Greens inconsistency on housing shows their lack of strategic thinking

It was great to see the Greens with other groups calling for a rent freeze in Auckland.  Landlords signalling big rent rises after the catastrophic flooding in Auckland and elsewhere shows there is no community in capitalism.  
Landlords and others can trot out neo-liberal propaganda phrases like market forces, demand driven inflation, supply constraints, that are really just fig leafs for the drive to maximise profit and make sure landlords don’t have to share any financial downside to their income no matter the event, the economy, or other people. Selfishness does not lead to the common good.
So the Greens suddenly standing up to landlords is in direct conflict with their ‘affordable’ housing policy where they are sucking up to private developers/landlords by permitting them to bully build up to 3 stories, and 6 stories in Wellington, having no regard to neighbours privacy and sun, or the need for gardens and trees as water soaks.
The Greens are promoting this by allowing the trashing of local democracy, so there are few if any grounds for complaints against poorly designed developments. Some rights that even previously existed in common law. The Greens who are supposed to be all for communities and local democracy are crushing it.
Tamatha Paul, Wellington City Green Councillor, described historic houses as ‘feral’. There is nothing inherently feral about a historic building that has been neglected. The landlord behaviour to neglect maintenance to maximise their profit could be described as feral. But the Greens policy is to reward that feral behaviour with an invitation to trash our historic housing suburbs. 
I note Grant Robertson and James Shaw are reading the tea leaves from the Wellington District Plan where there are a huge number of submissions against the new residential intensification rules; the bully building. They aren’t standing in the Wellington Central electorate in the election. They know that once the ugly developments are built among their voters neighbourhoods there will be a backlash and it has started already. Whoever drinks from that electoral cup is likely to find it poison.  
Affordable housing has to be directly contracted for and built. We have been following the private market forces for 40 years, if affordable housing did emerge from the market then we wouldn’t have an affordable housing crisis.
The Greens went along with labelling people complaining about poor quality developments, or protecting history as boomer NIMBY’s. This disgusting and stupid framing ignores the reality that almost all concerned about history, community and quality of housing, want affordable housing and have ideas about how that can be achieved.
The irony is, the people the Greens sided with, the Property Council and developers,  are as much boomers and most wouldn’t give a damn about affordable housing as they use the neo-liberal assumption that affordable housing will be a by-product of building supply; and not their problem. A few dark, lacking natural sunlight, noisy units will be the ‘affordable’ ones because sun etc is worth so much.
So what is the reason for the lack of ‘affordable’ housing? No. It’s not boomer NIMBYism.   It’s neo-liberal capitalism and capitalists.  (Yes, capitalism can build houses but affordable is not their objective, its maximise profit). There is plenty of space to build affordable housing in the ‘brown fields’, close to transport and amenities. It just requires proper planning and more powers to change land use. 
The Green’s current affordable housing strategy is built off ignorance and a lack of critical thinking. If they want any credibility at the upcoming election they must urgently drop and back track the policy that will lead to the destruction of our historic suburbs, quality housing, and community rights to object. I have consistently voted Green to give Labour a partner under MMP. I will not be doing that unless these rules change and I will encourage others to do the same. 
p.s. The Greens are promoting trashing our limited resource of historic suburbs; which is a critical part of our identity as New Zealanders. Historic suburbs give a sense of continuity with the past and that continuity gives a sense of place, a sense of ‘home,’ a sense of identity. They are a legacy of the trees of our nation and an invitation to restore what was destroyed. We can still respect these trees beauty through the houses. And the historic suburbs are of huge tourism value because they convey that sense of difference, something special. People don’t travel the world to see sprawling sameness.


  1. Housing becomes affordable when there is ample amounts of it available to buy or rent (limited by the actual costs of building it in the first place).

    NZ’s housing is expensive because its supply is restricted by local councillors and NIMBYs.

    Genuine advocates of affordable (or even better, cheap) housing must oppose the supply restrictions imposed in the name of character or ‘historic’ aesthetic considerations.

    • Damn you Ada and your reality! LOL

      EVERY single problem we have with housing can be sheeted back to government intervention in what should be a competitive market.

      • more like lack of regulation allowing the market to run riot…leaky homes anyone? and you are picking up the tab for that lack of regulation andrew….now get yer hand in your pocket to recompense the owners sitting on flood plains cos you know that’s the next thing you will be stumping up for

    • Housing never becomes affordable, because it is rigged game. If you can’t afford a house now, you never will, unless you…
      Get a much better job.
      Inherit a house or the required money to buy one.
      Marry someone who can afford a house.
      Win Powerball.
      Or get a massive, 30 year mortgage and slave your life away paying it off.

      House prices will only drop to anything close to affordable, if we lose a significant portion of our population (no one willever build the required numbers of affordable houses, because there is not enough profit in that). However, mass immigration takes care of that, should it occur.

    • NZ’s housing is expensive because the corrupt Labour-National-Green uniparty does nothing to crack down on private developers and renters.

    • NZ Housing is because the previous balance in the market with the base of state housing has been warped by allowing immigration plus demand and multi purchases using housing as a safe investment with attractive considerations by government, and overseas buyers placing their hot money into something solid instead of evaporating like solvents. That’s today’s money for you, but will be like sand in the hand in future.

  2. I don’t think we can separate housing from the wider malaise in the economy. The economy seems to be too weak to sustain the previous high living standard — incomes are too low, and as a result investors are not interested.

    There needs to be mass development which combines many new skyscrapers in the downtown areas, large new estates on the city limits, and slum clearance in the inner suburbs.

    The government may need to use compulsory land acquisition, and exemptions to local planning ordinances, to get the ball rolling.

    Local developers and builders simply do not seem to be up to the job, so the government may need to approach large foreign developers. Certainly the Chinese and Arabs are good at building very quickly — whole cities at a time!

    The point on architecture and heritage protection is a good one. Local architecture is poor, and spectacularly ugly. It suggests that a campaign to provide traditional training, and promote new designs in classical and federal styles, is needed.

      • Kristoff also as well wants to give the Chinese the entire rights of the supply chain of new cars in New Zealand too – so long as they build a factory here to build them…..

          • So the Chinese are “coming to get us”, but have you have no problem that you are already totally dominated by the Americans?

            And where does everything people buy currently come from? Is it all made in Mother England? It’s not already all made in China?

            These people duped by the neoliberals think that everything being made by the Chinese is fine, so long as local people in local factories aren’t being paid any of those wages!

  3. The Greens, like the natzie’s, labor without the U, American Psycho ACT, the useless-ornament Maori party and winnie’s deep state plaything, NZ First, are all neo liberal and in case you weren’t paying attention, neo-liberalism is a form of fascism infected capitalism and that’s why we have poverty, hungry kids, a primary industry in brain-fart free fall, nine multi billionaires and four now foreign owned banks literally stealing billions out of our country in Net Profits annually, dumbasses.
    Put plainly, we’re in deep shit, mainly because we’re weak and stupid, and we’re at threat of losing our AO/NZ to the cor-pirates who $ale the $even $eas with more financial resources and fire power than most countries. But wait!? There’s more! I was in Invercargill last week and the temp was 32 c. It was hotter than anywhere else in AO/NZ at the time and let me tell you, it was fucking hot.
    So? Global warming. Yea/Nah mate, a Greenie conspiracy mate. She’ll be right mate. No one’ll want AO/NZ mate. A market garden country 29 thousand square killometers larger in land area than the UK and with only 5.2 million fuckin’ people mate and there’s the UK mate. 60 million + of the buggers! Fush! I’ll give ya fush mate! Comin’ out our fuckin ears mate. Look! There goes one now! We have 200km exclusive economic [fishing] zones and because we connect to the Chathams that zone makes it one of the largest fishing exclusion zones in the fuckin’ world, fuckin’ mate. Aye? How ‘ bout that then?
    So yeah/nah. No one’s gonna want to *take our country off us. Fuckin’ useless thing. Who’d want it
    * (And by take I mean buy thus Buy → bye. ) Oh, how we laughed?

  4. A lot of people don’t realise that most Greens when they think of shelter are considering nesting boxes for little blue penguins – and they do need care. But the thought that human beings have levels of vulnerability that requires understanding, tolerance and concern not judgment, is not universal.

  5. Stephen – We do need more housing closer to areas of work, school, hospitals and play. There is no point having suburbs and cities full of character housing in areas adjacent to city. However once a suburb is identified for protection, the rest should be opened up to intensification.

    Lets protect Thorndon where intensification is not appropriate due to the fault line. However why protect Mt Cook, Newtown, Hataitai. They should be opened up to mix of residential and business apartments to 6 stories high. Wellington city is wasting space by not building anything less than 6 storey in the city. We do not need build vertical ghettos, but build decent size apartments in green buildings. We just need to open our eyes to possibilities.

    • But Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane all have inner suburbs consisting of character housing — with no problems.

      Wellington needs many high skyscrapers in the downtown area. At present it has too many small buildings, and the high rises are not large enough.

      The difficulty is there are too many hills, and the downtown area is really too small. Additional high rise developments (far higher than 6 stories) will end up being in Lower Hutt and Porirua, and the new housing estates are inevitably going to be in Kapiti etc.

      And so we are back to the problem of the dilapidated transportation system!

  6. Without a lead state development agency, it is, indeed, just about impossible to build very much in the ex-industrial brownfields that are found close to most of Auckland’s railway lines for example. Random infill in heritages suburbs is easier to deliver in the market but is a much worse approach to intensification. Yet all this is Town Planning 101. I’m genuinely surprised that the Greens don’t have more urbanists and town planners in their ranks to point this out.

  7. Housing becomes affordable when there is ample amounts of it available to buy or rent (limited by the actual costs of building it in the first place).

    NZ’s housing is expensive because its supply is restricted by local councillors and NIMBYs.

    Genuine advocates of affordable (or even better, cheap) housing must oppose the supply restrictions imposed in the name of character or ‘historic’ aesthetic considerations

      • Ada
        Housing becomes affordable when there is ample amounts of it available to buy or rent (limited by the actual costs of building it in the first place).NZ’s housing is expensive because its supply is restricted by local councillors and NIMBYs.

        Genuine advocates of affordable (or even better, cheap) housing must oppose the supply restrictions imposed in the name of character or ‘historic’ aesthetic considerations.

      • Yes Ada this is something notto be repeated literally. Your comment was at 6 Feb at 7.08 am. How come this commenter Machperson M… can repeat it, without any word from him/herself? This is not cricket. Martyn can this be prevented. If something is repeated as a subject to consider and agree with or critique it should be in italics I think. When it is not your own work or your own thoughts at all!

        Personally I don’t agree with all of Ada’s comment but I don’t want easy riders surfing in on others sayings.

  8. Totally agree Stephen, I attended a meeting at St Matthews in the City last year about the intensification of Auckland, all the usual suspects turned up (Bishop,Seymour, Swarbrick, + council local board reps & council hopefuls…..nobody fronted for Labour!)
    The final speaker was the old campaigner Mike Lee, he succinctly pointed out to all the assembled
    that they were playing into the hands of the self appointed properly council cabal, affordable housing would be a pipe dream with them calling the shots, nimbyism was the catch cry & how they would achieve it & the people in the inner suburbs would just have to suck it up.
    So much for local input, the press report in Stuff was way off mark, when I read it I thought I must have been at a different meeting,so much for local democracy!

  9. Hold on! Hold on! Youre talking about the greens right? ‘Strategic thinking’ right!?

    Remember this the party that set up a vote to get rid of Jimi and then dont turn up to the show down!!

    • I think the Greens realised (finally) that if they wanted to be an anti-poverty party, they had to allow a lot more housing to be built.

      Not just single-family houses in distant suburbs. but smaller and more affordable apartments in places closer to CBDs and universities.

      • They signed an agreement, contract with Labour to not speak about poverty and Housing in their coalition deal. Thats how stupid they are.

  10. Greens too busy cancelling everyone to do their own job – they are making homelessness worse with their ideological, stupid policy, and making many more people homeless, unsafe and growing up in hotels!

    Auckland pensioners in the cold as Kāinga Ora halts Healthy Homes heating work

    New houses flooded and well known risks ignored by the stupid and greedy!

    Flood-prone Plimmerton among Porirua suburbs mooted for proposed high density residential zone

    Scum bags taking up the kainga ora houses and then only getting 4.5 years for violent crime!

    Man stabbed woman 23 times after she refused to give him cigarette

    Greens seem to gravitate to help the worst high needs criminal scum while blaming the middle class workers for all the problems! Work harder NZ, some shit head needs that Kainga ora house and counselling, while their victims probably earn too much to qualify for anything!

  11. Ada

    You understand almost nothing about the economics driving the housing market, or the real forces constraining supply, let alone the dearth of anything remotely affordable that will result from simple-mindedly rubber-stamping a lassez-faire developers manifesto, to build anything, anywhere in the inner-residential suburbs.

    Furthermore, the greenest building is one already built, that can also be readily rennovated, where required.

    Clear-felling the mere 6% of resilient timber-built character housing which remains in Wellington, while consigning the demolition waste to landfill, AND replacing it with concrete, glass and steel, is little more than a recipe for massively increasing carbon emmisissions. How very ‘Green’ that isn’t!

    Inner-city residents’ associations have already identified opportunities for significantly increasing housing in at leaat two Wellington suburbs (specifically Thorndon and Newtown).

    Residents have proposed participative codesign and place-making approaches, which respect local democracy. In Newtown this extends to a fully-elaborated scheme to provide hundreds of aoartments, supported by the community, building owners and contractors.

    This real work is an inconvenient truth, which contradicts the myth of NIMBY boomers opposed to housing intensification, being used as a smokescreen for unrestrained development.

    Expecting affordable housing to emerge from laissez-faire development is magical thinking, and political pandering to the gullible.

    We have one opportunity to get this right. The Greens need to rediscover their principles, stop peddling myths, and get on board with the real work required to achieve a better city by design.

    Warm, safe, dry, healthy and resilient housing for all will not be achieved through magical thinking.


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