Have the Greens become the new Fascists?

Actual Green Party Caucus Meeting

The Greens and others are punching down onto local communities and local democracy by allowing private developers to build large housing complexes in residential areas without allowing input from local communities. Shading, congestion, loss of trees, privacy, and green space will result. Ugly urban sprawl is being pushed into residential areas rather than intensification in central areas where people want to live. This permission to bully build subverts traditional Green party values of supporting local democracy and being community focused. “Grassroots democracy’ is listed as one of the Greens organisational pillars.

What am I talking about? For Wellington there is a stated intent to build a light rail out to Island Bay and promote building housing up to 6 stories along the route right to the coast; and nobody will be able to challenge these developments even if it takes away your sun, and privacy. All the while the centre of town, e.g. Te Aro, Adelaide road – is underutilised with asphelt car parks and low rise semi industrial or retail.

This bully building is justified using the affordable housing crisis! It’s argued government can’t build all the houses so we have to work alongside the private sector to create housing supply and that will fix the affordable housing problem, with light rail removing the congestion issues from densification.

And there is the rub. None of this defence is true. And the entire strategy of working alongside private developers is driving prices up, not down. There may be new housing supply but it won’t be affordable. How so?

Reliance on private enterprise and the market

Since 1984 New Zealand has had a philosophy of reliance on the private sector for building housing. What we got was the current affordable housing crisis. Why? Because they have to maximise profit to survive. They look at what they can push the price to rather than what is a ‘reasonable’ profit over productions costs. For example, in the 80’s quality building regulations were accused of driving up costs and therefore house prices, so regulations were lightened and alternative building practises allowed. But prices for housing did not drop. The developers just pocketed the difference of high sale price to the lower costs, and purchasers got the leaky building crisis. That cost our economy billions, never mind the heartaches and tears.

So private enterprise has a proven track record of building but not for the ‘affordable housing’ market. They build for the more profitable business models:

• Short term rentals e.g. AIRBNB for our tourism boom. Surely we can push tourism into more controlled high end visits?

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com
  • Holiday homes (2nd homes usually) with high rental prices so not too much renting happens.
  • The new ‘build to rent’ market, because house prices are too high but as they earn well, they can pay high rents, (good profits). This ‘build to rent’ model will be a parasite sucking disposable income away from other sectors of the New Zealand economy, especially as shares are sold to overseas investors.
  • The independent longer term rental investor – using housing as a superannuation scheme (well everything else fails – building societies, term deposits, sharemarkets, bitcoin, Nigerian princes, etc). Housing is safe. Good entrepreneurs minimising risk, and all so logical and sensible on the individual scale, but not for our collective housing crisis They can also pay high prices for houses as they leverage.
  • Higher end purchasers.Co-operation with bully building developers will encourage building in all these markets. Profit maximisation means building for these more lucrative markets rather than for ‘affordable housing’.But wait there’s more!

    By opening the opportnuity to bully build the Greens are helping to create excessive demand for building materials and workers creating shortages that drives up the build price of affordable housing. And with resources directed to other housing markets it slows the building of affordable housing when the crisis in that market. By supporting bully building the Greens are helping feed the affordabe housing crisis rather than fixing it.


With the economic down turn there should be more developers available for government to contract with to build affordable housing. Contracts based on costs to build rather than profit maximisation.


It is NOT strong leadership to punch down on local democracy; those trying to preserve their cities greenery, architecture, spatial sense, and overall liveability of a city. However, proper urban planing requiring central areas, (like Te Aro for which you don’t need expensive light rail), to have lots of mid rise housing is feasible, but you have to punch up.

Stopping the bully building legislation will be the best step to fix the housing affordability crisis. It will free up resources from the private sector so that it can be redirected to building affordable housing under government contracts.

Stephen Minto lives in Wellington with his two children. He is a political writer and commentator. 


  1. “Since 1984 New Zealand has had a philosophy of reliance on the private sector for building housing. What we got was the current affordable housing crisis.“


    The current shortage of housing stock and high prices is purely a result of limited supply of land zoned for housing. Look no further than local government and their burgeoning bureaucracies.

    The perfect counter example is Christchurch after the earthquake. Having lost a third of its housing, property prices stabilised because the government of the day pushed aside ECAN, took control of consents and approved large tracts of land for development.

    • look at the history of ‘die grunen’ origins in late 60s early 70s in germany…later they were thankfully taken over by the anti nuke wing but the original founders were an unsavory group.

      every time I hear some green going ‘we’re going to eradicate this pest’ pest being and arbitrary and pejorative classification like weed/plant, all I see is nazi schoolbooks comparing jews to rats…sorry but that’s the image that springs to mind when anyone uses ‘exterminationist’ language.

      not that environmentalism is a bad thing indeed it’s a very very good thing and the german greens did redeem themselves. the problem is our greens are a middle class pressure group longing to get their feet under the table for their own personal careers and profits…there is a difference between an activist and a politician.

    • No, its due to adding over a million people into NZ through rampant immigration for such amazingly high skilled jobs as ‘retail manager’.

      • We have less than one tenth of the population density of the UK yet I can a brand new 4 bedroom brick and tile house there for under a million dollars.
        It’s all about land value

        • “It’s all about land value”.. Tell me where abouts in the Uk you are quoting from.. You do understand that the “UK” is a collective of 3 and a bit countries, don’t you? And you obviously understand that parts of the minor partners in this Kingdom could be described as “impoverished”.. So where is this you are talking about? The Average price lists in most cities in England include 2, 3, and four bedroom houses, so specific data is required before the assumption of gas baggery set in.. As far as I can remember, they haven’t had an artificially created property bubble on anything like the scale of what has been set off in NZ… Plus there is competition for investment money to a degree that NZers can only sigh and say “remember when we had a manufacturing industry to invest in”? Or did you not know that NZ is now more dependent on imports than it has been since the early days of the colonisation, before the British way was fully imposed on the ecosystem here. Three tiny little, insignificant islands out in the middle of nowhere, utterly captured by the whims of people who may never come here, and you want to compare it to one of the oldest countries in Europe? Yeah, good one…

    • Yes Andrew. Although It’s a pity they are continuing to re zone the best agricultural rural land as in Lincoln near ChCh to build houses on. We never f ing learn.

    • Reply to Andrew 6.00am “Hi Andrew, Christchurch now has terrible urban sprawl which requires significant and expensive road building to connect people to services and community facilities. It’s a very costly model where rates will be very high to support it into the future. The greens are talking about intensification which is a good idea, just not how they are going to do it because it is not planned. That means Christchurch should have gone up more, but planned so that mid rises, don’t shade each other or lose views. Planning is critical. Releasing land to simply build is not good urban planning. It is the model used since the 2nd world war and it has failed. Never mind the lost farm land.

  2. i agree with everything you say. also, to drive down costs, we, as a nation have to rebuild our building manufacturers. when almost EVERYTHING that is used to build a home or apartment is sourced from outside of NZ, there is no cheap, affordable housing.

    • Reply to Standalone complex 6.05am ” Hi, I have some sympathy with what you say but I don’t want to subsidise too much. Business does need to stand on its own two feet. I thinking importing and trade is part of being in an interconnected world. The problem I see is our tax system creates subsidies for importing over local production. If that was fixed a better balance of local to import would exist.

  3. It’s notable that among the Greens housing policies, nowhere does one find the concept that ‘more state housing should be built than is sold to developers or directly destroyed’.

    Is there a single actually left-wing party in New Zealand that supports building more state housing than is destroyed?

    • Reply to Mohammed Khan at 7.44am ‘ Hi Mohammed, I agree the political situation is very bad. All the parties have aligned up on the side of stupidity because they have misunderstand the problem and their own solution.

  4. If what is happening in South Auckland is an indication, the high density housing does not come with a corresponding increase in infrastructure spend to cater for the increase in population.

    No extra roading, no extra “corner ” shops, no extra schools, no extra sport and play areas, no swimming pools, no extra green spaces, no extra public transport, no extra electricity generation and distribution, no extra potable and waste water reticulation, etc. etc.

    Ghettos in the making.

    Add to that the feeling of entrapment by 30km speed limits, speed humps (even on main roads), no bus shelters, limited bus services, train services that only seem to run on weekdays, reduction in Park and Ride facilities, very little repairs to infrastructure as and when broken, etc.etc.

    Oh and if you want more cycling and walking, spend money on public toilets.

    Another problem facing Auckland is the drop in electricity voltage due to more and more users being hooked up onto existing small diameter wires. Maximum 5% is permitted, however at peak loads a simple multi meter test in the home shows drops of 7 to 8%. Pushing up electricity prices to the higher density housing projects. Takes the same amps to boil a pot of water but the voltage drop means the current flow is low therefore a longer electricity user time.

    • Gerrit good points. And the realisation of the desert of community services in mass housing builds was all experienced before in my lifetime and should be available to planners in records if they seriously wanted to do their job for the people properly. I always fear a United States ‘tract model is being used for whatever.

  5. The Greens like all authoritarians (fascist communist neocon etc) believe that you can demand results, and enforce them. It’s far easier to influence thinking, the voluntary results follow. But our Greens are so ideologically driven that they won’t follow that course, it might turn out better than they want it. That authoritarians could never risk.

    • Home owners are nimbys. If they are consulted we know what their answer will be. However, land along the main drag to island Bay must be pretty expensive, and the best use that can be made of expensive land is higher density housing. If the existing nimbys don’t like it they can always move elseware.

      In any case “punching down on local communities” – your words, not mine – doesn’t make the greens fascists.

      • it does have to be said mikesh that the feel feels of homeowners and business are given grossly disproportionate and fawningly sympathetic prominence by the NZ media.

      • Reply to Mikesh at 1.10pm ‘Hi Mikesh, I want affordable housing for you. But these proposals won’t deliver it. Private enterprise has a a history of not delivering it. And somebody in Island Bay having a right over their property and what people do next door is well established in common law, and it was in legislation. So stripping away personal rights is a very serious thing. And it is only targeted at residential suburbs. They aren’t taking on the central cities businesses; requiring them to use their land better and support housing. And people want to live more central and if do they won’t have high communte costs.

        • I agree with the building of residential accommodation in the central cities, but that should not preclude higher density housing being built in suburban areas also, particularly along min thoroughfares. “Common law” should also have regard for situations where an urgent need for affordable accommodation exists, and available land can be in short supply in central city areas.

    • Reply to Nick+J at 8.39am ‘ Hi Nick, not sure i fully agree. Communities or democracies can demand things of others e.g. taking land under the public works act to build a road. But even then they need to go through a process. Mitigations can occur. So I largely agree with you but there is a point where you can force. I think they should be forcing where the real intensification is needed. The Te Aro area in Wgtn for example.

  6. Housing prices have stabilised or are going down. Same with private sector rents.

    In the North Shore there is a massive increase in Kainga Ora housing. In Bayswater 34 new units and there are hundreds in Northcote Central (actually started before 2017). Yes, houses were demolished, but substantially more have been built on the same site.

    Housing is not something that can be turned on instantly. It takes some time to do the plans and get the consents. Labour did start too late, but it is clear that progress has been made.

    On top of that, there is a veritable boom in three story terrace housing for the private market. In Bayswater they are typically priced at just over $1 million for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit. They don’t qualify for the governments First Home Scheme (price too high) so buyers need 20% deposit instead of 5 to 10% deposit. I imagine many buyers will have had some parental assistance with the deposit. One can imagine a young professional couple (for instance two teachers) being able to save $100,000 over two or three years. Essentially living off one income and saving the other. But it is much harder to see them saving $200,000.

    • Cheers Wayne, always good to get sane comments rather than “this government has created the greatest division in our history and they have achieved nothing”.

      Simply insane, if not stupid.

    • Can spot you lot pushing the debt narrative from a mile away. Paying off a mortgage in full is literally the opposite of what first home buyers should be doing.

    • Reply to Wayne at 8.45am ‘Hi Wayne, I think your numbers show ‘affordability’ is gone. Just building houses won’t fix that because there are too many profitable was to use housing.

  7. James Shaw was an HSBC bank employee. And when you work for a bank, you become the bank, the bank doesn’t become you. Now, look around to see what banks do for a profit.
    Like virtually all the other political parties we quaintly think of as being for us since we vote them in then pay them $ix figures plus perks and entitlements, the Green Party is a division of banking. They’re a mob of green Machiavellian sheep in wolfs clothing covered in neoliberal roger douglas’s dirty little finger prints. Just like all the rest of them.
    Remember. Our politics, now neoliberal, is simply an extension of commercial banking practices and, in our case, that’s mainly done by the four foreign owned banks gleefully sucking billions of dollars out of our modest economy annually and it should keep you awake at night that, so far, we do nothing about that. We just lie back with our eyes closed and think of England. Which is ironic given this documentary.
    The Spider’s web.
    “Michael Oswald’s film The Spider’s Web reveals how at the demise of empire, City of London financial interests created a web of secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth is hidden in British jurisdictions and Britain and its dependencies are the largest global players in the world of international finance.”

  8. “Local democracy” is code for a NIMBYs’ veto.

    And look how well that worked out for ample and types of housing in cities..

    • I see the currently derogatory use of “nimby”as simple sloganeering. It use reveals a position of no real understanding, merely an easy blaming mechanism for things that in reality are complicated.
      Chris Trotter and Stephen Minto have both advocated a bottom up approach, but this doesn’t fit with a simplified blame game. Easier to divide into them (nimbys) and us (the property ladderites), the usual old story.

      I believe the foundational basis of the nimby, is a form of concern that our urban environments are subject to the tragedy of the commons, as much as any shared, communally owned field, river or ocean.

      private developers naturally want to maximise profit, and in effect a first in first served approach works in most cities in NZ – build the first high density block and you can capture the current neighbourhood amenity for your buyers. You get to ‘mine’ the commonly held value of any neighbourhood and hoard a portion for personal gain of you (the developer) and those climbing the ladder. Subsequent developers will get diminished returns, and increasing nimby-ism, until all the valued, intangible things about that neighbourhood are consumed and taken into the private realm.

      So no, nimbys are not bad, they come in all shapes, sizes and persuasions – I think it is actually a recognition that there is more to any place than simple numbers

      So, yeah, the nimby may not be clear about what it is they are trying to protect, but anyone with any experience of the NZ development scene will be all too aware of the game of getting in first

    • Reply to Ada 10.26am ‘Hi Ada, a lack of affordable housing is much more complicated that your NIMBY idea. I think people who suggest this are lying to you. One of the problems is proper planning. Developers buy where they can and that can be scattered all over the place. This is where property rights come in with complaints. So if you listen to property developers they will tell you there stories of complaints. Proper planning would say we have this central city land and it is retail. People want to live central. Hey you landowner – Build mid rises that are affordable on this contract on that land and have your shop underneath. But nobody did that, because they respected property rights in the central city. Now this law removes property rights with the biggest impacts in the suburbs but not central areas. There is no proper planning.

  9. Inflation is driving housing prices, always has, always will. Makes me laugh normiea going all around the economics textbook to arrive at “it’s poor peoples fault.”

    Developers are borrowing at 2% and loaning/renting that out at 10% and y’all have the Gaul to blame Labour, housing supply, the key goverent or what the fuck ever.

    That’s a good ROI if your a lazy fat scumy low IQ land lord.

  10. To give an example of how dangerously de clawed and de fanged we’ve become by 38 years of neoliberal psycho-bullying.
    Genesis, like the rest of the ‘power companies’ are, by example and definition quite literally the mafia.
    Don’t pay them for YOUR electricity resource and they’ll send in the heavies to turn YOUR electricity supply off. Need I remind you? #A It’s YOUR resource, not theirs and #B You paid for YOUR electricity generation hardware with YOUR taxes. So how come YOU must now pay THEM a 600% profit jump? How can you be ok with that? That’s arrogant exploitation at its most despicable.
    ‘Genesis Energy signals January price rise despite 600% profit jump’
    People? You’re so deeply in the shit as exemplified by your compliance that you can’t see how deep the shit is for the shit you’re deeply in.
    I worked with the director of this film
    Compliance. Is a 2012 American thriller film written and directed by Craig Zobel and starring Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, and Bill Camp. The plot of the movie is closely based upon an actual strip search phone call scam that took place in Mount Washington, Kentucky in 2004. In both the film and the real-life incident, a caller posing as a police officer convinced a restaurant manager and others to carry out unlawful and intrusive procedures on an innocent employee.[3]
    OK, we’re not being strip searched by each other, yet, but we are being stripped of our money to pay for a resource that’s ours including the generation infrastructure that was paid for by us.
    I had some quality time with Craig Zobel while he was here filming Z for Zachariah and naturally the conversation turned to the neoliberalising of our AO/NZ.
    He passionately agreed that monetising the natural resources we all need will only lead to corporate fascism. [ and run by the mafia.]
    We AO/NZ’ers need to fight back. We need to stop sliding further down into the shit that greedy others swamp us in. We need to go and get our resources back from the corporate mafia.

  11. Stephen, while your characterisation of the Greens bully building and stomping on local democracy is interesting, your economic commentary and understanding… was really hard to read.

    • Reply to Matt at 11.56am “Hi Matt, I had 800 words and a lot of ground to cover. My central economic point is housing in NZ is now big business. I record 6 very profitable business categories for residential housing – none are about affordable housing. The Greens with National and Labour are just opening it up as a free for all to build – maximise profit will rule and you can’t maximise your profit if you build quality affordable housing. We have the proof; it hasn’t happened. So we have the crisis. Government should not stimulate private markets as it removes resources from building affordable housing, which must be done by government and government is doing some but they are making it hard for themselves by stimulating private business who take resources away.

  12. Mr. Minto I know the f-word is one of your go-to words, but no the so-called Greens are NOT fascists. They’re out-of-touch, spoilt middle-class brats – that’s all.

    • Reply to Pope Punctillious II at 1.19pm ‘ Hi Pope, I did smile at your fun but the Greens as you call them are also entitled to affordable housing and we have not delivered that for them. Their being upset is completely understandable and needs to be addressed. How they currently suggest will not help affordability.

  13. The Greens are totally ideologically driven.

    Their behaviour in select Committee for BMDDR bill was disgraceful (Dr E Kerekere that is)

    Both Labour and The Greens refused to attend a debate on free speech in Dunedin, despite a lot of work by the free speech union trying to get them there. I think his speaks volumes

    • Anker Elizabeth Kerekere’s bullish antics in select committee, are as likely to emanate from her own seemingly immature persona as from the Green’s ideological shackles and lack of decency and party discipline which enables big old women to throw their weight around at undeserving young males. It mightn’t have happened had his viewpoint not been presented by a symbol of the white colonialist males whom she seems to hate en masse and forever – not that anything excuses bad mannered behaviour. She does need to spruce up at every level, and chances are there’s no one to explain to her that student cafe antics aren’t always appropriate.

      There’s a stark quote somewhere of Nietzsche’s mad man running into the market square holding a lantern, and in my visualisation, it is Kerekere – or another – intoning, “ Colonialist ! Colonialist ! “ and I very much hope that nice men do not get too bruised by the haters. Fascinating that they wouldn’t debate free speech, but that too may be due to their own inadequacies.

    • Reply to Anker at 1.43pm “Hi Anger, that was very interesting about the select committee. I had not heard. Thank you’

  14. I have often observed a link between ideologues and fascist style behaviour. I’m an educated elite, I know better than you so stand back while I make it happen. Jacinda, Greens etc. You dont have to look far to see it occurring the world over.

    • Yep. Exactery. Probably started when education became just another commodity to be traded. It was quite a smart move really by a few arseholes, even if unintentional.
      And when you couple it with the cult of the individual over the collective, over-active egos and a few other things – you get things like todays Labour Party, Gweens and a number of other exceptional entities. (Nactoids were always that way, and always will be – it’s in their DNA)
      Like the grocer’s daughter said: No such thing as sussoity, or humility,
      Its a good way of explaining and justifying the failures of humanity. We’ll get what we deserve

    • I know better than you so stand back while I make it happen. Fantail
      I understand that in a democracy with elected representatives who have at hand all the information required, the taxation and revenue, plus their own experience; a citizen does expect them to get on with the job, so they can stand back and watch them doing it.

      The problem is that that very thing is NOT happening – they are not doing what is very obvious and agreed by everyone with a brain and good intentions, that is needed to be done.

  15. You are right about Chch .We were lucky that we had a National government in power at the time of the quakes .Obviously there were mistakes made but 10 years on we have much to feel proud about. The council is to blame for slowing down the progress

  16. Shock Doctrine situation – where they create a self made ‘shock and crisis’ to justify removing democratic laws.

    Yes many of the Green MP’s are identify fascists.

  17. Ridiculous headline aside, the govt should be leading in housing. Power has picked up its game from our threats but that’s not how it’s going to work for housing.

Comments are closed.