Finally one excellent Labour policy on housing!


 The “deep retrofit” – (upgrading a whole house all at once by installing double glazing, insulation, airtightness upgrades and replacing gas heating and hot water – could get a rebate of 30 percent of the total cost, capped at $18,000).

   Partial retrofits of double glazing or insulation upgrades could get up to $7000, while those switching from gas connections to electric heat pumps and cooking hobs could get up to $3000.

   The scheme would be limited to homes of up to double the median value, and those on a combined household income below $250,000. Landlords would only be eligible for the electrification rebate.

(Note: I haven’t double checked the above details because its late and I’m being lazy)

This really helps existing low income home owners. It stops building of new houses, as they create a lot of CO2 emissions, especially concrete bases, but also reduces the huge amounts of plastic that are in modern homes. And it is much quicker to fix up existing homes than build new ones so it is helping put the quality into affordable housing more quickly. 

This is almost as good as the excellent actions Labour took on a staged removal of interest deductibility for rentals. It probably would have been better to do an instant 100% removal of interest deductibility so the housing market would have gone down more vigorously; and that would have pushed people out of the rental market at a point when we had few foreign tourists or overseas students. That situation would have helped first home buyers most of all. Now forces have rallied to return their previous entitlements. 

Now Labour needs to stop its ruinous encouragement of private home building because firstly, private enterprise simply does not build affordable housing. They must maximise their profit. Secondly,  it is dividing left older voters from younger left voters when both groups are concerned about affordability and liveability. Labour is dividing its voters.

Labour should not encourage private building as it diverts resources away from building affordable houses. The 1930’s Labour govt was in the depression. Private building was low so the situation was perfect with all these building resources idle that the government could contract relatively cheaply with the builders to build affordable housing. This was how Fletcher building got up and running. 

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Instead Labour has now done the daft thing of trying to encourage lots of private investment in housing and building on some bizarre misunderstanding of ECON 101 – that more houses built will bring down prices  – when it won’t. Land is a finite monopoly asset – Jacobin has an article.

The article says removing local planning regulations push up prices as it encourages speculators and investors. And if they do build they set prices according to the income of the people in that area. So if they buy a million dollar property and then build 6 units on it. They will expect to charge a million dollars for each unit because this is an area where people will pay a million dollars to live and this is a nice new property. Labour/Greens have the economic logic back to front because they don’t understand the monopoly nature of land. 

The private market is not helping fix the affordable housing problem. The private market went along with building 200sqm house when two houses of 100sqm could have been built for the same resources and the affordable housing market would not be so bad on the supply argument. 

At the end of the day Labour thought they were being super clever about affordable housing and to avoid criticism they went into a deal with National and the Greens but that has completely blown up in their faces. Rather than being ‘clever’ and have policy National helped set up; make a left policy on affordable housing. Take action to close down the private market by putting local planning restrictions back in and pull in the slack of builders, and contract them to build affordable. It’s not hard. The retro-fit policy will help as well. Force houses to be done up and rented out for long term renters in places where it is needed. The government has power, use it. National don’t see the private market as responsible for affordable housing, they think ‘affordable’ is a public duty and not the responsibility of the private sector. So Labour do it.

The Luxon Govt is looking like foolishly setting itself up as repeat of Mr John Key. Key bragged in 2010 of $15B of tax cuts, he then spent the next 7 years hacking into our public services to pay for them and get the books looking ‘okay’. We can see the massive holes in Nationals current budget and it’s excellent that at every chance Mr Hipkins should voters of it.  


  1. Wait….wait Stephen, the Govt is promising *cough* to do all this, and yet the vast majority of KO homes still do not pass the ‘safe/warm homes’ test set by this Govt….but you believe this will sort it all out and they will deliver on their ‘promise’?

    I have a bridge for sale…interested Stephen?

  2. You’ve still got to have the other 42k, and that’s if your home can even be fixed for 60k. When your starting point is 100k of damage eqc refused to do their job and pay for before you can even get to the upgrades…

  3. We need more houses, and that will not happen if all we do is update existing houses. They need to be affordable as well which is a function of land prices & building costs.

  4. We’re painting ourselves into the same corner Germany now finds itself in: Conversion from gas to electric heating overloads the electrical grid. In their case it due to the foolish shutdown of their nuclear power plants and their subsequent total reliance on Russian gas. In our case it’s purely willful self-harm with no external factors at play.

  5. Useless, why all this now, well hello we are having an election, got to put some bait out.
    They have – well that stupid woman – repeated lied about how many houses they have built and acquired for the State.

    I hope both the major parties go down the gurgler!

  6. New Zealand society as a whole is to blame for the housing crisis. If we really wanted housing, we would have done something about it. Most mortgages are also just rents in disguise – just as a lot of ‘gig work’ is quasi-unemployment. Both of which obscure the actual state of things.

    There’s not a lot to look forward to. People are selfish, and nasty. I’m personally saving up for a sailboat

  7. Another ‘clean car’ like policy to help Labour well off mates. The poor can’t afford Tesla’s let alone 100k to tickle their house.

  8. Thanks for drawing this to our attention. Good policy that looks doable is needed like a blood transfusion before we all fade away. We need more to keep us going till election time so we
    can be of use to our fellow citizens in these difficult times of turgidity.

    (This word came to me without me knowing the meaning. It’s quite expressive of now conditions I think.
    In a general context, turgidity refers to the condition of being bloated, distended, or swollen. In a biological context, turgidity helps to explain how plant cells are able to stand upright despite the lack of a skeletal structural framework that animals have. Also, it confers rigidity to plants.24 Hūr 2022
    It seems appropriate for present conditions! Let’s keep upright and no slumping. Perhaps imbibing a little carefully measured alcoholic liquid would help too!)


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