Opposition leader Simon Bridges' figures on rising rents are more interesting for what they don't say than what they do say

An interesting press release arrived at interest.co.nz on Monday from the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges.

In it he pointed out that the median rent for the whole of New Zealand had increased by $10 dollars a week in the month from December last year to January this year.

Interest.co.nz does not usually pay too much attention to the monthly rent and bond figures published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, because they can be quite volatile from month to month.

We prefer to use the quarterly figures, which tend to give a more reliable indication of rental market trends - you can find our last quarterly report on rents here.

But for those, like Bridges, who like to follow the monthly figures, interest.co.nz maintains graphs which show the monthly movement in rents for 24 districts around the country, going back to January 2002 (here are the links to the graphs for All of NZ, Auckland Districts, Central  North Island Districts, Wellington Districts and South Island Districts).

With our interest piqued by Bridges' press release, we decided to have a look at how rents had changed around the country between December last year and January this year, and the results were surprising.

Over the 24 districts for which we graph the monthly changes, rents had increased in 10, declined in 13 and were unchanged in one (see chart).

What was particularly noticeable was that rents had declined overall in Auckland and Wellington during that period, two areas where pressures on the housing market have been greatest.

In Auckland the decline was greatest in Manukau where the median dropped by $20 a week, followed by Papakura with a drop of $18.

In Wellington the decline in median rents was led by Porirua, where it was down by $50 a week, followed by Wellington City with a fall of $30 a week.

Of the 10 areas where median rents increased between December and January, the biggest increase was in Dunedin, up $30, followed by Rotorua which was up $20.

The only district where the median rent was unchanged was Napier, where it had been stuck on $400 a week since October.

Median Rents ($ per week)
December 2018 - January 2019
District Dec-18 Jan-19 Change 
Central Auckland 550 540 -10
Rodney 540 530 -10
North Shore 590 580 -10
Waitakere 500 505 5
Manukau 550 530 -20
Papakura 530 512 -18
Franklin 475 480 5
Hamilton 395 400 5
Tauranga 480 485 5
Rotorua 350 370 20
Whakatane 360 320 -40
Napier 400 400 No change
Palmerston North 350 325 -25
New Plymouth 350 365 15
Kapiti 425 430 5
Porirua 500 450 -50
Wellington City 550 520 -30
Upper Hutt 460 450 -10
Lower Hutt 440 450 10
Nelson 380 375 -5
Christchurch 380 385 5
Timaru 322 310 -12
Queenstown-Lakes 650 645 -5
Dunedin 340 370 30
All NZ 430 440 10

But there was one other figure in Bridges' press release that caught our attention.

He said the national median rent had increased by $40 a week since the Labour-led Government had taken office, which he attributed to their "..poorly thought through policies".

The figures he was referring to were for the period from November 2017 (the current Government took up the reins of power on October 26, 2017) to January this year, over which time the national median rent increased by 10%.

Which set us wondering how much the median rent had increased during the prior equivalent period of the previous National-led Government. It turns out that over the period from November 2015 to January 2017, when National was in power, the national median rent increased by 8.3%.

Not as much as under Labour, but the difference is hardly anything to crow about.

And let's not forget, the pressures the housing market is facing were a long time in the making. So they will probably also be a while in the fixing.

Below is the full text of Bridges' press release: 

Median rents have climbed another $10 a week, with New Zealanders now paying $40 a week more to put a roof over their families’ heads as a direct result of this Government’s poorly thought through policies, National Party Leader Simon Bridges says.

“This Government continues to drive up the cost of living. Median rents have risen by another $10 a week in the last month alone, bringing the total increase under this Government to $40 a week or more than $2,000 a year.

“That’s $40 a week less that New Zealand families have to spend on other essentials like groceries, petrol and electricity. Households are having to work longer and harder just to stay still as the cost of living continues to climb and the Government moves to drive it up further.

“In dollar terms, rents have risen 2.5 times faster under this Government than the previous National-led Government.

“This is the direct result of poorly thought through policies like extending the bright-line test, imposing more regulations on landlords, banning foreign investment and the threat of a capital gains tax. All of these policies discourage private rentals and drive up rents.

“These policies are hurting the third of New Zealanders who don’t own their own home, and it is affecting our poorest the most.

“These are not the actions of a kind and compassionate Government, but rather a naïve and irresponsible one.

“National is focused on keeping the cost of living down and ensuring New Zealanders have more money in their back pockets to help them get ahead. We will keep taxes lower and manage the Government’s books responsibly and grow the economy to deliver higher wages and a better standard of living.

“Right now we have a Government that is just costing New Zealanders more.”

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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91 Comments

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17

Lol what a noob.

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13

Gauche, almost inarticulate at times. Yet the man has been to Oxford and was a crown prosecutor. That simply doesn’t add up. National are bereft of effective, incisive leadership. Ironically so were Labour after Clark bailed out. MMP was meant to straighten out and improve the calibre and conduct of our MPs. On the face of it, with a few exceptions, it has done the opposite

Hang in there Soimon. Soon somebody will be along to knife you in the back and put you out of your misery.

Who'd be silly enough to do that!
Much better to stand back and watch him do it all by himself and keep their hands clean - all of them.
Whoever the next Leader is, better to do it from rock bottom than risk a further fall after assassinating the incumbent ( Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison? Rudd/Gillard?Rudd?)

Yes pot calling kettle. But in balance he hasn't dismissed the rent increases under national, the interest.co article implies he did not mention that.
Headline reads:
"...figures on rising rents are more interesting for what they don't say"

Agree, its pretty likely that unless Nats can do a massive turn around with a new leader of the like of John Key mk2 that Labour will win the next election. So why stab Simon in the back when in effect he'll fall on his own sword at the next defeat (I am sure with some help)? Keep your hands clean sounds a better strategy. Of course pollies are pollies because of their massive ego and ambition and will be convinced in themselves they can win.

A win is pretty much guaranteed...did the ABs say that just before the quarter final, I know the whole country did.

If he keeps those statements up about returning to a speculators paradise shoot him now as National have no chance. He would be taking the fall for their policy though

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18

Thats the Nats for you, I wonder if Simon would care to comment on the enormous rise in the cost of living that this Country experienced over the past decade? It was so nice of his Party to have stepped in and done something about it, just as they did with so many of the other pressing issues that presented themselves during Nationals 3 glorious terms in power.

I would hope Simon Bridges speaking on rent was a sign that the Nats are waking up to the costs imposed on New Zealanders merely to live on these isles. Your are not quite there yet Simon.
Labour on the other hand just see it as identity politics, and just want shift more people onto government incomes, but haven't worked out that there is real tax paid by a few people to do that.
I'm looking for the party who will put New Zealanders first (no not Winston). Who would promote real incomes instead of promoting GDP growth by keeping our incomes down. The Party who will decrease our costs, and make sure we retain the benefits of our enterprise.
Neither party has been interested at all in that. Labour will never do it, but will the Nats get the idea ?

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18

In 2008 National got in by campaigning on a housing crisis that needed addressing, and then proceeded to intentionally exacerbate it for the next decade. They also campaigned on no increase to GST. I'm not saying that they're completely dishonest, well ackshually... I am.

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13

I seem to remember John Key campaigning on closing the wage gap with Australia as well. That didn't work out so well as they went ahead and imported the largest number of migrants we've ever seen, keeping downward pressure on wages.

Sorry to say KH that you are just another who wants the government to support you through life. Funny until now I thought you were Asian and self reliant.

You really don't know many asians if you think they're universally self-reliant. They stay focused on their speciality, almost never learn something outside of it and rely on their family to a huge degree.

The number of asians who don't know how to book a flight then get on a plane by themselves never ceases to amaze me.

They know how to save and get ahead better than the dumb-asses on here .... as a general rule (dont want to offend any dumb-asses)

Rents up 10% since Nov 2017. Is this due to an actual shortage or is it a “debt-fueled rental bubble”?

Auckland rents down.. what shortage?

I had a look at trademe - there are no 2 bedroom apartments under $500 in Wellington CBD. There are a lot below $450, and even a few below $400 in Auckland CBD.

Auckland is starting to look more attractive. Maybe I'll head there if I don't get the raise I want.

Don't be crazy. You're best off staying.
Rents are going to go up at an extortionate rate this year. Really going to buck the trend of ~3% p.a. Housing isn't going to buck it's 7 year trend, though; it's going to double by 2026. Ashley Church told us so.

So next year, rents will be the the same as Wellington. And you won't have nearly as much chance at securing a public sector job for life in Auckland.

What do you think people/investors will do when they can't sell their property? Why rent them out of course. Watch median rents drop in Auckland over the next year. It's already started...

Rental companies are getting increasingly nervous. On one side housing stock is taken away by slumlords selling. At the other side tenants have options again. Day of reckoning approaching fast.

Oh that'll be the 'underlying' shortage.
You know, that really important one which heavily influences market prices. Also the one that you can pretty much make up depending on how many people you feel occupy a dwelling these days.

Pragmatist, looks to me like Auckland rents were up 4.2% last year. What data are you looking at?

https://www.interest.co.nz/property/97823/strong-rent-growth-wellington-...

Look up...

Just pointing out that the Heart of the so-called housing shortage is going the wrong way.. whoops.

You’ve finally lost the plot if you think that is true. Month to month rents have been going both up and down, which is to be expected, but the overall trend is clearly up. Given your claim about “going the wrong way”, do you expect Auckland median rents to be lower in Feb 2020 than they are this month?

Depends how much money this daft govt pumps out in landlord subsidies. But about the same would be my guess.

So rents going the “wrong way”, but will be about the same, unless government policy dictates otherwise.... Not the most decisive or confident fellow, are you?

Are you seriously daft enough to think that there are no forces that could possibly act on the market and rents really can only go up? Talk about brainwashed.. was it Ashley Church or Tony Alexander?

Nowhere did I say or imply that. It is obviously in the realm of possibility that rents could go down, but this isn’t what the data shows is happening. My assessment is that the market forces pushing rents up are greater than those pushing them down, and that this is likely to continue and become more pronounced in the coming months.

Cool, you have yourassessment, and i'll give it all the consideration its due..

No you won't, which is why your life circumstances are what they are today.

I will give it all the consideration its due, and yes, My life circumstances are quite good thanks :)

Good on you sunshine, whatever you’ve got to tell yourself to get through the day. Stiff upper lip and all that.

Maybe if you pulled your head out of your property bubble you'd realise there is far more to life than accumulating wooden boxes.

My life is going just fine thanks, Good friends, good job, good partner, and even though I don't own an overpriced Auckland property, actually doing just fine financially, well on target to hit my goals.

Want a medal?

No, but if you could cut out the childish character attacks that'd be swell.

Most of what I've said is just criticism of your views/assertions. And toughen up.

Don't let this distract you from the fact that Hector is gonna be running 3 Honda Civic's with spoon engines. On top of that he just came into Harry's and ordered 3 t66 turbo's with NOS's and a Motec System Exhaust.

I have a 1973 Honda Civic with only 53,000km on the clock. I purchased it from a nanna that had it sitting in her garage for most of its life. A few issues due to sitting for so long, rubber seals, breaks etc, but all sorted and running well now. 1200cc manual.

You just lost all street cred with that post.
You no Hector.

Geezus.
Better break in and check out that heat, Dan.

Since we know that if the price is rising, it is either foreigners speculating and or a debt fueled boom I think we can safely say this is a bubble and will crash by at least 50% very soon, probably this year. I wouldn't be moving out of mummies house and going renting just yet.

@BLSH. The rental market and the for sale market are disconnected. When National let the foreign speculative buyers in which marginally raised property prices the banks rose to the occasion and matched the price increase by raising credit availability. Thus leading to the huge price increase. Rental properties were used not for yeild and providing housing but to be traded as commodities. All houses being built are for owner occupiers and investors and not for housing people. When i say investors i mean some one who buys on leverage sits on it till values increase and then flick them for a profit. Thankfully I see that coming to an end.

National need to come up with a comprehensive housing/urbanisation reform package, anything else is just dribble.
Interestingly, the Conservatives in the UK are beginning to do that. It will be worthwhile watching how much progress they make.
"Liz Truss a UK Conservative junior Minister is a big fan of Tokyo urbanism as a post-Brexit/post-austerity remedy for her country's housing woes and as a campaign strategy for her party to gain political support with young voters. She believes the Conservative party needs to challenge vested interests, in particular NIMBY land owners who oppose new housing. Truss is aware that the increase in Piketty inequality is due to excessive house price inflation. She proposes land use policy reform."
More here;
https://medium.com/land-buildings-identity-and-values/japanese-urbanism-...

She's pulling on the wrong string, and will fail.

No amount of 'land use reform' can solve overpopulation within finite confines. The UK energy resource is running down, in fact the $ value of the energy required to cap/close their N/S wells is claimed to equate to the revenue remaining. And they feed themselves through the Chunnel. They need to address population, yesterday. After all, housing is for people - it was an arrogance to call it a 'housing shortage' at this stage in our overshoot.

Yes interesting times ahead for the UK. Their required energy transition (whether you believe it is required for climate change or due to necessity of declining fossil fuel and other stocks) is much more difficult than NZ.

But the Japanese train based urbanisation model is very efficient and would give the best opportunity to make the transition.

Agreed. Rail is by far the most efficient, doesn't need bitumen en-masse, gentle gradient, less friction. We should have had two-way Main Trunk and electrification years ago.

NZ doesn't have an overpopulation issue, it has a land use issue, a construction bureaucracy issue, and materials prices issue.

One solution for the land use and Nimby's is to hit them with a land value tax, and you'll quickly see landholders switch to pushing for reduced restrictions on development.

Ocelot - perhaps do a little reading? Sans fossil fuels, NZ probably does have a population problem. Most people make the mistake of not understanding how much that feedstock (both energy and material) does for us. You got a replacement for bitumen? Diggers and tractors? Water-systems?

Arguing for cheaper development land is what developer-types will do (we all argue for ourselves) but it won't alter the global wave breaking on all our heads. We need to be looking post-crash (or post war stand-off) and seeing what has to be done resilience-wise. I suggest to you that by 2030 we are very likely to be in a Cuba situation - regardless of the fact that we will avoid discussing the possibility.....

Don't get me wrong I like having a low population, but overpopulation is certainly not the reason for high property prices in NZ. It's purely a political and legislative issue. We are the same area as the UK and less than 10% of the population

You need to gain some serious understanding on how our entire global industrial economy is based on cheap and bountiful energy and what happens when that isnt the case, hint look around you globally for the last 10~15 years.

Look at the part [fossil fuel and feed stock ] energy plays in food production and then figure out what we can produce annually and hence the population that can be fed without oil.

If the past is any indication all they do is destroy greenbelts for more housing, really that doesnt solve anything its just can kicking.

When you have a finite resource you have to live within its means at some point, ie exponential growth does not work for ever.

I said a while ago that when you are locked into growth for ever model but find you cannot at some stage grow off new resources you have to start a "robbing Peter to pay Paul gambit" So the super rich ie those who support the Tories have robbed the Peter's ie lower and middleclass to grow for 30 years, that's now closing so the Tories are looking for some other minority to pillage.

Inequality isnt really down to excessive house price inflation (though, yes its some of it) there are a whole range of issues not least of which is costs.

You like they (indeed all pollies incl NZ Green party btw) have the same blind spot I suspect ie cant see or dont want to see that the problem is too many and not not enough.

but then I've pretty much concluded I am wasting my breadth.

Don't you dare trust thise Tories, Brendon.
They are full of c#%p.
Labour may not always be competent, but at least, generally speaking, they are principled.

Have seen some pretty dodgy figures coming from the Nats. Apparently Labours fuel taxes are going to cost "up to $15 extra every time they fill up" (https://www.national.org.nz/fuel_tax). I wonder how big your tank needs to be to cost that much extra?

Maybe they should also start a petition to roll back the successive tax increases on fuel during their reign.

They could also slam the Labour government for GST being at 15%. Families are struggling while Labour sits idle on this issue.

So the Nats put up GST, but should now slam Labour for not knocking it back? would that not be one huge own goal?

It would be ironic wouldn't it, and it wouldn't surprise me either hence my comment was tongue in cheek.

A fuel tax is merely a commandeering of the do-able work, so is a commandeering of a portion of the energy available. Which they're taxing.....

Actually, from the POV of, say, the next ten generations, some advocate for them should be bidding for the resource. That presumably would make it 10 times more 'expensive'.
Rolling back taxes' is merely the selfish act of a single generation, and short-termist at that.

"A fuel tax is merely a commandeering of the do-able work"

Well. No it isn't. In your analogy, it is the reduction in the demand for 'do-able' work from a certain resource. It's perhaps restricting the availability of the total resource, but it isn't 'commandeering' any of the resource.

I agree. The long run economic benefit should be maximised. But a reduction of taxes on a given resource could equally be advantageous to this.
Equally saying that fossil fuels should be 10 times more expensive in nominal terms is completely arbitrary.
Say for instance we have rationed a resource through taxation for generations, the reduction of this taxation will may be optimal at the point at which a substitute for the resource is emerging.

Saying 'a substitute is emerging' is alle same cargo-cultism. On behalf of those future generations, you have to have proven and earmarked the resource for them, before depleting the known/immediate.

But we can't do that anymore - the truth of what we're doing would be too obvious. So we hide behind various rabbit-out-of-hat panaceas, and hide from the draw-down conundrum.

It's not the 'long run economic benefit' either - it's access to compact energy and a question of the legacy of entropy.

It's not the 'long run economic benefit' either - it's access to compact energy and a question of the legacy of entropy.

Well. Okay rephrase it how you wish.
Maximum long run economic benefit is the optimal resource extraction path (access) of 'compact energy'.

Actually when you look at it fundamentally, it is. Work is finite and money is an IOU for work, ergo taxation is taking more of the doable work "away".

Also all the "stuff" I've read/looked at indicates that most people re-act to price so its a pretty sold way of getting a goal done. Example take the petrol price increases back in October, this caused a surge in EV buying, petrol prices then dropped back and we have a wee "glut" in EVs.

No a reduction in taxes will not reduce consumption or change consumption behaviour, people will simply stop whining and sit back and do zilch.

This sentence makes no sense to me, "Say for instance we have rationed a resource through taxation for generations, the reduction of this taxation will may be optimal at the point at which a substitute for the resource is emerging."

If you want to get off fossil fuels then charging for the free externalises not otherwise charged for helps level the playing field. Just to start with air pollution costs lives per year, ergo the economic cost of those lives and any health costs can be thrown onto petrol and diesel quite reasonably to my mind.

Of course the big problem here is the well off can afford EVs (or even the petrol), its the poor that really get hammered.
this is the big one I struggle with.

Excellent way to contradict yourself, Steven, given that price is a function of taxation..

Also all the "stuff" I've read/looked at indicates that most people re-act to price so its a pretty sold way of getting a goal done. Example take the petrol price increases back in October, this caused a surge in EV buying, petrol prices then dropped back and we have a wee "glut" in EVs.

No a reduction in taxes will not reduce consumption or change consumption behaviour, people will simply stop whining and sit back and do zilch.

"Work is finite and money is an IOU for work, ergo taxation is taking more of the doable work "away"."
No it isn't. The 'work' is still an abundant resource. It just costs more to access it due to taxation.
It is not 'commandeered' by taxes.

You been listening to too much crack pot economics. No doubt featuring the village idiot Steve Keen.

Nymad is sounding more and more like a spruiker.

A wrong-un at that. In energy terms, tax is a displacement of 'other work which would have been done'.

So help me, we need to hold economists to account:

"During his time on Easter Island, Roggeveen estimated a population size of 2,000 to 3,000 islanders. According to recent research, the population one hundred years before the first European contact may have been as high as 15,000".

Great. Easter Island, again.
Not even the contemporary scientific literature knows the real reason for the collapse, but tends to point to the fact that ecosystem destruction was most likely not the reason for the population decline.
But by god PDK will keep hanging onto that glimmer of hope in order to further his prerogative.

https://www.livescience.com/49369-easter-island-civilization-collapsed-u...

https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/02/new-evidence-easter-island-civil...

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2017.00069/full

My (small) tank costs $85 to fill so 40 litres (more or less). So at $2.06 a litre it would have to go to $2.42 a litre or a 36cents rise. This is for a 1500cc car, many ppl have a bigger car and commute with it.

The thing is really this is a symptom of our issues so if we say drop fuel tax we have to make up that loss somewhere else and actually we want to penalise heavy petrol users to encourage moving to smaller ICE or EVs.

BTW the death of ICEs is on the cards, within 5 years no new ICEs can be sold in some countries already.
By that time frame the fuel savings even at say $2.20 a litre and 25k will be making an EV the only sane option or risk stranded asset syndrome. ie $300 a year in electricity V $6000 a year in petrol will be a no brainer.

steven....no doubt you have seen similar, but the graph here of tech uptake (and the underestimated speed of uptake of ev) is a bit of a wake up. The point they make re holding on to vehicles longer and not upgrading as in past behavior is being playing out with a few people I know. The ICE makers have less time than they think..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=aUC6lsLr04I

It is actually a very complex subject with lots of reasons pulling in counter directions. Just one, as the middleclass struggle then they are indeed hanging on to cars or indeed any other item longer.

The thing about an EV that is now starting to be a game changer is the huge cost savings. Example I have colleague who needed a new car. So $11k for a 2015 Yaris or $22k for a 2015 Nissan Leaf. $5k a year in petrol or $300 a year in electricity. Price difference paid off in 2.5years, leaf paid off in 4.5years and that doesnt include servicing savings either as the Leaf needs no oil changes, filters, plugs, cambelts etc etc.

"Less time than they think" I actually think its more of less time than they'll admit as they are not in a position to move, meanwhile Tesla is eating their lunch....

Me, I am looking at an EV this or next year. Basically once 40kw cars are here and affordable I am jumping.

JimboJones :"Have seen some pretty dodgy figures coming from the Nats. Apparently Labours fuel taxes are going to cost "up to $15 extra every time they fill up" (https://www.national.org.nz/fuel_tax). I wonder how big your tank needs to be to cost that much extra?"

Well, its pretty simple maths. They even give you the all the numbers you need on the page you linked.
15 / (0.138 + 0.115) = 59.28 Litres. Standard tank size on a medium sized car like a Honda accord or Camry is 60-70 litres. So yeah, they are pretty much bang on.

Does this mean National thinks the housing crisis does exist again? No longer just a sign of our success and a good problem to have?

The Nats will be lining up to blame the present govt for the inevitable steep housing decline, even though they spent the better part of a decade ecouraging the inflation of the bubble, and denying there was a problem. And they’ll probably get away with it because whoever is in power at the time of a bust always gets the blame from voters, even though these things are many years in the making.

As Greg has stated, the monthly data set shows wild fluctuations between months, but the upward trend line seems to be on a steeper curve since 2016.

My rents are set to go up 15% this year. Clearly this shows how much I had fallen behind the market.

This is a little unfair. Bridges has already noted that National could have done better with housing hasn't he? Which means he is perfectly justified in calling out yet more bad housing policy.
Sure, you can call it hypocrisy if he was saying that National got it right, but he's not.
The fact that he has been honest about past failings of his own party is refreshing from a politician.

Agree - but could anyone really expect Labour to fix the housing issue in one year? What would Bridges have done in a year to stop rent increases?

Fine, so people should use that as their counter-argument, rather than just saying "oh well look what National did."
Which gets us nowhere.

He was a senior member of a governing party that did jack about housing over many years. He has no credibility in terms of criticising the current government.

One wound think he would be cheer leading rent rises - such as his predecessor did with rising house prices! So why does National think house price rises are good, but rents not? Answer - they don't..national and their merry band of landlords want both to rise....as they still represent the asset owning class ...and b##ga everything else.

They screwed up and won't admit it.

Yes, this COL is doing an amazing job aren’t they?
Please explain what they have actually achieved since being in power that has benefitted the Country?
You are seriously deluded if you believe that there is a single cabinet minister that has got the ability to achieve what they intended.
Everything is turning to custard this year and they are gone!,

Rents and property prices falling across Auckland, the regions will follow once the Auckland fall has accelerated a bit.

You're getting a bit frothy there man.

Time will tell. Far too early to judge. National failed miserably.

@saving4AUhouse "Auckland is starting to look more attractive"...
May be not that rosy cosmopolitan city it once was!
https://mobile.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.php?c_id=1&objectid=12202997

The tenor of the article draws the wrong conclusions.
It is not totally wrong to compare how much rents went up under National as under Labour up until now.
Labour has brought in all sorts of new rules and regulations intended to snuff out property speculation (no laughing from the cheap seats please) and to an extent they have worked. But rents are still rising at a fast clip due to these very rules and regulations.
National may be accused of doing little, but Labour can be accused of doing too much with a great deal worse to come. If anyone can be accused of screwing up the market and rents it's Labour with its determination to make everyone equal with some more equal than others.

At least the rent rises under Labour will be somewhat accompanied by an increase in quality of the rental houses being rented, particularly at the bottom end of the scale.

Boring....
Lame and disgenious.
Words to describe National's 'attack'

Re Bridges, he does not seem like prime minister material to me. I like the guy but he says stupid stuff, with poor delivery and less conviction. Poor leader in my opinion. If someone wants National to get back in they'd better line up someone else.
Just like in the USA right now. Opposite ends of the political spectrum but if they want the democrats back in they'd better find someone better than Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders who are way too far left and radically obnoxious...hillary lost the election more than trumpeter won it because people disliked her. Same analogy with Bridges....a political party has to have someone with credible convictions, not just posturing.