Posts by James Butler

  • Hard News: Not yet standing upright, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Any time we had to do a school project on a country, we’d draw its flag. So it’s not just for the children of NZ that choosing a simple flag is a kindness.

    What this says to me is that the flag should be either a) very simple OR b) a dragon.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Not yet standing upright, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    “Wow, look at all these votes with “THIS SUCKS” written on them. I had no idea people felt this way. This is a serious wake-up call. Let’s just scrap the referendum.”

    - No one, 2015

    What are you talking about? This is exactly how Banksy and Russell Brand brought down Capitalism.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Not yet standing upright, in reply to lprent,

    Having a high informal count will probably send a pretty good signal about this silly process, and more importantly it’d stop more people just not voting.

    But it also means that the votes which are actually considered will contain a higher proportion of votes by people who actually like one of the alternatives, therefore raising the chances of having an alternative in the final runoff which those people will vote for.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Not yet standing upright, in reply to Euan Mason,

    Next: A $26 million panel, comprising neither poets nor musicians, to select a short list for a new national anthem.

    I'm eagerly waiting to be called up to a panel on sports or business policy.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Not yet standing upright, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I’m a big fan of the “Vote hypnoflag!” plan, and fully intend to promote it at every opportunity

    The alternative is the RSA’s "old man yells at cloud" plan to influence the process, which seems somewhat self-defeating. Voting hypnoflag fnord is probably the best way to help avoid any of the four winning (it helps that it’s the one of the four that I prefer, although I really wanted Wā kāinga).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: BURGERGASM,

    I refused chicken and vegetarian burgers on principle.

    And yet centrists accuse the left of identity politics!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: House prices and the "Magic Money",

    This is probably the right place in the discussion to push LVT and UBI. Subsidise low income buyers, and penalise high-income rentiers.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: House prices and the "Magic Money", in reply to BenWilson,

    Then we don’t have to have these futile discussions about which cause is most important. Instead we acknowledge that we should be both increasing supply and controlling demand, and then we do both at the same time.
    [...]
    The levers we can then tinker with are pretty clear. For supply, natural technological change is always a upwards driver, but it’s not controllable. Increasing the speed of approvals is a tap that can be turned up or down. For demand, interest rates are a lever we already use. Limits on foreign capital flows are another, and they could free up the other lever considerably. Trying to do it all with interest rates is like trying to swim with one arm. Then there’s the obvious possibility of redistribution through various subsidizations. I’m sure there’s others.

    Minor quibbles with two of your levers. Restricting foreign investment is a tool you might consider using, but I suspect that if you can keep price growth down other ways then it simply won't be needed - why would anyone who doesn't want to live here want to invest in an asset whose value grows slower than wages? And subsidies have to be used very carefully - for example in the current situation, giving more money to buyers might help equalize the relative buying power of some groups but overall it would push prices up even faster.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: House prices and the "Magic Money",

    I think I've worked out what frustrates me most about this discussion. We're talking about the difference between housing value and housing debt, and trying to work out where the "extra" money is coming from; but I'm sure most of us have seen first-hand this missing money being created. Someone who bought a house in Auckland for $200k in 2005 now has a $700k asset, but no-one's lent them that money, and unless they sell then no offshore investor has swooped in to give it to them.

    This is trivially obvious, which is I guess my point. We know that housing prices are rising dramatically, and we can argue all day about why that is (and I'm sticking with "Auckland's run out of all the easy places to add a dwelling" until I see good evidence that it's not the case); but the "magic money" gap only tells us that it has happened, and I can't see what it adds about why.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: House prices and the "Magic Money", in reply to BenWilson,

    I can see that constraining land supply will mean that rising demand will lead to rising prices. What I don’t see is where so much demand came from. If land supply were rising at the same pace as demand, then prices would remain stable.

    Are we seriously suggesting that Auckland is meant to grow at roughly the rate that it’s property prices have been rising? So 26% in the last year alone? We’re meant to build a whole quarter of the city in one year?

    No. Why would that follow? If the problem is that demand has exceeded supply - and that doesn't mean that there's suddenly more demand, just that the demand curve has crossed the supply curve - then you would expect prices to increase at a greater rate than before, as the value of the existing dwelling stock increases.

    Also please let's talk about dwelling supply rather than land supply, it's less prone to being misinterpreted.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 817 posts Report Reply

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