Heather du Plessis-Allan and Millennial entitlement

By   /   May 15, 2017  /   17 Comments

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Pointing out the selfishness of a consumer culture that society helped build however is a bit like blaming the P addict while you sell them meth.

Heather du Plessis-Allan’s latest column attacking those ungrateful Millennial’s who have dared to voice their lack of a future by being locked out of home ownership has some valid insights.

The first is about Millennial’s and their entitlement…

But now I have a sneaking suspicion the very loudest complainers are actually a bunch of entitled brats.

…as the first user pays generation, Millennial’s have no idealogical compass, politics is just another brand competing for attention in a neoliberal hyper individualised narcissistic mass consumer culture that Millennials have been birthed and bred inside.

Look at Millennial groups like Generation Zero or Millennial media like ‘Auckland Transport Blog/Greater Auckland’ or Spinoff, it’s middle class kids screaming for the same middle class privileges that Boomers have, it’s not about social justice or equality, it’s all ‘where’s my share of the privilege’.

That is a product of the user pays culture they’ve been brought into. Pointing out the selfishness of a consumer culture that society helped build however is a bit like blaming the P addict while you sell them meth.

Likewise, claiming Millennial’s suffer from entitlement is a bit rich when compared to the entitlement of Boomers…

…but let’s put aside selfish kids who were warped by user pays and let’s put aside the selfishness of boomers who pulled up the ladder behind them of all those state subsidisations of their lives via fully funded universal social services which have put many of them in such a strong economic position.

Let’s look at du Plessis-Allan’s main argument…

What was a surprise in the figures, though, was how long we’ve had a problem, with hardly anyone complaining.

All the way back in March 2003, 74 per cent of Auckland buyers already couldn’t afford a home.

Back then there were a smattering of news stories, and even the odd political speech, but nothing like the noise that you’d expect three-quarters of the city’s entry level buyers to make.

Which means that all the noise in recent years has been generated by the 12 per cent of first home buyers cut out of the market since 2003.

…I’d suggest that the lack of any critical voices over the years has nothing to do with Millennial privilege, and has everything to do with the shattering of gatekeeper media from directing the debate with the invention of social media.

Millennial’s have every right to make their voices heard loudly and angrily over the utter failure of the market when it comes to home ownership, and if they are forcing gatekeeper media to respond to their concerns, good!

Trying to claim that the voiceless masses are the real victims here as du Plessis-Allan does confuses things and distracts from some valid points.

Auckland desperately needs to start building not only more affordable homes, more state homes and more emergency shelters, they also need to start building more houses for Government workers like Teachers, Nurses, Firefighters and Police…

To do that, we have to have a grown up conversation about the fact houses in central Auckland will probably – short of a massive economic upset – never be affordable again. They’ll never go back to the prices my grandparents paid for their Meadowbank brick and tile in the 70s.

If we accept that, we accept that some people can’t live in the city without some form of help. And that includes our essential workers on fixed government incomes: police officers, teachers, nurses.

…yes to all of that, but du Plessis-Allan’s desire to attack Millennial’s for having the audacity to point out how unfair the current system is robs this column of its effectiveness.


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  1. XRAY says:

    Well Heather was not alone. Hosking and a lot of self entitled Nat voters and arseholes share her disgust for those having the audacity to want their own home or be able to afford rent.

    Her article seemed a little too coincidental to Nationals much more aggressive “fuck you” push to those complaining their warped housing policy. But given her National Party supporting husband is probably on some WW2/Korean war pension, why would she not feel so entitled also!

  2. simonm says:

    Well of course du Plessis-Allan is married to the ultimate entitled boomer herself – she’s cuddly old shock-journo Barry Soper’s fourth wife.

    • Thadius says:

      No she is married to her retirement plan. I think if she was with another man of her own age and collective wealth she would feel very differently.

  3. Not a Robot says:

    It is completely false and disingenuous for HPA to claim there have been no voices of complaint. Surely she was around during the Occupy Wall Street Movement? Surely she was aware that hundreds of people camped in the city, and that 10’s of thousands visited the Aotea Square camp site during the 100 days they spent there?

    Of course she knows. As a working NZ Journalist she would also know that the Occupations, especially the Occupation of Aotea Square were assiduously silenced, first by being ignored, then by being mocked and falsely reported on, and then, when the Occupiers still persisted in their protest, they were finally, violently silenced by Police.

    If the Occupation of Auckland was not a protest against the injustices HPA claims no one cares about, then there is no such thing as protest.

    Here is their Declaration of 3 November, 2011. It makes sobering reading;

    “TO THE PEOPLE OF AUCKLAND AND NEW ZEALAND; we the Citizens and Residents in Occupation in Aotea Square wish to communicate a few of our grievances, space being limited, so that you may judge for yourselves whether we are right in our cause.

    There is much that is excellent and good about our country. But we are not Subjects who must go quietly and obey. We are free and proud New Zealanders and people of Aotearoa. It is required that our government answer to our Collective Voice. Not when it suits them, once every three years, but whenever the General Will of the People is made known, no matter how that may occur.

    We wish you to hear those concerns which have driven us to make this Occupation. We do not do this lightly. For we live with the risk of arrest. We have put our reputations, our persons, our careers, our property and our relationships in jeopardy. We wish to impress upon you the depths of our determination and our sincerity.

    Consequently, in Solidarity with all other peaceful Occupiers around the world, we declare;

    It is unacceptable to us that 1% of the population should own and control a disproportionate amount of the wealth of our country. We find such greed and injustice abhorrent, as is the suffering it causes our people.

    We resent that we, the 99% should pay for the greed and the folly of this 1%. We reject out of hand the austerity measures our politicians are preparing to saddle us with.

    We can have no sympathy for the rich while more than 200,000 of our children live every day in hopeless poverty. There can be no peace for the 1% while our children suffer and go to bed hungry.

    We also decry the shameless exploitation and manipulation of our young people for profit by companies selling them unhealthy foods and debilitating products. It must stop. As parents, we are aggrieved that our children’s health and well-being is threatened by these outside influences beyond our ability to control.

    Nor will we accept that our elderly parents, who worked and paid taxes all of their lives, should now live in fear that their pensions and their access to quality medical care should be threatened.

    We repudiate the policy whereby all young New Zealanders must now pay for a University education which past generations received for free; the quality of our democracy is dependent upon the universal education of its citizenry.

    We denounce the practice whereby young people are expected to work for nothing as Interns, or languish in dead-end jobs because companies refuse to pay for vocational training.

    It is a scandal that our young families cannot afford to buy a home, and that devious lenders are allowed to trap them in a lifetime of debt slavery.

    We refuse to accept the artificially high levels of unemployment and reduced working conditions which have been forced upon us by the Architects of Globalisation.

    We also denounce the destructive, systemic undermining of our economic self-sufficiency, the flooding of our local markets with cheap goods from overseas at the expense of local producers, the irrevocable sale to faceless foreign corporations of our precious lands and resources, and the shameless lack of social conscience exhibited by some of our companies.

    Finally, and most grievously, we abhor the disproportionate control of our political institutions and our media by the 1%. For from this one malignant tendency, a multitude of injustices proceed. We therefore state as a governing principle that as companies and corporations are not natural persons, they shall not be entitled to protection under our Bill of Rights, and they may not act to influence our political processes for their own ends.

    We, the Citizens and Residents occupying Aotea Square call on you to consider our grievances and respond in whatever way your Reason and your Conscience dictates.

    If it is to join us, then join us. If it is to support us, support us. But if it is to fight us, then come not with ignorant insults, or force of arms to do violence on account of petty regulations. Come instead to right the injustices we protest, and we will gladly welcome you.

    Come reason with us. Come add your voice to ours. Come help us find a better way.

    The old ideas, the old systems, the old ways of thinking have set our society on an unsustainable path. We need to set a new course that insures us and our children a future.

    We are here, and here we stay, till we have finally roused the 99% from its long and troubled slumber.

    In Solidarity, The General Assembly of the Occupation of Auckland.”

    That such a document as this could have been produced out of that muddy camp has always put the lie to people like HPA who claim no one cares, because there is no crisis. It is she and her class who create the conditions that these Millennials are struggling against. The Occupy Movement marked the beginning of a Resistance that continues to grow year by year. And by her increasingly shrill criticisms, we know she senses that soon, the Resistance will finally overtake her and her class and put things to right.


  4. MattyGee says:

    Actually you can pay the same as your grandparents did for their Meadowbank brick and tile, if the wage to median price index was more comparable to the ratio in the 1970s. Back then it was probably around 4/1, today 10/1. That increase isn’t just because people struggling in NZ are competing with overseas property investors to buy a house, it’s the cost of construction (due to monopolies) and compliance (ineffective councils)

    • Matty, when up to half of properties are purchased by investor/speculators, I’d say that’s a major impact on the housing crisis.

      ref: http://www.interest.co.nz/property/81813/new-official-reserve-bank-figures-definitively-show-investors-accounted-nearly-46-all

      ref: http://www.propertyclub.co.nz/first-buyers-still-missing-out-in-aucklands-most-affordable-properties/

      But yes, in the 1970s, it was quite financially feasible for a family home to be purchased and paid through one person’s salary. My own parents raised a family in precisely such circumstances.

      That Kiwi Dream has been utterly demolished since the advent of the so-called “free” market. Less families are now able to afford to buy their own home, not more.

      • Nitrium Nitrium says:

        I semi-agree with this. However, interest in the 80’s, for example, were ~20% (seriously):
        So the despite houses being far, far cheaper back then you were often still paying a fairly similar percentage of your income for your house because of the interest. Obviously the interest rate is now far lower, but the price has massively increased.

        Further, IMO a key reason people have so much trouble affording a house these days is simply lifestyle choice (and a sense of entitlement for that). Surely the iPhones (and associated mobile plan), the full SkyTV subscription, the daily crazily overpriced latte’s, every Friday night out at bars, and all the financed crap (big screen TV’s, new cars etc), none of which anyone was obsessed with in the 80’s, are having a substantial impact on people from saving anywhere near enough for a deposit let alone affording the weekly mortgage bill. Think about the weekly expenses you had back in the 80’s, and now have a look at your last bank statement and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

        • I recall the interest rates at the time, Nitrium. My then-partner and I had bought our first house, and two years later, moved to another one. The interest rate rose in the late 70s due to the Second Oil Shock (hence car-less days).

          Yet, we could still afford to buy up, despite the higher interst rates. That’s because the amount of available mortgage money was predicated on internal savings – which restricted mortgage lending; suppressed house prices (until the Second Oil Shock, when things went ‘nuts’ with property prices); and encouraged what was then called “Vendor’s Finance. The latter was a form of the seller leaving in a portion of the house sale to the purchaser as a loan – usually as a registered second mortgage. The ‘trick’ was to pay off the second mortage quickly, then ‘attack’ the first mortgage.

          Anyway, we were in our early 20s at the time, and despite hurdles, we managed to buy our first (and subsequent house), as well as the required furniture, TV, stereo, car, etc. So it’s not that far removed from today’s household gadgets and furniture (with TVs being considerably cheaper now, than 40 years ago.)

          I suspect the reason houses are harder for first-home buyers to purchase is because (a) house prices have escalated through speculation and (b) wages have not risen, keeping pace with house inflation. Part of the latter can probably be ascribed to weaker unions. In fact, wages for community care workers had fallen behind so greatly that National had to pass a law to raise wage rates. In effect, a ‘Semi-General’ Wage Order along the lines of what governments used to do in the 70s and 80s.

          So not only is the housing market broken, but so is the wage system.

          I don’t know anyone who has bought a new car, young or old.

        • XRAY says:

          Is this a piss take?

          You didn’t have iPhones in the 80’s or SkyTV or lattes, but you had overpriced cars, both new and used, crap public transport, overpriced rent, overpriced petrol, overpriced landlines, if you could get one, overpriced electricity, clothes, car registration, tyres and batteries. Nearly anything you bought then was horrendously expensive.

          And yes, people went to bars, a lot, and bought junk food. This wasn’t Quakerville where barn dances were held once a month.

          But you could buy a home and interest rates peaked briefly at 20 odd percent then quickly went south with the debt semi wiped by inflation. And you could get 40 hours a week work with breaks and not some shit job making lattes!

          Thing is a small percentage rise in interest rates now will suck the life out of our economy and many mortgage holders.

      • john says:

        Most peope my age had s state loan.Labour should bring back the the state advance loan a great socialist scheme that housed thousands . Come on Labour Party its time to help and encourage young people to be able to buy their own house to live in.

  5. Mike in Auckland says:

    Heather Who? I wonder who ever gave her a job working in the MSM, it was a fool, or someone with bad ulterior motives.

    Anyway, Ms DuPlessis, she is herself often sounding like a very “entitlement” driven person. She is opinionated and vocal, but mostly over petty matters.

    As for the few ordinary people, young and not so young, that buy properties in Auckland, the few that is who are first home buyers, this is for the fact that wages and salaries have not kept up with the prices for residential real estate.

    It is developers with deep pockets, investors with access to cash and credit, who are buying existing stock, and so forth, and the shift from past high home ownership to very low home ownership now is due to the escalating property prices, not because of people unjustifiably going on about their entitlement to have their own property.

    It is also not simply a matter of “choice”, as there will be enough people who would like to call the property they live in their own, the escalation of prices for homes is the problem, and it has to do with scarcity, with lack of supply, also with population growth, partly due to high immigration.

    So what point was Ms DuPlessis actually trying to make, but to try and write something to stir up the generation conflict yet again, I suspect?

    We are witnessing a massive wealth redistribution, from the bottom and middle to the top in home ownership, and NZers and immigrants in high numbers being condemned to be renters for the rest of their lives, that is the problem we face.

    So much for an egalitarian society, we should stop blaming the symptoms and trying to apply band aids, we should name the true causes and the failures of this government now, to address the crisis it is.

  6. Dave Brown says:

    There’s nothing new about the sense of entitlement.
    Its called petty-bourgeois aping of the bosses and shitting on workers and indigenous peoples.
    It started with the British who settled here to escape the working class at home at taking advantage of stolen Maori land.
    It continued generation after generation as workers tried to escape wage-labour and become self-employed on the land or in business.
    There aint nothing new under the capitalist system.
    Entitlement only becomes a term of abuse when those who failed to achieve it object to the ‘winners’ trampling over them before pulling up the ladder.
    But instead of adopting the label of ‘losers’, those with any working class awareness rejected attempts to escape their class origins and fought to unionise their class and to nationalise the strategic national assets.
    Even today when organised labour is relatively weak, and some have given up on solidarity to live of the rents of other workers, most who are still in unions do not want to trample their workmates to succeed.
    What is needed is a workers party that puts up a program to nationalise and socialise control of the economy to create a society in which all can realise their basic needs without destroying others and nature in the process.

  7. Mike in Auckland says:

    Heather du Plessis Allan is also dumb, I note, she treats the situation as being static, based on data remaining static, comparing 2003 figures on home affordability with the data in the now released report.

    She behaves as if nothing happened in the meantime, as if we can jump from then to now, and hence draw conclusions.

    Home affordability changes all the time, as incomes chance, interest rates change, supply of homes change, construction and completion rates change, and as the economy grows, slows and so forth.

    Her comments like these are a worry too:
    “To do that, we have to have a grown up conversation about the fact houses in central Auckland will probably – short of a massive economic upset – never be affordable again. They’ll never go back to the prices my grandparents paid for their Meadowbank brick and tile in the 70s.”

    How accepting of the present government’s laissez faire political management of a disaster, she must be a firm and convinced Nat or ACT Party supporter.

    She then offers some selected “targeted” solutions that she does not explain how they could work or be realised.

    Let me guess, Heather is just plain dumb, has no clue about economics, let alone planning and building, and no idea about how it is possible to shape economic activity through the right set of messaging, by necessary law changes, changed taxation, smarter regulations and new incentives.

    Give her an entertainment chat show on late night TV, to talk drivel, there she will have a place, entertaining those ready to go to bed.

  8. Jack Ramaka says:

    Another dreadful NZ Journalist and News Reporter?

    Why are we blessed with so much talent HDPA, Hoskings, Gower Yuk !!!

  9. Jack Ramaka says:

    Another dreadful NZ Journalist and News Reporter?

    Why are we blessed with so much talent HDPA, Hoskings, Gower Yuk !!!