Labour on the in work tax credit

August 17th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

My Herald column:

If Labour vote for Catherine Delahunty’s bill, it will give National a very significant weapon to use at the 2014 election. They will portray it as making it more attractive for people to remain on welfare, rather than enter the workforce.

The alternative is for Labour to vote against the Delahunty bill. That may be better for them in the long-term, but will pose short-term challenges for them. Firstly they will be criticised for doing a u-turn, and having their third policy in two years on this issue. They will have been against the policy, before they were for the policy, before they were against the policy again.

And Steven Joyce will be delighted to read:

Labour will vote for the initial stage of a Green Party bill to extend Working for Families’ tax credits to beneficiaries, but will not commit to supporting it further or keeping the policy that was one of its main election pledges last year.

There is no way it will pass first reading, so Labour will go on record as having voted to give beneficiaries an extra $60 a week and working parents $0 a week.

 

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A good week for the Government

August 10th, 2012 at 9:22 am by David Farrar

My Herald column yesterday:

Today is John Key’s birthday, and as he turns 51 he’ll be reflecting that this has been a good week politically for the Government – something of a rarity this year.

I conclude:

However as Aristotle said in 325BC in his Nicomachean Ethics, “one swallow does not make a summer”. One good week for the Government, is at best a building block. Their challenge is to turn a good week into a good month, and even a good quarter. That is the challenge for their political management.

 

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Will the Government delay

August 2nd, 2012 at 1:17 pm by David Farrar

My NZ Herald column:

My initial reaction was that of course the Government should delay the float until it receives the Tribunal’s report, due in September. This might be a delay of a few weeks only, and what does a few weeks matter.

It seems the timing is more sensitive than one may initially think. The rules around issuing shares in a company require the most up to date set of financial accounts. If the flat is held too long after the annual accounts have been finalised, then the company has to prepare a special more recent set of accounts. This is no minor job and can take a month or two.

Preparing the accounts can’t really be done over the summer break, as too many suppliers and the like close down, so what this means is that if Mighty River Power is not listed by perhaps October, then the delay would have to be until March or April next year. So a delay of a few weeks may be a delay of six months or so. This is undesirable for the Government because they want the five partial sales done well before the 2014 election.

I conclude:

However there is a view by some in Government that the Maori Council is acting in bad faith. The Government has been negotiating with Iwi leaders on issues around water rights for some time, and they are committed to resolving those issues. They do not believe the number of shares they hold in an SOE is relevant to their ability to resolve those issues. This is why there has been little support from Iwi for the claim by the Maori Council. There is also some anger at the fact that the Maori Council waited until the last possible moment to go to the Waitangi Tribunal, considering the policy was announced 18 months ago.

What this leads to is the alternate view that the Maori Council are going to eventually go to court regardless of what the Waitangi Tribunal says. Hence, if that is your belief, then the sensible thing is to get them into court as quickly as possible. Therefore saying you will not wait for the Waitangi Tribunal report could be a way of achieving that. It is like demanding your competitor in poker show their hand. 

There are risks either way.

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Opposition can make a difference

July 26th, 2012 at 4:04 pm by David Farrar

My NZ Herald column:

Yesterday the Opposition showed that you can make a difference, despite not being in Government. Parliament voted for four members’ bills to pass their first readings and to proceed to select committee.

One, by Government backbencher and Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor was to repeal to the Joint Family Homes Bill, and is uncontroversial.

The Opposition managed to get Parliament to vote for three of its bills, despite the opposition of National (and ACT) to two of them. This was a real reminder of MMP in action where single parties may form the Government, but will not win every vote in Parliament.

A brief snippet on each bill:

The first of the three opposition bills was by Labour’s Dunedin North MP, David Clark. It seeks to Mondayise ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day, if they fall on the weekend. It was supported by Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori, Mana and United Future.

Personally I’m somewhat bemused by the fact National decided to oppose this bill. Yes one has to be careful of imposing additional costs on businesses, because doing so destroys jobs and reduces international competitiveness, unless there are productivity gains to compensate.

However two extra days of public holidays every seven years is relatively insignificant.

On paid parental leave:

This bill I think fails to take account of the ongoing crisis of debt ripping apart the European Union, and affecting the world economy. When fully implemented, after three years, it would cost taxpayers an extra $170 million a year. This extra spending would almost inevitable have to be borrowed from China or some other foreign lender. I don’t think Labour truly appreciates the nature of our fiscal challenges. Even if we manage to get back into surplus by 2014/15, we then need to grow that surplus to at least $2 billion a year, to cover the cost of contributions to the NZ Super Fund. That is probably around 2017 or 2018, if we are lucky and the Eurozone doesn’t disintegrate as Greece, Spain, and even Italy get declared bankrupt.

We should be grateful I suppose that Labour are only proposing an extra $170m a year for 26 weeks paid parental leave. Their policy is to eventually increase it to 52 weeks, which would cost half a billion dollars a year.

And the lobbyists bill:

It’s one of those thinsg no political party will want to be against. However getting an agreement on how it should work, is likely to be problematic. Will Labour want a law that requires it to disclose every and all meetings with union officials and what was discussed? Will the Greens want a law that requires very environmental group that talks to them on an issue to have to register with the Auditor-General? However, if you exclude unions and NGOs from the bill, it then becomes very unbalanced. So it is far from certain what form the bill will emerge from select committee on.

But overall a good day for the Opposition to get three bills through a first reading.

 

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Labour giving members the vote

July 19th, 2012 at 5:31 pm by David Farrar

My Herald column is on Labour’s proposal to give their members a vote for leader. I conclude:

So while the proposed changes by the NZ Labour Party to give their members a vote for future leaders is, in my opinion, a good thing, I do think it is regrettable they give the unions a direct vote. It would be far better if unions just encouraged their members to join Labour directly, than give unions voting rights for the leadership.

But overall the proposed reforms for Labour should result in a stronger party for them. It will be interesting to observe the first leadership election under their new rules, whenever that may be.

 

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How much should we pay for a drink?

July 5th, 2012 at 3:03 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column I write about Labour’s proposed minimum pricing for alcohol.

Labour seem very reluctant to confirm what minimum price they are actually advocating. Lianne Dalziel twice stated in Parliament it should be at least $2 a standard drink. Her colleagues seem to want to ignore that, as seen below.

You can’t have it both ways and have your MPs get up in Parliament and say the law should be this, and then deny that is your policy – especially when the MP is your spokesperson on alcohol issues.

A reader sent me this graphic, which sums it up.

More usefully, Eric Crampton has an excellent analysis of minimum pricing. He states:

What would the world have to look like for minimum alcohol pricing to be a reasonable policy solution?

Suppose it is the case that harmful heavy drinkers, the sort that impose the greatest harms on others when they consume alcohol, really don’t care about the quality of the alcohol they’re drinking; they’re buying whatever product provides alcohol at the lowest price per standard drink. Suppose further that this cohort’s consumption is reasonably responsive to price measures: if you raise the price of the cheapest form of alcohol, you’ll do a lot to curb that cohort’s consumption while not doing much to reduce the normal consumption of moderate drinkers. Finally, assume that there’s little overlap between the kinds of alcohol consumed by harmful drinkers and that consumed by moderate low-income drinkers.

So minimum pricing is a good idea Eric says, if the above holds true.

where both heavy drinkers and moderate drinkers are choosing the same kinds of products, albeit in different quantities, we have to worry a lot about how each kind of consumer responds to changes in prices. The best meta-study on the topic remains Wagenaar, who found that heavy drinkers are roughly 60% as price responsive as moderate drinkers: the price elasticity of demand among heavy drinkers is -0.28 while it’s -0.44 for average drinkers. If we doubled the price of lower cost products, which we’d have to do to get to Labour’s preferred $2 minimum price per standard drink, moderate drinkers who currently choose that class of product would cut back their consumption by about 44% while heavy drinkers would reduce their consumption by only about 28%.

Intuitively you would expect heavy drinkers to be less price sensitive.

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The mixed ownership debate

June 22nd, 2012 at 1:50 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column, I look at the mixed ownership debate. Some extracts:

The first partial sale is schedule for the third quarter of 2012, so before 30 September. Labour and the Greens will hope the petition is certified before that sale occurs, as it will allow them to call for the sale to be suspended until after the referendum is held.

They will of course be ignoring their own very recent history, when in August 2009 a referendum saw 87% of those who voted, vote that a smack by a parent for correctional purposes should not be a criminal offence. By coincidence a bill was drawn from the ballot the following week which would have amended the law to do exactly that. Labour and the Greens joined all the other parliamentary parties (except ACT) in voting the bill down.

Then on timing on the referendum:

The Government will then decide on the timing of the referendum, so long as it is within the next 12 months. They will want the turn out to be as low as possible, so that it has a reduced political impact. Hence they could decide to schedule the postal referendum very quickly, say in December. Most people in December are busy doing other things, plus that would get the referendum (which would no doubt vote against the partial sales) out of the way.

The other option for the referendum is that the Government sets it as late as possible, so mid to late 2013. By then it is likely three of the four sales would have occurred, and the referendum would look even more pointless than it is.

If the referendum is held after say three of the sales have proceeded, it may get interesting. It may put pressure on Labour and Greens to say if they will vote with NZ First to buy the shares back if re-elected.

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The doubled edged audit sword

June 15th, 2012 at 3:16 pm by David Farrar

I write at the NZ Herald:

The decision by the Deputy Auditor-General to inquire into international convention centre tender, more popularly known as the Sky City deal, is a double-edged sword for the Government and the Opposition.

If the Deputy Auditor-General finds that the tender process was not run in a fair way, then it will damage the credibility of the Minister of Tourism. The Minister also, of course, happens to be the Prime Minister. This means adverse findings could strike at the heart of the Government.

However if the Deputy Auditor-General does not conclude there were any significant issues in the awarding of the tender, then it could blunt the opposition attacks on the awarding in principle of the tender to Sky City.

I also note the way different PMs have handled the Audit Office:

The Office of the Auditor-General is a vital one in our constitutional arrangements. It is the public watchdog, and has very wide powers. It has not always endeared itself to the Government of the day. When the Auditor-General found that most parliamentary parties had illegally spent taxpayer money on electioneering, then Prime Minister Helen Clark attacked the finding, saying she does not accept the reasoning in his opinion and judgement, and that he was wrong. She refused to express confidence in his competence, and said he “has a serious credibility problem”.

This response is in stark contrast to the current Prime Minister who said he welcome the inquiry by the Deputy Auditor-General, and was “delighted” with it. 

I still regard those attacks on the Auditor-General as a low point in executive behaviour.

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My Herald column

June 8th, 2012 at 1:47 pm by David Farrar

My Herald column is online. An extract:

Any trade off, will always have its supporters and its opponents. Hence, a Government proposing any change to the status quo has to be able to makes it case in a clear coherent and persuasive manner. It is in this task, that the Government has failed and been forced to reverse its policy. …

I elaborate:

 it appears the Government had done no detailed work on how they would use the money freed up by increasing class sizes on improving the ability of teachers to teach (we all know some teachers are brilliant at it, while others struggle). The only details given were that the $43 million freed up by the ratio changes would go towards the development of an appraisal system focusing on driving up quality teaching and quality professional leadership.

This lack of any detail around what this might be, meant that the perceived benefits of the trade off were impossible to calculate, while the costs in increased class sizes were calculated to exact detail in every school staffroom around the country. Effectively the Government was saying “Let us increase the size of your kid’s classes, and just trust us that we will do something good with that money to improve teacher quality”.

I conclude:

But you simply can gain public support on an issue, where you are unable to articulate and define the benefits.

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National’s Super problem

May 25th, 2012 at 12:48 pm by David Farrar

My Herald column is on National’s Super problem:

One of the reasons National got re-elected is they were seen as more fiscally credible than the alternatives. As European governments crumble under the burden of excessive government spending, deficits and debt, voters at home place great stock on fiscal sanity.

However the stance on superannuation is the chink in National’s armour. Labour will try and use this issue to portray National as going for the easy spending targets but unwilling to target the largest item of spending.

Labour’s pledge to increase the age of entitlement from 65 to 67 is a tactical policy to try and position National as fiscally irresponsible, and National is locked into a five year old policy pledge that leaves it incapable of responding. …

The lesson for both the current Prime Minister, and any future Prime Ministers, is to never ever make any pledge beyond the next term of Parliament. Doing so is both short-sighted and anti-democratic. Elections should be about choices. Policies should change as circumstances change. Our three year electoral cycle allows policies to gain mandates in a fairly timely manner.

The Prime Minister’s pledge to never allow any changes to superannuation during his tenure will continue to grow as a problem for National. They are fortunate that at the last election the fiscal credibility of their opponents was weak, and a debate stumble by Phil Goff fatally crippled them. In 2014 David Shearer may have succeeded in portraying Labour as fiscally credible, and then the superannuation pledge could become a critical issue. It would be ironic is a pledge which helped National win the 2008 election became the reason they lost the 2014 election.

This is probably the last post for today as I’m in meetings the rest of the day. Enjoy the weekend!

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The fall and fall of Greece

May 18th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

My Herald column is on Greece, after I asked on Twitter and Facebook what was the biggest issue of the week (as domestically nothing too major happened). An extract:

Currently there is no Government in Greece, as they head off to the polls for the second time in as many months. The Acting Prime Minister is Judge Panagiotis Pikrammenos. Ironically one of his more famous judgements in Greece was that it is illegal to imprison people for debt. The entire country is facing debtor prison. 

And what may happen:

There are three possibilities for the next election. The first is that SYRIZA gains even more support and forms a Government that will then default on its debt. The second is that ND and PASOK gain enough support to clearly govern and continue the austerity programme. The third is another hung Parliament and a third set of elections.

No matter what happens, there is a reasonable chance that Greece will end in default (technically it has been already). Some, such as the new executive director of the NZ Initiative Dr Oliver Hartwich, say it is a matter of when, not if. The Bank of England has already started contingency plans for Greece departing the Euro and possibly the EU.

And what could this mean for Greece:

The Euro is likely to decline in value as Greece, and possible Portugal and Ireland, revert to their old currencies. This means that exports to Europe from New Zealand are likely to decline. In Greece it will be even worse. Their new/old currency of the drachma will probably be worth half a Euro, which means high inflation and a big drop in the standard of living. One expert predicts interest rates for home owners and businesses will double, and a lack of credit may lead to shortages in basic commodities like oil, medicine and food.

I don’t think one can even rule out a military coup if this happens, and you get widespread rioting. I hope I am wrong, but time will tell.

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In bed with the Conservatives

May 11th, 2012 at 11:56 am by David Farrar

My column in the NZ Herald is on the potential coalition partners for National in 2014, with most focus on the Conservatives:

But then came Craig’s comments on National’s plans to provide free contraceptives to women on a benefit. He said young New Zealand women were the most promiscuous in the world and that a monogamous 70 year old woman shouldn’t pay for a young woman to sleep around.

Mr Craig’s effective labelling of young New Zealand women as sluts was bad enough, but the lack of any recognition that it takes two to tango, and no condemnation of young promiscuous men outraged women (and men) from across the political spectrum. Twitter, as usual, was a source of equal mixtures of outrage and humour as one man tweeted they he for one “welcomes our new promiscuous women overlords”.

John Key himself came out and dissed the comments by Mr Craig. The next day he declared he was not opposed to gay marriage – something we can assume the Conservative Party is vehemently against. So even if the Conservatives can make it into Parliament, any relationship with National is likely to be rather stressful.

In summary there are not a lot of good options for National in terms of post 2014 partners, just a variety of “less bad” options. 

Sigh!

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ACT dead, aged 18

May 4th, 2012 at 11:25 am by David Farrar

My Herald column is online here. It is written in quite a different style to my normal columns. An extract:

The Association of Consumers and Taxpayers was born in 1993 to Roger Douglas and Derek Quigley, in one of the nation’s first “queer” marriages. Prior to 1993, a National and Labour politician had never had a child together.

The new born infant was precocious, abbreviating its name to ACT before it even attended primary school. At three years old it got elected to Parliament despite having no current MPs there – something not achieved since 1978.

ACT’s parliamentary childhood was reasonably healthy, from 1996 to 2004. It reached 11 years of age looking forward to adolescence. However the pre-teen years saw the start of its trouble years.

Stepdad Richard Prebble moved out, and Father Roger disapproved of Rodney, the new stepdad. They started to argue in front of the kids. Even worse, suave Don stole away ACT’s first girlfriend, so at age 12 ACT got reduced to two MPs in 2005.

And the penultimate paragraph:

ACT’s friends are very sad at this prognosis. They recall the good times they had with ACT. They remember the good things ACT achieved. They don’t want to see ACT dead and buried, but they know that true friends don’t let mates suffer in agony. They know it is time to turn off the life support, and let ACT die.

This is not a call for anything to be done now. It is simply a recognition of reality.

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Why wouldn’t left voters support the Greens?

April 27th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column I ask the question that if you are a voter of the left, why would you not support the Greens over Labour?

Before I explore why the Greens are doing so relatively well at the moment, first let us look at perhaps the historical reasons why left voters generally did not support the Greens.

The first is policy influence. The two larger parties are the one that can shape Government the most. A party on five per cent has little influence compared to a party on 45 per cent. But this is not the environment in 2012. Labour continues to poll in the 20s only, and the Greens have started to poll between 14 per cent and 17 per cent. This means that in any future Government, the Greens could represent a third or more of the Government, which would give them massive influence – at a minimum Russel Norman could expect to be made Minister of Finance.

And the other historical reason:

The second reason why the Greens historically did not attract widespread support from the left is because they were perceived as extremists. Their defence spokesperson hated the United States. Their justice spokesperson was best known for breaking the law. Their economic policy was to argue against economic growth. Their consumer spokesperson railed against the size of easter eggs, and their welfare spokesperson was a former beneficiary rights activist. At one stage a significant portion of their caucus were actually former Marxist and maoists.

I also point out almost all new Labour policies were already Green policies:

Well if you look at almost all the new policies adopted by Labour in the last couple of years, they stole them from the Greens. Capital Gains Tax – was Greens policy. Extending the in work tax credit to beneficiaries – was Greens policy. Modifying the Reserve Bank Act targets – again Greens policy. Paid Parental Leave extension – forced on Labour by the Alliance, and pushed by the Greens. A hike in the minimum wage to $12 and then $15 – Greens and NZ First policy for many years. A tax-free threshold for all earners – again long-standing Greeen policy.

I’m interested especially in views of left voters as to why they might still be a Labour rather than Greens supporter? Is it tradition? Is it policy? Is it leadership?

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Herald column on Sky deal

April 20th, 2012 at 12:16 pm by David Farrar

My Herald column is on the proposed Sky City deal. One extract:

I suspect the political acceptability of any agreement will come down to how many extra machines are agreed to. If for example, the agreement was for 10 extra machines, no one would get too worked up. As no agreement has yet been reached we don’t know what number will be agreed upon. The Opposition claim it could be up to 500.

While 500 sounds a lot, it would increase the number of pokies in NZ by just 2.8 per cent, from 18000 to 18,500. The total number of pokies would still be 6,720 less than the peak of 25,221 in June 2003.

In National’s first term the number of pokie machines declined from 19,739 to 18,001 – a decline of 1,738. An increase of 500 at Sky City would still see the total level significantly lower than in 2008.

The number of pokie machines over time can be viewed at this webpageof the Department of Internal Affairs.

My conclusion:

Most voters react on instinct. They react to whether or not they think Sky City is a good or a bad company. Hence why opposition politicians are now accusing it of everything from money laundering to causing child abuse. If Sky City is successfully portrayed as a “bad” company, then any agreement with it on a convention centre will politically damage the Government.

Ironically the greater the political pressure on the Government, the stronger their negotiating strength with Sky City is. They can point to all the criticism of the proposed agreement, and use that to negotiate the numbers downwards. If at the end of the day, the agreed number of extra pokie machines is quite modest, then the Opposition will deserve some of the credit.

The negotiations have been ongoing for nine months. I suspect they will be completed soon.

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Paid Parental Leave Pains

April 13th, 2012 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

My column in the NZ Herald is titled “Paid Parental Leave Pains“.

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National’s Quartus Horribillis

March 30th, 2012 at 1:41 pm by David Farrar

In my column at the NZ Herald I review how tomorrow will be the end of the first three months of 2012 and label it National’s Quartus Horribillis.

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The ten goals

March 16th, 2012 at 2:44 pm by David Farrar

In my column at the NZ Herald I look at the ten goals announced by the Government, and assess how challenging each one may be.

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The Mayor for all of Auckland

March 9th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I defend Len Brown in my Herald column today:

Len Brown campaigned to be the first Mayor of the Auckland super-city with the slogan, that he would be the Mayor for all of Auckland.

Mayor Brown has come under huge pressure from his party, his donors and his activist supporters to abandon his campaign pledge, and to intervene in the Ports of Auckland dispute. It is to his credit that he has resisted putting the interests of the Labour Party above the interests of Auckland.

I conclude:

Len Brown got elected on a slogan of being the Mayor for all of Auckland. The Labour Party shouldn’t complain that he is taking that slogan seriously and putting the interests of Auckland ahead of the interests of the Labour Party affiliated Maritime Union. He should be congratulated for his stance.

In my full column I articulate why I think this has helped Brown get re-elected.

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The first deep cut

February 24th, 2012 at 2:03 pm by David Farrar

In my column at the NZ Herald I label the MFAT restructuring the first deep cut.

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The Crafar dilemma

February 17th, 2012 at 1:31 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column I look at the court judgement. First the political aspect:

On the political front the decision is as popular with the Government as a colonoscopy. It might turn out to be good for you in the long term, but it is making life very uncomfortable for now.

For the Opposition, it was like an early visit from the Easter Bunny, just as their chocolate supply was running out. The questioning in the first week of Parliament this year on the issue amounted to little as Ministers ran the line that they were merely applying the law, and that there were no lawful reasons to decline the application by Shanghai Pengxin.

And the economic aspect:

Putting aside the practicality aspects, it is hard to argue with the logic of the learned judge, that any benefit should be measured against a domestic buyer, rather than against the status quo. By measuring against the status quo, it is almost inevitable that net benefits will be found as new buyers always will have investment plans greater than the seller.

I conclude the the days of the OIO saying yes to most applications may be in the past.

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The first week of question time

February 10th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column I look at the first week of question time. I praise Winston first:

Winston is back in Parliament, and had a good first week in the House. His chosen issue of wasteful spending under the whanau ora programme is a good one for him (and one I approve of). Labour and Greens are reluctant to go there, as they worry that they may be seen as being against the aims of whanau ora, which is seeking to improve the lives of whanau.

But also note:

There has been a fascinating series of exchanges between the Speaker and Peters. Peters complains that the PM has not answered his question, and the Speaker points out it is totally unreasonable to expect the PM to be able to answer a supplementary question on details of a small grant, when the primary question did not refer to the grant in question. Despite being told this on Tuesday and Wednesday, Peters persisted with this approach, and again on Thursday got the same reply from the PM. If he is smart, he will take the advice of Mr Speaker, and start providing details of the alleged wasteful spending in the primary question. But maybe secrecy is so ingrained with him, he can’t bear to reveal his target in advance.

I also look at the Greens and Labour.

 

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My Friday Herald column

February 5th, 2012 at 9:13 am by David Farrar

There was a glitch in publishing my normal Friday column in the Herald on Friday, but for those interested it is up now. I note:

If National had received around 5,000 fewer party votes, or if National voters in Epsom and Ohariu had failed to vote for the ACT and United Future candidates respectively, then the conflict over treaty clauses in SOEs would be critical. …

Parliament resumes next week, so should have no shortage of things to write about then.

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Auckland needs to get bigger

January 27th, 2012 at 3:32 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column I argue Auckland needs to get bigger:

I’m not sure if Aucklanders are aware how much is at stake with this Auckland plan. Do they want a city where almost half the dwellings are apartments?

The other impact of this proposed intensification will be on house prices. Currently there are 400,000 houses and 100,000 apartments for 1.5 million Aucklanders. By 2040 there would be 2.5 million Aucklanders competing for only 500,000 houses. I can’t think of anything more guaranteed to push house prices up massively so only the rich can afford one.

House prices are deemed to start to become moderately unaffordable when the median house price is three times the median income, seriously unaffordable at four times and severely unaffordable at five times.

In Auckland the median house price is currently 6.4 times the median income.

Under the draft Auckland plan, Auckland could by 2040 end up like Hong Kong – where house prices are more than ten times the median household income. Again, this will restrict ownership to the wealthy, but also lead to rents significantly increasing as a proportion of income. Already a growing number of families are paying more than 30% of their income in rent. Under the intensification plan, some families could end up having to spend over half their income on rent.

I conclude:

Auckland needs to grow outwards as well as upwards. A plan to have 75% of new dwellings occur within the current urban limit is too draconian. A 50/50 split would be a far better balance for Auckland’s future. The Government and the Productivity Commission have both asked the Council to alter their plan, to allow the city to grow outwards as well as upwards. I hope they listen.

If they don’t, I pity those under 20, who will have to live with the consequences.

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The year of the Greens

January 21st, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

In my Herald column yesterday I asked if 2012 will be the year of the Greens?

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