Key defends Govt's actions on affordable and social housing as reports emerge of Auckland families living in garages, cars and containers; suggests families talk to Work and Income; Smith flags land release directive; sees ChCh as model

Key defends Govt's actions on affordable and social housing as reports emerge of Auckland families living in garages, cars and containers; suggests families talk to Work and Income; Smith flags land release directive; sees ChCh as model

By Bernard Hickey

Prime Minister John Key has defended the Government's record on providing affordable and social housing in Auckland, saying those families living in cars and garages should approach Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) for help.

His comments followed reports over the weekend that up to 1 in 10 garages in South Auckland were rented out to families and many young families were living in the backs of cars and mini-vans because of a shortage of Housing New Zealand Corp and other affordable housing.

TV3's Mike Wesley-Smith's reported on The Nation on Saturday on a growing number of Auckland families that were living in cars and garages.

Wesley-Smith reported from social workers and others in South Auckland that up to 1 in 10 garages there were rented out to families for hundreds of dollars a week, while many others were living in cars, in the backs of mini-vans and in shipping containers.

Key told RNZ's Guyon Espiner this morning that kids living in cars and mini-vans was unacceptable and the Government had taken a range of measures to address it, including Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett's May 9 pre-Budget announcement of NZ$41.1 million of spending over four years to provide 3,000 emergency housing places per year.

"The situation where people find themselves living in a car, or living under a bridge or something, there could be a range of reasons, but, at the core of it, that's not the New Zealand we want, and it's not acceptable," Key said.

Key also cited moves to force long-staying occupants of houses too big for their situation out into smaller state houses as a part of the solution.

"But probably the most fundamental change we've made is to ensure income related rents can be paid to a social housing provider to build that stock of housing aimed at the very affordable end," he said.

"There's no question there's not enough supply of housing at the very low end and that's the fundamental change we're working on with these additional new places."

Key said those people living in cars and garages should approach Work and Income for help.

"I'd be surprised if Work and Income didn't find some support for them. I wouldn't say it'd be perfect, but I'd be surprised if they left them in a car," he said.

"People often don't understand what's available to them. My experience at Work and Income is they do their very best to support people in those situations and especially when children are involved."

Housing NZ and WINZ criticised

The Salvation Army's Campbell Roberts and Mangere Budgeting Services Trust Darryl Evans called on the Government to do more to resolve the issue in this RNZ report.

Roberts criticised the Government for continuing to take dividends fromHousing NZ and for not building enough new state houses, while Evans criticised the move in needs assessment from Housing NZ to Work and Income, which he said had made it virtually impossible to speak to a case worker about a family's situation.

"Currently I understand the data is put into a computer and essentially the computer generates a number, A16 is the highest risk. They get housed quicker than somebody who is, for example, a B10. I don't want a computer deciding on who gets a home," Evans told RNZ.

Evans also called for the accommodation supplement, which has not been changed since 2005, to be improved, given it was still limited to NZ$200 a week in Auckland, whereas rents were now well over NZ$400-500/week.

The Child Poverty Action Group called in March for reform of the Accommodation Supplement. Bill English said last week the Government had no plans to change it.

Smith plans land directive

Elsewhere, Housing and Building Minister Nick Smith told The Nation and Q+A that he was preparing a National Policy Statement under the existing RMA to direct Councils to free up land for housing.

"What I’m simply going to continue to emphasise, as I have today in meetings with the Mayor of Auckland, that it is vitally important for Auckland that they land a good-quality plan that provides for that growth, but I’m also upping the ante," Smith told Corin Dann when asked if the Government would step in Auckland did not approve a Unitary Plan (see more on that in my column below).

"Next month I will be producing a national policy directive under the RMA that will put far tougher requirements on growing councils to ensure that they are freeing up long term the land that is required so that we don’t get into the sort of juggernaut that has been at the core of the unaffordable housing problems in Auckland," he said.

Asked if a group of home owners in Auckland's leafy suburbs were holding the Government to ransom, he said: "Oh, equally I would say it’s not just about those in leafy suburbs that don’t want intensification. On the fringes of Auckland, there is large amounts of land that is imminently suitable for housing. And if we’re going to solve the problem in Auckland, it can’t be the sort of binary choice – is it up or is it out? It’s actually both."

"Half the council is opposed to intensification and Auckland going up, the other half is opposed or historically has been to growing out for urban sprawl, so for a decade Auckland has not built the number of houses that is required to meet the demand, and as a consequence of that, you get increasing rents, you get house prices getting up over NZ$800,000."

Elsewhere, Smith said he expected to announce a number of development agreements for housing on crown land in Auckland in the "next few weeks."

Christchurch the model

Smith told Lisa Owen that the housing supply increase in Christchurch, which was reducing rents and prices, was a model for Auckland.

"When I saw that piece from Mike, it reminded me of the situation we had four or five years ago in Christchurch. A different scenario there in that we lost 12,000 houses from the earthquake but not dissimilar in the sense of the level of need, and that is why I’ve got confidence in the Government’s plan, both medium and long term, in that in Christchurch, growing supply has resolved those issues," Smith said.

"For instance, rents in Christchurch over the last year have dropped by 5%. That is because we’ve got supply ahead of demand. Auckland is a bigger market. It’s a bigger challenge, but we need to do things short term, like the emergency houses, like the requirement for home insulation that’s in the bill, that we’ll have in the law by 1st of July, as well as those really important long-term supply questions," he said.

"And that is why as a government we’ve got to pull out all stops to grow the number of houses that are being built and also trying to get the market to produce more houses that are in that affordable range, and we’ve got some programmes going in that regard that are making progress, but we have a way to go."

Smith did however hint that the accommodation supplement and/or income related rent issues could be addressed in the Budget.

Land bankers on notice

"If we look, the Government is spending actually now NZ$2 billion a year in both the accommodation supplement and the income-related rent, and my colleague Paula Bennett is seeking additional funding which we’ll be able to talk about when the Budget is announced in a couple of weeks," Smith said.

Elsewhere, Smith was challenged about the 1,000 houses built in special housing areas with space for 48,000 houses, and whether land banking was an issue.

"I have indeed written to some of those special housing areas, to some of those people that have that status on their land, and said, ‘Get on and get your resource consents, your infrastructure, your subdivision progressed, or myself and the council withdraw that special housing area status'," he said.

"But, actually, you cannot physically force a landowner to bring their land on supply. The best way of which we can get pace is actually creating competition in that market by removing those very crude metropolitan urban limits that have allowed the land bankers to be able to have monopoly rights and be able to exploit that market advantage and drive those section prices so high."

'We'll do tax cuts instead'

Meanwhile, Key signaled this morning that big income tax cuts were still possible next year, despite Finance Minister Bill English on Thursday ruling out tax cuts this year due to higher spending needs linked to record high net migration, lower than forecast inflation and the need to meet the Government's 20% net debt to GDP target.

Speaking to Mike Hosking later this morning, Key said tax cuts had been ruled out in the short term because the Government had decided not to do a small tax cut of NZ$1 billion and instead chose spending on healthcare and other areas.

But he said the Government was working on a more substantial package of income tax cuts for 2017.

"We are not ruling that out for 2017 or campaigning on it for a fourth term in 2017, but having a bigger one, to be blunt, than $1 billion," he said.

Asked how much was needed to deliver significant cuts, he said: "$3 billion, I reckon."

Key said, however, that the current Budget forecasts did not allow enough room for that size of tax cut -- "nowhere near enough for that."

Political reaction

Labour Leader Andrew Little said Key was "completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help."

“Many of these families are working and still can’t afford a home in Auckland, where rents have risen 25 per cent in the past five years. Our MPs are inundated with people who are in extreme need but still can’t get on the state house waiting list," Little said.

“The Prime Minister has spent years denying there even is a housing crisis. In eight years National has only tinkered around the edges with policies that do little to make up the 40,000 shortfall in houses Auckland faces. John Key was this morning out of ideas and out of answers about what his Government will do to help children facing a cold winter living in cars, garages and even tents," he said.

“Instead of meeting New Zealanders in the Koru Club, the Prime Minister should go to South Auckland and meet some of these people. John Key said today that homelessness is ‘not the New Zealand we want’ but it’s the New Zealand his Government has created."

Little called for a massive state-backed building programme for affordable housing and a clamp-down on offshore buyers of houses.

Green Social Housing Spokeswoman Marama Davidson said urgent action was needed to solve homelessness and over-crowding.

“Families heading into a winter of sleeping in a cold garage or their car are not going to take much comfort from Housing Minister Nick Smith sending stern letters to land-bank speculators in Special Housing Areas," Davidson said.

“The Government has been selling off state houses without building enough to replace them. Housing crises don’t just happen. Allowing property speculators to keep driving up the price of land, while landlords don’t have to make sure their properties are warm and dry, has been the recipe for the housing crisis," she said.

“If the Government really cared it would invest in building thousands more affordable homes, and get rid of the tax incentives that encourage people to speculate on housing. Small so-called solutions like more emergency housing places don’t do enough to fix what is a very big problem."

(Updated with political reaction, Key on tax cuts, link to video)

 

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I have a friend who lives in garage and can not afford better place. He called to work and income and they said not because his salary 85k per annum. But he has kids and those money not enough to live in auckland.

tell him to go to citizen advice or go to darryl he might be able to help with budgeting and might be able to sort out so he can get into a house
http://www.mangerebudgeting.org.nz/

Sounds like a story..... a made up one.

Have you tried to live in auckland without owning a house? Try to register on viewing below 400 per week. You will see 30 people on each. On next day you will be rejected. They asking crazy amount of references and payslips. Also need to pay a big bond. If you have 85k for family you will not have savings and it means struggle to pay a bond. And at any time landlord will ask to pay more or leave. Its very stressful to relocate.

85K is not that bad actually, it is still 1200 per week after tax
you probably won't have much savings but you won;t struggle either

Have never earned $85K my whole life ! if you cannot manage on this you need help, not with a house but with what your wasting your money on.

How many kids do you have? Any relatives who can help you? Do you have a house or rent it?

Without savings it does not make sense. What if you will get sick for long time or car will be broken. Live on street?

As I have said before your friend and the many other homeless Auckland people living in cars and vans should all park overnight outside John Key's mansion at 107 Stephens Ave, Parnell. (With a TV crew)
If they are having to live on the streets somewhere, they may as well make it obvious to him and his neighbours. What have they got to loose, they could be locked up in a nice warm police cell with a bed or thrust into the arms of social welfare to do? With immigrants pouring into the country and supply probably not even keeping up with natural demand it is going to get one hell of a lot worse yet.

How bizarre, I woke at 5am with the same premonition and was even prepared to drive 6 hours to Auckland to show them where to go!

I predict in 10-20 years our first set of slums/favelas on the outskirts of our big cities in NZ or as Paul Henry calls it "Paradise from one end to the other"

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The only solution to this is Government regulating to cap rents. I have long suggested the limit for a whole house to be $200 per week. I've not heard a rational reason why not yet. John Campbell on Friday was talking about Dunedin LLs renting rooms for up to $175 per week, and that sharing with four others. Same thing probably happening in AK Rip off, parasitic, leeches and greedy scum subsidised by the taxpayer through accommodation supplements. This must stop!

JK said this morning that there are people living in state houses that need to be moved on to make way for more people. ahh hello shifting deck chairs does not solve the problem.
now he is starting to worry about the extra expense to the government, should have not let it get away from you

Yeap and that should of taken place straight after the Chch earthquakes

So a 10 million dollar mansion can only be rented at $200 a week?
Do you also want the government to decide the price of food, electricity, petrol?

So who is buying a $10 million mansion as a rental property? But yes, if you've got that much money why worry about a measly couple of hundred? Why should the money launderers be able to charge whatever they like? This is about putting a brake and a leash on investors ( and I class speculators being included).

because murray86 you would have to be an idiot

how does that work? So a house in Otara and Remuera both cost the same? What a ridiculous idea.

Murray88. I suggest you do as you say.
Go buy a house or even an apartment and let it for $200 per week.
If you do that you will not need a "rational reason" as you will find out soon enough, why it cannot be done.

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BS. I did. 12 years ago I had nine houses. The highest rent I charged was $150 per week, only three of my tenants received an accommodation supplement (they were on a benefit) and none of them really needed it. they were just lousy budgeters. I ran some tight budgets and wouldn't pay ridiculous sums for a house. I covered all my costs nicely. And then the market went stupid ... and I mean really stupid...! And that;s the whole point - investors are paying really really stupid prices for very basic homes, charging exorbitant, unrealistic and just greedy rents on the premise that they are entitled to a return on their investment. Utter unmitigated rubbish! They are taking a risk based on the assumption that the market won't collapse, they have a entire city (ies) of people who are trapped into needing a roof over their heads and can't afford to buy because the total living costs are spiralling out of control, and they can just rock up to WINZ and make a case for an accommodation supplement. Investors have played a major part in creating a monster that is destroying entire sectors of our society by making them homeless gypsies. We blame the Government because they have done nothing, but it is investor greed that needs to stomped on!

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Great post M86.Couldn't agree more.

At some point the truth will come out. Given how blind most landlords/investors appear to be, reasoning with them doesn't work like what you are trying to do here on this site. I think the only way they will learn is buy getting burned. And I personally have no problem with that. The arrogance and greed deserves a lesson and I think in time they will receive some schooling. I'm looking forward to it!!

Great reply Murray. I do like to see points of view based in actual experience. I don't have to even agree.

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Have to agree with murray86 on this. We have our front house (modern 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, open plan, over insulated, built for the sun, with logburner) rented at $75 pw to a young couple who have just had their first baby (she has two from a previous marriage). They have both managed to get out of debt, and save a large enough deposit that they have happily informed us that they will be shifting out sometime next year as they will be able to buy their own home. They can't thank us enough for the low weekly rent that has enabled them to do this - its been $75pw for 5 years.
Not all of us 'landlords' (and we're accidental ones btw as we bought a place that had two houses on it back in 2010) are greedy bastards.

We on the other hand live in an old 1900s uninsulated draughty box. At some stage we might even replace it, but there is no way I could let a tenant live in it, especially someone with kids.

$75...hard to believe...honestly

Yep, that is all we charge per week. We have no desire to be landlords, but what else do you do with a house when you buy the rest off the farmlet of the inlaws? We live in the 'back house' which is an old rundown, non-maintained piece of crap - which we will eventually demolish - and we rent out the front house that my hubby built and I helped finish. So I know it's over-insulated, I know its toasty warm and dry, and yes, all we want is $75 for it each week. We don't need the money.
We're DINKS, we'll have a 25 year mortgage gone in 11 years (5 to go) and then, and only then, will our bank allow us to remove said front house - they won't while we have a mortgage. They wouldn't even allow us to demolish the old one when we bought - even though the building report said demolish as it's in such a bad state and has no $ value.
So for the next 5 years we're landlords, reluctant ones, we'll probably shift back into it while we demolish the old one and rebuild, then we'll send that house on its way as it was built to be moved. But until then this 'landlord' charges $75 per week for a young family to live in while they get ahead, what's so wrong with that picture? We have a great life as we are, we don't need the money, and having people in it maintains that house. We sure as hell could not live with ourselves if we rented out the back house (its that bad really) and lived in the better one (which we used to live in by the way).

It's people like you who make the world go round.
thank you

so what do you rent them for now...or did you cash in on those stupid prices you talk about...

Personal circumstances meant that I had to sell out; however until then, while rents on the houses around me were rising rapidly, mine remained in what I had determined was an affordable bracket for my tenants. My rents were based on what I paid for the property i didn't need to raise the rent just because some vague paper valuation said it was worth something else. I only bought properties that were priced in the range that made the rents affordable, and yes I walked away from a few, where their owners wouldn't come down. (One of those remained on the market for two years and finally sold for less than what I offered) One tenant who fell behind on the rent, I provided some help around budgeting (he was on a benefit) to get back up to where he needed to be. Once there, I offered him a plan where if he kept doing what he was doing on his current budget, in two years time he would have saved sufficient money to have a deposit and the mortgage repayments, rates and insurance combined was less than his current rent. I told him that if he stuck to the plan, in two years I'd sell him the house. I even told him how much. He knew it was affordable, he knew he could do it, but unfortunately he chose not to. But yes, I made some money on selling, but I never expected to, the primary return was the rental income. I wasn't greedy, but i was making my money work for me with out ripping anyone else off.

That's the problem with investors today. They have no idea about socially responsible investing, they're just greedy. they argue that the risk is all theirs, without understanding that their tenants take a risk too, they are betting on the integrity of their landlord, that they won't be asked to leave until they're ready, that the rent will be reasonable and won't rise, and that the landlord will respect that although he might own the house, it is their home and their privacy deserves to be respected. unfortunately too many landlords just don't get that.

They argue that they are entitled to a return on their investment, but if their investment is unreasonable and based on a captive market with no alternative options, how reasonable is that? If they paid a ridiculous price for their asset why should the public suffer? If the bank was willing to go along, why should the public and taxpayer cover their risk? James Shaw of the Greens Party put it really well just after he took his seat at the head of the party he said that in business in NZ today "profits are privatised, while risks are publicised (carried by the taxpayers)" I think he was partly wrong in this. this is not a phenomenon unique to NZ, but is a factor of the right wing economic policies dreamt up by Friedman and adopted by most western countries. Fundamentally it is about the wealthy getting wealthier, while everyone else just gets ripped off.

Balanced regulation is required; cap rents at no more than $200 per week for a whole house. Rents will be affordable, house prices will drop back to where people will genuinely have a choice as to how they will live, there will be less to no homeless, the Government will save almost $2 billion in accommodation supplements, and poverty will be dealt a significant blow. This is not left wing, it is socially responsible that acts in favour of the people while still allowing investors, but limiting their greed, refuses to carry risk for someone making a business decision. Rant over.

You belong in a different era really. With the rise of multi-culturalism such ideals are no longer viable.

What does multiculturalism have to do with it Zac? This is socially responsible business. It recognises that business is a part of society, not above it or outside it, but an integral part of it. Without society business could not exist, so it shouldn't be a leech on it. Socially responsible business builds and sustains society, not bleeding it.

Murray86 - Different cultures, which really means different societies, have different ideas as to what is socially responsible. Your ideas have emerged from a unique historical stream with an emphasis on fairness and egalitarianism. Studies have shown that countries that have become multi-cultural exhibit an erosion of trust. This is one of the emotions displayed on this message board where people fear for their children and grand children's future becuase they can no longer afford housing due to globalism and its high levels of immigration. To put it bluntly people are uncomfortable about being driven out of the city of their birth by rich foreigners. Studying the society that the immigrants have emerged from reveals that they can have starkly different notions concerning fairness so this fear may be justified. Furthermore integration which means 'becoming us' is now not a requirement and some circles regard it as being a racist and unreasonable demand.

No you do, your version has nothing to to with multi-culturism unless you mean old style white man empire type exploitation of the wee darkies taking anything off them you want because you have the gunboats.

Why then are our 'white man' societies notable for being high trust and theirs low trust?

ideals don't live or die on their viability.

Wow, Great post Murray. Please start your political party and I will join you.

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And our dear leader thus spake - pearls of wisdom

He sayeth: People living in cars, or under bridges, that's not the NZ we want, and it's not acceptable

Well, its a bit late, you can't jawbone your way out of this one. In the end it all comes back to the misguided belief you can bring in unlimited numbers of wealthy blow-ins who can out-bid and out-spend the locals without first ensuring the supply of housing is comensurate with the numbers of blow-ins

The failure to do such a simple task has created another foreseeable problem

Like it or not, the time has come to turn off the immigration spiggot completely and sort this out

what policy on immigration did he actually change that allowed net immigration to in crease? Or is it a policy that he did not introduce to stop it?

without having the figures to had of the migration numbers, he cannot control nz citizens returning home.

tks

Say 60,000 per year new citizens (not incuding students or returning citizens) over the last 10 years = 600,000 new Aucklanders

Um, hello, "earth to Auckland".

(a) There are other places in NZ who take immigrants.
(b) The 60k figure is an all time record, not an average like you have used it.

http://www.mbie.govt.nz/publications-research/research/migrants---monito...

Ralph,
Just one or two points

Auckland is the International Terminal with easy access to the far east and that is important if you have had to fly via Singapore. The regional flying inside NZ is a deterrent.
Auckland is warm and relatively light winds, the sand flies are welcoming.
Auckland has a large property market to speculate in, always a drawcard.
So its not that easy..

All good and interesting thoughts that don't change the fact that 6400 migrants settled in Canterbury in that period.

67,600 is the latest.

Also in the 14/15 year 80,000 thousand students (One in six international students gained residence) and 170,000 temporary work visas , all these people need housing so actually the 60,000 is nowhere near the total volume..

cb,
That is interesting data, I never knew that residency figure.
Of course, some view NZ residency as a gateway to Australia, do you have that figure?

And only one in six international students gained residency.

Do you think its not enough? I think only highly talented should stay. Like 1 in 100 on their will take jobs from locals.

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Maybe Nick Smiths political advisor should consider not having him interviewed in front of a roaring fire when being interviewed on the plight of the homeless. It might lead one to consider he is arrogant and out of touch....just saying...

My thoughts exactly when I saw that interview, it was insensitive to the nth degree. One minute seeing run down hovels that people have to live in, the next seeing him situated in some luxurious room with a roaring fire behind him.

Indeed. That roaring fire thing was really bad. First thing I thought was "tw*t". Lording it over the peasants from his manor.

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What a fantastic caring feudalistic society we are building under this government. Human beings becoming mere farm animals to profit off and shift around like cattle. Just disgusting

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Not sure if anyone else agrees, but I've noticed a real shift in kiwi culture the last 5-10 years. From a society that looked out for one another, to a society that looks out only for number 1. The 'fear of missing out' has turned good people in a bunch of self-centered greedy fools. As long as you smile while you're doing it, then it's completely acceptable. If you speak out against it, you're told you have a bad attitude....

I can't say conclusively, but this just happens to coincide with the period that JK has been running the show. Coincidence? Perhaps. It's warming to see that people are start to wake up to this negative shift in culture that's been creeping into our society. Can we bring back the kiwi culture of old?

That culture is still there but in limited supply. People appreciate more than just money when things aren't crazy like they are now. It seemed like this in 1986 and people felt they were doing well. Although they were happier than when we hit 11% unemployment in the early 90s.

I think that's an insightful comment, Although I suspect it is driven by far wider forces than JK, like the Kardashians etc. My kids were watching the Hunger Games movies this past wet weekend and I couldn't help draw the symbolism with watching the homeless people on 'the Nation' while scrolling past the endless coverage of 'the batchelor'. Maybe in the rise of Bernie Sanders are we seeing the start of a wider awareness that the balance has gone too far?

I agree with the view that NZ has become a much more self centred place, but like others I think it is far wider than Key. BUT, I think the popularity of Key's govt reflects that more self centred reality.
Personally, I am quite religious and I think the marked decline in religious belief is playing a big part in all of this.
Also, when people are feeling wealthier (even if on paper) then I think sometimes an 'air of invincibility' comes over people. No man is an island, but there are plenty who think they are. An economic crash would shake some of those views up.

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Do not fear Fritz, property is the new religion. Their good book is the property press. The disciples are Nick, Graeme and Len. The masses make daily prayers to the prophet John to keep away the evils of taxes and depreciation. They drink the good wine of bank debt and foreign trusts. Their salvation is capital gains. The property lords prayer is as follows:

Our father Olly, hallowed be thy name,
Thy Auckland come, thy buying will be done on the North Shore as in the Double Grammar Zone,
Give us today our excessive debt,
Forgive our tennants and the first home buyer,
Do not bring us to sell, but deliver us from reality,
For the capital gains and the foreign trusts are yours,
Now and through to 2020,
Amen.

In Key we trust!

Ha ha
Who is the sacrifice? The future? First home buyers?

There is nothing like adversity to bring many, if not all, down to earth. I suffered quite badly in the wake of the gfc and that changed my outlook into one that looks more toward the common good. Having said that, adversity seems to drive some people into an even more self centred space...

Just my opinion, but the fear of death, be it through war or other danger, brings societies together and drives people to religion. It also gives us all a reality check on what's really important. Surprisingly it is your fellow man, not your bank account/retirement fund/investment property.

Nice sluggy, but I rather than describing the process as fear driving people to religion I would suggest the looming reality of mortality makes people reevaluate the evidence before their eyes.

The "Nouveau Riche" generally appear not to have left behind their personal insecurities, still fearful perhaps that their relatively recently accumulated wealth may melt away!
I have a theory (right or wrong) that the Nouveau Riche haven't let go of their personal/emotional memory of childhood, which for whatever reason or circumstance made them feel less worthy than many other more financially stable individuals and families.
More often than not, this childhood memory connected to "social worth" but more often that, but not always, represented wealth disparity.
I suspect that some personal insecurities could have been 'fed' by social remnants of feudalism inadvertently fostered by parents and grandparents.
This social DNA seems to present itself in New Zealand and other relatively young colonies, but could well apply to many who presently occupy the realms of political power?
The very early settlers and pioneers understood the need for everyone to work towards a more common goal, and our former agalitarian attitude illustrates our respect and value for each other.
From what I have read, and learned from my own parents and grandparents, who despite being land owners, also experienced the harshness of the Depression, there appeared to exist a moral responsibility to share resources with their fellow man.
Back then, as well, Political power emulated this sense of responsibility towards governing for all citizens adhering to integrity and honour, which appears almost nonexistent in today's politicians - many of whom appear to put more energy into enriching themselves and their like-minded Noveau Riche, than attending to the needs of all New Zealanders.
Ideology and it's inherent inattention to anything other than enhancement of self, powerfully masks this lack of integrity, honour, conscience and responsibility.
Adherence to the dogma of Free Market economics is merely a lame excuse for not accepting responsibility for these emotional shortcomings, which are played out in a psychopathic disassociation from the plight of needy, resource depleted citizens.
Reading the posts of so many who understand our social responsibility is truly heartening, and they have illustrated many good common sense measures with which to 'turn around' the sorry mess created since wealth and personal enrichment became the reason d'être of the many politicians since the mid- 1980s, which incidentally co-incides with the rise and the rise of the "Nouveau Riche."

the whole fabric of NZ has changed, we are now reliant on cheap imported staff to run many of our industries and with that you will change the fabric of our society
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/article.cfm?c_id=15034...
The operator of an agency bringing rich American tourists to New Zealand says the lack of Kiwis working in tourism here could harm the industry.
Ian Swain has customised high-end holidays to New Zealand for 30 years from his base in Philadelphia but says the number of foreign workers here was conspicuous.

Yes and it starts from the very top.

It starts in the human heart.

The separating line between good and evil does not run between genders or ethnic groups, skin colours, nationalities, religious groups or between leaders and voters. It lies directly down the middle of each human heart.

(paraphrased and with apologies to Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)

The fact that you felt the need to begin by saying, "not sure if anyone else agrees", says to me you thought it may be controversial. Its is as clear as day.

I'm constantly flabbergasted by the greed and lack of compassion being exhibited by people in this country and it is not unique to the cities. I have recently been living in a small town in the South Island and it was just as bad, if not worse, than what I now experience in Auckland.

Updated with Key looking at NZ$3 bln of income tax cuts in 2017.

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A cunning plan to borrow another $3b to give us tax cuts. Just remember it's Labour's fault they had to borrow the money, not the Government's responsibility.

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this is clearly a election bribe, yet many wont see it, we can not afford it

Obvious to us but a lot of voters will be oblivious to the debt that comes with it. I benefited from the previous cut and I would benefit from a future cut. Good for my investments, questionable value for the nation given needs elsewhere and the government debt.

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What is really starting to get to me is that JK thinks the average NZ is a fool and they will continue to buy into his bribes and deception. Wake up NZ...JK's ego needs it's daily fill. He's spinning lies and deception, and avoiding doing what needs to be done. When will we stop lapping up this BS? When will we limit immigration, when will we put a stop to foreign buyers buying existing property? ie doing the things that actually need to be done, instead of running around and smiling about how wonderful everything is.

Leadership in this country these days appears to be based upon ones abilities to avoid responsibility, for any issue, at all costs. How else could you explain the competency of Auckland Council and the National Government? It doesn't make any sense otherwise.

What is really starting to get to me is that JK thinks the average NZ is a fool and they will continue to buy into his bribes and deception

Well, he has been elected 3 times now. I'd say a good portion of the voting public are pretty stupid.

Plutocray - I'm not going to disagree with you.....

Winston Churchill - 'The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.'

Don't blame me - I voted for Kodos.

All our politicians are atrocious, whether Key, Little, Peters, etc etc. The whole house needs to be cleaned out and reset from the beginning.

Who is Ken Panama?

Just out of interest I googled the name "Ken Panama", and was shocked it was quite hard to find one!

But got there in the end, Mrs Panama's little boy, married Stephanie:
http://www.sunfunphoto.com/Client-Folders/Jan-2015/StephanieandKenPanama...

Hopefully the 3 billion in cuts will be for the lower tax brackets, and be paid for by tax increases of 3 billion on those on higher incomes, and a CGT on non owner occupied homes

In May 2014 12% of families in NZ paid 77% of the net tax take:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/budget-2014/10047745/Budget-2014-Back-in...

Those 12% probably have made a fortune in untaxed capital gain, as they are most likely to own properties

Now you're just making stuff up.

I think Key is in the process of officially abandoning any pretence of governing for the wider long term best interests. He is now shamelessly solely pitching to his potential voting base. Will we swallow it or will there be a resurgence of kiwi egalitarian values as we see our fellow citizens in increasing deprivation?

New Zealand has never been Egalitarian that is a myth. Egalitarianism means all people are equal. As Maori have always been unequal & disadvantaged compared to Pakeha since 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi was ignored until the 1970's by the NZ Government/Courts.

NZ was a state-owned & controlled welfare state before 1984 was not egalitarian. Even racist laws targeted at Maori are just being removed.

Confirmation again that the Boomers and X have screwed Y and the working class. Investors are the problem in NZ not supply. People with equity cannot help themselves with interest rates so low. They have to have those rentals no matter what.
Those who are just entering the market are facing loans around 9 to 10 times income which has to be pretty scary. That is if you can get one.

Gordon - will you please put on a suit, head to Wellington, and be the Bernie Sanders that this country needs.

Some one with some balls and who can speak the truth needs to sort this out and clearly no-one in Auckland Council or National Government is up to the task.

I cannot believe the government is not looking at getting rid if negative gearing. It is so unfair on those who are trying to get their first home and who of course cannot deduct interest as an expense. I can however believe it when I look at how many MP's own rentals including Aunty Helen herself. Go figure.

..just what is the cost to the NZ tax base due to negative gearing on rentals? I cant seem to find much on this at all, but surely it is eroding the tax base to a decent degree by now?

Gordon, honestly have you not seen the majority of MP's own investment portfolios? That's your answer along with nearly 40- 50% of NZders themselves owning t least 1 rental

27-28 years time we will hit peak retiree population. There's no way everyone will be able to do the kiwi rental retirement. There's also no way the working age population will be able to support everyone. We're in for a wild ride with no fixes on the horizon.

I totally agree. The population and voting make up will see to some changes of not only government but what is encouraged I'm sure. Problem is for many it will come too late in their working life.

What has Gordon done other than write numerous repetitive comments?
I can just see it now, Gordon, retired at 50, in a shiny new suit, leaving his 2M mansion and driving down to Wellington in his fancy car to save the downtrodden.

"Confirmation again that the Boomers and X have screwed Y and the working class."

Because there are no working class Boomers and Gen X getting screwed?

@ Gordon. Not true. I know many X's getting screwed! My friends and family

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'That's not the New Zealand we want', says Key about homelessness. Perhaps he could tell us a little about the New Zealand he wants. Because the one we are getting is not one to admire. It is characterised by rampant property greed, ensuring that many of our children - no matter their professional careers - will never have the security and independence of home-ownership in our largest city, and likely within other cities too. And when young professionals cannot buy reasonably, those on lower incomes are startlingly vulnerable to homelessness.

In effect, those fortunate to own property, indeed multiple properties, become the overlords of an increasing proportion of the population. Not so long ago people came to this country largely in order to escape the shackles and dangers of exactly the same dependencies, and start new lives on their own two feet. The New Zealand that 'we' (whoever 'we' are) are creating belongs in the nineteenth century.

Promised tax cuts merely further enrich the wealthy. But doubtless they'll play well to the same greed and wilful social blindness that are determining our nation's future.

workingman - JK told us about the NZ he wants a few weeks back. He wants NZ to become the Switzerland of the South Pacific.

So we're right on track. but this homelessness and poverty is just a nasty distraction from building the financial empire that we are to become. Don't know about you guys/girls, but I can't wait...!

Ah yes, Independent Observer, of course - Switzerland. It all makes sense. Increasing homelessness, increasing immigration of all sorts, increasing third world disease, increasing environmental degradation, increases in almost every measure of social failure and dislocation, increasing sharp practice in public life - all these are nothing in comparison to increasing house prices. And when our ramshackle Auckland houses are as expensive as, say, those in Geneva, we will have arrived. The Swiss will wonder just how we managed it.

What are the rates on homelessness and welfare in Switzerland? I bet NZ blows it away by comparison

It will deeply unpopular to say so, but voters, by and large over the long haul, get exactly what they vote for.

The much needed Auckland Unitary plan almost certainly won't get approved by council because that would be political suicide for those councillors. Auckland home owners are not interested in having cheap housing built in their suburbs nor having the value of their houses drop by any significant margin.

For any elected body to mount a genuine attack on housing affordability is to start a war against the largest financial asset of those who voted you into power.

Geneva:

Price to Income Ratio: 9.28
Mortgage as Percentage of Income: 55.66%
Loan Affordability Index: 1.80
Price to Rent Ratio - City Centre: 28.30
Price to Rent Ratio - Outside of Centre: 28.67
Gross Rental Yield (City Centre): 3.53%
Gross Rental Yield (Outside of Centre): 3.49%

Similar to Auckland. You guys have got to get with the progamme - Auckland Global-Super-City.

You need more than a property bubble to be global let alone super. You actually have to produce something and be innovative.

Geneva has CERN and a major presence of international organizations like the UN, plus traditional watch making and jewellery industries and private banking. Nestle HQ is only a few km away from it.

Hardly a comparison to Auckland.

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Passionate Johnny Boy - might as well say talk to the hand. He has cheer-leaded the housing crisis and now tells those he has put into cars to talk to WINZ. Never mind - the one percenters are doing well.

Society is judged in my opinion by how we treat the less fortunate and on that scale NZ sucks big time.

NZ scores very highly as a social welfare state when compared to most countries in the world. However it needs to be kept under control so that we don't start throwing good money after bad. Most sensible people understand that.

Yes lets only let some people live in houses, some in garages, and some in cars...is that your definition of "needs to be kept under control" Zachy ???? Hows the portfolio going raised those rents and purchased more recently?

I would prefer for the homeless to flash mob at 251 Massey Rd, Mangere, at John Key's state of the art, newly refurbished guest house for the paupers of the world. Offically called "Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre".

You cannot, year after year, import the social problems of the world in the shape of bogus students, Asian "investors" trying to wash their loot from their corrupt home countries or outright pauper importation - and expect anything else than a breakdown in the social fabric of our society. New Zealand has a large underclass as is, but John Key has added to that with his misdirected immigration policy.

Either we become (as it now looks) something like the US, where everyone can come and nobody is taken care of, or we re-assert our sovereignty over who can live here and who can buy land and houses here and stay the compassionate society we grew up in.

Cannot have it both ways. Welfare states cannot provide welfare for the entire world.

Aucklands problems mostly lead to one main suspect, but dare not mention its name or speak it out loud.

A practical plan for the supercity would to be buy all the ports of New Zealand and direct the business through Auckland.
Secondly arrange the inevitable return of Central Goverment to Auckland and the the merger of the regions into one provice called..you guessed..Auckland.
That should generate enough cash flow without having to declare war on Australia.
For futher details see the Peter Sellars movie.."The mouse that roared"

Im sorry, my calculation was wrong, our national GDP is only half of New South Wales so we wouldnt be able to afford an Opera House.
The super city is a non starter, .....unless we seek union with Victoria.....

"...the Prime Minister should go to South Auckland and meet some of these people." and the odds of him being lynched should be pretty good?

Tax cuts while we still have huge debt. Which will be poured into property creating an even bigger mess, has he learned nothing from 2009?

Oh wait, duh, he's replaying the same get me elected card, offer 30 pieces of silver and gets to be PM for another term, probably work.

People say John Key has done well leading NZ through the recession? that maybe true in the effects we have seen up til now, now its started to show

To be fair its hard to argue National have done a bad job, 8 years on we've had no housing collapse or continued high or worsening employment, so it could have been a lot worse. Now whether that was luck ie "do nothing" was indeed to best way I guess we cant know.

"its started to show" because the global mess is getting worse.

The housing market should have been reined in years ago to prevent exactly the situation we have today. We're going to have to pay the piper at some point and the longer we defer the worse the social consequences will be.

Yes during Auntie Helen's 1st or second term, but that would have cost votes and Government income, death knell to being re-elected and spending on "wanted" social programs, so never happened. JK's tax cuts in 2008/9 just made it worse and his idea of a 2017 tax cut will just adding icing to the property market mess.

If you become the Captain of a ship that is already sunk (GFC), you can't make it any more sunk.

Well I'd say we have a lot worse to come, so actually I'd disagree in terms of sinking. He could just beach it or death dive it into the Mariana Trench, I think he's picking the Trench option.

I've always been a big fan of the Trench, "boldly going where no man has gone before".

It's so romance don't you think?

Somehow I think pitch dark and bloody cold as a bit un-romantic myself.....

May be it is time to build a wall ?

There is a problem look at the homeless people they cried.....we need to take more from some of you and redistribute to others that will solve it all.......and year after year after year more problems arose.....and none could see their own insanity.......

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Which NZ is a signatory of.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

And where does it state that the State must supply these things????

Or are you just twisting one article to fit your agenda without acknowledging the full Declaration and the history??? The State is not allowed to interfere in a way that stops people from attaining those basics for themselves!!

Bring on the debate Justice if your up to it!!

"... higher spending needs linked to record high net migration ..." which sums up the core problem, as Key's mismanaged immigration program is not only costing taxpayer money but through more competition on resources and opportunities most of us also individually.

A significant lowering in immigration numbers would significantly defuse the housing crisis.

But what does John Key do? Nothing! Oh sorry, not nothing. He is bragging around about wanting to significantly INCREASE the number of "refugees" he likes to invite and waste our money on.

No as Auckland has been mismanaged for decades by past councils. If nothing is done to spread the NZ population around NZ properly then 40% of the NZ Population will live in Auckland by 2038.

New Zealand needs more immigration in the regions as 1. low birth rates below replacement level. 2. fast ageing population. 3. the regions becoming ghost towns. 4. less taxpayers to keep pensions sustainable.

NZ should be taking in much more refugees as it hasn't increased its refugee quota in almost 30 years. Ireland takes in 5,000 refugees with a similar population to New Zealand. Norway takes in 2,120 refugees annually while taking in 8,000 extra refugees from Syria with a similar population size to NZ.

NZ would be taking in 3,000 refugees annually if it was equal per capita to Australia. The current NZ refugee quota is pathetic & embarrassing.

As Zach is pointing out below, those who like to support refugees should register with the government and carry the cost. This solution would work for me, although I still feel very uncomfortable with the threat of violence and terror emanating from those communities.

Australia is today paying a huge price for Hawke-Keating transplanting entire villages from Lebanon to Oz in the 1980s. Australia now has an endemic terror problem in return for the hypocritical do-gooding of a few irresponsible PMs. Turnbull's lovely Syrians will add to the trouble, completely foreseeably.

So how much will you give for your good conscience? Ot were you talking about other people's money paying for your moralizing?

The number of refugees the country should take in is quite a polarizing issue and it would appear those opposed to it are in the minority although it is hard to tell. One thing that is clear is that it is a very expensive exercise. Much more expensive than many realise with social costs as well as fiscal ones. Costs to locals as well as the refugees themselves. Some people that will likely need to bear the cost more than others are the local poor who will see their assistance reduced in areas like housing and medical care and job opportunities.

Governments have a habit of saying yeah sure we can do it to look good at the UN while doing absolutely nothing to accommodate the influx. They just expect everyone to work it out. It strikes me that this has a curious parallel with Chinese village elders during the cultural revolution who enthusiastically donated their entire harvests for export in response to a call to repay the National debt to Russia only to see their people starve later.

I suggest we have a national register of those who support bringing in more refugees and those who don't. The supporters can then be taxed at a higher rate to pay for it.

Those in favour underestimate what is coming at them. Not just costwise. Look at Europe. Mass sexual enslavement in Rotherham, mass sexual assault in Cologne, mass murder in London, Madrid, Paris, Brussels to just name a few.

If you follow local media, you will know that there are daily smaller attacks out of religious hate against our way of life. Those "incidents" are not making the headlines in NZ, I know, but there is already a low level simmering jihad being waged in many European countries.

Those countries, like Hungary and Poland that do not want to live with terrorism are subjected to media defamation stirred up by the proponents of uncontrolled mass migration like the NGOs financed by George Soros.

New Zealand does not need all this trouble. Establishing the substrate of terrorism in NZ is a very bad move. You will remember my words when the first bombs detonate in the global supercity.

PeterPen, I totally agree with every word you have written and already avoid crowded places. It's just that so many of our own people are against us on this matter. The major theme running through most of my comments is that you cannot have this lovely egalitarian world under globalism. Powerful forces are at play that are extremely dangerous. All people like us can do currently is "ride the tiger".

I suggest all Landlords have to fill all bedrooms with bunk beds with all new immigrants to have a kip in and charge just a 1$ per head. All totally tax payable, as par for the coarse.

Might actually work. Landlords with multiple properties, will never have to work again. Neither will our immigrants. Rinse and repeat.

We can all relax and go home...and forget about rentals ....and subsidies by Ratepayers. and Taxpayers.

Just stirring the pot.

In Europe there is already a new class of entrepreneurs that look out for buildings they can lease to the government for housing refugees. They're making themselves rich doing this.

They are not looking out any more, but raking in millions already. In Berlin the Arab clans that already control the underworld are now big in the "refugee business". It is not a secret either, but well documented in the media.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3536034/Berlin-police-arrest-cri...

The refugee business is probably the most depraved perversion ever to disgrace the face of the world. Using pseudo-humanitarian moral blackmail to effectively wage war on a society and even effectively ban any open discussion on the evil that is being perpetrated - is beyond belief and will have epochal consequences.

Next time I visit one of the seething cesspits european cities you cite, this middle aged Kiwi will now be on guard against mass sexual assault ! Over there I observe millions of muslim citizens going about their lives like any others. Peaceful, integrated, dynamic contributors to society, wanting the same things as all of us and as horrified as we all are at the infinitesimally tiny minority of young disaffected crazies, most not practising muslims, who adopt fringe fanatical beliefs that fit their twisted world view and do these awful things. There were already 3 million mostly muslim Turks living in Germany before the Syrian crisis.

Pick pockets will be your main danger. The disaffected are not an infinitesimally tiny minority as the protection the Brussels bomber received in their neighbourhood highlighted. The prison population statistics, unemployment statistics and welfare statistics reveal that Europe has effectively imported an underclass.

Wishful thinking. Some 30% of Muslims in Europe are known to support Islamic radicalism. I can point you to the social studies that provide proof.

If muslim immigrants are consistently an 'imported underclass' you'd expect their social statistics would be universal across Europe when they are not. Outcomes across the UK and Europe for muslims vary widely, e.g. imprisonment rates, indicating much of the issue is the social environment of the country they settle in and not the inherent nature of Islamic people , as appears to be Peter Pens assertion.
The heinous Maalbeek bombers were assisted by just a few sympathisers – claiming that proves widespread muslim support for the murder of innocents is as silly as saying all Irish Catholics would have actively provided succour to IRA bombers during the troubles.
Much of Europe is locked into a demographic downwards spiral unless they can replace the boomers. Immigration is the only way they will be be able to avoid meltdown.

The countries of Europe would greatly benefit from lower population. There are different outcomes in different countries but that doesn't mean much. In the high security prisons of the UK 20% are Muslim and the UK has a 5% Muslim population. The UK is one of the countries with a better "social environment". In Germany something like 80% of Turks receive benefits of some sort and are the least integrated of all even though they have been there the longest.

European countries would benefit environmentally from lower populations but the economic and social consequences would be dire. Some projections suggest Russia will in time not have enough population to maintain its critical infrastructure. Over time countries that allow higher levels of properly managed immigration will provide a better standard of living for its citizens than those which don't.

This is all just a melange of wishful thinking and hearsay.

Said immigrant groups are a huge problem as is and getting millions more will only aggravate the situation. There is no logical reason to believe that by repeating mistakes one can solve problems.

OIO OIO OIO OIO....its off to school we go.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/80062197/land-sale-approved-a...

Computer generated Key features of an immi-grant invasion.

this is an interesting argument
to fund our schools we now need go sell our land and make it a condition of the sale
the left are saying it is wrong the right are saying no problem.
my problem with it is we only settled for 100k its one zero short. if he had fund the local schools to a million I would have had no problem with it

Read on the net that in the US they are selling visas for $500k to raise money for a stadium...
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/17/price-for-a-green-card-500000-stadium-sta...

That is the business model NZ should adopt and get the Cycle way built perhaps ?

from the mouth of babes comes the truth. I don't blame him he is a consequence of his upbringing as they say the apple does not fall far from the tree he probably thinks its funny because of the circles he moves in where mommy or daddy will buy him a house and he does not mix with middle nz or below so has no idea of others make a living and survive.
but then again he could be rebelling as he sees the real picture and is starting to form his own view
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/05/parents-political-be...