The Press on Labour’s earthquake policy

September 22nd, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

has an editorial on Labour’s earthquake recovery policy:

’s proposals are, at this stage, not much more than a fine-sounding wishlist. As one red-zone resident noted, the plans were “about as useful as wallpaper”. This is largely driven by the party’s poor showing in opinion polls.

Wallpaper can be useful, to be fair.

Unless there is more substance that Labour has yet to announce, some of them would raise more problems than they would solve. It is also difficult to see how some of them could be made to work. The gaping hole in the proposals is the lack of any realistic assessment of their longer-term impact on the public finances. And while Labour’s leader, Phil Goff, was scornful of the capacity of a “market solution”, he appeared to be oblivious (or chose to ignore) the potentially huge, unintended consequences of ad-hoc interventionism.

A centrepiece of Labour’s plan is the proposal to spend $230 million on “affordable” sections that would be sold “at cost” to 1500 red-zone homeowners. This would, Labour says, control cost inflation among private developers. Quite how the government buying sections, instead of private interests, would control any inflation in the market is not explained. Also, “at cost” suggests that Labour would subsidise the price of the sections, which means a few fortunate buyers would get sections they could not otherwise afford at the expense of taxpayers.

The most notable flaw in this proposal, however, is that it does not explain how the lucky 1500 would be chosen out of 6000 or so who can no longer remain on their land. Whether they were chosen according to some stated criteria, by a lottery or selected by some other method, a host of inequities would be bound to arise.

Perhaps they would go to those who can prove they voted Labour?

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13 Responses to “The Press on Labour’s earthquake policy”

  1. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    This is why National will have the capacity to govern alone post November. Labour and the Green Party can only promise, knowing that the money to enact those policies does not belong to them, but to us.

    I have receieved a mailer in my letterbox, stating that Labour Policies will put more money in my pocket. The back page of which is simply a picture of a $100 bill. Quite frankly, I am offended that Labour would think I would fall for such a blatant bribe, espeically as I will have to pay for it myself.

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  2. David Farrar (1,899 comments) says:

    If you have access to a scanner, can you send me a copy of that flyer.

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  3. leftyliberal (651 comments) says:

    “A centrepiece of Labour’s plan is the proposal to spend $230 million on “affordable” sections that would be sold “at cost” to 1500 red-zone homeowners. This would, Labour says, control cost inflation among private developers. Quite how the government buying sections, instead of private interests, would control any inflation in the market is not explained.”

    Let’s see: 1500 properties for 230million with the government not taking a cut is 153k a property. Assuming that (plus any overheads) is below the current going rate, would it not ease the inflationary pressure caused by increased demand?

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  4. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    How will they choose the lucky 1500. Easy. Just hold a wallpaper hanging competition. The losers get a cheap section.

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  5. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Do Labour think that Christchurch is the only natural disaster NZ will ever have – what happens next time a flood wipes out some houses somewhere – will the gummit step and buy stuff to make it easy for people ?

    Or have I assumed labour have thought this through when it’s just the shit they are saying in a desperate attempt to improve their election result ?

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  6. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Labour, Labour please stop the ground shaking – 10 shakes yesterday.

    We know that you can promise that you can walk on water so please extend this to ground shaking.

    When that stops, which could take some time, then you can pontificate, after all its not your money. (or the Greens).

    Another serious quake, not aftershock, and there will be no earthquake re/insurance cover for some “years” in Canterbury, as I am sure Mr Brownlee was told last week in Europe.

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  7. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    DPF Your last sentence may well be very close to the mark

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  8. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    As soon as you have winners and losers (1,500 winners and 4,500 losers from 6000 displaced) then you create opportunity for scalping. Assuming a lottery or randon selection of those interested, everyone, even those not intending to stay, will be in the draw.

    Once the sections are all gone, those that didn’t actually need the section can then sell it – at a profit (thanks taxpayer) – to people who didn’t win but want to stay in ChCh.

    Wonder who supplied the dope they must have been smoking when they came up with this plan…

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  9. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    The policy is nothing more than cynical manipulation of the suffering and hardship Christchurch residents have had to endure. I’m not a great fan of the Press, but good on them for shredding Labour’s absurd proposals.

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  10. V (720 comments) says:

    It is such a wasted opportunity from Labour, all they needed to do was have a credible plan to deal with the landuse laws implemented by council planners, ECan and the RMA that are essentially restricting the use of city-fringe land and thus artificially driving up the price of residential sections.
    Of course this would upset their command and control core view of the world …

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  11. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Just imagine if the Lefty loons were in power when Christchurch was hit by the earthquakes, they would make Dunkirk look like a well planned strategic withdraw.

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  12. Inky_the_Red (760 comments) says:

    Has the Press ever written a pro Labour editorial. Face it despite being based in a city that traditionally votes Labour The Press is and has always been a Tory paper

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  13. kiwi in america (2,454 comments) says:

    Inky
    Typical of the left – rather than address the substance of the editorial they indulge in ideological name calling. I’ve read many a pro Labour Press editorial over the years – your memory is faulty mate. On this issue the editor was spot on – calling Labour out for shameless vote buying with a policy riddled with distortions and inconsistencies.

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