Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Housing, hope and ideology

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  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    So, off the top of your head, you believe that micro-managing supply “should mean” that you can control price rises keeping everybody happy. You would be popular in a Len Brown regime, but I think that’s an unrealistic claim, even if you have the econometric modelling to support you. In fact, it is that mentality that has got us to this point that we’re in now. And I will call you on it.

    Call me on whatever you like. I wasn’t trying to address the question of controlling price rises, and I’m not interested in micro-managing supply or in “keeping everybody happy”, I’m interested in making sure everyone has somewhere decent to live. At the moment that would require something macro, not micro. The reality is that even if the government were interested in building new houses, which it’s not, we’d be lucky to get anywhere close to building enough to get to the point where we’re treading water with matching supply and demand. However, in the unlikely event that we did manage to catch up, and prices fell as a result, and people lost money because they chose to invest in property, well, they can’t say they weren’t warned that property as an investment has risks like any other investment.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    OK, that's fine and I agree with you to some degree, but that goes back to the point that I was trying to express: If you want a paradigm shift and the government to provide social housing, the general population is going to have to wear the consequences. The idea that the government cannot build enough housing for everyone is garbage. Of course they can. What it will mean is that the public deficit will explode, but it can be done. NZ is a sovereign nation with its own currency.

    As for property investors being responsible for their own actions, sure, that's a fair point...if property investment wasn't jury rigged by a construct of risk-weighted bank policy, tax policy, and restricted land supply. Investors are in the game because our institutions have geared the system to become what it is. They're getting feel mighty aggrieved if that is taken away. And the implications are huge for an economy where demand and spending is driven to a large degree by asset prices, not by what people actually earn. Disagree with me? Then explain why household debt is among the highest among developed countries.

    I very much doubt NZ is ready for self-sacrifice to ensure social housing, including those at the most benevolent end of the political spectrum.

    Since Nov 2006 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to steven crawford,

    It was the same in Ponsonby. I seldom wore shoes to Primary School, by choice. I had shoes, just didn't wear them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    The reality is that even if the government were interested in building new houses, which it’s not, we’d be lucky to get anywhere close to building enough to get to the point where we’re treading water with matching supply and demand.

    Yup. Every time I hear a solution proposed, I think "hmmm, that might affect prices by maybe 1% at best". Our unaffordable housing is a whole economy problem, and it's been allowed to fester for so long that it's bordering on insoluble.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    I very much doubt NZ is ready for self-sacrifice to ensure social housing, including those at the most benevolent end of the political spectrum

    I agree with this. Not because people are hard hearted here but because they really have no idea of the scale of the problem, or the amount of money actually required to solve it. When posed with the real costs, they would be shocked, because people just don't realize how much of our wealth is actually tied up in property. Essentially, it's almost all of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The idea that the government cannot build enough housing for everyone is garbage. Of course they can. What it will mean is that the public deficit will explode, but it can be done.

    Didn’t Labour have their decade-long building programme fully costed as part of their detailed election policy? Can’t be any less affordable than giving ongoing top-skewed personal tax cuts and other things govts choose to invest in.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    I very much doubt NZ is ready for self-sacrifice to ensure social housing, including those at the most benevolent end of the political spectrum.

    It well and truly is our version of G7 farm subsidies - like a cartel that's too big for the Commerce Commission to unpick. Sadly it may take something of Icelandic proportions, or American subprime proportions, to get things moving.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5341 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    The idea that the government cannot build enough housing for everyone is garbage. Of course they can. What it will mean is that the public deficit will explode, but it can be done. NZ is a sovereign nation with its own currency.

    As I understand it, the issue isn't the cost, but the availability of building materials and adequately-skilled labour.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    Not because people are hard hearted here but because they really have no idea of the scale of the problem, or the amount of money actually required to solve it. When posed with the real costs, they would be shocked, because people just don’t realize how much of our wealth is actually tied up in property. Essentially, it’s almost all of it.

    Chase, Equiticorp, Goldcorp, Judgecorp and Brierleys were also big factors in driving said people to the property market.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5341 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    The idea that the government cannot build enough housing for everyone is garbage. Of course they can.

    It's probably worth defining what we mean by "housing for everyone". Because it's pretty wide. It certainly is possible to house everyone right now just by putting more than one person per bedroom. Also, the cost of all that housing could be way less if we opted to build it all in the middle of nowhere, and if it was very high density at that. But that's probably not what people mean.

    Didn’t Labour have their decade-long building programme fully costed as part of their detailed election policy?

    Presumably their plan contains such definitions?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    It's rather ironic that you say cost isn't the issue. Anyway, the supply of building materials exists (think Sekisui) and the world is awash with skilled labour if it doesn't exist in NZ. But once again, these are non-issues, and without any political will, don't expect anything to change, whether they wear red or blue pajamas.

    Since Nov 2006 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    It’s rather ironic that you say cost isn’t the issue. Anyway, the supply of building materials exists (think Sekisui) and the world is awash with skilled labour if it doesn’t exist in NZ. But once again, these are non-issues, and without any political will, don’t expect anything to change, whether they wear red or blue pajamas.

    There was a RadioNZ story not too long ago – and I forget when exactly – which reported that a guy imported all his materials from Europe. Even accounting for shipping and customs duty, it still worked out much cheaper than sourcing the materials locally.

    Further to my points above, I may have mentioned it before, but who needs to bring back the Legislative Council upper house when we have property speculators instead?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5341 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    The world is indeed awash with skilled labour, but bringing in migrant labour to solve the problem brings its own challenges – apart from anything else, there’s the question of where to house them…

    But yes, I shouldn't have said cost wasn’t an issue, rather that it’s not the only issue. And I’m not saying it’s impossible, just that it’s complex, and even if the political will were there, there would be a bunch of issues to figure out besides just where and what to build.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Even the guy at work who goes barefoot all the time out of choice has a pair of shoes that he keeps in his car because it’s illegal to drive in bare feet.

    I did not know about that law.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3869 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I thought that's what he told me, but I just looked it up, and it's not, so maybe it's just uncomfortable. The few times I've tried it it certainly was.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to steven crawford,

    Even the guy at work who goes barefoot all the time out of choice has a pair of shoes that he keeps in his car because it’s illegal to drive in bare feet.

    I did not know about that law.

    Neither did I, nor I suspect, did the women I've been driven by who kicked off their high-heels to drive in (stocking covered) bare feet since that was safer...

    edit: Ninja'd by Lucy

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to steven crawford,

    Pretty sure it’s an urban myth

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    just that it’s complex

    Sorry not picking open you Lucy but this is a phrase we see trotted out a lot by our elected leaders and each time I see/hear it I cry bullshit

    Its not a complex issue if there is a will and desire to solve the problem, as already mentioned, but that just isn't the case

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 532 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Driving in ski boots is ill-advised. Or stilts.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Pretty sure it’s an urban myth

    As far as I know the goofyfoot gas pedal is still legal.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4529 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Not only that, I once owned a car that didn’t even require feet in order to be driven . It was a triumph 2000, modified by the legendary Doctor Dick from Evens bay. Whom is actually more famous for periodically refusing to pay his mooring fees than his paraplegic sailing expeditions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3869 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I often drive barefoot in the summer when I'm walking in jandals. It's ok for short distances.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to bob daktari,

    Its not a complex issue if there is a will and desire to solve the problem, as already mentioned, but that just isn’t the case

    I looked closely at Lusy’s paragraph on that.I have no argument with it. I think it is a complex issue, that has no ” commen sence ” answer. Some of our more serios social problems can be attributed to urban design. I for one would like to see some sience, before hastily reaching for the cuting and filling bulldozer, this time around.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3869 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    It's not illegal to drive barefoot in New Zealand

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    It’s not illegal to drive barefoot in New Zealand

    What about picking your nose while driving ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

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