Greens first blunder – will Mt Roskill be their second?

By   /   July 31, 2016  /   36 Comments

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I could hear the political strategists within Labour smashing their heads against walls when Metiria bewilderingly announced gradual slashing of housing prices.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 4.02.05 pm

I could hear the political strategists within Labour smashing their heads against walls when Metiria bewilderingly announced gradual slashing of housing prices.

The cold grim reality is that House prices are going to pop and come crashing down, but no political party in their right mind would want to be seen as the instigator of that crash.

The word is ‘stabilise’, a clever little trick word that calms those first home buying working class NZers who have only just managed to get on the property ladder and  now face 3 storey complexes built next door to them in Auckland.

If the Greens feel they need to be more honest, then talk about affordable housing that is only allowed to go to first time home buyers, you don’t need to scare the living Christ out of the 60% who do have property.

It’s a blunder and a real question mark over the capacity of the new strategy team in the back room of the Greens. I don’t want to sound like a Trolls Troll, but appeasing Twitteratti and envious blue-greens with some housing truth bombs ain’t the way to win an election. Not because they aren’t right, but because Labour and the Greens must look unified and scaring the hell out of speculators guarantees a massive war chest in donations to National. Announcing major housing policy on the hoof doesn’t help build trust.

The MoU was rushed through before the Green conference this year because the Blue-Green and Identitarian factions within the Greens wanted a neutral policy stance going into the 2017 election. This would have seen the Greens sitting on the cross benches and voting policy to policy. The Left faction of the Greens tipped Labour off to this desire and they hastily announced the MoU to quash this internal coup. So moments like these don’t help Labour feel that momentum has been stopped.

The next big test of theLabour-Green MoU will be Mt Roskill. If the Greens are mad enough to run a candidate and risk splitting the vote for a National win, then Labour go into election year with a symbolic loss and all pretence of co-operation out the window.

You can only risk antagonising the property speculators if your policy is so radical it can bring in the missing million, but policy to attract the missing million would have to be far more radical than what the Greens are suggesting. So while they get the panic of the speculators, they get none of the missing million.

And they annoy Labour.

This is a lose, lose, lose scenario.

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36 Comments

  1. Mike in Auckland says:

    “The word is ‘stabilise’, a clever little trick word that calms those first home buying working class NZers who have only just managed to get on the property ladder and now face 3 storey complexes built next door to them in Auckland.”

    “Stabilise” sounds re-assuring, yes, and Metiria made a mistake, as she did not explain it, what she said, and delivered no plan of sorts, according to which it could happen as she suggested.

    Metiria is a good soul and means well, I am sure, but she does not have much economic expertise. She is more into legal stuff, having studied law, and has a strong social conscience.

    I understood where she was coming from, but most out there would not. And once she said what she said, the always hungry hyenas among the MSM players, were ready to get stuck into her. But the chance of such a major correction as Metiria suggested is somewhat slim, as there will only be a moderate drop in prices, unless something major happens to the economy and on the demand side.

    Mt Roskill will be an interesting by-election. It is a difficult one too, now being very diverse, culturally and ethnically, no longer just the “bible belt” of Auckland. So wise decisions need to be made.

    The Nats are not asleep there, as many socially conservative migrants live in that electorate, some may feel more inclined to vote National.

    As for those “3 storey complexes”, the Terrace Housing and Apartment Building zone will most likely allow 5 to 7 storey developments. Mixed Housing Urban zones will allow up to 3 storeys, as far as I know. So it will depend where people live, those first time buyers on their home with a section.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      I lived as a kiwi over in Toronto over three decades and saw it all there so if these 5 or 7 stories large complex’s we saw from the outside were all brick clad exteriors with a general appearance of large homes as bit like a small chateau and were in leafy suburbs within walking distance to Main downtown or the rail tube station.

      Will we see this here? Toronto when I arrived there firstly as a green traveller I was gob smacked at these palatial properties in Forrest Hill which are upper class suburban areas of Toronto but one could see that these had been built purposely many years before and now surrounded by enormous Maple trees the size of a small house.

      I cant imagine how Auckland are going to try to emulate Toronto build doing this as they need to plan and build all the infrastructures around them else they will look like a cobbled together bunch of massy properties out of place with the built environment.

      As for 10 to 20 storey apartment blocks go the Toronto and see some are good some are slums now so be careful what you wish for as my feeling is you are going into building to much of a rush Auckland.

      Give metiria time to grow as she is a warm person but the political beltway is a very intimidating place today with Commandant SS Joyce and his bullying cronies ruling the political perch.

      We as opposition need to all stick together and use Winston’s wise words of comfort to shoulder these creeps when they turn ugly on the green new politicians like Metiria.

      You are correct there Martyn, all the opposition parties need to work together including NZF & Mana/Maori Party for the common good to evict this toxic lot come 2017 using every tool and lever we can get hold of.

  2. kappanz says:

    Metiria must have a screw loose. I used to think of her as benign. Now I wonder in horror, what the next green blunder will be.

  3. Nick says:

    I don’t agree. The Left are never going to get a single vote from property speculators, whatever they say. Not one. And there is a choice of words that will satisfy all concerned. The problem is the bull-in-a-china-shop dog-whistle of Metiria’s declaration, and the fact that she, seemingly did not run it past Labour before doing so, not the substance of what she said.

    What Labour must say at next opportunity is: we cannot and probably shouldn’t try to regulate what a person is prepared to pay for a house on the open market.

    What we can control is what happens to houses or apartments we build ourselves as a government and who is entitled to buy on the New Zealand market. What we can strive to achieve is that everyone who needs affordable accommodation can get it, either as property purchase or rental.

    House prices may well become more affordable across the board as the pressure comes off supply and as there are fewer windfall profits available, but that won’t be regulated, it will just be the market responding to a rapid increase in supply.

    But if Labour is to be able to say this, they have to, at least in the first phase, emphasize rental over the Kiwi-build of “affordable” homes which won’t look nearly so affordable in a falling market. And instead spend some time gouging speculators and use the profit to add to the kick-start needed to make serious headway on State house and State apartment construction.

    And they have to come to terms with, and be prepared to publicly acknowledge, the reality that when the market is adequately supplied, prices will inevitably fall. Probably not as far or as fast as some would like, while interest rates are so low, but at least to the point where the market starts to become rational again.

    • Winnie says:

      Agree with you on this one Nick.

      Phil Twyford is doing an amazing job as Labour and left-wing attack member on the Housing issue, so the least Metiria could do was run things past Phil and the committee advising him.

      Not an insurmountable problem, but standing a Green candidate in Mt Roskill, could scuttle the MOU before the ink is fully dry.

  4. dave says:

    Martyn, you are right about the Greens and their comments in respect of a housing crash. The greens need to be reigned in on this many other matters. I wonder if in fact that Labour would be better without them, perhaps attracting a more middle of the road voter that is a bit tired of the Nats.

    • The greens need to be reigned in on this many other matters.

      Translation: the Greens are an effective opposition to the Nats/ACT and their failed New Right dogma, and you (and other righties) want to see them silenced. The truth is damned inconvenient at times, huh Dave?!

      • dave says:

        I think the greens scare those considering voting left to about the same degree as Act scare those considering right. I think the greens are more naive and Act are more bastards.

        • Blake says:

          Aren’t we making mountains out of mole hills ?

          The Greens are far from naive. Mistakes are made and aren’t we all human ? Even you Dave ! ? !

        • John W says:

          Does naivety include matters of plain truth and principle.

          Many are sick of spin and manipulation so show me what she said that is wrong.

        • Jane says:

          Dave, the Greens have not scared me at all. I will be voting Green this year after a life-time of voting Labour. Thank you for your concerns.

    • Strypey says:

      This comment by Dave is classic Crosby-Textor trolling. In no more than three sentences, probably cut-n-pasted from a template and modified to fit the story, three “key messages” are delivered:
      1) the Greens as a looney left who “need to be reigned in”
      2) “Labour would be better without them”. Driving a wedge between Labour and Greens – classic divide and rule
      3) repeat the centrist mantra of mythical muddle Nu Zeland wanting a Blairite “third way” Labour party, despite all evidence to the contrary, and the fact that its clearly not what their membership want.

      What this tells us is:
      1) Serious cooperation between Labour and the Greens has National spooked
      2) Party leaders and causes that are democratically responsive to what their memberships are saying are a huge threat to the corporatist neo-liberal style of government that is working so well for the 1%, as well as showing up National and ACT for the authoritarian cults they are
      3) Serious cooperation between the memberships of Labour and the Greens to pull their respective leaderships back to reality (ie out of the beltway bubble that make the lunacy NatACTS spout seem plausible) is a huge threat to both the NatACT government and their rich backers. More of this please 🙂

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        Yes Strypey,

        I agree entirely and with Frank also as he spots everything these are worried right wingers.
        .
        These righties are getting spooky aren’t they!

        So something is worrying them right?

        It may be that the greens (I am not one) are actually making waves in the polls just now perhaps?

      • Kropotkin says:

        Dead right, Strypey. Look at the situation that the UK Labour Party is in. Majority socialist membership and leader vs Blairite MPs. Don’t they realise that the neo-liberal game is up? NZ Labour has the Blairite MPs, but where is its Corbyn?

  5. darth smith says:

    somebody should tell greens there no need to engineer a collapse its already baked into the cake don’t give the national government the scapegoat its looking for the speculators and the over leveraged have made there own bed the bubble will pop so lets let the market this time take its course because no party can stop the coming collapse

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Yes DARTH, 1000% correct here don’t give the nasty NatZ any oxygen on this one it is a rope already around their scrawny throats waiting for the hangman to open the footboard.

  6. Dialey says:

    I can’t agree, it was refreshing to hear an MP speaking what needed to be said. The trend across western nations is to reject mealy-mouthed, don’t upset the apple-cart politicians. I for one am sick of hearing Labour leaders prevaricate, placate and generally dither about. Tell the truth, no matter how unpalatable

  7. Rosemary McDonald says:

    Abandon ye all hope.

    National/Act/Maori Party will win again next year.

    Yes Meteria should have communicated better with Labour, but Little calling this embryo of a policy “irresponsible” was, well irresponsible.

    Labour has two shows of winning the next election as a standalone and clearly solid in the centre party.

    They all need to learn to work together. Got that? Together.

    I despair.

    (and no, Mana not in the running if teaming up with Maori Party traitors.)

    IMHO.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      I agree, Andrew should also have chosen his words more wisely. But both parties still have some differing views on some policy, it should not come as a surprise.

  8. schwen says:

    “This is a lose, lose, lose scenario.”

    Well, that’s what you get from losers…..

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      SCHWEN “Well, that’s what you get from losers…..”

      Yes – when the property bubble burst’s – Well, that’s what you get from losers…..

  9. Kim dandy says:

    Strpey is right – enough of the lies – give it to us straight, we adults we can handle the truth, and if a multitude of property investors don’t like it, fine, and if a multitude of shipped in voters by Key don’t like it, fine – the rest of us, is this once fine land, before it was slowly trashed by Neo lib greed, are over it!
    Too many lies, too much greed at the expense of others and far to much arrogance – vote for future generations, that’s what I intend to do, and that certainly is NOT the current crowd.

    • Blake says:

      I second that !
      and part of that concern for future generations and getting beyond the mistake that Metiria just made — is moving on and is about stopping free trade agreements and there is good news and good plans in the works right now here in N.Z. regarding TPPA. More jobs, better pay will give more a chance to buy their first home.

      http://itsourfuture.org.nz/

  10. dennis dorney says:

    Martyn, you and Labour are totally wrong about this issue. It is easy to say that Metiria should have discussed this issue with Labour but bearing in mind the Labour pronouncement that “House prices will not fall under a Labour Government” she wouldn’t have got very far, would she?
    There will be a crash, and soon, despite what some of the comments below are praying for. Speculators account for about 60% of current house purchases. When they have the field to themselves and realise that they are gambling against each other in a zero sum game, the market will crash. For the speculators I have no pity whatever; for the new home buyers I suggest that the banks, who are largely responsible for this mess, are forced to bail out the first time buyers from the record profits that banks are making right now.
    Which is the better choice: to let the house prices fall quickly to a fair price, which in the long run will be favourable to the average decent Kiwi and to the NZ economy or ; keep the house prices artificially high, as Labour proposes, so that inflation takes a couple of decades before a fair price is reached, to the detriment of future first-home buyers and the NZ economy?
    It is not the Greens, who are the weak link in the M of U. It is once again the Labour Party showing its lack of moral integrity.

  11. Richard Christie says:

    There is something dreadfully depressing about the New Zealand psyche where we are fearful of the free and public exchange of political ideas within and from political parties.

    Is it a product of the party system of politics itself?

    Why must we always demand unity where all march to the same monotonous party planks that are laid down behind closed doors? A coalition is not a merger. We should be adult and intelligent enough to expect differences and vigorous debate.

    Labour can get stuffed on this one and Little’s specious name calling response was abysmal.

  12. Samwise says:

    This is a bit unfair on the Greens, Martyn. I heard Turei’s comments on RNZ and she was crystal clear in wanting Akld property prices to fall GRADUALLY, OVER TIME. She never said she wanted them to crash.

    It’s a shame you wrote this. You’ve just given fuel for every RWNJ who reads The daily Blog.

    • Theodore says:

      Ditto, Sam. I heard Meteria’s comments as well. I think she’s been unfairly treated with this blogpost. (Note, I’m a Labour supporter, not a Greenie. But fair’s fair, eh?)

    • fatty says:

      Well said Samwise.

      Also, Turei got bashed by Duncan Garner when she said property prices needed to drop in 2014 on TV during a minor parties leaders debate. Turei is correct and the left must stand behind her. Echoing the idiocracy of Garner & Co. is something we should avoid.

      There is no alternative to reducing the value of housing. Either we do it gradually like Turei said, or we watch it crash and burn. Words like stabilise are neoliberal nonsense. Who in their right mind would try to stabilise a bubble?

  13. dave says:

    Perhaps the Greens could lobby for soft drink vending machines to be removed from hospitals, a sensible idea that would have no real opposition and loosely fit with their philosophy

  14. Takere says:

    Well there is a way to get Developers on-side? Instead of feeding/funding the likes of Fletcher’s & the Well-Connected Consortium massive tranches of cash from tax payers pockets to reconstruct NZ’s infrastructure which allows them to plan 30 years ahead?? Too much funding in a few hands controlling the Building industry. Solve this by setting up a Government Building Consortium with these local NZ owned business (100 employees less or so..) that get to build/construct homes in all of these SHA’s and developments that are proposed by the Government. The likes of Fletcher’s ect … can stick to the big stuff, roading, commercial builds ect …turn the funding tap off for the multi nationals.

  15. save nz says:

    If they want to get a change of government I feel the opposition do not have the numbers to win, if they want to push property prices down.

    Firstly 65% of voters are property owners.
    So already there is a majority who many of would be for or neutral on property price increases and against decreases.

    Of the 35% of voters who are not property owners then some will be Maori and on the Maori roll (say 10% guesstimate). So then we are down of 25% of renters. Of these, 10% may not be in normal housing at all, homeless, temporary and in jail so they are probably unlikely to vote. So we are now left with 15% of renters of which say half will look to inherit property from their property owning parents and be neutral on prices. So in my view any party that is advocating for property price decreases are going to lose the next election as they probably only have 7.5% strong support for a house price crash and a lot of strong back lash from the 65% of home owners for their troubles. There are so many voters who want price increases and so few voters that want decreases.

    In my view the left are confusing the amount of comments on property and speculation with the fact that crashing prices or interfering with property is popular. It is clearly not going to be a popular though. There was a rouge poll that dropped Labour and Greens last month. Maybe that was not a rouge poll and more about Labour and Greens pushing through the warm dry housing, and talking a lot about their unpopular housing views.

    Yes property is very popular to comment about and in MSM, but to want to interfere with the Kiwi dream, it is likely to leave National in power.

    And does anyone want that outcome?????

    Also the Greens stuffed up with Red Peak, they stuff up by constantly wanting to interfere with property the holy grail of voters and they stuff up by looking like they would sell out the country to get some insulation through and be some sort of Blue Green Tory Green party. I personally don’t think they would do that, but their attitude sometimes makes it look possible.

    Don’t do it Greens! Work on changing the government and being smart, not getting sidetracked on flags, mould, house price crashes and taxes all of which are vote killers.

    There is fantastic Green policy, why publicise ideas that has zero to 10% voter support?

  16. save nz says:

    If they want to get a change of government I feel the opposition do not have the numbers to win, if they want to push property prices down.

    Firstly 65% of voters are property owners.
    So already there is a majority who many of would be for or neutral on property price increases and against decreases.

    Of the 35% of voters who are not property owners then some will be Maori and on the Maori roll (say 10% guesstimate). So then we are down of 25% of renters. Of these, 10% may not be in normal housing at all, homeless, temporary and in jail so they are probably unlikely to vote. So we are now left with 15% of renters of which say half will look to inherit property from their property owning parents and be neutral on prices. So in my view any party that is advocating for property price decreases are going to lose the next election as they probably only have 7.5% strong support for a house price crash and a lot of strong back lash from the 65% of home owners for their troubles. There are so many voters who want price increases and so few voters that want decreases.

    In my view the left are confusing the amount of comments on property and speculation with the fact that crashing prices or interfering with property is popular. It is clearly not going to be a popular though. There was a rouge poll that dropped Labour and Greens last month. Maybe that was not a rouge poll and more about Labour and Greens pushing through the warm dry housing, and talking a lot about their unpopular housing views.

    Yes property is very popular to comment about and in MSM, but to want to interfere with the Kiwi dream, it is likely to leave National in power.

    And does anyone want that outcome?????

    Also the Greens stuffed up with Red Peak, they stuff up by constantly wanting to interfere with property the holy grail of voters and they stuff up by looking like they would sell out the country to get some insulation through and be some sort of Blue Green Tory Green party. I personally don’t think they would do that, but their attitude sometimes makes it look possible.

    Don’t do it Greens! Work on changing the government and being smart, not getting sidetracked on flags, mould, house price crashes and taxes all of which are vote killers.

    There is fantastic Green policy, why publicise ideas that has zero to 10% voter support?