Posts by Lucy Telfar Barnard

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  • Hard News: Housing, hope and ideology,

    There's another piece of the 1990s puzzle that I see even David Thorns missed. The decision to remove income-related rents was also a response to a Business Roundtable complaint that income-related rents in state housing created unfair competition for private landlords and thus kept rents lower than the market rate (sorry, I don't have a reference for this, but I remember it clearly from an essay I wrote on the subject in 1992).

    So the expectation, even from the Right, was that removing income-related rents would make rents go up, it's just that they would have viewed the initial increase as a "market correction" or some other cruel euphemism. The AS was meant to soften the blow of that correction, but I can't imagine they didn't see an associated rent increase as inevitable. I certainly did. Though at the time I think there was some rhetoric about how it wouldn't affect rents because the existence of the supplement would make investment in new rental stock more attractive, or some such BS.

    There are of course so many issues with the state removing itself from social housing provision, not least amongst them some concern over the lead role being taken by the Salvation Army, who do great work, but have views on homosexuality, and possibly other things that wouldn't be permissable in a government agency.

    So, yeah, if the government were looking to add community providers into the social housing model, that could be a good thing. But divesting responsibility looks a whole lot like passing the buck to me. It's just another case (analogous to the PM handing over responsibility for the GCSB to the AG) of the government looking at what issues are causing it embarassment and rather than fixing the problem, finding a way to make them embarrass someone else instead.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The uncooling of the inner West,

    Yup, and the banks lending policies affected the modern distribution of wealth in other ways too. I remember a friend telling me how his parents were house-hunting in the late 60s. There was an old villa in Devonport they really wanted to buy, but as you've noted, the bank wouldn't lend the money to buy something old, and they couldn't buy without a mortgage, so they bought a new build in Ranui.
    By the time we were talking about this, in the 1990s, Devenport had already gentrified. Ranui apparently still hasn't. So his parents' asset-base was directly determined not by their own choice, nor by how much deposit they had, nor their income (since the mortgage required for either property was the same) but solely by bank mortgage policies
    I guess the equivalent now would be small apartments, where banks will lend less because of the perceived risk. Kind of hard to see them appreciating compared to other options the way Devonport did compared to Ranui, but who knows?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The uncooling of the inner West,

    Have to be careful in the apartment market in Wellington though. Friends bought for retirement living, only to find that post Christchurch earthquake the insurance costs are so high they can't afford to live in it any more. Plus you have to look out for whether the council's assessed the building as needing seismic upgrade.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The uncooling of the inner West,

    I remember, probably 25 years ago, being given two pieces of advice for real estate investment. The second* of these was: if you want to know which area is going to appreciate next, look at where the artists, students, and new immigrants live. They've moved there because it represents value for money, the value being measured as proximity to transport, and "vibe". Property values will rise there until the value for money matches those of other places, and the students, artists and immigrants will look elsewhere.

    Based on that, the ageing and gentrification in Pt Chev was inevitable, because you moved there.

    (*The first was that overall worldwide, the highest priced properties were places on hills with views, and places near the sea/water. That's less relevant to this thread, and the hills things feels a bit of a joke in Wellington, where pretty much everywhere's on a hill with a view, and being that way brings wind and steps that daunt ageing parents).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe,

    I'm going to try to wade in to answer your question, Mark, though my Labour Party membership has expired and I had no part in devising the CGT policy.

    The reason your person on a low income would pay CGT on a $10K gain in value from selling a house is because it is income. If that same person were able to work and earned $10K, they'd pay $1895 in tax, not $1500. It's not their fault they can't work, since they're an invalid, but that doesn't mean additional income should be taxation exempt.

    The tricky part with inherited properties is that there's no inheritance tax, so if the parent had sold the house just before they died, they wouldn't have paid CGT on it, since it was the family home, and the heir would get the full amount. But the question of how long a selling period there should be has nothing to do with the wealth of the person inheriting, it's about how long you can reasonably give people so they have adequate time to sell, but no incentive to hold on to the property longer in hope of making and keeping more capital gain.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe,

    Can I have a hate-fest on the ABCs and think it might be best if David let go of the idea of being Leader?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe,

    I was a bit surprised the Unions voted for Cunliffe - not because I didn't think they should, but just because I didn't think he'd be their sort of leader. I wonder now whether their votes for Cunliffe last round were trying to send the message to Labour that they wanted Goff/King et al gone. At that point, that group had tucked themselves in behind Robertson, so the best way of sending that message was voting Cunliffe?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe,

    My sense of David Cunliffe has been that he's entirely genuine, but comes across as not on TV (and therefore, the exact opposite of Key).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe,

    I'm not sure the Greens do have better discipline. I think they're just better at getting along with each other for the common good, and, being a smaller party, have a greater commonality of views, whereas Labour's bigger, more disparate, and attracts candidates for whom their political ambitions are at least as important as their political goals.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Compulsory voting and election turnout,

    This is only marginally on topic, but:
    On Saturday I asked my lovely dairy man if he'd been able to vote. He wasn't sure he was going to get to, because he didn't close till 7pm. I went over about 4pm to say I'd mind the shop for him if he wanted to nip down the road to the school, but he said his wife had been able to duck out of work for a bit and was going to come and hold the fort for him.
    On Sunday I asked him if that had worked out, and he said yes, but that his wife hadn't been able to vote. On her way back to work she'd gone to a polling booth down in Lyall Bay, and although all the signs were up, the doors were locked. She'd knocked, but noone answered.
    Does anyone know what the rules are about polling booths staying open till 7pm?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 397 posts Report Reply

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