Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: House-buying patterns in Auckland

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Danielle,

    Here’s the thing: you can think that non-resident foreign investment and our lack of regulation are a problem AND, ALSO, AS WELL AS THAT, think that this is racist dogwhistle politics. The two are not mutually exclusive, at all.

    Yes.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    PC gone mad? Identity politics run amuck? It's like Keith and Tze Ming didn't write anything at all.

    Personally I feel obliged to show solidarity with our Chinese-descent comrades. Their feelings matter. They are us too. As a member of another sinister minority I know how toxic this shit feels, but at least I can hide from the ignorant if I want to, an option which is not available to people who look and are named differently.

    And I can't help but feel that if this is the best alternative to identity politics then we really are failing.

    Apparently we'd rather put the analysis spotlight on foreigners than clarify that the beneficiaries of current policy settings are existing Auckland home-owners. Everyone who already owns a home (or more than one) in Auckland has a strong economic interest in not having any more built, and in doing whatever it takes to keep prices high, unless they are very old and lack the income to pay rates. The root causes of the current bubble have been known for a long time: constrained supply caused by NIMBYist planning restrictions, cheap credit, a favourable tax regime, and the dream of a rentier retirement. That's what's created a situation that's attractive to foreign buyers as much as it is to people who want to live here. More participants in the market obviously doesn't help calm it down but the latest arrivals didn't create the current situation. The relative unimportance of foreign buyers is one of the things that leads credence to the dogwhistle theory. You don't have to be a Marxist to see that our local capitalists have got us most of the way here on their own.

    (Can we dispense with the straw man that the racist reading is born fear of what Nats might say, which I don't believe anyone has actually expressed? It is a genuine concern that the label is deserved.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to talkie_toaster,

    I have better things to do with my time.

    Then you can kindly fuck off, instead of helicoptering in your bullshit.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to talkie_toaster,

    Phil Twyford and the analyst do not control and are not responsible for racist idiots deliberately misinterpreting this data to suit their own agenda.

    Aren't they? Why not? That seems like a very legitimate concern for prominent persons to have about what they say.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • talkie_toaster,

    I honestly don’t know any way in which people can talk about Chinese money flooding Auckland that can’t be misinterpreted or abused in some way by racist idiots.

    I really don’t. Open to suggestions.

    So, the alternative is: Don’t talk about it at all. For me, not an alternative.

    For me, the discussion should be not a circular firing squad, but a genuine discussion about how best to discuss this issue in a way that is least able to be abused by asshats.

    (edit) Stephen: agree that it's a legitimate concern. "Legitimately concerned about" is not the same as "responsible for".

    Aucks • Since Jul 2015 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • talkie_toaster, in reply to nzlemming,

    Then you can kindly fuck off, instead of helicoptering in your bullshit

    Deep. Thanks for your productive post.

    Aucks • Since Jul 2015 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to talkie_toaster,

    (A) if you can't do something in a non-racist way then maybe you shouldn't do it and (b) yes it is very hard to talk about "floods of Chinese money" in a non-racist way because you've explicitly framed it in a racist way that makes it about race in a way that echoes previous racist discourse.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to talkie_toaster,

    Well, you could have asked that interesting question in the beginning instead of deciding up front that people disagree that foreign money is an issue, that their feelings are bogus, that they ignore "real issues", that they're been suckered by Nats, or any of the other claims you made straight up. You've confronted people, and been answered accordingly. A smart domestic appliance like yourself could probably adjust approach without losing intellectual integrity if desired.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to talkie_toaster,

    Well, is Swan a person? I don’t know much about their posting history. Why would I? I’m new here.

    Swan is known to be a Kiwiblog semi-regular and a PAS irregular.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to talkie_toaster,

    “Legitimately concerned about” is not the same as “responsible for”.

    OK, I regret putting that in a flowery way.

    Phil, a dude I generally like and respect, was not compelled to say what he said. He chose to.

    If your speech has predictable consequences and you decide to go ahead anyway, to me that makes you responsible. You could be right, and you could in fact be justified, but you're still responsible, because it was a voluntary choice. And other people can argue about that choice, and whether you were justified, and attach moral weight to it, and all that crap.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • talkie_toaster, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    You’ve confronted people, and been answered accordingly.

    Well, I've confronted people who I thought were wrong and been answered by some people who disagreed and some people who took the time to explicitly endorse my point of view, so yeah, it's an opinion forum and I posted my opinion.

    you’ve explicitly framed it in a racist way

    How?

    yes it is very hard to talk about “floods of Chinese money” in a non-racist way

    I really don't think it is. Chinese money comes from China. China is a country.. one with 56 different ethnic groups according to Wikipedia.

    It's really hard to talk about it in a way that's impossible for determined people to interpret as racist. Because people are very elastic in their interpretations, they put words in people's mouths, they construct straw men, they do all the debating tricks we're all aware of. I can't control that. Like I said, the alternative is to not talk about it at all.

    Aucks • Since Jul 2015 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    What i don't understand is why nobody actually questioned - beyond all the stats, was this a morally and ethically ok thing, nobody questioned whether or not this might be considered deeply racist.

    it is totally possible to have a discussion about people who are not resident New Zealanders purchasing houses without making it a race fueled argument. I live in NZ i have a teeny tiny house with my Mum, I love it, I am far from surprised loads people (some of whom are not allowed to own property in their own country) visit here and want to buy a house of their own. Because it's the free Market Baby they can do it.

    Currently there is not enough data on this, as to who is buying & why. There are assumptions but no cold hard facts based on data. So labour decided to grab some 'leaked data' not even a whole data set but some leaked data, throw some assumptions at it to come up with a final assumption. Nobody questioned whether or not this tower of shit stuck on shit was a shitty thing to do. But because of this towering pile of shitty assumptions we are even less likely to even start gathering actual data on property buyers.

    of course what will talkback radio did if we lived on facts

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    If you make the assumption that property prices are being driven by non-resident foreigners,

    That's the trick, though, that Rob and Twyford never actually prove.

    They're basing their analysis on names, which have little bearing on residency. If a Chinese person emigrates from the PRC to NZ, their passport will reflect PRC spelling and usage. That will be the first document NZ authorities see, along with their application to immigrate which must match their passport to confirm their identity. Unless they change it by deed poll, this is the legal name they will use in NZ and the name they will purchase property under. Rob's analysis in no way identifies which purchasers are non-resident. As has been reiterated here and elsewhere, it can't because that information hasn't been collected as such, and piecing it together from primary sources at NZIS, IRD, DIA, LINZ and local councils (to verify how many purchases were made by residents) would probably be in breach of at least the Privacy Act and the Revenue Act, and possibly several others I haven't thought of.

    IF property price inflation is caused by non-resident purchasers for investment, by all means, let's have that as the story and the discussion. That's not, however, what Labour did. They singled out a single nationality without a statistical leg to stand on, for all the bleating of Bayesian analysis as if it's some sort of touchstone. I, too, have some experience with statistics and, if your base assumptions are not defined rigorously, your results are not meaningful. I challenge Rob Salmond and Labour to prove that Auckland's housing bubble is caused by non-resident investment. They can't. They know they can't. The information is not currently available. Instead of fomenting a discussion about the Government's refusal to collect data to do that analysis, they decided that any headline is a good headline.

    As others have noted, Auckland's problem (as well as the rest of the country, perhaps) appears to be partially that of rentiers owning too much of the property and thus preventing would-be home owners from getting into the market. There are thousands of properties vacant in Auckland at the moment, because it's more profitable to the owners to keep them that way as a land bank. Those are the discussions we should be having. Labour screwed this pooch by making it about surnames.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sue,

    Nobody questioned whether or not this tower of shit stuck on shit was a shitty thing to do.

    Now every time there's an attempt to flush the damn thing someone thinks they've spotted a piece of Lego embedded in the muck.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    After their first 29 posts in 1 day i think we can safely assume someone here is not participating with the goal of balanced discussion. This is a topic and issue worthy of great debating. lets do that and ignore the troll in the corner till it fades away.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    also what was the margin or error in Labour's stats?
    or was there assumed to be no errors

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to talkie_toaster,

    Do I need to provide examples of the things that were actually said and done in the “yellow peril” era? Do you actually seriously think this is (your words) “the same”?

    As you keep telling us, you're new here, so I'll answer this honestly by saying that I make my living by doing historical research, so no, you don't need to provide examples for me. And no, I don't think this is *exactly* the same, because people are now cannier with their rhetoric, and don't use carpet sweepers, and are less likely to be open eugenicists, and don't put the equivalent of a small line of cocaine in every bottle of Coca-Cola, and all manner of other things which are rather different than they were a century or more ago. But if Labour is going to explicitly frame this as some sort of unwanted Chinese colonisation of New Zealand - and they have, in this instance - then they're using a variant of the same political rhetoric that's been used ever since the White New Zealand era to whip up fear and resentment. It's called a "dogwhistle" for a reason.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to nzlemming,

    That’s the trick, though, that Rob and Twyford never actually prove

    I don’t think such a thing really is provable under current conditions. It’s definitely not possible to model it when the data isn’t even kept. How would you go about establishing the truth of that?

    ETA: If I see any sense in what they've done, it's to lay bare just how fucked up it is that we can't establish the truth of this easily just by looking up official statistics. It does actually matter a lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to nzlemming,

    Auckland’s problem (as well as the rest of the country, perhaps) appears to be partially that of rentiers owning too much of the property and thus preventing would-be home owners from getting into the market.

    There's lots and lots of contributing factors. An extremely long run of monetary policy aimed at shoveling easy debt at buyers is another one. But the idea that foreign money is a big contributor is at the very least extremely plausible. It is, after all, a pool of money that completely dwarfs our entire economy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    As a member of another sinister minority

    You so sinista, mista!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to BenWilson,

    It is, after all, a pool of money that completely dwarfs our entire economy.

    Chinese floodgates will open further – fuelling perhaps as much as US$10.9 billion of new investment into New Zealand real estate – according to the Juwai.com estimate, as Beijing eases restrictions on privately held capital.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/fran-osullivan/news/article.cfm?a_id=13&objectid=11469985

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don’t think such a thing really is provable under current conditions. It’s definitely not possible to model it when the data isn’t even kept. How would you go about establishing the truth of that?

    Pretty much my point. Which is why Labour shouldn't have gone ahead in the manner they have. As Stephen said, they chose to release this "analysis" - no-one forced them to.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Yes, and that's just China. "Foreign money" is literally all the money that isn't local. In other words, almost all the money, period.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to nzlemming,

    As others have noted, Auckland’s problem (as well as the rest of the country, perhaps) appears to be partially that of rentiers owning too much of the property and thus preventing would-be home owners from getting into the market. There are thousands of properties vacant in Auckland at the moment, because it’s more profitable to the owners to keep them that way as a land bank. Those are the discussions we should be having.

    A problem that had its origins way back in the 1987 NZSE bubble burst. Those who got burned by that are likely today's housing rentier class who have cartelised the housing market. It's anyone's guess as to when the Auckland housing bubble will pop, because the political system doesn't have the balls to fix it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to nzlemming,

    Which is why Labour shouldn’t have gone ahead in the manner they have.

    But to do nothing in the face of the Government's refusal to collect proper data .. is that what you see as a more appropriate response to the Auckland affordability crisis?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

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