment but decided to leave it 'till the last night. They haven't done the ground work, they are trying to bluff their way through with a C- but they just might find themselves with a big fat F and be kicked out of school.

Haha summed up perfectly.

and have lied to their parents about how they were doing the whole time...

You've completely missed the point!
"Compared to all the other kids in the class, Kiwi is excelling. In fact, intra-class, they're get an A+. Just look at Stavros, who's getting the F; and Paddy and Manuel that are getting C-". Home work? That's for losers! Unless, of course that's Home-work. All very good, until the playtime milk doesn't arrive or they have to get a real job......

parent has been fooled LOL

Crusher for the Housing Portfolio...

and the Kauri Portfolio.