GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – New Zealanders gave a mandate to Labour to be transformative.

Four years ago I made a documentary about what was causing the housing crisis and one of the conclusions I reached was that we maybe asking the wrong question .
Instead of “How can everyone get to own a property?” perhaps we should be asking the question… “How can we give everyone security of tenure over a warm, dry , healthy and affordable place to live?”
Once you rephrase the issue that way, then all sorts of options open up- from state housing and long term leasing to groups of people getting together to take out a joint mortgage on a purpose designed complex.
We are obsessed with the home ownership model because those of us who have somehow manage to get on the property ladder have the privilege of living inside our investment as it accrues far more interest each year than you can possibly get by saving your money in the bank.
If the current Labour government continue to do nothing to halt the rise in property values by pulling some of the tax levers available to them and ignore the wide variety of alternative measures that would give people security of tenure, then the gap between the rich and the poor will continue to grow with all the incumbent health, crime and social problems thhat brings.
New Zealanders gave a mandate to Labour to be transformative.
In the housing area it seems to me to be business as usual for the haves and more misery ahead for the have- nots.
If you want to watch Who Owns NZ Now? You can find it here


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. You have done some excellent work, Bryan but you seem stuck in a tramline at the moment.

    ‘New Zealanders gave a mandate to Labour to be transformative.’

    That point was answered several weeks ago by another commenter (sorry, can’t remember who; mosa maybe).

    Those who voted did not give Labour a mandate to be transformative: they gave Labour a mandate for business-as-usual, with above-average virus protection.

    The majority Labour now has in parliament gives it the OPPORTUNITY to be transformative. But the core of the Labour hierarchy doesn’t want transformation; it wants slight tweaking of business-as-usual, plus continuation of scams and Ponzi schemes, facilitated by policies that make everything that matters worse.

    To expect an acolyte of Tony B Liar to do anything other than focus on personal image and PR is to be naive and unrealistic.

    If you want some good news, the entire edifice of neoliberlism is crumbling as I write, with America leading the pack in counterproductive policies that ensure rapid collapse (as has been the case for a long time). What we are witnessing is the ‘fiddle as Rome burns phase’, with the so-called ‘elites’ (scumbags, actually) babbling on (just as Shonkey did)

    The upward creep of interest rates on bonds is a clear indicator all is not well in the House of Cards.

    ‘The UST 10yr yield is up +1 bp at 1.35% today from yesterday and near a new yearly high although it did reach 1.39% within the past 24 hours. Their 2-10 rate curve is a little steeper at 124 bps and holding high. Their 1-5 curve is also steeper at +53 bps, while their 3m-10 year curve is steeper as well at +133 bps. The Australian Govt 10 year yield is up a sharp +13 bps at 1.63%. The China Govt 10 year yield is softer by -1 bp at 3.29%, but the New Zealand Govt 10 year yield is also up +13 bps at just on 1.65%.’

    • Yep well they did in the sense that Labour promised to be kind and transformational, and the plebs swallowed.
      It’s possible there’s another election cycle they’ll swallow, but not much further.
      The gNats weren’t quite as good at the spin and PR, and pretty much every botty was ready for change (and even hopey hopey sorts of stuff).
      I reckon Neo Labour are on a hiding to nothing – in this space of course, and possibly inching another election cycle (going forward – even though I’m not sure what the fuck else we’d be doing in this time and place other than watching its rivers polluted, its yoof and various minorities being further disenfranchised, and its masters-of-the-unverse’s ego’s growing even larger ).
      I prefer Rhubarb. It can be used in a number of dishes – not just the humble pudding.

      • Gosh, I must have missed the ‘transformation’ bit.

        All I saw on the hoardings was “Let’s keep moving”. The important words [in the wrong direction’ were missing from the hoardings for some reason. The spin doctors -whoops, advertising agency must have though the full slogan would have been too long and given the wrong impression.

        Anyway, we sure are moving in the completely the wrong direction, maintaining a multi-decade-long tradition, but arguably at a faster pace than ever achieved before now. There’s progress for you.

        Emissions up. Debt up. Homelessness up. Child poverty up. General pollution levels up. Tooth decay up. House prices up. Unaffordability up….

        Maths and science achievement down. Energy reserves down. Area of cultivable land down. Security down. Sustainability down….. to name but a few.

  2. Actually it was more a case of National’s leadership meltdown, obnoxious Greens identity politics, and doing a good job with Covid. It had very little to do with Labour policy or public expectation – there were no other viable alternatives.

  3. As we learnt in the first 3 years @bryan, Don’t hold your breath.
    There will be a number of dead trad Labour politicians rolling in their graves – David Lange included probably.

    Every day I hear of more instances of how committed this gummint is to the cult of neo-liberalism and all that goes with it. The comms and marketing, the language, the various cost accounting methodologies, the PR and spin merchandising, the lionising of the master/mistress-of-the-Universe administrators and there enterage of peons trained in hero worship (because they’re aspirational hoping to climb the ladder that their masters will pull up if ever they’re threatened) – all necessary to try to convince us that things do, or will eventually trickle down, and it’s so much more ‘efficient and effective’ than things were before a few ideologically-driven disciples grabbed the pendulum and pushed it to the right.

    I think that (i.e. my reckons are) Labour are in for a rude shock come ’26, IF NOT ’23. And they will have deserved it

  4. The public essentially wants Labour to do nothing but try and make things a little better. AKA much more support once they voted out CGT and pledged to lower immigration.

    NZ history shows governments who do big transformations like ‘Think Big’, Rogernomics and Mass Immigration/foreign sell offs of NZ under Natz, generally ends in the party being benched for a few terms and going down in history as being hated.

    Yep Labour could do a lot more, but they are popular because they hardly do anything but stop the worst excesses of ideology.

  5. “How can we give everyone security of tenure over a warm, dry , healthy and affordable place to live?”

    I’m assuming we’ve ruled out calling up Jacinda and her agreeing to change everything since she’s Queen of NZ and the Distantly Oppressed. And we’ve ruled out landlords waking up tomorrow with an altruistic outlook; and we’ve ruled out enforced cultural change, or an unforeseen disaster changing our world view; and we’ve ruled out pakeha waiting and following the example of maori organisations in an effort to learn about generating cultural change within the collective e.g. their engagement of Tamariki Oranga and Waipareira Trust’s activities over the past year. I would suggest calling Jacinda first and just straight up asking. At worst it’d be a cool story to retell.

    The problem with the joint mortage and commune options is the environment where people get their money isn’t stable. If you’re the kind to not have enough money to cover moving costs every year, you don’t have enough to weather our conditions as part of a collective. I see there’s an organisation in Auckland customising donated curtains for homes as a source of insulation. If that is where we are at, courageous as it is, non action from government should be considered a crime.

    If we use the evidence that there is a sizeable shift in public tolerance for poverty and it’s justifications, as stated by AAAP recently, then there may be some room to find an existing MP who can use that. It gets tricky from here, and unless we were that person the details on how to do it are unknown. The “easy” answer would be to cap rents, and have an overseeing body where potential landlords and houses would have to be interviewed for suitability and ability to supply long term accommodation, and they wouldn’t be allowed to evict anyone for anything without an investigation, or evict people without a place for them to go to. The problem with that is it potentially infringes too many current beliefs, unless costs were underwritten and guarantees given by the State. The temporary economic hiccup it would cause would also result in parliamentary squabbles – though NZ’s been through worse. How fast do you want it? The Maori Party are headed that way, but you’ll have to wait a while. Labour have indicated they won’t do it by making it initially cheaper to get into a corrupted game. Their rent-to-buy idea seems to have died, and even then it requires a relationship between landlord and tennant that recent changes suggest doesn’t exist. Only National are left with any immediate clout*. Who was the National Party MP complaining about Labour’s lack of action on unemployment last week? Might be an unbelievable anomaly like that. Someone else on the blog here suggested National rebuild themselves as a socialist party. The question is whether they love monopoly, free state money, and power, more than they hate poor people. It also places our brains back in time to somewhere between 1860 and 1960, but the problem is being restricted to working inside our economic and cultural parameters. Doesn’t seem like it could be done without noise.

    *Warning: Voting National is dangerous to your health. Side effects may include breathing difficulties, poor teeth, hunger, confusion, panic, hopelessness, unemployment and homelessness.

  6. I guess you also have to ask yourself when fewer people own homes in NZ and the pension which is being badly misused and given away to foreign pensioners by our government and supported by the woke who don’t like to talk about it, is gone. What will people live on in retirement once they don’t have a house? is it bring back the workhouse like the Natz want, but maybe a bit warmer and dryer under Labour Woke?

    We already have Labour and Greens in charge deciding that a ‘warm, dry’ motel room run by overseas business interests like Compass, or renters in facilities where kitchens are bathrooms are shared and bullied, or students bodies lying dead undiscovered in university halls is a better alternative that what we had before. Even thought it also seems to be costing mega bucks to renters and the state, of which the profits go offshore.

    The woke seem to be so distracted by blaming the homeowners and the culture of envy, that they fail to notice the bake n switch of renter living standards ain’t what it’s cracked up to be! Do you really feel a room with shared facilities and being bullied is better to a 3 bedroom villa in Grey Lynn with a garden?

    Those in community housing or state housing are last to get the healthy homes, but surely that was who they were for aka the most vulnerable in our communities???? Nope, it’s actually the Chloe’s and Marama’s, egged on by the lefties who don’t know any better but often on six figure salaries but still renting driving the folly.

    The government can put in more policy in to get rid of more traditional landlords, but first work out how to pay for the growing pension issues and thousands of business costs on renting, that keep increasing by our Thatcherist, globalist led, neoliberal led, renting solutions.

  7. Grant Robertson’s ego is growing daily. Just watched his smugness in parliament. Yuck. I suspect he is one of the landed gentry making big money from this leech fest housing market. Time for young kiwis to up sticks and leave these Dickensian elites to it. Don’t let them feed off your hard work for eternity.

  8. I came here in 1973 and soon was asked when are you getting a house . Coming from the UK working class people did not strive to own a home and I saw many people here who were working 2 jobs and to get their own home because not to have one was a sign of failure. Even with the high prices it is still an aim of many to own a home and I fear a small increase in interest rates or a drop in house value will lead many exposed. A secure rental would fealty be better for many especially as in todays job market being flexible where you live could be important.

  9. What is your problem??? Labour is transformative!!! They are proud to announce that they have housed 12 families since 2019 in their grand ‘post kiwibuild’ home ownership scheme. Is that not transformative?
    Seriously, the saddest thing about this is that Megan Woods says she is proud about this. That is sick. Labour’s achievement standards are so low, is fucking staggering. And still, the masses clap and bow before the Saint, when they should really consider tar and feathers.

  10. I find it amusing that one of the key arguments for the ending of democratic socialism and the introduction of neo-liberal economics at the end of the 1970s was ‘unchecked wage inflation’. Something that benefited the majority of western workers.

    That problem was solved by instead inflating the assets of an ever shrinking minority. That scam has been hidden by keeping asset inflation out of the official government figures of every western democracy. We’re told inflation is less than 2% when in reality it’s closer to ten times that.

    We’re conned into thinking things are better because ‘shiny stuff’ is getting cheaper, but none of it is an asset. Phones, computers, and cars now wear out and need replacing every 2 to 5 years, while real assets like land, company shares and education continue to inflate out of reach.


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