Sometimes when I write a post someone will say I raise the problem but don’t address the solution(s).
Partly that’s because Facebook posts have to be short and I write to provoke the discussion.
Partly it’s because the solution(s) take more explanation than can be contained in a post and I offer them in other places.
Five years ago, for example, I made a documentary on Housing – especially the cost of it – because it was (and remains) one of our biggest problems and one to which many other issues such as child health and education are inextricably tied.
It was called “Who Owns New Zealand Now?” and in it I tried not only to show the effect of foreign capital on our housing market, but unpack our obsession with the home ownership model when, internationally, there are several tried and tested ways of giving families cost effective security of tenure.
I also argued that we should widen our thinking not only on where we live but how we live and gave examples from Germany and Italy of other housing models .
While there has been some curbing of foreign capital buying up our housing ( foreigners can still own new apartments for example) local speculators have largely taken over from them with the result that it is more difficult than ever for folk to have a place to call home.
It doesn’t take much brain power to figure out that if you can make a lot more money buying property than you can in the bank or other investments and capital gains brightline or no you still make a good buck investing in property, then house prices are going to continue go up.
The answer, I think, is direct government intervention in the marketplace as we had in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s something all governments since the introduction of neoliberal economics ( by Labour in 1984 and put on steroids by National ) have been loathed to do because of their mantra that ‘ business knows best’ and if it support the well off then wealth will trickle down to the poor.
Well, that’s a crock. It doesn’t.