Meeting The Overwhelming Quantum Of Need – A modest proposal for ending New Zealand’s housing crisis

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IT COULD BE DONE. This government could make a serious attempt to house the 20,000 people waiting for social housing before the next election. It would, however, require them to do something they have, so far, showed no willingness to do: think outside the neoliberal box – like socialists.

Part of the present problem – quite a large part – is the sheer logistical difficulty in gearing up New Zealand’s already over-extended construction industry to meet the overwhelming quantum of need. This isn’t 1936, there aren’t tens-of-thousands of carpenters, roofers, plumbers, electricians and other construction workers desperate for employment. That’s the challenge. Finding the human and other resources needed to house the homeless.

To make any impression on this problem it will be necessary to import workers from abroad. This was key to the successful Christchurch re-build, and it will likely be the key to solving the housing crisis. The question is: where are we to find the expertise and labour force required to accommodate 20,000+ people in less than three years?

There is only one place to go looking for this sort of assistance – the Peoples Republic of China. Few nations on earth have a construction workforce large enough to take on such a massive job, but China does. The Chinese have been building infrastructure all over Africa for more than 20 years. They are used to deploying hundreds – sometimes thousands – of workers to foreign lands and then bringing them home when these country-to-country joint ventures are completed. They have even more experience in constructing accommodation for the hundreds-of-thousands of Chinese citizens who every year abandon the rural interior of China for its burgeoning coastal cities. In the space of just a few years whole new cities have risen out of the ground.

This is what New Zealand’s government needs to do: enter into a joint-venture with the Chinese Government to construct massive, multi-storied, housing complexes in which all those New Zealanders in urgent need of warm, dry, affordable and secure accommodation can find it.

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Interestingly enough, the designs for precisely this sort of mass accommodation, along with the social infrastructure necessary to ensure that it is translated into viable and vibrant communities, already exist. They were drawn up nearly three-quarters-of- a-century ago, by the Department of Housing Construction of the Ministry of Works. Had Labour won the 1949 general election, Auckland, in particular, would have been a very different city. Not so much a poor man’s version of Los Angeles, as a lucky man’s version of Copenhagen or Stockholm. (One more disaster to set at the National Party’s door!)

Of course every China-hating xenophobe and red-baiter will throw up their hands in horror at such an out-there suggestion. Their problem, however, is not being able to come up with any viable suggestions of their own. Where, for example, would they lay their hands on the skilled workforce necessary to erect ten, twenty, thirty housing complexes? As things now stand, New Zealand would be hard-pressed to erect the accommodation for the workers needed to build the accommodation!

The only way to get ahead of the ever-lengthening state house waiting-list is to build big and build fast. We simply don’t have time to recruit and train the people necessary to do the job ourselves. No sooner had we assembled a workforce large enough to tackle the problem, than we would be faced with assembling another, even larger, one!

Maybe, if we could outbid the wage rates of Australia’s construction industry, or America’s, availing ourselves of China’s could be avoided. But, you know how it goes: a few extra billion here, and few extra billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking serious money! Besides, how keen would the government of either of those countries be to involve themselves in such an openly socialistic programme? Nowhere near as keen as the comrades in Beijing!

The other objection which is certain to be raised is that why on earth would New Zealanders consent to living like the citizens of Singapore or Shanghai? How long would it take for these huge, rapidly-constructed apartment buildings to turn into high-rise slums?

The answer to that question would be ours to frame. There are ways to ensure that even large, high-rise apartment complexes are embedded in the sort of social and economic matrices that make the slide into slum status impossible. By building schools, medical facilities, shopping-centres, police stations and youth centres into the plans, the feelings of isolation and abandonment that have historically contributed to the development of slums can be avoided. Similarly, by ensuring that these apartments are situated in employment-, transport- and recreational-rich zones, the complex networks making for vibrant communities can be hard-wired into the project.

The proof of this concept can be found in the tragic history of “Red Vienna”. So successful was the post-World War I construction of worker housing in the Austrian capital, and so vibrant the socialist working-class culture it created, that the right-wing Austrian government ordered the Austrian Army to destroy the workers’ quarter of Vienna with shellfire in the bitter class conflicts of 1934. The enormous danger embodied in Vienna’s example of what the progressive imagination could produce, if given the chance, had to be eliminated – no matter at what human cost.

And this is the reason why this present government, barring a change of heart of truly Damascene proportions, will not dare to go down this path. Not only would such a truly transformational joint-venture between Wellington and Beijing produce something very close to panic in Washington and Canberra, but it would also cause near-fatal conniptions at Treasury and in just about every other neoliberal institution across the country.

Socialism doesn’t grow out of thin air: it emerges from an infrastructure in which collectivism – not individualism – has been encoded in institutions’ standard operating procedures. The creation of carefully-planned, well-resourced, state-owned apartment complexes: the result of co-operation between the Labour Party Government of New Zealand and the Communist Party Government of China; marking the end of homelessness for 20,000 of the country’s poorest citizens; would not only be a red flag to the Right’s most vicious bulls, but also the best thing that happened to the New Zealand working-class in three-quarters-of-a-century.

At last, the Politics of Kindness could take on the indisputable solidity of bricks-and-mortar, and, finally, the Prime Minister’s promised “transformation” could begin.

64 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent proposal. But this is the super conservative do nothing Labour 2020, Jacinda just this week clinging to and by inference, praising the Reserve Bank Act like Roger Douglas was still Finance Minister and when we knew no better.

    Jacinda said all the right words upon forming a government in 2017, transformative, attacking child poverty, backed by Kiwibuild and some truly different approaches to transport to bolster her climate change goals.
    2020, not so much. Actually, not at all.

    Burned by Kiwibuild and Phil Twyford Jacinda has concluded that there are no problems anymore and if you promise nothing and most importantly do nothing and stay really really still barring a disaster of some form, they’ll get through the next 3 years and get re-elected.

    Housing therefore is not a problem that cannot be solved, if there was one, which there is not, by minor tinkering around the edges purely for marketing purposes. Not this silly building roofs and most outrageously, affordable ones, to put over her people’s heads.

    Moving right along…

  2. Great comment. Sadly this kind of visionary thinking will be completely disregarded by the wellington power elite. We should certainly be looking for ways that our ever closer economic ties with China can be utilized so as to advantage us as a nation, and lift the worker class in particular.

  3. ‘finally, the Prime Minister’s promised “transformation” could begin’

    Surely it is now evident that Adern’s ‘promise’ was as empty as John Key’s ‘Better brighter future’ and was simply an electioneering slogan geared to pulling in votes.

    This government is a one-trick act -keeping the border under surveillance- in a global neoliberal circus in which the canopy is on fire. And keeping the border is not particularly difficult when there is no boarder as such, just thousands of kilometres of not-easy-to-cross water.

    The Maori had the right ideas: raupo huts, local food cultivation, harvesting from the foreshore, and population control via inter-tribal warfare. Once Europeans arrived and started cutting down trees en masse it all started to go badly wrong.

    The good news for Maori who want to return to traditional ways of living is that ‘the experiment’ of Industrial Civilisation is coming to an end, as it rapidly consumes or destroys all the factors -plentiful fossil fuels, stable climate, biodiversity etc. -necessary for its continuation.

    The exact timing of collapse is difficult to predict but we know we are at close to 420 ppm atmospheric CO2 (and rising superfast) and that anything above 350 ppm is dangerously destabilising (as evidenced by the fastdisappearing Arctic ice); we are past the peak of both conventional extraction and unconventional extraction of oil; the financial system that facilitates ‘development’ (going backwards ecologically and socially ) is in crisis; the global food system is in crisis (as a consequence of appalling practices within the system and restrictions on using ‘peasants’ from impoverished nations to do the actual work and environmental factors).

    The attempts by ‘the powers that be’ to stave off collapse are all counter-productive, and it is simply the [false] notion of hope in a better future ingrained into the minds of a large portion of the populace (even as everything gets made worse) that is holding most of the system together.

    Recent months have all been ‘the hottest ever’ and according to the forecasters, we are in for a very hot summer, with the high likelihood of severe drought and bushfires. And this is just a mere taste of what is to come.

    Expansion of the dysfunctional arrangements that characterise NZ cities and provincial centres would clearly be a disastrous mistake….and therefore will be the official plan, since the lunatics are running the asylum.

    • Well I see some of our people are living in trees up North but no good if we keep cutting them down maybe we might have to go back to caves too.

      • vivid is pa: “….we might have to go back to caves too.”

        Some of our people still live in caves, as they’ve done time out of mind. France and Austria: no doubt other parts of Europe as well. Very comfy digs, I hear: excellent control of temperature variations.

        Then there’s Coober Pedy in South Australia, where our people live underground. Makes sense, given the scorching temperatures in that part of the world

        • covid is pa: “vivid” Apologies: that was supposed to be “covid”. Bloody auto-edit! Grrr….. I wasn’t quite quick enough to spot it.

    • Afewknowthetruth: “The Maori had the right ideas: raupo huts, local food cultivation, harvesting from the foreshore, and population control via inter-tribal warfare.”

      Not quite how things were, at the time of first European contact. I’ve commented on this topic before, on this blogsite.

      Local populations were under pressure from food shortages. It’s certainly true that, at the time of first contact with Europeans, Maori were managing seafood stocks sustainably. But that had been perforce, after they’d eaten to extinction all of the large flightless birds, and put fish and seafood stocks under pressure from unsustainable harvesting practices. The Royal society link below notes “….by AD 1450 (when extinction of megafauna occurred and other protein sources were in decline….”

      Much of the inter-tribal fighting would have been over access to food resources.

      At the time of Cook’s first visit here, cannibalism was being routinely practised . He’d have assumed that it was ritualistic, as it was in the Pacific Islands, where he’d also seen it. He’d not have realised that it was a matter of necessity here, given the scarcity of other sources of protein.

      Many years ago, I read a paper in which it was postulated that, had Cook not returned to NZ and given Maori pigs, goats and chickens, there’d have been a population crash due to starvation. At that time, food resources were running low, and Maori were unable to return even to the closest islands – the Cooks, I think – to obtain extra food resources, because they no longer had access to ocean-going waka. I haven’t been able to find that paper, but I found this:

      https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsos.160258

      “Once Europeans arrived and started cutting down trees en masse it all started to go badly wrong.”

      It would be a mistake to blame Europeans for large-scale tree-felling, as if none of that had occurred prior to their arrival. That Royal Society link above refers to this aspect:

      ” However, in less than two centuries, intense hunting pressure [27] and forest clearance by fire [45–47] caused massive and widespread extinctions and a reduction in large easily harvested prey species.”

      By the time of first contact, most of the lowland forest on the East Coast of the South Island was gone: burned or cut down, partly to aid the hunting of large flightless birds such as the moa.

      With regard to their impact on the land, pre-European Maori were no better or worse than any other human societies. It’s part of the human condition to exploit the natural environment, until sustainability is forced on them by diminishing food resources and/or environmental damage.

      • I have always wondered D’Esterre if cannibalism in the islands is what instigated the move to New Zealand. When there is war over territory , rivalry or leadership there is a prospect of the loosing side accepting defeat and relinquishing land or resource or autonomy and carrying on. But when a population is being attacked and the reason is nutritional , taking to the canoes would seem like the only choice. Whatever the chances of drifting onto a new bit of land. Also they would have had trolling gear and the dugouts would be unsinkable even if awash and intensely uncomfortable during a storm. The might have survived for a long time at sea without knowing where they were.
        D J S

        • David Stone: “…if cannibalism in the islands is what instigated the move to New Zealand.”

          It’s certainly possible. No way of knowing now, unless the reasons for migration survive in the oral histories.

          This is an interesting article on Pacific migrations.

          https://teara.govt.nz/en/pacific-migrations

          “The might have survived for a long time at sea without knowing where they were.”

          That Te Ara link above notes that Polynesian voyaging was intentional, rather than just drifting in the hope of finding a new land: they went where the evidence suggested that there was land to be found.

          Whatever the reasons were for migrating to NZ, they may have included pressure on resources of increasing populations, or conflict in a tribal hierarchy. Or it may have been just good old-fashioned curiosity and wanderlust: that’s a characteristic of humans everywhere.

  4. China will want their pound of flesh and it’s likely our sovereignty that is the price. Have a look at how China manipulates our pacific neighbours on the back of infrastructure programs. You could also say goodbye to any criticism of the muslim camps and militarisation of the South China Sea.

    Is our independence worth a few roads and apartment blocks. I would argue no.

    The other issue of course is it is not just a housing issue its an infrastructure issue. Upgrading of transport links, sewerage and waste water, schools and community essentials such as parks need to be thought out as part of any major build.

    There is no magic solution or silver bullet. It took 40 years to arrive at this juncture it will require at least half of that to fix

  5. That proposed Auckland planning, which Chris has drawn attention to before, is interesting indeed. What the Nats delivered was roads! instead of anything resembling a “garden city”, and locked in Auckland’s sprawl and road/motorway expansion for decades. The private car was elevated above public transport, and trucks the ultimate capitalist declaration of progress and “how things are”–and you lot better get used to it.

    Some provincial towns upgraded post WWII still show where NZ could have headed with town planning–wide streets and spacious town centres encouraging public participation in civic affairs. Architecture has always been strongly associated with politics and power.

    Anyone that genuinely wondered where a Labour Govt. might head with the Winston handbrake off, now has their answer–nowhere! The Chinese idea would be great, but is not likely to happen in my lifetime. What about sourcing flat pack dwellings though, including tiny houses for homeless, from China and Europe? That might encourage local builders and developers and suppliers to co-operate with the Govt. rather than go on strike as they essentially did over Kiwibuild. Yes on the face of it they did not want to take on lower margin jobs, but, there was the strong whiff of not wanting to help out “Communist Jacinda” and a Labour Govt. as well.

  6. Nope, Nope, Nope

    “enter into a joint-venture with the Chinese Government to construct massive, multi-storied, housing complexes in which all those New Zealanders in urgent need of warm, dry, affordable and secure accommodation can find it.”

    How about we just train our own workers to build the houses, seems like that was pretty easy post second world war when the returning soldiers built the state houses that last longer than the overseas built leaky buildings.

    NZ has a demand problem for housing, aka we are swamping our country with new residents who all need housing. Same with health, schools, transport, jails, justice, superannuation – we are even running out of water in NZ! Less people, more self reliance is the message from Covid and the last decades where NZ has developed major problems we didn’t used to have.

    NZ has been using foreign construction workers for decades now and poor materials, and it’s all going wrong!

    The Detail: New Zealand is still building leaky homes
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/the-detail/117617601/the-detail-new-zealands-leaky-homes-saga-is-a-long-way-from-sorted

    Concrete safety investigator ‘surprised nobody had been killed’
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/402908/concrete-safety-investigator-surprised-nobody-had-been-killed

    Multi-storey building flaws ‘almost the norm’
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/340396/multi-storey-building-flaws-almost-the-norm

    Apartment complex hit with $32.8m repair bill
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/331505/apartment-complex-hit-with-32-point-8m-repair-bill

    Council unable to identify possible defective buildings in capital
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/403417/council-unable-to-identify-possible-defective-buildings-in-capital

    Example of Chinese construction

    Coronavirus quarantine hotel collapses, trapping 70
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2020/03/coronavirus-quarantine-hotel-collapses-trapping-70.html?fbclid=IwAR3keDUeES_JIX2BwpHqhEBIHoek2OLPNSQsBOQBEkA6dJ7y-LLHaiJPhyg

    Asbestos Chinese trains for Kiwirail
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/306419/chinese-train-makers-repeatedly-told-no-asbestos

    • So you mind I’d I ask how old you are @SaveNZ?
      I’ll bet you do mind but you remind me of a student that does all the right things to tick the necessary boxes.
      Politically, I agree with most of the stuff and things you say, except for some “fundamentals” you’re prepared to overlook when you advance your arguments. Especially with immigration matters. (like for example that many of the immigrant folk you find no sympathy for were LIED to by our gummint).
      Pisses me off somewhat because I imagine you’d probably one of the first to protest how badly the Okkers treat NuZullner deportees.

      • @ Timtimorwhateverthehandlr – I’m gen X, and Nope, I don’t have much sympathy for the NZ/OZ criminals and gang members who are being deported back to NZ.

        I think NZ should adopt OZ rules and deport our own migrant criminals, as soon as they first offend. Maybe we could have exited Tarrent earlier if that had been the case.

        When you move to someone else’s country, the number one rule should be don’t victimise other people living there.

        Not much compassion and help ever gets shown to victims of crime in my opinion in either country and those who migrate or visit another country who can’t obey the laws, should be shown the door immediately, especially violent, immigration/labour exploitation, sexual crime, drugs and fraud. Those criminals are NZ’s favourites to give permanent residency to tho.

        Never hear the lefties fuming about exploitation, calling for maximum penalty and deportation for migrant exploiters… they tend to support the migrant exploiters and want more rich international students and workers to come to NZ and take up the housing.

        Then I guess the land around NZ gets developed and we get our produce from China and OZ.

        The reason NZ is in such a mess with growing local poverty is that nobody especially the left have much practical help to give them. Lefties are just as brainwashed.

        The right and left now all agree, especially build high rises with foreign labour, don’t worry about water or food supply, waste water, sewerage or pollution or anything else. Build, build, build!

        By the wa,y they already have been building up a storm around Auckland but developers building houses are costing $700k+ and working people can’t afford them on NZ wages or they are 1 hour commute away or with apartments full of leaks and huge body corp. fees.

  7. Very good wee article.

    And where did so many of our tradies and professionals go after the destruction of our workforce in the aftermath of Roger Douglas’s destructive neo liberal deforms? Why, – Australia of course! What a beautiful way to justify importing cheap labour from non unionized country’s? And so they did. Lots of them. And as every good neo liberal knows, they can always ‘ outsource’ these issues and import a few 100,000 more. That is,…. assuming one really wants to acknowledge homelessness as an issue in the first place and throw away the golden goose known as rising house prices . And what’s wrong with polytech’s training apprentices? Heaven forbid we actually embed apprentices with employers when we can profiteer on those students and keep the whole ponzi scheme happening?

    Ah yes, – problems , problems , problems ,… but shhhhh ! ,… just never let on that we had the answers all along…

    J.J Cale / Lies
    https://youtu.be/L_xbZMQCfqo?t=82

  8. NZ could also easily create affordable housing in two easy ways without massive construction and costs.

    First allow kitchens and conversions into large homes to make ‘Granny flats’. At present the councils would cut off their Granny/the homelessness right leg, than consent an affordable granny flat in an existing house.

    NZ is full of two story houses that can easily be made into two flats with the addition of another Kitchen. These houses are often in ‘good areas’, with gardens, which are a lot nicer to live in for the poor, than concrete jungles. The addition of a kitchen/change to two flats should be a small building fee to the council and not the massive and fruitless exercise it is at present.

    Secondly allow self contained tiny houses automatic rights to be erected as long as they are not visible to neighbours and for a nominal charge of $2000 for the consents, they should not be considered a dwelling if they are transportable. For example many people have land but it’s illegal to put a cheap tiny house on – similar to be able to rent them out. At present caravans can be rented out to renters, but much nicer tiny more eco homes are often illegal!

    • The reason that the above easy to execute ideas, get no traction is that big business can’t make much money out of it and it empowers the average Joe to get more income while making competition for cheaper rentals by adding in, quickly and cheaply, more one and two bed flats into urban areas.

      Doing so would probably add 20% new units into both the city (existing house to granny flat conversion) and country (self contained, off grid, tiny houses).

      But the catch is that it would drop developer and land banking profits and help curb the torturous council consenting process for a modest home…. Oh My God, can’t have neoliberal profiteering models dropped!

  9. I’m sorry Chris, but you’re wrong.

    The constraint to housing supply is not the construction of houses. If it was just the supply of houses we could import them. A friend works for a company that ships complete steel framed three bedroom houses from Vietnam. They were in talks with Twyford during the Kiwibuild fiasco and I believe the factory in Vietnam and its QC processes were inspected and approved at the time. If you turn on that tap, they can essentially provide a nearly infinite supply – enough to swamp a tiny nation like ours. And there are other potential vendors of similar products. Given time, our local builders can also gear up to mass construction to standard designs. They already have the designs but currently much of their business is in trying to fit weird house designs into oddly shaped and sloping infill plots in the suburbs.

    The problem is the supply of land approved for house construction. NZ is ~98% empty so you’d think that there would be endless tracts of land available for construction but there isn’t. This is entirely in the realm of local government and this is the problem that Twyford faced. There are two sides to the problem:

    1. Building high rise in the city is limited by the services available. In Auckland that is mostly about sewerage infrastructure. Until the ‘central interceptor’ project is complete we cannot add any wastewater load to the suburbs near the CBD. This is probably the case in Wellington too. Retro fitting high rise into the city is also constrained by the RMA. If someone has a harbour view at the moment, we cannot slap a block of flats in the way without facing legal action and mass middle class protests. This would be a quick way to lose the next election.

    2. Building low rise on the periphery of the city is constrained by Auckland Council’s artificial rural boundary. At the stroke of a pen by the Mayor we could remove the northern rural/urban boundary and build hundreds of thousands of houses on the low value agricultural land in Dairy Flat, Waitoki, Waimauku, Helensville, right up to Kaukapakapa. Someone will comment that the transport infrastructure isn’t there to allow them to commute. To this I would answer the following:
    a) There is an existing train corridor running up the north west to Helensville. Refurbish that and double track it.
    b) Relax zoning rules so that new houses to the north (and south) are built along with offices and industrial sites so that people can live nearer their work. The whole idea of trying to transport everyone to the bottom of Queen street is stupid and thanks to the council the CBD is rapidly becoming a dead zone anyway.
    c) Now we know that many people can work mostly from home, has much of the need for commuting to a central office evaporated?

    • I think this is a better plan than bringing in 20 thousand Chinese builders. Also if we build more old people homes for our ageing population this will free up more homes for our younger generation. We need to build as many as possible good quality state homes they don’t have to be houses they can be good quality high rise buildings and they have to be maintained. There is still some good land in NZ for us to increase building but we need to think long term sustainable. I see in some places they have already started building in areas under utilised or no longer fit for purpose , like small townships. And why not this is smart and as you have said Andrew its good for people to live close to their jobs and also shops especially if it makes live easier. There is the added benefit of people walking instead of using a car.

    • Some good valid points there, Andrew. Perhaps if councils were not so anal and faced reality satellite ‘towns’ with good local infrastructure and efficient highways/rail/ transport services to other nearby centers ringing the more central Auckland could be imagined. Which would also pave the way for some pretty swanky landscaped regions with serviceable but relatively lower costed housing.

      People are going to have to bite the bullet , stop being nimby’s and get with the program. And that program is a burgeoning population with many having no place to live. At least in Outer Mongolia if the worst comes to the worst they can always erect a yurt tent , – but here in the country that pretends to be first word yet is more like a second world nation, – if your lucky you sleep in a van with the rest of your family. Others haven’t even that luxury and so park benches and alleyways have become the new premium.

      And we all know the nimby’s live in terror of house prices dropping if there was suddenly a new and sizeable source of cheaper housing as do the slum landlords. The message needs to be if you haven’t made your millions by now after 3 decades of neo liberal tosh, – and that includes YOU slum landlords, well you’ve missed the gravy train, lads. But lets not forget , – it was YOU who decided to go into debt to an Australian bank for that comfortable retirement. That was YOUR choice and its YOUR personal responsibility, is it not? That’s how neo liberalism and the free market works isn’t it?

      Of course it is.

      Now in places like Germany where they seem to be a sensible people with a much larger population that is far harder for the takers, the stealers, the rorters and the conmen to get away with things,… a large proportion of the population rents. And for the most part, many renters rent for life. And also because of that, rents are reasonable, (also the wages are much better and the minimum wage mentality would soon see those politicians peddling that mantra looking for a new job ) and so slum landlords like we seem to have a bonanza of in NZ find it harder to get a look in. Also there are very harsh laws in Germany against these sorts of bums who try to rip people off by marketing their filthy pigsty’s to the public for rentals. The fines seem to make it rather unappealing for these sewer rats to try it on.

      So again , some very salient points you made. But there is also the ‘attitudinal ‘ aspects that need to change in this country by the home owners , the mum and dad investors, the politicians and the legislators and the local councils. Sooner or later some bold politician will need to break the mold. I can scarcely imagine 50 years into the future and still being stuck with the current crop of inept, incompetent, can kicking, useless, inactive political and council seat warmers as we have now.

      Perhaps we should start looking at changing the Reserve Bank Act and commanding them to print more money for the Government whereby the Govt takes on that debt, essentially cancelling it, giving no freebies to foreign banks and financiers whilst embarking on a massive housing and infrastructure program…

      There was a bloke a while back in the 1940’s who seemed to have done just that whose name escapes me.

      Savage?

      Michael?

      Joseph?

      Gosh I’ll have to look up my history books.

      Anyways, I’m sure the neo liberals would love it, – no change in the tax laws, thus no extra tax for the wealthy, just a nice wee seamless cash printing program by the Govt , with no need for all that tedious budget balancing and being up late at night worrying about deficits and whose going to pay for it in the future…

      The only people who might spend many sleepless nights would be the Nimby’s…

      • Its not that councils are anal they need more rate payers so building more houses is both good and bad, more likely they are cash strapped and neglect in areas like sewerage, drains and waterways has seeped in.

    • Re: “2. Building low rise on the periphery of the city is constrained by Auckland Council’s artificial rural boundary. At the stroke of a pen by the Mayor we could remove the northern rural/urban boundary and build hundreds of thousands of houses on the low value agricultural land in Dairy Flat, Waitoki, Waimauku, Helensville, right up to Kaukapakapa.”

      Thats a flat out no, incorrect and often repeated misconception – likely spread by land bankers. There’s actually space for 137,000 dwellings within the existing RUB:

      https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2017/11/07/removing-rural-urban-boundary/

      And why the hell add more houses to Kumeu? It’s already massively over constrained in terms of transport links. Adding more dwellings will only make a shockingly congested road network even worse.

        • @Brigid, the North West rail track goes to Swanson not the CBD and has a tunnel on route to Swanson that would need to be rebuilt for modern trains.

          Also there is no train platform at Kumeu and commuters also need to be able to get to the train with virtually no public transport to get to the Kumeu train lines, aka bottlenecks everywhere to get to the train if they were to do a park and ride. Same problem with Devonport aka only one road fields all the traffic, so will always be constained for public transport there.

          The government aka taxpayers spent a fortune on the North Western motorway upgrade with maximum disruption to commuters and took years, but did not plan any public transport along it even though the government and council decided to build thousands of homes around Kumeu anyway and put a lot of SHA (but the ‘affordable housing’ sold for big $$$ and was not affordable). The government could have put in light rail to the CBD, but apparently NZTA stopped them doing it.

          Most of the new estates in Kumeu are spec housing mostly bought by migrant buyers who didn’t know any better about the lack of transport around Kumeu, or don’t need to commute because they are a satellite family not in work. See comment below, aka they are designed not to affordably house NZ workers but be investments for new migrants into NZ. And this is the SHA housing!!!!!

    • @ Andrew

      Property expert Joe Wilkes as he explores more of the new developments around Auckland
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIMM0Tbya3M&t=1261s

      Plenty of empty developments around Kumeu. We have plenty of houses we just don’t have the wages for the working poor to afford to buy or rent them.

      There is not a supply issue in NZ with housing, with 40%+ of people now on minimum wages and even that is being eroded, and higher wages under threat their wages are not keeping up with the cost of living in NZ…

      So developers have got the brilliant plan of making money via immigration, so migrants bring their money into NZ. Only BIG problem is, maths don’t work, we get $100k for a foreign student or another on $20 p/h but the migrant kids, Grandparents and spouse on benefits costs social welfare in NZ millions of dollars.

      • saveNZ it’s true what you say about low wages. This is the other half of the ‘New Zealand syndrome’. What Peter Jackson described as “A dollar short and a day late”

        NZ has the lowest productivity in the OECD and this is because there is minimal investment in capital plant here. Australians don’t work harder but are more productive and so earn more because for every worker there is more more money invested plant and machinery.

        So the core issue that needs addressing is the lack of capital investment here and that’s a complicated story covering our tax regime, the small size of the NZX and an oppressive and time wasting RMA. (Would you invest in a process plant here if the decision was to be held up 7 years in RMA hearings or by some clowns chaining themselves to a tree?) We need to learn to be capital friendly.

        The result is that in most cases NZ sells it’s products in the lowest value form. Our timber is the crappiest wood in existence and exported as logs. Most of our milk is turned into spray dried powder and sold in bulk. You get the picture.

        • @Andrew, Agree with everything you say Andrew about what is wrong with NZ productivity, low wages, low investment in plant (why invest in technology when you can hire ‘slaves’ in NZ (aka necessary migrants) to do the work for you).

          But RMA is not working because it allows too much pollution, and does not target better projects, it just consents all blindly. Pike River, CTV building, bad developments, long Bay, Kumeu … lists goes on

          • Also Andrew we used to have plenty of consented ‘plant’ aka sawmills but they have been decommissioned and sold off due to NZ’s rogernomic mentality of low cost outsourced labour, clip the foreign buyer ticket, and let foreign conglomerates do globalism extreme, aka buy our forests and run our industry (often for tax breaks) for their own interests, rather than profits to NZ.

  10. You came close to the Real answer in this piece Chris.Perhaps if NZ matched the wages of Australia or the USA in Construction. And there’s the rub. Plenty of Aussie based kiwis would return home if they could earn a realistic wage. Always been the issue in neo- liberal NZ. shit wages and unsafe working conditions. I dispute your theory on safety grounds. The Chinese are corrupt. No I am not xenophobic I am stating a fact. If the Chinese workforce were to be supervised properly and their work closely inspected to meet the building code then yes I would agree you have a solution. But the chances of that happening are diddly squat. Bribery is the norm when doing business in Asia and safety and building codes simply do not exist. The Christchurch rebuild is littered with unsafe dysfunctional leaking buildings by the way so time to look a little closer at what is really happening in NZ’s construction industry and time to remove all restrictions on self build and rewrite the building code. It is an unworkable farce!

    • Some good thoughts there, Shona. Was there not an issue with substandard steel from China being used for weight bearing buildings and/or bridges a little while back in NZ? And we all know about the leaky homes fiasco and the millions lost because of it – and the real reason it happened,- neo liberal fee market deregulation.

      —————————

      Perhaps if NZ matched the wages of Australia or the USA in Construction. And there’s the rub. Plenty of Aussie based kiwis would return home if they could earn a realistic wage.

      —————————

      And last but not least , – THIS ^^^^

      But the neo liberals didn’t seem to like the idea of paying realistic and honest wages so good old Ruthy Richy came to the rescue and drew up the Employment Contracts Act 1991 to make sure our workforce was gutted and then left for the Kangaroo country,- which then meant our wonderful neo liberal societal planners could then get on with the sensible idea of pissing down on the rest of us while importing cheap labour from traditionally non unionized country’s after ordering another gin and tonic from the balcony’s of their hotel in the Bahamas.

      Mighty smart folks, them there neo liberal types.

  11. It makes me smile ruefully when we on the left consider something to be a huge problem that needs to be addressed and no one else even registers the issue. And I mean the issue of housing the poor not getting middle class 20 somethings onto the property ladder. When 60% of your population are property owners and a good portion of them are landlords electoral math dictates who the government will take care of. The idea that you’d increase housing supply and remove one of the biggest drivers of middle class wealth in the countries history is ludicrous. Economically the housing shortage is a huge goose laying golden eggs all over country. A goose we collectively fatten with 2 billion in rental subsidies every year to ensure above market rent is delivered to landlords. No politician is going near that goose not until home ownership rates fall well below 50%. Housing problem? Only for some.

  12. Your answer is to bring in chinese slave labour. No doubt a condition of the deal will be our silence on Hong Kong and to cut ties with Taiwan.
    No thank you.

  13. I had another thought on this, Chris.

    We could solve the housing crisis more or less overnight without building anything.

    When I left Auckland many years ago there were thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of multi-bedroom mansions (many with Greek temple facades) largely unoccupied because the [mostly Asian] owners lived overseas and used the mansions as a foot in the door should things turn bad overseas, or as dumping places for semi-abandoned wives. Presumably the number of semi-uninhabited mansions has increased in recent years.

    A tax on such properties would encourage better utilisation of what housing stock we have.

    Also, there are thousands of hotels and motels which will NEVER be utilised as overnight accommodation (despite the wet dreams of people in the remnant of the tourism sector). Nationalism them and convert them into cheap rental accommodation for the poor.

    The reason we have a housing crisis is because there is no political will to solve it, and a shortage of housing keeps rents high -in line with neoliberal thinking.

    It’s much the same with every other crisis we are now facing. Even if there is no solution as such to them, we could stop making matters worse. But there is no political will to even do that.

    • Well said the whole post makes such sense and it is simple so you can guarantee it will not be taken up .
      Where are the committees the endless enquiries headed by old mates from the retired politician poll the reports that then get ignored.
      I read somewhere there are 80 thousand unoccupied houses in Auckland. In Christchurch we have 3 in our street vacant for over a year .

  14. Long live Milton Friedman eh – supply side all the way

    constant focus on increasing supply – where is the focus or discussion around demand?
    what is being demanded? by whom? and for what?

    third rate s***boxes, from slave wage economies is not an answer. Resurrecting 1950’s planning schemes are not an answer. We already have plenty in our country, we just won’t share it around.

  15. Chris:
    > Their problem, however, is not being able to come up with any viable suggestions of their own.

    Rather than invite the Chinese to start turning Aotearoa into another Hong Kong, we could:
    – put an immediate moratorium on the demolition of liveable housing

    – respect basic squatting rights, so landlord’s have to renovate their houses to meet the housing WOF to get rental income

    – get rid of the anti-freedom camping restrictions that make it hard to live in a mobile home from, so those who enjoy that lifestyle can free up housing for others who don’t

    – free up disused empty sections in and near towns and cities for tiny house communities, temporary or where possible permanent

    – fund tiny house construction schemes in each community with a housing shortage, so people can design and build their own homes, with oversight from tradespeople

    – identify lonely boomers living in family size homes and match them up with compatible young families or single people who can pay rent and keep them company.

    – create financial or regulatory incentives for the construction industry to build more affordable housing, and fewer McMansions, hotels, parking buildings and roads.

    That’s just off the top of my head. We need the Belt and Road treatment like we need a hole in the head.

  16. You are on the case, Chris. I presume the elegantly written Austenesque essay in today’s O.D.T. is appearing elsewhere around the country: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Labour Government in possession of a good majority, must be in want of the will to behave like one”.

    You quote the All Things Bright and Beautiful verse:
    “The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate”
    Well, at least that poor man had a gate. For modestly paid millennials, for whom a “gate” might come with a price of half a mill or more, a gate is out of the question.

    Hmmm. Not sure about your Chinese plan, though. Well, maybe; I’m no expert. But I reckon we should stop all immigration except for absolutely key people; and put any refugee acceptances on hold indefinitely. We can’t even house our own! –> https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/woes-worsen-list-grows

    Locally, there’s the question of housing the (possibly foreign) workers who will build the new hospital. How about the Deep Cove solution: park a cruise ship in the harbour?

  17. The key issue that the government has to face is the repealing and replacement of the RMA. It’s got to happen if we’re to build houses in the quantities needed. She promised to do it before the election and National has a draft version ready to go, so if she was smart she’d organize a cross party deal so that Labour didn’t face the political fallout alone.

    Unfortunately a clause in the existing legislation that has to go is the “according to the principles of the Treaty” part that has allowed iwi lawyers to use stand-over tactics against development in the last 25 years. But removing that would cause a revolt in her rather brown caucus.

    Worse than the housing crisis, failure to act on this issue will result in a rental nightmare. Nearly all the renters being sold at the moment are being bought by owner/occupiers. So the rental supply is evaporating fast – giving her a major barrier to re-election in three years time.

    “Being kind” won’t cut it next time around !

    • 99% of all houses built are consented through RMA – it needs to be tightened not loosened. Natz bought in supercity, undemocratically got rid of zoning, build a shit load of McMansions, but nobody can afford the McMansions on NZ wages!

      The problem is not supply – it is affordability for the growing income less people flocking to NZ and those already here and lost their fake jobs, that is the issue.

  18. You can’t cry low wages (which we suffer from) and Chinese’s labour at the same time.
    We already have mass dilution of kiwi wages by low skilled labour immigration, let’s make it worse, worsening the poverty cycle that caused the homelessness in the first place!
    Also yes you would be building future slum housing, look a5 the UK
    There is no quick fix, we need an economy that delivers prosperity for workers over shareholders to prevent poverty and homelessness, not build barns to stick them in.
    Also tax the shit out of property speculators.

    1) Stop unskilled labour immigration so
    2) Kiwi companies invest in kiwi labour apprenticeships and upskilling
    4) Employment law with penal rates firmly in employee favour to generate liveable income
    5) Decentralise Wellington and Auckland business and government departments to The “provinces”

    There is an entire country with spare houses outside the Auckland Wellington echo chamber that isn’t stuck in traffic and hogging infrastructure spending to stand still.

    • Keepcalmcarryon “we need an economy that delivers prosperity for workers over shareholders to prevent poverty and homelessness…”

      If you prioritize workers over shareholders you will get even poorer because a key weakness of the NZ economy is lack on fixed capital investment. It is the reason we have the lowest productivity in the OECD already – don’t make it worse. We need shareholders to invest!

      • The system as it stands says we have to encourage “investment” and make profits for shareholders by screwing workers down to the least we can pay them- dairy farm workers, fishermen, fruit pickers look how industry breaks the rules to bring in overseas slave Labour to go ever lower with wages.

        As far as investment, how well did investment work for the workers or consumers when the power companies were privatized?
        The national interest when silver fern farms sold to the Chinese?
        Westland milk selling to Chinese?

        The current system only works for those with money to get further and further ahead, it clearly needs a rejig.
        Labour laws are part of that.

        So is a basic understanding of what a free market is.
        A true “free market” has never meant a market free from regulation. It means a market regulated to allow entry of competitors evenly, monopoly or oligopoly is the antithesis of this as it skews the market.
        Whether that market is wages, groceries, building products , look at the shit show NZ has become with duopoly or monopoly behavior (what all corporates must strive for) rorting us everywhere.

        Both workers and consumers have suffered because of Milton Friedman’s corporate backed basic lies over what makes a free market.

        You are right that in the current model we must encourage investment, but the current model is what makes the 1% get even richer and the workers poor and homeless.
        There are many regulations that could be brought in to help, without pulling the whole system down.

        • …’ A true “free market” has never meant a market free from regulation. It means a market regulated to allow entry of competitors evenly, monopoly or oligopoly is the antithesis of this as it skews the market’…

          ———————

          Interesting post, Keepcalmcarryon, and thank you for that.

  19. Homelessness etc are a bi-product of a lack of imagination I reckon.
    Our politicians are a miserably dull lot who clearly have no imagination. All they know are the basic triggers sent to their hypocampus by their idiot amydigdala.
    Amyigdala says ” Shit!” They go “Ok” Now, pee, scratch your arse, pick you nose, watch the tele, buy the frock and now the shoes, eat vegetables the poor can’t afford now be mindlessly cruel for fun because it makes you feel tall, handsome/beautiful eurodite cool classy and immortal. Just like the Amazing Mr Trump.

    • We ended homelessness with Covid. Government put the homeless in hotels. After Covid the Government changed the policy for the hotels to be full of quarantined workers like the Russian Fishers and soon to be international students who are competing with the NZ citizens who can’t get back.

  20. Very creative proposal, Chris Trotter. I like it.

    Certainly, PR China has all the resources for efficient and professional construction works.

    https://www.enr.com/toplists/2017-Top-Chinese-Contractors

    In different countries I have seen some of those operating – quite impressive, indeed.

    They may have some shortcomings on the participatory and the environmental side, though. But they certainly are fast, talented and eager learners…

    If one aims for a quick impact, your suggestion is a promising way to go,

    The project could well be combined with a number of ideas and thoughts sketched out by some of the commentators.

    Such project would need

    – political vision
    – political – technical management skill
    – technical skills in all implementation support services
    – cross-sectoral monitoring capacity

    Does AONZ have sufficient of these?

  21. Well I have two nephews building hundreds of flats in Auckland , after starting off in Hamilton with their Ma. One is focusing on studio apartments catering mostly for singles and pre family couples, and the government when last I heard was wanting to buy everything from completed developments to those in the planing stage only. So I think the government might have acquired more housing than is generally understood.
    The other is into more up market 3 and 4 bedroom apartments some with an appeal to comfortably off tenants and owner occupiers. Most of these latter are being purchased by investors who will never live in them and will not let them. They are an investment like bitcoin or gold, or shares or futures. The potential “unearned increment of association” or speculative profit is what is mostly driving the market , to these people tenants are akin to an infestation of rats in a house you can’t be close enough to to look after.
    Someone a couple of days ago said that there are at least 40 000 such empty investment houses in Auckland.Just twice the number of people looking for housing as identified by Chris in his opening remarks. Pricking the price escalation bubble is what would be most effective. Once the self generating promise of profit from an investment is dashed then renting becomes attractive and necessary, or sale to someone why is happy to be a landlord.
    To solve the problem quickly the government should buy up any and all unoccupied housing that comes on the market and tenant it.As well as building their own with local labour. Diverting some of that workforce from building private flats and houses for investors that will not be occupied in the foreseeable future ,into building for the government .

  22. “To make any impression on this problem it will be necessary to import workers from abroad. “
    No thanks we will end up like Switzerland, immigrants building houses and infrastructure for immigrants. In Switzerland it’s become a viscious cycle and the country is totally over populated and compromised aesthetically and culturally now.
    Afewknowthetruth: “there are thousands of hotels and motels which will NEVER be utilised as overnight accommodation” Yes a commonsense approach and if tourists need these again once day we can build new motels for them.
    Danyl Strype : “identify lonely boomers living in family size homes and match them up with compatible young families or single people who can pay rent and keep them company.”
    Not for this lonely boomer thanks ! I like my space. But I do have a unit that I can no longer rent as the council kept lifting “compliance” requirements.

  23. I spent more than ten years living and working in China. I passed by Chinese construction sites on my way to work everyday. My Chinese wife and I bought an apartment that we still have.
    Builders deciding to put a window in a brick wall after it had been completed. So get a sledge hammer and smash holes for windows in the completed wall( cracks spreading out from smashed holes). Constant use of substandard materials( bricks I could break in my hand,warped timber that had not been properly seasoned, exposed wiring). Foreman and managers supervising their casual labour by beating them with pick handles. Central heating that sprayed hot water from leaks everywhere as soon as it was turned on(it turned out the blokes who installed it knew nothing about plumbing-but needed the job so they said they did)
    The thieves who broke into my and other apartments using their knowledge of how locks worked. When police caught them it turned out they were construction workers owed three months wages by their employer( who had done a runner). The poor bastards were stealing for food and to get back to the rural areas they came from.
    I could go on for hours but ,for sure, we do not need this here and the asbestos in trains debacle shows we cannot successfully get Chinese firms to comply with our laws. We have a population of five million now so why can we not build as many houses as when we had less than three million? For that matter why can the people not renting houses now just be allowed to own them? After all that is what Mao Ze Dong did when he killed landlords and redistributed land to tenant farmers. I believe he also took over all the foreign firms in China and nationalised them without compensation to owners.
    Surely that would put us on good terms with the Chinese Communist Party?

    • Right now as I drive all over Auckland I see lots of multi-unit two and three-storey apartments and townhouses being built on our suburban street corners. Many of these by Chinese developers and workers.

      May be millennials and empty nesters will like these but most kiwi families with kids will continue to seek a lifestyle which includes a back yard.

    • +1 Stevie, construction in NZ is a scam and full of scam labour and poor quality work and liquidations. Fix that, don’t add more fire to it.

  24. Race to the bottom for labour around the world. NZ can’t compete unless we adopt the same forced labour and free labour measures in NZ. Many including unions and the left seem to have joined forces with the right wingers to support the countries and Nationals championing and exporting forced labour.

    UK sourced PPE from factories secretly using North Korean slave labour
    Exclusive: Guardian investigation finds evidence that Chinese PPE factories supplying UK government are breaking UN sanctions

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/nov/20/uk-sourced-ppe-from-factories-secretly-using-north-korean-slave-labour

    Christmas card ‘cry for help’: in the Chinese prison at the centre of forced labour claims

    Message allegedly came from Shanghai Qingpu prison, which holds 170 foreign male inmates

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/23/inside-chinese-qingpu-prison-forced-labour-claims-tesco-christmas-card

    • SaveNZ: I wouldn’t take the word of anything you see in the Guardian.

      Ever since its offices were raided by the security services at the time of the wiki leaks furore in the late noughties, it’s been an obedient publisher of Sino- and Russophobia for the UK government.

      If we as a polity wish China to stay out of NZ’s domestic affairs, our polity ought to refrain from criticising China’s domestic affairs. What happens there is none of our business, even were it the case that we were privy to verifiable information. China is a sovereign state, just as NZ is supposed to be. We wish to trade with China: let’s just do that.

      If China has the resources to help with our housing shortage, so much the better. The government can and should dictate what it requires; it’s up to China to indicate whether it can meet those requirements.

      The UK has a bloody cheek, banging on about Hong Kong and democracy. Ditto the US: well, they’d know all about democracy in various parts of the world, wouldn’t they!

      The UK stole that territory from China in the first place, and ran it as a colony, right up until handover to the PRC. It was never a democracy while the Brits ruled it.

      Note that Macau was a Portuguese possession, until it was handed back to the PRC in the late 90s. Remind me: when was the last time we heard about agitation for democracy from there? That’s right: never. That’s because the Portuguese packed up and left at handover. They didn’t hang around trying to make trouble, as have the UK and the US with regard to Hong Kong.

  25. Talk to any building inspector in Auckland and they ALL mention the nightmare of visiting worksites with mainly Chinese workforce about non-compliant work. Also, corruption of NZ_ Chinese Engineers signing off dodgy work.

  26. …..every China-hating xenophobe and red-baiter will throw up their hands in horror at such an out-there suggestion. Their problem, however, is not being able to come up with any viable suggestions of their own.”
    Chis Trotter

    Not being an anti-China xenophobe or red-baiter. I have a viable suggestion.

    Let’s reject partisan communist and capitalist propaganda.

    Let’s concentrate on the facts instead.

    Fact: There is no housing shortage

    I repeat there is no shortage of housing.

    Ignore for a moment the self serving propaganda of the developers, the land grabbers, the capital gains speculators, the greedy capitalist, (and the oppressive communist), exploiters of migrant labour.

    And admit the fact that there are, according to the last census, 39,393, perfectly livable empty houses just in Auckland alone. Enough to satisfy the whole country’s housing needs. We don’t need to build anymore.

    Want to cool the overheated New Zealand housing market?

    Want to house the homeless?

    Let’s make it illegal, (except in emergency circumstances), to allow any livable house, or apartment to remain untenanted, or unsold, for more than 6 months on pain of punitive fines.

    Vancouver did it. We can too.

    Vacant homes in Vancouver continue to dwindle due to empty homes tax: mayor
    By Sean Boynton Global News
    Posted February 7, 2020 9:48 pm

    https://globalnews.ca/news/6523554/empty-homes-tax-results-2019/

  27. Think it is bad now with unsold Kiwi build houses and the taxpayer having to underwrite the developers losses?

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/08/kiwibuild-tweaked-to-allow-up-to-a-quarter-of-unsold-homes-into-the-open-market.html

    Think we have problems with unsold Kiwi build houses now?

    Prepare for it to get worse, much worse.

    A warning from Malaysia regarding the dangers of bringing in Chinese migrant workers during a speculative housing  market.

    Chinese Property Projects in Southern Johor: Should We Be Concerned?
    By Ong Kian Ming (Head, Penang Institute in KL)[1]  |  Posted on23 August 2017

    Chinese investments in Southern Johor have split the property development into a high-end market with excess supply targeted at foreigners as buyers, and a lower-tier market driven by local developers targeting mostly local buyers

    Most units in the gigantic projects remain unsold. There are important local implications if this is to continue. Beijing’s recent crackdown on capital outflows has raised questions as to whether Forest City, for example, will turn into a ‘ghost city’
    Huge numbers of unsold units and of absentee owners will make the collection of maintenance fees a difficult problem which will seriously affect the upkeep of public amenities and private-owned facilities
    Furthermore, the import of Chinese workers to carry out construction work eats into job opportunities for locals, including the skilled workforce. These foreign workers are also susceptible to being cheated by unscrupulous agent

    https://penanginstitute.org/publications/issues/1003-chinese-property-projects-in-southern-johor-should-we-be-concerned/

    • NZ is following London’s folly with foreign ‘gold bricks’ investments driving up prices of luxury development but nobody lives there. In NZ you just need to buy a degree and everybody in your family can come to NZ too and be a NZ resident. It’s such a safe place to park the satellite family.

      “I wrote yesterday how the new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had spoken-out about foreign investors using homes in London as “gold bricks for investment” following an investigation which found that the UK’s tallest residential skyscraper is now more than 60% foreign-owned and is under-occupied.”

      https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/05/more-backlash-from-londons-empty-towers/

      That was London 2016, Brexit followed – allowing unfair luxury development and speculation is not good for anyone.

      Other countries have a foreign buyer stamp duty, but NZ likes to ensure that slave wage locals have to pay the same taxes as those who come into NZ with billions of dollars and no income, as we don’t like to discriminate against foreign money (sarcasm) – it’s so much easier to put taxes up to the local middle class doctors and teachers, and make ratepayers pay for water while giving it away to foreign business, as we are so ‘business friendly’ here.

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