The Vote debates how to fix NZ’s Housing Crisis

September 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 pm by Kokila Patel


Is the Kiwi dream of owning your own home on the way out? Or is there a way to make housing more affordable? Do we need to ban foreign buyers, let our cities sprawl or do more to help first-home buyers onto the property ladder?

This month, The Vote tackles housing, asking “How do we fix New Zealand’s housing crisis?”  In a piece of television history, the people answering that question are the political powerbrokers, in the first primetime multi-party debate to be held outside an election campaign, screening on Wednesday 11 September, at 8.30pm on TV3.

Just over a year from the 2014 General Election, and as the Labour party prepares to select its next leader, Kiwis will get their best chance to compare Government and Opposition approaches to the housing crisis.  In a departure from its usual format, The Vote will be divided into three parts, each covering a key area of the housing debate: foreign ownership, first home buyers and the housing shortage.

The Vote: Housing Special will give Kiwis a rare insight into the Government’s plans, and the alternatives offered by Opposition parties.  The coin toss has determined will lead the Government team, with Sam Lotu-Iiga representing National, Peter Dunne speaking for United Future and John Banks for ACT.  will lead the Opposition team, with Labour’s Phil Twyford, New Zealand First’s Winston Peters, and Metiria Turei representing The Green Party.

Broadcaster and lawyer, Linda Clark will again be charged with keeping the debaters in line and on topic.  This month, instead of asking viewers to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the moot, she will invite them to vote ‘Gov’ or ‘Opp’ to indicate who they think offers the best solutions to the housing crisis, the Government or the Opposition.

Housing has been the topic of heated debate this year as prices in New Zealand hit record highs and home ownership rates fell as low as they’ve been for 50 years. Just 65 percent of Kiwis now own their own homes, down from 75 percent in the 1990s. In that time, house prices have more than doubled.

The median house price in New Zealand is now $385,000 – nearly 10 percent higher than the previous peak in 2007. In Auckland and Christchurch a median home now costs seven times the median household income, compared to just twice the median income in 1980, and Prime Minister John Key has said he fears young New Zealanders are “being locked out of the housing market altogether”.

Senior Producer Tim Watkin says:  “We’re really excited to be able to pull together such a significant debate on The Vote.

“Housing literally hits people where they live, so this month we’re asking politicians for their solutions – what can they do to stop the next generation of Kiwis from being a generation of renters?

“It’s the first time six parties have agreed to debate on primetime television outside an election campaign, and that’s because New Zealanders care so much about this issue.  We all need to know what the future holds for housing in New Zealand.”

Joining Duncan and Guyon next week are representatives of all main political parties:

THE GOVERNMENT – Led by Duncan Garner

  • Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has been the National MP Maungakiekie for five years and chairs the Social Services Select Committee, which oversees the passage of new housing laws.  Sam grew up in South Auckland after emigrating from Samoa as a child, and now lives in Onehunga with his family.  He has an MBA from the University of Cambridge, and worked in law and banking before entering politics.  In his electorate he sees developers stifled by regulations and says the Government is on the right track with its housing strategy – freeing up land for development, making councils quicken housing consents and keeping interest rates low.
  • John Banks leads the ACT Party and is MP for Epsom. He is also a minister under the National-led Government. ACT’s main housing policy is giving Kiwis the Freedom to Build. That means fewer regulations and quicker consenting processes, as well as freeing up more land. Banks believes this is “the quickest and most effective way to make housing more affordable” and endorses the Government’s action in this area. ACT opposes a ban on foreign buyers, believing we should be encouraging foreign investment in New Zealand. He also opposes a Capital Gains Tax, saying it will only create more red tape.
  • Peter Dunne is MP for Ohariu and leader of United Future, which has a confidence and supply agreement National. He supports the government’s direction with housing and the need for more affordable homes. Dunne does not believe we have a housing ‘crisis’ but a problem that could be helped by allowing families to capitalise their Working for Families payments to support the buying, extension or upkeep of a house. He thinks the Opposition parties’ policy of banning foreign buyers is racist and a solution looking for a problem.

THE OPPOSITION – Led by Guyon Espiner

  • Phil Twyford is Labour’s MP for Te Atatu and Spokesperson for Housing.  His background includes working as a journalist before setting up Oxfam New Zealand. A Capital Gains Tax of 15 percent (exempting the family home) was at the forefront of Labour’s election campaign in 2011 – and remains one the party’s key policies to help more Kiwis reach the home ownership dream. Labour has also announced a plan to build 100,000 houses over 10 years and restrict foreign ownership of New Zealand properties.
  • Metiria Turei has been the Green Party Co-leader since 2009 and a Green MP since 2002.  Metiria lives in Dunedin and has worked as a lawyer, as well as an advocate for the unemployed and beneficiaries. She leads the Green campaign for safe, secure and sustainable housing. Like Labour, the Green Party housing policy includes restrictions on foreign ownership and a Capital Gains Tax. The Green Party believes in “modern urban design”, so opposes opening up land that will create sprawling cities. It would like to implement a Progressive Ownership programme to help more Kiwis buy houses.
  • Winston Peters is the leader of New Zealand First, and may hold the balance of power at next year’s General Election. Peters believes Housing is a “disaster in the making”, alleging Auckland’s housing boom is fuelled by thousands of foreign investors buying properties and making housing unaffordable for many Kiwis. New Zealand First wants an immediate freeze on all foreign property sales and a register of all foreign owned land. New Zealand First policy also aims to ease the serious housing shortage and provide government assistance to home owners, with sale and purchase land agreements and low interest rates.

The Vote is competitive current affairs – a monthly series of entertaining and informative national debates on the big issues facing New Zealanders. The debates take place in theatres with audience participation and voting, but the opinion that matters most is that of the audience watching at home.

Viewers are encouraged to vote for free at, via Twitter @TheVoteNZ and Facebook at The Vote NZ. Viewers can also text their vote by texting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to 3920 at a cost of 20 cents per text.

The Vote is produced by TV3’s News and Current Affairs division with funding from NZ On Air, and screens once every four weeks in the same timeslot as 3rd Degree.

16 Responses to “The Vote debates how to fix NZ’s Housing Crisis”

  1. hj (8,596 comments) says:

    Population increase is government policy. These no-hopers should discuss that.

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  2. Daigotsu (485 comments) says:

    The only thing more sickening than Turei and Twyford’s brainless carping is the fact that the communist media continually falls over itself in pathetic eagerness to give them a platform and attempt to validate their oxygen-thieving non-ideas with gormless nodding heads.

    No sane society would allow these sick individuals to share their views in any context other than street corner rants.

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  3. Simon (1,603 comments) says:

    What a shower of shit.

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  4. RRM (12,567 comments) says:

    Is the Kiwi dream of owning your own home on the way out? Or is there a way to make housing more affordable? Do we need to ban foreign buyers, let our cities sprawl or do more to help first-home buyers onto the property ladder?

    That’s easy: we let our cities sprawl.

    It is wishful thinking in the extreme to think you can just continue to stuff an exponentially growing population into an almost static pool of housing and the power of social engineering will magically make it all ok.

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  5. EAD (3,893 comments) says:

    House prices are always and everywhere a function of the price of credit. When you have a central bank manipulating the cost of credit below the market rate, it will cause house prices to rise. You can only control the price of credit if you have a monopoly on the issuance of paper money via legal tender laws and outlaw real money (gold & silver) as legal tender.

    The credit ponzi/worldwide housing & fiat money bubble has been blown so huge, that any mug jumping in now deserves to get roasted. With interest rates manipulated all the way down to zero, yet 10 year gilts beginning to creep up, the end of this money-as-debt scam is almost upon us. Save in real money and you’ll be part of the biggest transfer of wealth the world is ever seen as the bubble goes “pop” and all those paper illusions of wealth disappear.

    Thomas Jefferson
    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

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  6. Odakyu-sen (3,194 comments) says:

    Houses are for nesting–not investing.

    (not my quote)

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  7. flipper (5,297 comments) says:

    Lotu-liga, Banksie and Dunne “representing” the Government?


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  8. OneTrack (4,602 comments) says:

    And where are Labour/Greens/Mana/Winston going to actually build these 10000+ houses. Based on the Herald articles over the last year, only Herne Bay (maybe Ponsonby) will be good enough. And there needs to be a lawn. And a garage (2 cars of course). And three bedrooms. What? You can already get that in Henderson? Ohh, don’t want to live there. I just need to wait and Labour will give us everything we want.

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  9. flipper (5,297 comments) says:


    Have you checked out the relative densities of, say, Auckland v New York (That is the real New York city area and not the extended rural area included by Demographia) ) ???? (See below, and apols for length)

    We are not talking a UK population here, but a larger land mass (even allowing for mountains etc), but Blakeley and his silly philosophy is seeking to impose post WW2 UK planning think on a nation with a totally different psyche….and different aspirations for ourselves, and those that will follow.

    Blakeley, and his fellow travellers, are the folks out of sync.
    Population densities and urban sprawl

    Khyaati Acharya | Research Assistant | khyaati
    Auckland is often described as a city of urban sprawl. Currently, the Auckland City Council is debating whether a more dispersed, or more condensed city is more efficient in the face of an ever-growing population, increasing fuel costs and environmental concerns.

    But is Auckland really a city of urban sprawl?

    Two weeks ago, Insights published a Graph of the Week that indicated that Auckland had a higher population density than New York, and many other large, well-known cities.

    Auckland is New Zealand’s largest urban area; a super city that covers 1,890 square miles (3,041 square kilometres) and is home to over 1.5 million people. It is also New Zealand’s most dense urban area.

    The Graph of the Week, using statistics provided by Demographia World Urban Areas: 9th Annual Edition, put the population density of Auckland at 6,200 people per square mile, while New York’s was 4,600 people per square mile.

    However, this probably does not compute for anyone familiar with the Big Apple and the bright lights of the Manhattan city skyline. Beyond question Manhattan is more densely populated than Auckland’s CBD.

    Indeed, the 2010 US census put New York’s population density at 26,953 people per square mile. That’s five times denser that the statistics published by Demographia.

    The difference is easily explained. The US census measures population density inside New York’s metropolitan urban limit – the formal boundaries of the bustling and chaotic City that Never Sleeps. This is an area of 303 square miles (488 square kilometres).

    Demographia measures New York’s population density over a much larger area – an area of 4,406 square miles (7,091 square kilometres). It uses techniques like satellite photos of suburban lights on a clear night to assess the extent of urban sprawl beyond the metropolitan limit.

    In short, there is no inconsistency between the two measures of population density. Which one is the more appropriate depends on the purpose.

    If the purpose is to assess the extent of urban sprawl, it does not make sense to stop at the city limit if this is not where the sprawl ends. Using photos of the lit-up areas at night to gauge where the built-up areas end makes sense.

    That is why the Graph of the Week focused on Demographia’s measure of density. It shows that Auckland’s population density must be greater in the outskirts of Auckland than in the outskirts of New York’s metropolitan limit.

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  10. hj (8,596 comments) says:

    ” only Herne Bay (maybe Ponsonby) will be good enough”
    funny thing that in our “civilised” society people need to pay for safety- you need to live in one of these neighbourhoods and take a walk around on a Sunday morning. I recall Brian Edwards saying he can’t remember feeling unsafe in the neighbourhood (lives in Herne Bay, calls himself the far-left). Perhaps that could explain a lot

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  11. bringbackdemocracy (466 comments) says:

    Winston lining up with his coalition partners, just like with the manufactured crisis.

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  12. Elaycee (4,536 comments) says:

    Oh, dear……. it’s not exactly a stellar line-up:

    TV3’s News and Current Affairs division / Linda Clark / Duncan Garner / Sam Lotu-Iiga / Peter Dunne / John Banks / Guyon Espiner / Phil Twyford / Winston Peters and Metiria Turei.

    Hardly a ‘must watch’ programme…

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  13. georgedarroch (306 comments) says:

    How to solve New Zealand’s housing woes?

    Vote out every one of the councilors who voted to destroy housing affordability.

    The proposed rules were already massive compromises against affordability and freedom of design and lifestyle, in order to have the plan pass by Auckland’s powerful elite nimbys (notice how they had already managed to secure the inner suburbs from any real change?). And a city that does not change in the face of changing needs is one that will stagnate and suffer. We’re already suffering now, with massive house prices forcing friends of mine abroad. I don’t want that to happen.

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  14. emmess (1,807 comments) says:

    What is the point of inviting the miniscule parties?
    Why can it not be 3 National versus 2 Labour and a Green?

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  15. Michael (1,065 comments) says:

    We have a two-fold problem – more overall population, fewer people per household. You can’t regulate a solution (except for compulsory shacking up).

    Five real solutions to the housing problem:

    1. No urban limits. The alternative is compulsory subdivision of existing sections, or there will always be a shortage of new housing. There are areas where expensive transport infrastructure already exists (e.g. around Pukekohe, Kapiti, West Auckland)
    2. Demolish the state houses. State houses are designed for the 1950s with 3 bedrooms and large sections. Demand for housing is more 2 bed on small sections or 4 bed on mid sized sections. You can turn 1 existing suburban property into 4 small or 2 mid sized properties and selling some privately to owner occupiers and keep others for social housing.
    3. Economic policy to keep interest rates low. No ‘nice to haves’ like $18.40 minimum wages. No printing money.

    Now we are getting to the more interventionist ones:

    4. Capital gains tax on rental properties only. Will encourage more rational investment.
    5. Government developing new houses for private owner occupier purchase with write off of 10% of purchase price if owned and occupied for at least 7 years.

    And another one – no more school drop outs. If you are on the dole and under 20, you have to enrol in a employment skill related course. Even if it is to learn how to read, write and add and subtract. While not everyone is smart enough to do a trade job, you will increase the pool of trade workers.

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  16. Paulus (3,566 comments) says:

    With Linda Clark running the show it will show her natural left wing bias anyway.
    Pity she could not get a decent law job and stay away from politics.

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