It’s official – the Unitary Plan is a scam

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Labour have produced figures that now highlight what a scam the Unitary Plan really is.

This is a war of privilege between the haves and want mores, this is not a fight between the haves and have nots. In one corner the rich baby boomer property speculators are fighting the Unitary Plan to keep their privilege, in the other corner blue-green millennials who want the privilege they feel they’ve been denied are leading the fight for it.

As for the poor, screw them. This housing crisis has been stolen by rich people.

Labour have broken down the numbers, and they show what a joke this debate has become.

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In the words of Andrew Little

“The majority of these houses will be out of the reach of most Auckland families. The modelling found- that, of the 247,000 new homes planned within the existing urban area, 85 per cent will cost more than $800,000 and most will cost more than a million dollars.

“Less than 2 per cent will cost less than $600,000 and just one house is expected to be sold for under $500,000.

“If this is National’s brave new world then they are even more out of touch than anyone suspected.

“The mortgage on a $600,000 home costs nearly half of the median Auckland income (see table attached), meaning 98 per cent of these 247,000 houses will be unaffordable to the typical family.

“Lacking any credible plan of its own, National is relying on the Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan to tackle the Auckland housing crisis. But these numbers show that under the Plan very few affordable homes will be built.

…so less than 2% of houses will even be affordable for the majority of people? These rich buggers have used the plight of the tens of thousands of poor people living in over crowded garages and cars to further their own agenda, this Unitary Plan isn’t about solving the Housing Crisis for everyone, it’s about solving the Housing Crisis for the children of the rich.

How dare the poor get pimped so Blue-Green millennials and property speculating greedy boomers can all get Gold Credit Card applications in the mail.

We need a real solution, and building 85% of the  247 000 homes to only further fuel the speculative bubble is not a solution. Less than 2% of these houses will be affordable, that’s not a bloody solution!

We need a political revolution to force the interests of those paying the highest price for this speculative greed to be front and centre of any solution. Labour’s KiwiBuild that will only allow first time house buyers to buy affordable houses is a solution. The Unitary Plan is not.

 

42 COMMENTS

  1. As I said a few blog posts ago, whatever happens with the Unitary Plan, you can bet someone is going to be exploited by someone else. Maybe that is just what this country has become. Maybe egalitarianism has just become a kiwiana myth

    • Yes it was all quite predictable really.
      Everyone wants more “affordable” (whatever that means nowadays) housing built as long as it is far away from them, and it is on land that no-one else has any use for (contaminated ex-rubbish dump land would be perfect!).
      This is Auckland, the business capital of New Zealand. The place where most of the 1% live, work and exploit New Zealand. These people want the status quo to remain: that is a housing bubble which acts like the universe and never stops expanding.
      Do we really believe that these people have the interests of prospective first home buyers at heart?
      Not for one moment, folks.

  2. True Martyn, Anything NatZ put there hands on is a scam as is the “Better Local Services Bill” Local Government Amendment Bill No.2

    Government have now conspired to take control by “stealth” of Local council’s Transport & water resources as this corrupt government sets up more privatisation rort scams that they can control for their own financial benefit using their chosen business interests mates and perhaps be awarded for it?

    This is a totally corrupt evil Government for sure.

    • Forcing local services to be taken over by CCOs who don’t follow Council directions anyway, are the footprint used to eventually force privatisation with billions of dollars made available for capital gains untaxed.

      What do you expect from arse holes……….perhaps Ok if your a dung beetle.

    • I read the synopsis of this bill and took notes. Words like dictator, fascist, BloodyHell, etc were the only notes.

  3. $500,000 isn’t affordable either.

    Has that word “affordable” been redefined?

    Median income was $32k a year ago. Lets assume it’s increased by another 4.3% so may now be $33,680.

    If affordable is 3-4 X average income that would be just $101,000 to $134,700.

    I’ve read on Teh Granny that median income is more like $77. Not sure where they get this figure from, but even if its true an “affordable” house would be still only $231,000 to $308,000.

    Both sets of multiples are WAY below $500,000

    • “Affordability” as per SHA requirements:

      “Requirements for affordable houses

      Developers have three options of ways to meet the affordability requirements.

      For developments of 15 or more dwellings, developments must adhere to either:

      * criteria A, where 10 per cent of the development is relative affordable;or
      * criteria B, where 5 per cent of the development is retained affordable; or
      a combination of criteria A and B.

      “Criteria A

      A dwelling is classed as relative affordable if it will be sold for no more than 75 per cent of the Auckland region median house price. The median house price is that published by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand for the most recent full month of September, in relation to the relevant date.

      To meet criteria A, 10 per cent of dwellings in a development of 15 or more dwellings must be relatively affordable.”

      Criteria B

      A dwelling is classed as retained affordable if it will be sold at a price where the monthly mortgage payments (given the below assumptions) do not exceed 30 per cent of the Auckland median household income.

      The Auckland median household income is which is published by Statistics New Zealand. Criteria B is based on the statistic published for the most recent June quarter before the relevant date*.

      The assumptions for the house price defined within Criteria B are that:

      * the dwelling is purchased with a 10 per cent deposit
      * the balance of the purchase price is financed by a 30-year reducing loan, secured by a single mortgage over the property, at a mortgage interest rate equal to the most recent average two-year fixed rate. This interest rate used is that published most recently by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, in relation to the relevant date.

      To meet criteria B, 5 per cent of dwellings in a development of 15 or more dwellings must be retained affordable.”

      So mostly they claim a home is affordable when it costs no more than about 75 percent of either the median house price, or the median income, the latter making more sense.

      Check the Auckland Council website for details:
      http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/en/ratesbuildingproperty/housingsupply/pages/developinginaspecialhousingarea.aspx#affordable

    • I agree 100%. For me affordable would be within your range of house prices – I will never be able to afford current prices – new or old – and ageism now prevents me getting a mortgage even though it would cost a lot less than rent for the modest house I had my eye on.

      Being on a pension it amuses me to see the figures bandied about relating to ever increasing median/average wages (spouted by Natz) as pensions are supposed to be tied as a percentage of these figures (not certain which one) but I can tell you the pension is below these levels.

  4. If the NZ govt truly wanted to fix the housing crisis they would do the following:
    *amend the free trade agreements and ban foreign investors from purchasing houses.
    *make it illegal for real estate agents like ray white to open agencies in china.
    *make it so that one individual can only own 5 houses maximum.

    But they won’t. Auckland is now known as “the city of greed” What have we become?

    • I would also make interest non-deductible for tax purposes. Deductibility of interest is an anomaly in the Income Tax act in any case and would certainly discourage highly leveraged investment.

    • “make it so that one individual can only own 5 houses maximum”

      Five? That sounds like a lot, especially when you complain about greed. Two is one too many. We can’t afford to have Kiwi property leeches draining poor people of their money through rent. Surely Kiwi landlords can do something productive with their lives instead of exploiting people who don’t own property. I know some landlords and they’re not all useless lazy pieces of shit (despite their actions) – they could do something useful with their lives, we just need to push them in the right direction.

      “amend the free trade agreements and ban foreign investors from purchasing houses.
      make it illegal for real estate agents like ray white to open agencies in china.”

      This won’t make much of a difference. Either foreign property buyers haven’t made an impact, or they have and it’s already too late. Either way we need to charge people for hogging property and not doing anything with it. Anyone owning property and extracting rent or landbanking for capital gains is an exploitative leech and a burden on society. We should tax them until it is no longer possible to be a leech.

      Kiwi property speculators (incl. landlords) make people homeless and create poverty. Let’s not let them exist. Blaming foreigners ignores the local exploiters.

      We also need a state housing scheme. We all know that solved our housing problem in the past. We also need rent controls and more renters rights. We need to stop letting people create wealth from property.

      • “Two [houses] is one too many.”

        I agree there should be limits on the number of NZ houses one person can own, but I think limiting it to 1 is throwing out the baby with bathwater. Since I left home 20 years ago (eek!), I’ve moved cities 6 times, and rented rooms in more than 20 houses. Over 20 years, I’ve certainly dealt with my share of slumlords, and we need to do something about them. But I’ve also had some very responsible, caring landlords, who provide a useful service (managing the maintenance of the house and paying the tradespeople, as well as rates etc). I’m glad that service was available, and have no problem with such people owning at least 2-3 rental houses on top of their own home.

        If there wasn’t a private rental market, I would have had to buy a house in order to leave home at all. Then, every time I wanted to move, I would have either had to go through the hassle of selling my house and buying a new one every few years. Basically, I would still be effectively renting from the bank, but I would have had to personally organize and carry out (or pay for) 20 years worth of preventative maintenance and running repairs.

        I imagine that in your scenario, my other option would have been common housing (state/ public/ social whatever you want to call it). I suppose with private owners only being allowed one house each, all the rest would be owned either by the state (via Housing NZ) or the social housing unit of local councils. These entities are no doubt better than the worst slumlords I’ve rented off, but history shows that renting from them is not always as good as renting from the best private landlords. I agree that depend on the government of the day and their attitude towards public housing, but it doesn’t change the fact that common housing is not always the best option for everyone who can’t or doesn’t want to own a house.

        • Some good points there Strypey…

          “Since I left home 20 years ago (eek!), I’ve moved cities 6 times, and rented rooms in more than 20 houses.”

          Yes, I get the desire for mobility and the problem with being a home owner. I have no desire to own a home and find the ‘Kiwi dream’ to be boring and debilitating – I’d rather be renting, but not to a private landlord. I’d rather mobility over owning a piece of dirt & a house. But I’d say that if we stop viewing housing and property as a commodity, then we would have better housing security AND mobility.

          “If there wasn’t a private rental market, I would have had to buy a house in order to leave home at all. Then, every time I wanted to move, I would have either had to go through the hassle of selling my house and buying a new one every few years. Basically, I would still be effectively renting from the bank, but I would have had to personally organize and carry out (or pay for) 20 years worth of preventative maintenance and running repairs.”

          Yes, but if we had not commodified housing over the past 40 years, then people like you and me wouldn’t still be paying rent at the levels we do – be that to a landlord or the bank. Then housing maintenance would be a cost that could easily be absorbed. If we had 10,000 state houses per year since the 1970s (like we had in the 50s and 60s), and nobody could own a house they weren’t living in, then housing would be a right and almost free.

          “I imagine that in your scenario, my other option would have been common housing (state/ public/ social whatever you want to call it).”

          Yes, that’s my solution.

          “These entities are no doubt better than the worst slumlords I’ve rented off, but history shows that renting from them is not always as good as renting from the best private landlords.”

          I think Housing NZ in the past has been better than the best private landlords because of income related rent. As you allude to at the end of your comment it is more about the government of the day (or in our case the Governments of our last 40 years). I think we need to reimagine the capabilities of collectively owned housing (be that state/ public/ social or whatever). A new Housing NZ could easily be better than the best landlords because collectively delivered housing can be done much cheaper and it can prevent housing inequality.

  5. If the NZ govt really wanted to fix the housing crisis they could do the following:

    Ban overseas investors and take that clause out of the free trade agreements.
    Ban real estate agents like ray white from operating in overseas countries like china, openly selling our housing stock.
    Ban people from people from owning more than 5 houses.
    Go back to the old fashioned idea of selling a section and then the owner rebuilds a house for their own use. Property developers will only build in the cheap, especially now their are very few restrictions.

    So why don’t they? Auckland is becoming “the city of greed” What have we become?

  6. If you were on minimum wages but get working for families type top ups, then I think your budget is more like $300,000 for a house. And before National ramped up immigration to rid Auckland of lefties who are poor, now with the unitary plan they are forcing out the lefty liberals in the ‘leafy suburbs’ with rich speculator developments (maybe lefties should be finally realising that they are destroying our heritage for mansions not affordability) and chopping all the trees down, aka ancient Titirangi tree ring barkers endorsed by Auckland Council.

  7. Look this is just a beat up on ACT and its coalition.

    Obviously houses in Epsom electorate are going to be more than $800K because it is a reasonably affluent area, with constituents who obviously vote for ACT’s policies and its raison d’etre. So nothing to see here move along.

    If people can’t afford to live in Epsom, then its market forces and user-pays. If you want to live in a desirable suburb like Epsom, you need to pay the fairy-man.

    On the positive side, if there are more expensive houses for the more affluent, then that will leave more “budget” houses for the poorer to move into, instead of living in cars. Personally, I think those living in cars are trying to embarrass the coalition and they need to have a good long look at themselves.

    So as I said, nothing to see here, move on everyone.

    • How come you called yourself…..See More and yet you always end your comment with “nothing to see here…”?
      Do you see more or see less?

    • Again ‘David See No More’, you need to correct your pseudonym to fit the comments you make.

    • They vote for ACT’s policies and its raison d’être?

      They vote ACT because John Key wants them to. The raison d’être for an Act MP is defined by Key.

  8. Yes, just as I tried to tell people with some comments I already made on the Unitary Plan and the recommendations by a government appointed, supposedly “independent” hearing panel, that would make an ACT Party politician proud:

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/07/29/the-battle-for-auckland-will-be-a-war-of-privilege/

    There were many backroom meetings between Council and developers, and I am sure that many of the planners involved, also advising the Panel, have ties to developers, builders and property owners, all keen to make huge profits out of all this.

    And while there are at times interesting discussions happening on the Transport Blog, they have also fully fallen for the BS we get presented, welcoming it with their open arms.

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2016/08/01/the-coalition-for-more-homes/

    I am dismayed that the likes of Shamubeel Eaqub have also fallen for the developer’s paradise called Auckland Unitary Plan, which I fear the Council will agree to (with most recommendations accepted). Council will also gain massively, through population growth and more households and property owners buying the future expensive stock, they will get more rates.

    So prepare for immigration and natural increase of population to be continued, to be encouraged by the government, as that “saves” their economic “growth” and face for a few more years.

    Never mind the future of a nation of tenants in their own country, of the rich getting richer and the poor more in numbers, slavery was a “successful economic model” that lasted for too long, it seems attractive for the powers in control, to repeat something similarly, as the message is reduced to “jobs, jobs, jobs” and “growth, growth, growth”, serving business and the elite, certainly NOT the poor and homeless we already have.

    Look at the “evidence” presented on hearings on the PAUP, it shows how business, large government departments, Council, developers, utility companies and other vested interest parties clearly dominated the whole process:
    https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/hearings

    And Watercare cannot even ensure we have water for more than 45,000 new dwellings:
    https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/online-services/new/files/sd2NNmClrCbMvEizgzVp8WGFXEOczKfvrwSdSBARSoMs

    (See para 7.9 in their evidence on topic 059 to 063 presented by David Blow from Watercare)

    Quote:
    “7.9 When planning for growth, Watercare takes direction from Auckland Council. Key strategic documents that set out the direction for growth include: the Auckland Plan, Local Area Plans and the RPS. Watercare has assessed the available spare capacity within the existing water and wastewater networks and has identified that it currently has capacity for 45,000 additional dwellings throughout the city. This current capacity is designed to support targeted growth and development in given areas.”

    That was September last year!

    They have not got consent to take more water from the Waikato River, which they need to supply over 400,000 additional homes and also more new businesses, so how the hell can they go ahead with a plan that does not provide for more water for Auckland? Farmers, residents and businesses in the Waikato are already having objections to let more water go to Auckland.

    As most have not read the evidence that was used for the hearings, they are now making decisions that will cause massive issues for our future, which will be unsustainable.

  9. RNZ news

    Michael Woodhouse is criticizing the EU for their new recommendation to ban any Country from trading with after leaning NZ is a “tax Haven”

    The howling came from Woodhouse when he only heard about this though the media!!!!!!!

    Well well, Michael Woodhouse! “you weren’t consulted by EU first”!!!!!!

    Let me say to you, your government also fails to consult with us all first similarly!!!

    You always love to isolate us in the same manner and have a rule we are told “to only tell us what matters to us” also, and doesn’t tell much to us either, so now you know how the electorate feels, ha ha, after your Government are similarly isolating the public from consulting Government in NZ when they plot many things and introduce them by “stealth” TPPA and Local Government act changes are just two example for you to chew on so think before engaging mouth needs to be advised to you.

    • Is he serious, Mr Woodhouse, the EU Commission forewarning governments of virtual banana republics like NZ that they will investigate their tax regime?

  10. The sad thing is that the few snippets I see on MSM TV, the Natz are milking the Left being the ones to enforce the unitary plan and force it through. The charity groups are falling for it.

    The sad thing is that if these groups actually bothered to lobby for affordable housing instead of a plan that has clearly been designed to increase unaffordable housing. The penny should have dropped when affordable housing criteria has been removed from the plan. You have to wonder.

    The so called ‘left’ group for the unitary plan (even though no affordable houses criteria in the plan, go figure).

    “The coalition is a diverse group of housing stakeholders coming together under one banner to send a clear message that the Auckland Council need to pass the unitary plan for the good of Auckland’s future, including Generation Zero, Greater Auckland, Community of Refuge Trust, the Salvation Army, Shamubeel Eaqub, Unitec Institute of Technology, Urban Auckland, The Morgan Foundation, Ockham Residential, Property Council of New Zealand, Habitat for Humanity, Jasmax, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, Bays Community Housing Trust, Crosson Architects,” the statement said.

    • Although I have sympathies for those supporting or belonging to Generation Zero, at times it seems they act like Generation Zero Insight.

      • You would think this lobby group would be instead be kicking up a fuss about the government aka Stephen Joyce removing the affordability which was pitiful to begin with anyway.

        • I am increasingly getting the impression they are led by modern day yuppies, career minded young professionals, like doctors, lawyers, architects and what else you have, who are on a good salary whack, and who are simply not happy, because they cannot join the baby boomers on the property ladder, only difference being, they can settle for nice, spacey and modern apartments, rather than bungalows.

        • Generation Zero are mainly concerned with finding solutions for climate change challenges, being focused on a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and smarter future.

          So they have good intentions, while they are mostly young students, at least their leaders, studying various academic subjects.

          When submitting on the Unitary Plan, they seemed to collaborate a lot with certain architects and their professional body, see the Facebook page of the NZIA here:
          https://www.facebook.com/NewZealandInstituteofArchitects/

          http://www.generationzero.org/

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Zero_(organisation)

          Compact and less fossil fuel using cities with international flair seems to be their dream, but I sense there is a lack of economic and planning expertise among these aspiring young members of our society.

          Architects usually work closely with developers and builders, and so there is no surprise that they may find the Unitary Plan as quite exciting and beneficial for their own professional employment and secure income. Building more homes, expensive or not, that is their goal.

  11. ” John Key played a huge role in the worldwide financial crisis “, says Obama. Likely very true.
    When Jonky uses his own country to provide tax havens thus ripping off the people, how can any ” half witted ” person continue to support such an idiot.
    Housing crisis – what housing crisis – donky says. Pour another glass of champagne.
    His legacy will be as pathetic and dishonorable as Helen Clarks was. Both are cut from the same cloth.
    Both have been bought and controlled by the corporate elite that they serve so well. Who cares about the poor and where they sleep at night. Who cares about the 1080 damage. U.N. and Agenda 2030 – go go go.
    As long as we ( and our corporate buddies ) get ours, who cares.
    Let us all support the 1080 moratorium put forth by NZ First and learn more about Agenda 2030 as these are
    very much connected with our housing crisis and the future of democracy and putting PEOPLE before profits.

    Donkeyo – the serial liar and money grabbing scam artist and the voters need to wake up. Helen Clark also needs the spotlight on her, in massive doses, as she supports the TPPA and is the darling of the U.N. So disappointing.

    The housing crisis will not be helped or solved by this out of touch govt.
    They care less about those in need and those without homes. Their band-aid solutions are doing nothing and they are taking us further into the toilet. Rock Star economy my a ___.

    http://www.activistpost.com/2015/09/agenda-2030-translator.html

  12. Hope someone explains why the council feels the Rich Listers like Graham Hart should not have to intensify on their rich lister McMansion St, while Auckland Heritage is knocked down for unaffordable housing to be built intensively and marketed to China.

  13. Sorry Martin, I think you’ve missed an important economic factor in this.
    Fewer than 2% of NEW BUILD will be affordable homes, based on our current economic situation.
    Do we expect lower socioeconomic groups to be the ones funding new builds? Most likely not.
    When new homes are built, people moving up the social wealth ladder will move into them, freeing up older housing stock, which will be available more cheaply. Build ENOUGH homes, and the prices of the older homes will be significantly more competitive. A huge, sustained build like this also provides significant economic throughput in many serviced (AKA construction sector boom – supporting many tradespeople and lesser skilled workers).

    We don’t want to build more cheap homes. Cheap homes cost a lot in the long term. You can’t argue about moldy, uninsulated, barely habitable houses while simultaneously claiming we should build more accommodation to the same standards. We need to build lots of good quality homes, and sadly, they wont come cheap.

    The best we can ask for is Central Government to fund some of these homes and make them available on fair terms to tenants who would otherwise struggle to afford a suitable living environment. Adding government builds to the mix would add yet more to supply, creating an even more favourable environment for home buyers. This, however, is SUPPLEMENTARY to the Unitary Plan. The plan provides the space to build the homes, not the finances.

    Let’s build good, not cheap. And let’s do it together, so everyone has a home. But be careful we’re not shooting at the wrong targets here. Our focus should be on central government providing social housing, and that housing being publicly owned – not used as an excuse to pump a government subsidy into the private sector, therefore actually raising prices.

    • Crumbs and morsels (old, derelict homes) for the poor, in an inflated market, with a huge price bubble that has been allowed to develop, right?

      It should never have come to this, and simply accepting this status quo is equally irresponsible.

      Leaving it to property seeking (usually at least 20 percent margins, before they start looking at any projects) developers and builders to build needed stock will not bring affordable homes, even if prices drop 30 to 40 percent.

      If we have a state initiated and less profit focused building program, more affordable homes can be built. Of course quality and efficiencies must be achieved, so checks and balances can be brought in. It was done before, so why not again now?

      The market has failed to provide affordable homes, full stop, as developers rather maximise returns and build for the better off, which are also returning, well cashed up NZers, plus new migrants with savings or other access to money or credit. That will not help the minimum wage earner in South or West Auckland.

  14. Of course its a scam and Key confirmed it with his usual “yeah i am comfortable with it” throw away line.

  15. Personally think watching films like “this way of life” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BflQ39tgomE should be compulsory viewing for those forcing through legislation on property.

    There are different ways of living and the idea that everyone in NZ should be forced to live in warm dry boxes because the government and councils thinks so, runs counter to both Maori and the settler culture of NZ.

    Prosecuting people who live in a yurt, want to buy a piece of land and live on it and build their own house, or like in this film/documentary what a family does to survive after a family rift makes them homeless.

    If they were not able to live off the land, in sheds and so forth, what would be the alternative, the family split up, kids put in CYPS or what have you. That approach destroys families.

    It is clear that there needs to be a less urban and ‘yuppie’ approach to housing and not making it illegal to live the way you want. People should be allowed some leeway to be able to survive on their own land or in the way they want to live.

    What is going to happen next, ban Marae’s because they are not built up to some Western building standard, that after leaky homes does not even work anyway??

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