Housing, governments, and public opinion

There have been a couple of interesting polls that caught my eye lately on the government’s handling of specific issues.

The first was from Newshub on housing

newshub housing.jpg

Taking the wording literally, the last thing I’d want is the government “controlling” the housing market.  They (this government and its predecessor) have done quite enough to mess it up as it is.    It looks as though real house prices nationwide will have risen by around 50 per cent in both the previous Labour-led government’s nine years in office, and in the current National-led government’s nine years in office –  a bit more in the earlier government’s term (which included a 10 per cent fall in nominal house prices in 2008) and a bit less in the current government’s term.

We simply didn’t have today’s problems before governments (central and local) took powers to “plan” –  something that seems to have worked about as well as Eastern European planning more generally did during the Communist decades.  But I don’t suppose the respondents were interpreting the question quite that literally.  It looks like an overwhelming expression of a sentiment that something (probably quite a lot) needs to be done.

At the time of John Key’s early resignation from Parliament last month, there was some UMR polling reported on how well Key had handled various issues.   On most of the issues, we can probably treat it as a proxy for how the government had handled those issues.    This was the main graphic.

UMR john key

I found it a bit easier to read if I converted it into a chart of net balances –  the difference between of those saying “good” or “very good” and those saying “poor” or “very poor”.

Key UMR poll resultsIn some areas, Key rated very well, as one might expect (he did after all lead his party to three election victories).   Relationships with foreign leaders scored as highly as you might expect from someone who seemed generally to be regarded as “the sort of person you want to have a beer with”.       And if the government didn’t do anything much in the wake of the “global financial crisis”, arguably it didn’t have to –  after all it was mostly a North Atlantic crisis, and when the crisis ended there, so did the worst of the backwash in the rest of the world.   But if you are in office, you tend to get the credit.

Of the other answers, the only one that really surprised me was the quite negative Pike River score.  Perhaps more people than I appreciated really did think the mine should have been re-entered to try to retrieve the bodies?

But of course the two results that really caught my eye are the ones I’ve highlighted in red.  Respondents clearly didn’t think, on balance, that John Key had done well in “getting the level of immigration into New Zealand right”,   and were really really negative on how well the “housing crisis” in Auckland had been handled.  Perhaps the phrasing was a bit emotive, but when 61 per cent of people thought Key had done a bad job, and only 14 per cent thought he’d done a good job, the overall message is pretty clear.   The public just don’t buy the profoundly dishonest line that Key and his successor have run, that somehow unaffordable house prices (and some of the worst house price to income ratios anywhere in advanced world) are “quality problems“.  They are, quite simply, a scandal, and a sign of near-total failure (economic and moral) of policy in this area.  And this from a party that once prioritised home-ownership, and notions of a property-owning democracy.

Instead, we now have a governing party (notionally from the centre-right) that can’t or won’t do anything much about freeing up urban land supply, and can but won’t do anything much about cutting back the flow of non-citizen immigration that aggravates and amplifies the housing affordability problems.   It looks a lot like a deliberate attempt to skew wealth towards those who already have it, away from those who don’t.  I don’t suppose it is quite so deliberate, but the effect is the same.

I happened to have the 1975 National Party manifesto on my desk.  They had some really flaky stuff to say about housing –  a bit of that below –  but at least there was some realism on this specific point.

“The first way we will do this is by admitting honestly that we cannot create a better environment when people are pouring into the country faster than anybody can provide houses –  any kind of houses.  Thus immigration will be cut from the current rate of 30000 per year to around 5000.  This will give us the breathing space we so desperately need.”

National was in opposition then.  But it would be a good line for Opposition parties this year –  or for the government –  even if they all think they are really serious, this time, about sorting out the dysfunctional, over-regulated, urban land supply market.

As I said, that 1975 National manifesto had some astonishing stuff on housing.  I suspect it wasn’t unique to them.  The Values Party –  sometimes regarded as the world’s first environmental party –  did rather well in the 1975 election, getting 5 per cent of the vote in an FPP election.   And I doubt the Labour Party’s stance then would have been that much different.  But here is what the National Party –  just about to score a huge landslide victory –  was promising:

National has developed a complete plan for “the cities”.  And in doing so has become the first political party in New Zealand to include a serious urban development programme in its election policy.


First, we will make moves to limit urban sprawl.  Second, we will set out to save the beauty that already exists.  And third, we will ensure that all new buildings contribute to an improved environment, at all times remembering that cities are people and that the social factors are all-important.

When a city sprawls, it destroys productive farmland and inevitably this also leads to decay in the inner city.  But sprawl can be stopped.  It has been done overseas and we will do it here.  We will change the Town and Country Planning Act to provide legal powers to literally “fence off” the cities.


….the government will encourage and finance new and better forms of high density housing.  This will not mean high rise apartments. We will build not just houses, but whole new communities. Ones in which people will want to live.

And so we have metropolitan urban limits, rural/urban boundaries, and all the associated restrictions that have given a land-abundant country some of the more expensive suburban and urban-periphery land around.  It was bad policy then, as it is now, but for the 15 years or so after those words were written New Zealanders were protected from the worst of it because population growth was very sluggish –  between the exodus of New Zealanders to Australia, and the reduced inflow of non-citizen immigrants.

What worries me now is that both main parties seem to believe, in principle at least, in freeing up urban land supply.  But it remains a great deal easier to pledge allegiance to that principle, than to do something serious about it.  Eight and half years into this government and very little has been done, even though the rhetoric has been roughly right since before they came to office.  Perhaps a Labour-Greens government really will be different, but if one is to take that prospect seriously perhaps it would be a good to see some agreed “Housing affordabilty and land use rules”, to match the recent welcome budget responsibility rules.      Not much has been heard from the Greens on this since their co-leader last year courageously advocated a substantial fall in house prices.     And the Greens historically have had a lot of sympathy with lines like those in that National Party 1975 manifesto.

I’m all for liberalising the urban land market.  But there needs to be a lot more realism about the prospects of substantial change.  I don’t favour cutting our immigration targets mainly for house price reasons –  in principle at least, that problem could be better dealt with in other ways –  but given the scale of the housing problem, the clear public discontent over housing unaffordability, and the much greater ability for governments to adjust immigration targets than to put in place new planning laws, it simply seems reckless –  and frankly ideological –  not to wind back quite substantially our target rate of non-citizen immigration.    For the Greens, who put a lot of emphasis on the physical environment, and for Labour –  historically the party of the working class New Zealanders –  it should really be a natural policy call.   I’m not sure why it seems not to have been so far.    Perhaps it is just fear of being tarred as somehow like Trump or Le Pen or whoever, even though our rate of legal immigration is typically far higher than those in almost any OECD country (a bit ahead of even Canada).    But even if your own natural biases are somehow pro-immigration, surely it is now past time to take a hard look at the New Zealand experience:  New Zealanders’ incomes haven’t been boosted by large-scale immigration, and housing for their children is rendered ever-more unaffordable by the toxic mix of planning restrictions and rapid population growth.  It is well past time to be cutting the immigration targets quite severely.

Of course, not everyone agrees.  I notice that the New Zealand Initiative has a new report out, Manifesto 2017 , outlining in very upbeat style their recommendations for what the next government should do.  It is 80 pages long, and I might offer some thoughts when I’ve read it, but I did do a quick search of the document for references to immigration policy, especially in light of the very recent Initiative report on that topic (which I reviewed in a series of posts).  There wasn’t much, but I did find this

Our report The New New Zealanders argues few countries have as successful
migration and integration policies as New Zealand.  It is yet another aspect of New Zealand to be proud of and celebrate.

If only it weren’t for those pesky unaffordable house prices, and levels of productivity that languish far behind those of other advanced economies.  It would good, just once, to see the evidence of the “success” –  for New Zealanders –  of our immigration policy.

In passing, this weekend has brought up the second anniversary of my move to become a stay-at-home parent, and thus the effective second anniversary of this blog.      I’ve been thankful for all the readers and the various comments/challenges various of you pose at times.  A while ago my 13 year old son asked me how long I’d keep going with the blog.  I responded that it might be two years or it might be 30 years, depending on whether I still had things to say, still had readers, and whether doing the blog came at an opportunity cost, to other things I might want to do, that outweighed the fun and stimulus I’ve had from continuing to do it.    There are rare days when I wonder if I still have much to say, that hasn’t been said 10 times already.  Then again, the other day I found a list on my desk dating back to 2015 of various topics I could usefully cover.  Many of them I still haven’t got to, and indeed I noticed this morning a book in a pile by my bed that I’ve been meaning to write about since I began.  So, for the time being at least, I’ll keep on as I have been.

38 thoughts on “Housing, governments, and public opinion

    • The definition of a Permanent and Long Term migrant includes international students, temporary foreign workers and returning New Zealanders. Record migration gains of 71,000 this year is mainly driven by the 14% increase in international students and 40,000 work visas for temporary workers for Christchurch rebuild, now kaikoura rebuild and to build Aucklands 67 new apartment towers, the launch of the $5 billion intercity rail tunnel to Mt Eden, the $1 billion demolition and rebuild of downtown shopping, the $700 million Skycity convention centre and hotel, the $300 million Hyatt hotel at the Wynyard quarter, etc.


  1. Michael
    Well done on making it to the second anniversary of your blog. It’s been a very informative and engaging read. I look forward to more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 10 years ago to get elected John Key and National promised;

    1. To restore the kiwi dream of being able to buy a house
    2. To fix the RMA to stop land banking
    3. To only sell state houses to tenants not developers and to replace the state houses sold so that housing waiting lists would fall and homelessness would be addressed

    National said housing is important because it provides New Zealanders with a stake in society, the ability to see a future, that it is great for the family unit and great for children -they can stay in the same school…..

    The fact that in 2017 National is failing on housing is all their fault -they had good ideas for how to address the issue but they failed to deliver..

    Here is a 2007 video of John Key outlining National’s housing promises.

    I am sure that opposition parties have noted this failure and will endeavour not to make the same mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Certainly hope so Brendon

      Of course, one possible “lesson” is that it is simply too hard to do the supply-side reforms (after all, it seems no one much else has, anywhere else), and despite not doing them the Nats got three terms in office.

      At present, action on the immigration front and land-use regulation reform should be mutually reinforcing – offering, inter alia, quick wins in terms of lower house/land prices. One difficulty is the problem Turei ran into last year – most people will buy into house prices not rising further, but it suddenly gets very uncomfortable (and distributional) to talk about undoing the real price rises of the last 8, 18, let alone 28 years.

      I got to the point a few weeks ago of realising that in 10 years my older kids will have graduated university and be thinking about housing……and cold fright overtook me to think there is good reason to fear the dysfunction won’t have been solved by then.

      I’d really like to be wrong. And, as a floating voter, I’d vote for the side that looked like making a real difference.


      • My children are younger than yours Michael -I think it will be 15 years before they are finished tertiary education. But I have figured I needed to start agitating for affordable housing (I include a reasonable immigration rate in the needed policy package) a couple of years back because the issue is so locked up.

        I think Bernard Hickey calls it a Gordian Knot problem and he is not wrong.


      • “… but it suddenly gets very uncomfortable (and distributional) to talk about undoing the real price rises of the last 8, 18, let alone 28 years.”

        Surely it can’t need to go back that far in most urban centres? It would be an interesting exercise to use that median multiple of 3.0 as the target/objective – and determine exactly what year (in the past) it was that house prices by area met that objective based on today’s incomes;


        Like others, congrats on your blog anniversary. Always informative and thoughtful. Few places one gets the feeling one is reading apolitical opinion/commentary on important political matter- and it’s a pleasure.


      • Of course the house price inflation varies by centre – i showed a chart a few weeks back highlighting various places where nominal house prices are still less than they were in 2007. But my 8, 18, and 28 were deliberate – eight years covers the current govt, 17 covers this govt and its predecessor, and 28 is supposed to encompass the whole period since the RMA (which while passed in 1991 by a National govt, was initiated a year or two earlier by a Labour govt).


      • All the right intentions but National found out very quickly that it is not that straight forward. The lack of infrastructure spending under the 9 years of Helen Clarke and Michael Cullen’s have led to a ballooning infrastructure bill of at least $30 billion. With the Christchurch earthquake to fund and now Kaikoura that will amount to $30 billion already it is nigh impossible to add another $30 billion on top.

        The RBNZ should have launched into a $50 billion QE at that time to fund the earthquake recovery. The best time for a QE is when the US was launching QE. It would have lowered the NZD without causing a collapse. Lost opportunity.


    • Although the lack of any correlation studies between the much touted migrant residency target and our productivity poverty is still very apparant. A lot of clear evidence of a productivity poverty but a link with migrant targets is at best wishful thinking.


  3. I really enjoy reading your blog. I appreciate your style and I’m predisposed to your conclusions.
    I particularly noted “I don’t favour cutting our immigration targets mainly for house price reasons”. In the UK 50 years ago racists used the argument that there was no room for the West Indians and the Pakistanis while ignoring the fact that more people left Britain than arrived. As you have pointed out Auckland house prices have risen even in years when more left NZ than arrived. To understand Auckland’s growth you need to look at the decline of many small towns and villages. Riding the Otago cycle-trail was an eye-opener. Look at Hyde with a population of 18 with no children which had a school from the 1880’s to the 1990s with a decent rugby field. If it wasn’t for the cycling tourists it would have nothing. I would be interested in knowing why New Zealanders are moving to the cities and what factors might slow down the process.
    One sentence stood out in your blog: “I happened to have the 1975 National Party manifesto on my desk”. Any chance you could post a photo of your desk?


    • Anyone who worked with me over the years will still recognise it – piled high with papers, notionally supported by the argument that I know where things are.

      (I only had the document down because of the post I wrote on Muldoon and Trump a few weeks back. I only have the document because (a) I’m a bit of a hoarder, and (b) i was a political junkie froma young age, and 75 was the first election i followed closely.


    • The short answer to yout substantive question, about NZers moving is, first and foremost, productivity. One person can manage a lot more cows or sheep than could be done 100 years ago, and there is no more land. Of course in some areas land-use reintensifies (dairy involves more labour than sheep, viticulture also than sheep) but not, I guess, in central Otago.

      And then we’ve reinforced a bias away from provincial areas by policy. the heavy manufacturing protectionism we had for decades strongly boosted Auckland (but also Wgtn and Chch) at the expense of primary producers. And rapid population growth has, on my story, boosted the cities – migrants tend to go/arrive there – at the expense of the provinces (by, for example, tending to persistently overvalue the real exchange rate, and make tradables sector production – still in NZ’s case typically land and resource based – less profitable). Note that NZers have (net) been leaving Auckland for the last couple of decades (small net outflows, altho that may have increased since 2013 – we’ll see in next year’s census).


      • The same depopulation occurred in the highlands of Scotland 200 years ago. What I could see in Otago was depopulation that had started maybe 50 years ago but it seems to have accelerated in the last couple of decades. Similar depopulation can be seen throughout the North Island with only Dairying and Tourism ameliorating it in some lucky areas..
        You have previously suggested that governments should not stand in the way of economic forces – ref King Canute. I’m not so sure. Firstly there is a social cost that economics doesn’t capture when the last bank/Post office/Pub/Police station/School closes. Secondly government policy tends to reward cities – how much money is transferred from rural taxpayers to wealthy cities? Accommodation benefits, infrastructure, tertiary education centres and all those vanity projects such as the America Cup, International rugby etc.
        Of course government expenditure tends to be easier to start than to stop – vague memories of the commission for draining the Pontine marshes being a major employer decades after the marshes were drained. Now there is a suggestion that GST should be a ‘local’ tax – another transfer of money from farmers to cities.
        My suggestion would be government support for rates depending on population movements. I was astonished to discover that my Auckland city rates for a decent house on a full section are similar or less than rates on disintegrating properties in backwater towns in the King country. If the population is declining then towns are left with fixed infrastructure costs but fewer rate payers. And what about housing NZ building retirement villages well outside cities – reducing benefit costs and freeing up houses in Auckland?


      • Bob, I was looking at residential rates across jurisdictions very briefly the other day – and Auckland rates look quite a bit cheaper in comparison to roughly equivalent CVs in other jurisdictions:

        Auckland, Remuera = Rates $5,936, CV $2,050,000

        Kapiti = Rates $10,583, CV $1,950,000

        Palmerston North = $7,205, CV $1,850,000

        Wellington = $11,891, CV $2,325,000

        I know they pay for water separately, but so does Kapiti; Palmy water is included; not sure on Welly.

        Thing is, if infrastructure costs cannot be met by Auckland Council – has anyone looked at whether their rating system is just plain too cheap – across a city it’s size, think of the additional revenue when you look at these comparisons.


  4. Michael,
    Congratulations on two years of postings and thank you for the great effort you make on this blog. I do not often comment but I have read almost every post. I think Bob expressed my sentiments very well. Long may the blog continue.


  5. Congratulations for a 2nd year. We do not agree on the correlation of residency migrant targets with the NZ exchange rate when there are more obvious targets like tourists and International students that will spend $20 billion in the economy every 12 months buying up NZD to spend in New Zealand. Migrants usually earn and spend locally and more likely to sell NZD rather than buy NZD when they travel out of NZ for holidays. Perhaps only once in a lifetime would they transfer their overseas funds after selling up their existing homes when they decide to stay permanently in NZ.


  6. Congratulations Michael, keep the posts coming.

    I had a quick look at the NZI manifesto – nothing on macro imbalances.


  7. Michael

    Congratulations on reaching two years of blogging, with consistently interesting, well thought through, and thought-provoking items – a very much nmore difficult achievement than most blog readers ever realise. Long may you continue!


  8. Michael,
    I’d like to join the folk congratulating you on the two year anniversary. Well done. From my vantage point in Australia, your blog has been extremely helpful for staying plugged into some of the NZ’s key economic issues. You have a great mix of strongly held views, rigour, and even a bit of humility at times. I look forward to more.
    All the best


  9. Well done on your two year anniversary! I trust there will always be much to say..

    On controlling the housing market, would any of the respondents who think the Government should do more have any reasonable suggestion? Do what?

    The supply of houses in Auckland is driven by a lot more than Govt policy or even cases of Council policy, although you would think that Auckland Council really doesn’t want more houses at all.

    The other ‘problem’ is the current drought of development funding. Short point is that there is very little of it about. Banks have effectively shut the door on housing/land development leaving the market to the second tier lenders and even they are tight on cash (albeit at eye watering margins). Developers can’t develop if they can’t finance their build costs no matter how much bleating there is from the masses or economists on the issue.

    Its is a gordian knot as Hickey notes but I suspect that the issue is not going to get easier to solve through more market interventions from the likes of the Reserve Bank or the Govt…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Phil Twyford has suggested infrastructure bonds issued by specialist unit in Treasury could assist developers with financing. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11818861

      Michael has written about the proposal -he has reservations -the government would effectively be a bank -it could take on risks it shouldn’t. But Phil’s idea could be a step to a private sector infrastructure bond market like they have in the US. The Productivity Commission also commented on this idea favourably -so maybe the idea is being honed by a number of different parties and we will eventually get a workable policy on infrastructure financing.

      In general, what can we do about housing? There are lots of ideas in a new website I have started -which collates some essays I and others have written over the last few years.
      View at Medium.com


      • The government is borrowing to the tune of $30 billion for Christchurch, Kaikoura and parts of Wellington in its Earthquake disaster recovery commitments. This infrastructure bond can easily go upwards of $30 billion is an additional borrowing on the governments books. The ratings agencies will downgrade NZ government bonds making all its borrowing costs even more expensive. Not as easy as what Phil Twyford dreams is possible.

        The only real answer would have been QE at the very same time that the US Reserve Bank was undertaking QE. The risk of a currency collapse would have been mitigated. If we tried QE now, the NZD would go into freefall. The early bird catches the worm. Unfortunately the RBNZ did not act as they did not factor in the looming aging infrastructure costs. A disaster the size of Christchurch should have triggered an emergency response by the RBNZ.


  10. Micheal, thank you for your blog. You write about things that many of us have thought for years but never really had someone with the background to say for us. Oh we don’t always agree and that’s ok for at least we have had a discussion and that sometimes leads to being better informed.
    A longtime ago I criticized the Nats. for their lack of leadership and was promptly told, well join up and change them from within. Knowing plenty of them it was always obvious it would be a waste of my time.
    When their leadership ignores such things as referendums that have a big majority, clearly obviously needed policy changes they, like leopards never change their spots.
    We went through the aftermath of the GFC with many many young men being isolated and denied a chance. Many of us strongly advocated for youth rates and training so we could afford to take these young men and turn them into tradesmen. Look how that ended up. We will live with that legacy for a longtime. Paula Bennet was on Q+A on Sunday explaining away their failure with young men. They have no idea. The arrogance of the rich and educated unfortunately that make Politicians.

    Like the young men the housing situation isn’t that complex.
    The issue with housing is one of cheapness of new housing. I can predict easily that that will not change and that is regardless of how much land we open up. Now from having nothing in 1992 (lost the lot) we have 10 houses and have done so for for a number of years. Note that we didn’t even own our own home but decided that our long term future would be in this area. 1992 couldn’t even get a job 11% + unemployment here at that time.
    I digress a bit but want to say that most of those houses are the budget Beazley home type house. You will recall the type 72 to 80 odd sq mtrs.Transportable and on cheap or cross leased sections. No garages when built. People added those things later.

    Why we will not again have these type houses is that unless you can find a section that is sub dividable (which are becoming much harder to find), then you have no sections you can build or move one to.

    The bottom line is this. No developer anywhere will allow you to put a house of this type on a subdivision. The reason is that they want to protect the value of the properties in the subdivision and its their honestly held and probably correct vies that these types of houses attract people that are not wanted in their subdivision.
    Hence the use of covenants and if you haven’t read one lately then I sugest you do for some are eye watering in their requirements.
    So despite that you can buy/build a 3 bedroom 80 sq meter house for a reasonable cost there is nowhere to do so.

    Until that is solved (and no developer is going to roll over on this), cheap houses are simply a dream.

    I would note here that Bob the builder Clarkson (ex MP for Tauranga), tried to do this in Tauranga several years back. Unfortunately he couldn’t beat down our socialist Mayor and council and the long tentacles of the development community. He has now sold that land and in another 5 years time it will be converted to affordable housing, covenant style.

    Apparently we all need 4 bedrooms and designer this and that, inbuilt garages for lumps of metal that sit in the car parks in all weathers and so on. ( and now we have 4 cars per house the garages are not big enough so cars clutter the streets. Duh.

    So while immigration affects house prices the elephant in the room is covenants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • vikingonmars: How to reduce house prices in Auckland?
      How about eliminating the speculators who are attempting to profit from ever rising prices. Kill the tulip. Capital gains on all sales including the owner occupier. Stamp duty.
      Kill the city centre by removing the council offices, the law courts, the university, etc and eventually the port – if they were scattered to Huntly, Helensville, Wellsford and similar and the building restrictions adjusted accordingly then there is plenty of opportunity for developers.
      The problem with construction is boom and burst. So bring back the old department of works with instruction to build cheap and cheerful and plentiful using factory assembly and big housing estates – a long term government commitment to continuous building for at least five years into the future.
      Of course I hope this blog isn’t read by politicians since my ideas might be right and if actioned that would at least half my wealth (home is a $300k house on a $700k section which ought to be about $50k section in a realistic market). Not too good for owners of 10 houses either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is already a Capital Gains Tax. It’s called the Bright Line Test. Properties sold within 2 years will incur tax of 33% for profit of more tha $70k.

        There is a land tax. It’s called rates.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is also a non resident withholding tax on foreign buyers administered by lawyers on the date of settlement, funds must be withheld at 33% of the difference between the buy price and the sell price within 2 years of purchase.


      • There is a strange misconception that speculators drive a market. Speculators buy on logic, they spot a market arbitration opportunity between a seller and a emotional home buyer, and therefore are market followers rather than market drivers. Market drivers are emotional home owners prepared to pay higher prices driven by emotion, ie it’s my home and I love that place and must buy at whatever the price because I want it.


      • Well of course you could say the same for Govt. departments, look at Wellington. The place wouldn’t be without them. In essence I agree with you about the city centre. Here in Tauranga we have a bunch of people bowling down the same track that eventually creates so many problems in every city centre in the world.

        Kevin Hearle had the foresight to create a campus out of town for the polytech but since generations of fools and university clowns have decide it must be in the city centre for a uni so now we have a new students accommodation going up right in the city centre with no parking provisions because students will walk everywhere and don’t own cars. What a ******** joke. The idiots at council have approved this.

        Speculators will always rush to the gold no matter what form the gold takes. The speculation is a symptom of bad law and lack of supply. Unfortunately for me I didn’t take advantage of it.

        Bringing back a works Dept. won’t fix anything except to transfer the risks to the taxpayer. What is required is for the removal of so much planning law and a restriction on covenants.

        As for my houses.If you have read what Micheal has to say about superannuation funds you will understand why we made a decision to create our own in a product we understand..and I can tell you I have some very grateful tenants in some of them. These are people who will never ever own a home. It’s just who they are. And because these houses are as I described I don’t have to get $500 a week for them or these people would be under a tree with no where to live.


      • The current market arbitration opportunity in Auckland is the high density and high rise zoning under the Unitary Plan but is causing a real ruckus with sellers and real estate agents. The Unitary Plan is a big fiasco because the high rise being planned are pyramids rather than rectangular blocks which means 2 adjoining properties is worth more than one property by itself. The stupidity of the Independent Hearing Committee and Auckland town planners to consider NIMBYs height to boundary and to preserve the neighbours BBQ sunlit patch.

        “A real estate agent who sold two adjacent homes is adamant he got “top dollar” for his clients, despite a speculator flipping both properties three days later for an extra $300,000 each.”



      • Just a note to say I was tempted to click ‘like’ on all the comments made to my post. But I will have to learn more about covenants. I certainly don’t blame anyone for having 10 investment properties – rather jealous; I have 2 myself. However what is good for me is not good for the country nor for my children and grandchildren.
        Reference to the depart of works: I prefer competitive capitalism to socialism but clearly the Auckland market for house building is not working and a drastic solution is needed and needed now (my main gripe about the unitary plan is that it has taken over 5 years to do something that ought to have taken 5 weeks so everything stood still while my property doubled in value – wealth should be worked for). A department of works could be building something like the old state houses (one of the glories of NZ) except concrete for cars instead of grass, 2 bedroom with pre-planned ability to add more rooms, roughly 400sm of land, factory built. The more that can be contracted out to building firms the better. Currently we have politicians saying the market is working and pointing to million dollar houses in Hobsonville as proof.


    • Covenants – a pet peeve of mine. And the resulting streetscapes don’t grow organically as they did in earlier ‘covenant free’ urban development days. Maybe they will take on that kind of look and feel in decades to come.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations and I really hope you keep writing, my feeling is your input is making significant contribution to the debate. I think your writing reflects how many people feel, but don’t quite have the same ability to articulate an informed hypothesis. Ideas matter.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. “A Todd Property company has been denied consent to build apartment blocks up to nine levels high at a big Auckland residential community.

    Auckland Council rejected the application from Stonefields Development to build three apartment blocks and 11 terrace houses at 80 Korere Tce at Stonefields in the Mt Wellington/St Johns area.

    “The bulk and scale of the apartment buildings would result in a character which is not in-keeping with the neighbouring development and not envisaged in the planned urban character for the site and area,” the council decision said.”


    This area is zoned for high rise apartment dwelling under the Unitary Plan. It is clear Council is going to try and block and hinder highrise development. The Unitary Plan is a lie. Beyond 2 houses it’s all up to Council discretion. Too much power has been left to the discretion of Council. There is no avenue for a legal challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Congratulations on 2 years. I read a wide and varied range of content and I always find your blogs particularly thought provoking and stimulating, so thank you​ for writing them and I hope you can continue for many years yet!


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