How National Could ‘Dish’ Labour Over Housing — OpEd

Editor Alan Tristram says all his friends and acquaintances are fed up with Jacinda Ardern’s failure to get homes built for the hundreds of thousands of under-privileged Kiwis desperate to get a decent roof over their heads.

Jacinda Ardern’s Achilles heel — housing

“The Labour Government has wasted four years and we hold the Prime Minister personally responsible for this,” he says.

Why on earth can’t she appoint an emergency group of four or five achievers to get things done?

She could start by appointing Chris Hipkins as Supremo. He’s got the ability and the drive.

And he’s able to articulate his ideas clearly — he is a natural on tv and radio.

Hipkins for Housing ?

National could take the lead

If Ms Ardern doesn’t act soon, National could steal this issue.

Then watch Labour’s opinion poll ratings plummet, and its ranks of new MP’s wake up to the fact they aren’t in a job for life.

Meanwhile, National’s leader, Judith Collins, started today by proposijng a $50,000 incentive to Councils for every new home built.

Judith Collins — she could steal this issue from Labour

Collins says there’s an ‘unfolding emetrgency’ and she’s put forward an emergency Bill, similar to the one used for Christchurch after the earthquakes.

This would allow developers to bypass planning rules and get new homes built.

Jacinda Ardern now needs to wake up to the unfolding threat to Labout and ask herself every morning:

“What are we doing today about this existential threat to NZ’s future — to a generation of New Zealsnders who need decent, affordable homes?”

The answer so far has been: “Very little.”

( to be continued )

Do not forget the retail banks lending money to house speculators and the Reserve banks $100B monetary easing package resulting in 20%+ increase since the pandemic started,in property owning population assets and increasingly widening gap between the haves and have not'”s and of course the unforeseen consequences of Covid-19.
Not sure Twyford was that incompetent; more a case of the policy was totally undeveloped and ill thought out (in the back of a taxi) and he was tasked to run with it, despite all the problems (lack of qualified trades people/problems with the high cost of materials-NZ timber cheaper in OZ-/the nature of existing small scale builders who do not have the means to scale up/ land availability issues/high cost of land/lack of infrastructure with councils delaying approvals to slow the infrastructure demands/ profit driver in producing 3 bed stand alone houses/ relatively higher square meter cost of smaller units/failure of prefabrication to take off due lack of forward demand-investment costs.associated with increasing supply,consent issues/ lack of incentives to build more units/Kiwis love of the 1/4 acre section (idea) etc. etc.
My main issue is the current emphasis on Government being the only lever to sort housing out by building state houses, when HNZC not very good at it or maintaining them, which partly was a problem with Government taking back any profit and not allowing the rental income to wholly go to either upgrading or more units, which was also the case in WCC until they were required to use rental income from housing on housing (as par of the upgrade project) and not to set off against the general rates. (Also the complete lack of allowing for replacement of the housing stock as part of asset planning)
We need a much more nuanced approach to the provision of housing and a better integration of all the aspects and not just pushing a particular political response and ill thought out solutions because the parties think this will get them back into power. (National sells state housing/ Labour attempts to rebuild state houses lost but never actually catches up).
Its akin to the Covid -19 issue of do you follow the science or the politics,especially when the politics has little research and understanding backing its proposals but is based on popularism and how to ensure the party gets back into power.
As one who has been involved in social housing for a major part of my working life I can confirm the issues of homelessness and housing affordability have not changed over 50 years nor have many of the proposed solutions. The problem is having the where with all to actually get on and deal with all the complexities based on an understanding of the issues and and bereft of politics and vested interests and actually do something about the issues in a holistic way.
(Incidentally the Young and Hill report is still available on the KCDC website)
(Also there has been knowledge around building for solar access since the 1960’s which would result in very different solutions and allay fears of medium to high rise building overshadowing existing properties–it just is’not generally known or practiced or understood).

Housing is a complex business and requires a multitude of actions not just building more state houses. We actually have enough houses nationally, they just are not in the right places or of the right size and condition.

I am very doubtful either major party has a clue what to do but concerned about ‘politicing’ without any background understanding. (Why did Arden have to say she would not introduce a capital gains tax during her ‘watch’–because she didn’t want to alienate the property owning population, and hence lose power–you all voted for that!).
Concern that Nationals latest $50K per consent policy lacks any research or backing, just like Labour’s 100,000 house promise, supposedly made in the back of a taxi.’
(all the more reason to have parties policies costed independently prior to an election).

Locally Council would be well advised to revisit the Hill and Young report they commissioned in 2014? ‘(why spend all that money and then ignore it) and never acted on, and then commission yet another more restrictive report that basically expects the Government to step in–dream on in Kapiti, not a priority area!
The KCDC District Plan needs serious modification, allowing densification, more medium density housing, more and less restrictive secondary dwellings on existing sites, subdivision changes, (30% of current subdivisions is wasted space), streamlined consent processes, alternative housing solutions, alternative ownership models, leasehold arrangements, reduced fees for affordable housing’,and many more outwith Council’s remit and control. Council needs to be a positive catalyst not a provider.

There are many routes to achieving more housing, not just the expectation that Governments will sort the problem and deliver; only 6% of rental stock is state housing, some 67,000 or there about, bureaucracies are not nimble and are hide bound and risk averse and hence slow to act. (God help us if KCDC develops and CCO).

Not least is Kiwi’s obsession with home ownership coupled to the lack of decent rental accommodation and the use of property as an investment and the failure to proceed with any sort of capital gains tax, not to mention the need to deal to seriously under occupied ‘second homes’ and the appalling standards we live under.

Apparently now an affordable home is in the $600K upwards bracket where probably half the cost is in the land value–how many can afford that level of cost?

Yes there’s a growing real frustration but it’s more nuanced and complicated.The first 3 years were hampered/ sabotaged by NZFirst especially on Capital gains and an incompetent Minister Tywford. The problem now is not just lack of leadership by the PM but labour/material shortages.NIMBY high density opposition, property speculators/multiple owners taxation favouritism and RMA/ land zoning issues.Mins Grant Robertson’s more forthright views/policies/initiatives especially on capital gains are now the key to getting traction.


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