Posts by Lucy Telfar Barnard

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  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.,

    On the meth contamination question, oye, I hardly know where to start. The testing business is unregulated, but if it were regulated it would be even more expensive. I think having a "cheap" test that's indicative but includes a relatively high chance of false positives is OK so long as it's not considered diagnostic.

    However, one of the more popular companies says that 40% of the properties it tests are positive for meth. Now it's true that people will generally only test if they think there's a risk, so it's not a random sample. But that still seems very high considering only 0.9% of the population admit to having used meth. Surely at some point you've got to start questioning the accuracy of the test rather than calling it "irrefutable evidence" of "how significant the risk is"?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.,

    In relation to CareBnB (great name there!), it seems to me a similar sort of question to that of people in the UK wanting to offer rooms or homes to refugees, as reported on here.

    Based on that story, it looks like the most obvious first step would be to contact existing charitable social housing providers, e.g. in Auckland, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, and in general, any of the church social services organisations.

    If anyone knows of non-church-based charitable housing providers, do please share!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Crowded houses,

    The thing that's been bothering me in both Bennett and Key's comments on the housing crisis is their "oh, there have always been people with these problems". The language they use (surely deliberately) echoes the "The poor you will always have with you..." line. Of course, the second half of that phrase is "...but you will not always have me." I can only hope that's a promise.

    They are of course almost right. There have always been people with poor housing, even in the halcyon days of state housing. Certainly our housing has been cold for a long time, and at least on that front we're hopefully slowly improving in the battle between improvement and degeneration. But affordability has been getting worser and worser. And just because a crisis has built up slowly doesn't mean there's not a crisis.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ..., in reply to Kurt Mastrovich,

    My reason for banning LAQCs/LTCs/company ownership of property is only because if you don't, people can get round my proposed LVR restrictions by setting up a portfolio of shell companies each owning one property. It's not the vehicle themselves I have an issue with.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ...,

    OK, I have thought this through at great length (the length of my shower just now), and here's my proposal.
    1. Ban foreign ownership of residential property
    2. Ban company ownership of residential property (so no more shell companies or LAQCs or any other entity other than a human or humans owning a property)
    3. As per some other country (Korea?) that someone else on here mentioned, increasing LVR restrictions depending on the number of properties owned or part-owned. So 10% for one property, 35% for two, 66% for three, 100% (i.e. no loan) for four or more.
    4. Broad changes to tenancy rights and protections (a different, but connected issue).

    By the way, if central government won't act, there are things councils could do round the edges
    - Councils could also charge a land tax, since that's more or less what rates are already.
    - to address the unknown-anecdotal-sized problem of houses sitting empty, Councils could increase rates massively, but simultaneously provide massive discounts (ie. back to current cost) for property owners who can show that the property is occupied.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ..., in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yes of course. But just because other things also decrease the availability of housing available to locals doesn’t mean that AirBnB isn’t a problem.

    City/regional planners, in considering zoning, or applications to construct hotels/backpackers/supermarkets/sports arenas, consider the allocation of land to different purposes. Those purposes include farming, industrial and commercial manufacture, retail, sports facilities, housing tourists/short-term visitors, and housing residents in different intensities of housing.

    When people rent their properties and spare rooms using AirBnB rather than renting or selling to longer-term residents, they change the ratio between housing available to short-term visitors, and housing available to long-term residents. But they don’t have to apply to the council to do so. So the planner’s ability to maintain the necessary balance in land allocation is compromised, and it is the long-term residents who suffer for it.

    In the long-term, it may balance out. Hotels who lose custom to AirBnB may close and be converted to resident housing. But that’s not much comfort in the short term to the residents who can no longer find anywhere to rent because property owners have realised they can make the same profit by letting to short-term visitors instead.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ..., in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I heard that too, and snorted.
    I have no idea whether the ratio of mortgage payments to incomes is higher now than it was when National got in, but even if it is (which I doubt), that's hardly the only indicator of affordability.
    - The deposit required, as a percentage of income, must certainly be higher.
    - Even though the interest rates are lower now than they were then, people can't make borrowing decisions based solely on what interest rates are right now, when mortgage rates can change. We need to have a buffer so that we're confident we can afford to pay the mortgage if interest rates increase.

    Nick Smith was correct when he said that some option wasn't "a silver bullet". There is no silver bullet. We need a whole range of measures, that collectively add up to action on housing affordability.

    Banning overseas ownership would be a good start. Yes of course there will be workarounds, and we'll need to identify those and move to close those down too. It may be hard, but other countries manage to do it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Future Leaders for…, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    And if kids don't use Facebook any more, please let me know what they are using :-)

    As far as I can tell (I have a fifteen year-old), instagram and tumblr, and they chat on Skype and google chats. All at the same time. There's a bit of facebook, but mostly it's considered "old people". I am forbidden from tagging the teenager on facebook.

    I did ask the teenager a couple of years ago about voting rights, for much the same reason as you: where possible I like to see campaigns led by those affected by the outcome. I got a look. You know, one of those looks that teens and preteens give their parents when their parents are being dull and transparent about trying to interest the youth in something that is interesting to the parent but of pretty much zero interest to the youth.

    Mind you, that was a couple of years ago. I could try asking again.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: ‘Kiwimeter’ is a methodological…,

    my own mean instincts

    They're not mean. They're definitely well above average.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fix up, young men, in reply to BenWilson,

    I have a perfectly good memory of what being raised by hippies was like, and they’re every bit as capable of lying, raping, assaulting, abusing power and so on as any other demographic. To think it’s otherwise is having rose-tinted spectacles about the past.

    Amen, brother. Plenty of alpha males amongst them too.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

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