What about privacy?

Reporters from 3 News visited some of the people with Chinese-sounding names used by Labour to attack offshore buyers :

Of the 10 homes visited:

  • Three were owned by NZ citizens
  • One by a couple applying for permanent residency
  • One was a renter who didn’t know her landlord
  • One woman didn’t speak English
  • The rest – no one answered.

My grasp of stats isn’t great but I don’t think any reliable conclusions on Labour’s assertions can be garnered from this small sample.

Regardless of that, what about the privacy of the data and the people identified from it?

If I was one of the people on the list I’d be laying a complaint with the privacy commissioner.

I might also be talking to whichever is the appropriate body for dealing with complaints about the media behaviour.


117 Responses to What about privacy?

  1. JC says:

    “My grasp of stats isn’t great but I don’t think any reliable conclusions on Labour’s assertions can be garnered from this small sample.”

    This stat or better described as verifiable fact comes from the Herald today:


    23 sections were snapped up in minutes by Chinese with NZ passports. Of 150 sections sold so far all but one were by NZers and the exception was awaiting residency acceptance.

    This whole affair smells like a long dead fish. The leaker swears he never gave any info to anyone in the Labour party but to others and media over months.. the chain of custody is thus very dodgy and Twyford looks like the dumbo with an agenda who swallowed it.



  2. David Lloyd says:

    I think it is obvious that this Dirty Politics Part 2. It is almost certain that the same people that hacked and then passed on the data stolen from Cameron Slater are involved in this issue too. This issue has all the same ingredients; leaked data and left leaning media The Herald and TV3 (former staff of Comrade Campbell perhaps?) passing private information on to a politician, in this case Twyford. As in the Slater case many laws have been broken but will anyone be charged or held accountable? Probably not, they got away with it the first time and are likely to get off scot-free again.


  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    We really do need a proper register of overseas investors urgently, these Chinese people are being negatively labeled because of poorly regulated and monitored market.


  4. tom hunter says:

    … these Chinese people are being negatively labeled …

    Brilliant! Perfect response from a Green.

    A thread titled “What about Privacy”, a case where some unnamed people conduct “negative labelling” – but instead of pushing back on the people with debate and argument the answer is for the state to build a “proper register.”

    Dave Kennedy/Green Party/Left-wing thinking in a nutshell.

    You’re papers, please

    For you irony is just like coppery or silvery, except it’s made of iron.


  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, surely you don’t believe that we can continue with no register of non-resident investors? How do we assess the extent of their impact on our local market and how do you suggest we limit the use of our property market to launder criminal funds?

    I think you are incredibly naive if you think our current open market, with no monitoring or checks and balances is serving us well. We are being taken for a glorious ride by those who see us as as a source of easy money, which we are. 26% capital gain (over the past year), with next to no tax or scrutiny of background, is investor heaven.


  6. Gravedodger says:

    Why only the freakin Chinese what about a loud mouthed preacher of matters green around roading , transport, infrastructure, she is OK by definition I guess, being American and all.

    The dancing on pinheads is so bloody tiresome, we are a nation of immigrants as even the so called tangata whenua came to our shores by boat and it is one theory they got here first.
    A right mess they made of it too, burning native forests, killing easy to catch fauna to extinction for a couple of feathers to adorn their hats.

    Recall how with alacrity the melons embraced The Clark attempt to constrain political debate with the now infamous electoral finance law. The very manoeuvre that got so many of us into the vipers nest that is blogging.

    On matters of first peoples rights, I note that Barnaby’s dopey mine on The Liverpool plains, after years of consultation and satisfying of bureaucratic objections has thrown up another bunch relying on “oral history” to be satisfied. It is suggested that many residents and small business owners in Gunnedah are supportive but staying silent from fear of retribution.
    It would seem that such tactics are not the preserve of lil ol NZ.



  7. tom hunter says:

    Heard it all before when the Japanese were buying up large in the US in the late 1980’s. Americans would lose control of their businesses, the Japs would control everything with their mighty economy, powered by their unique blend of government and business which, among other wonders, planned into the future while stupid, private-sector Americans looked only ahead to the financial reports for the next quarter.

    The Japanese approach was hailed by the lefties of the day, to the extent that silly old Jim Anderton was still plugging the Japanese way during the 1999 election, apparently unaware that it had died a decade earlier and plunged Japan into near permanent recession, where it remains to this day.

    All of which is to say that this bubble, like all bubbles, will collapse. The Chinese, like the Japanese before them, will have to sell and lose money, probably lots of money.

    And if you’re really concerned about laundering criminal funds I suggest you focus on the banks, through which the money must flow. I recently talked to a friend of mine in Chicago whose company specialises in improving banking systems and processes to avoid fraud, and he told me that NZ was in the bad boys global list for such things. So perhaps there’s an opening for the Greens there.

    A “proper register” of house buyers won’t cut it, especially when such things can so easily be thwarted anyway in perfectly legal ways.


  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, the US did lose much of their business which is why they have so much debt, their manufacturing sector is much depleted and why cities like Detroit have been gutted. As you say there was little future-proofing in their strategic planning. Similar is happening with Chinese companies owning their own dairy factories and farms here and most of our more successful manufacturers have shifted off shore and are being taken over by Chinese businesses: https://www.fisherpaykel.com/nz/company/about/

    Boom and bust economies are ones that have poor oversight, as individual businesses are generally focussed on their own interests rather than the wider economy. We have seen the collapse of Solid Energy under the Government’s oversight despite the predicted down turn in coal prices. Despite many scares and management failures Fonterra has become highly vulnerable despite earning 20% of our export income. Here is another good example of our Government’s incompetence that is threatening our economy:

    Your appreciation of how New Zealand is being used to process criminal earnings is just one example of how loose and unprotected our economy and businesses are. It is the Government’s job to have oversight and an appreciation of the dynamics and forces at work in our economy and to ensure New Zealand citizens do not become collateral damage as outside interests exploit us for their own interests. You may feel that boom and bust is a natural process that provides all the market regulation necessary, but the most resilient economies don’t operate that way.

    We are looking more and more like a banana republic.


  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    GD, you don’t appear to understand the difference between a New Zealand resident and non-resident which negates your argument to bluff and bluster and random abuse 😉


  10. tom hunter says:

    Your appreciation of how New Zealand is being used to process criminal earnings is just one example of how loose and unprotected our economy and businesses are.

    For which you have no solution except a “proper register” of people buying houses. Perhaps you can sub-contract it to the NSA.

    I should have added that the banking report my friend referred to is being acted on by both the NZ government and the banks themselves, who do not want to risk being cut off from banking networks. The Greens have played no part in this debate, probably because they were not aware of it.

    In any case, you missed my point, probably deliberately, which was that even if criminal money laundering was involved in the recent Yellow Peril scare created by your future coalition partners, you had no solution to it and ignored the mechanism involved – banks.

    Boom and bust economies are ones that have poor oversight, as individual businesses are generally focussed on their own interests rather than the wider economy.

    As opposed to the raging success of planned economies like the USSR and company, or semi-planned Government-Business operations like Japan. Again, you decided to simply skip over the point and twist the intent of the argument to your own ends.

    We have seen the collapse of Solid Energy under the Government’s oversight despite the predicted down turn in coal prices.

    Discussed with you now several times: you’re still not listening of course. Solid Energy was always going to be a dog in a country that looks down on coal and wants to be rid of it (“Dirty Coal”). Best to sell it, get $1 billion for it, and rid ourselves of bearing the burden of it’s management mistakes or market changes. But the Greens are opposed to “Asset Sales”, which again is a point you refuse to address, instead preferring to focus on a mythical world where businesses make no strategic or tactical mistakes when owned and run by government.

    History laughs at you.

    Despite many scares and management failures Fonterra has become highly vulnerable despite earning 20% of our export income.

    You think Fonterra shareholders like me don’t know this, and have long suspected it? My answer is that Fonterra’s share of NZ milk has slipped from 97% in the wake of their formation in 2002 to about 76% now. Excellent, another ten years and they’ll be just another milk processing company as others grow up around them. I’ll be shifting to one of those others as soon as possible.

    Again, normal market and business situations where the stupidity solves itself and for which the Greens have no solutions to offer me. You going to go all anti-Trust on them and break them back up?

    Then there’s this grab-bag of commentary that’s on a par with your Trayvon Martin understanding:

    Tom, the US did lose much of their business which is why they have so much debt, their manufacturing sector is much depleted and why cities like Detroit have been gutted.

    Let’s just unpack this one sentence at a time:
    The US did lose much of their business …. their manufacturing sector is much depleted

    The US lost certain businesses to Japan initially – especially cars. In the 1980’s the fear was that Japan would do the same in computers and high technology. Again, this fear was much promulgated by your forebears at the time, as well as some economically ignorant and fearful business people in the US. Japan failed to replicate their car industry success and are nowhere near the US today in IT, which is the driving industry in the world.

    If you’d care to look at the data for US manufacturing you’d find that it forms just as bigger part of the economy as ever.:

    … for the past 50 years industrial production in the U.S. has grown at the same rate or even faster than the economy as a whole. This means that contrary to conventional wisdom, manufacturing has not lost ground in terms of its importance in the U.S. economy. Until 2011, when China inched slightly ahead, the United States boasted the world’s largest manufacturing sector, and it continues to be an industrial powerhouse.

    What was lost were jobs but those are returning in ever increasing numbers as China’s costs increase and US energy costs fall (thanks to fracking especially).

    … which is why they have so much debt,…
    They have so much debt because they have a government that has grown ahead of the economy on so many occasions and in key areas such as Medicare/Medicaid, continues to do so: average annual growth for those two programs since they started in 1965 is 13%, far ahead of inflation and, more importantly, economic growth. That can’t last.

    They have so much debt because they decided to print trillions of dollars at ultra-low interest rates (which has hurt millions of retirees with savings accounts) and flood the market with money – because GDP is 70% consumer spending and Keynesian theory says any spending is good and the way to get out of a recession. All of which the Green Party agrees with and would have done here.

    … and why cities like Detroit have been gutted.
    Detroit’s gutting started with the fact that it was so dependent on one industry – cars. When that industry came under pressure from Japan and American consumers decided they liked higher quality, more reliable cars for less money, the writing was on the wall for Detroit. So what would the Greens have done: re-create the halcyon days of the 1950’s when it was a cosy, protected oligopoly of Big (three companies controlling the whole thing) Business?. Galbraith thought it would last forever and needed government control.

    But Detroit was also gutted because it came under the complete and dominant control of the Democrats who – like the Greens – thought that union control, ever-increasing spending and ever-increasing tax revenues were the ticket to the future. In the early 70’s they brought into the Mayoralty one Coleman Young, an outright Black racist and an outstanding member of the Far Left (CPUSA affiliates no less) who hated corporations and whites in that order. They really did think they could kick the companies and the population in the teeth for years and there would be no consequences.

    Detroit is what we would turn into, if not Greece, were your “solutions” to be tried.

    The more I see of your debating style the less I wonder at you not being in Parliament and the Greens pegged at about 10% of the total vote. You really are just hermetically sealed against counter arguments and to put it bluntly, you simply do not know what you are talking about on too many issues.


  11. tom hunter says:

    Oh, and since this debate is centred around the whole housing-city-sprawl I thought this commentary from a Detroit resident should be kept in mind. This guy was not a native but moved to Detroit for work in the late 1970’s and stayed until retirement:

    In his years in power there were two techniques he used to cement his power and influence. One was to pack the city payroll with supporters, a tried and true tactic of municipal governments everywhere. However, his deep ties to the union movement opened the door for a huge amount of influence in compensation negotiations resulting in the high wages and generous benefits, including pensions, which are plaguing the city now.

    Shades of Greece.

    The second technique he used was to keep race relations at a boil. When I moved here in 1978 the Detroit metro area was almost unbelievably segregated. Most suburbs, with a few notable exceptions, had only tiny black populations. Almost all the blacks in the metro area lived in the city and almost all the whites in the suburbs. My first drive up Jefferson Ave from the center of the city into the Grosse Pointes was eye opening. Within 3-4 blocks it changed from a filthy street with abandoned buildings and rundown store fronts covered with graffiti and protective steel gratings to a tree lined avenue with large well maintained homes with immaculate landscaping. There was a virtual Maginot line at the border of Detroit.

    Same deal today when driving from the West side of the Chicago CBD to Oak Park. The first Mayor Daley is rightly called a racist by many leftists – now that he’s safely in the ground – for having created this situation for votes. Mayor Young was even worse, but the US left still can’t bring themselves to call him one.

    Young was a master of exploiting this divide and creating friction with the “suburbs” (dogwhistle for “whites”) and regularly used this to foster a “them (white) vs us (black)” mentality in his voter base. He was always the guy standing up to “the suburbs” and they loved him for it. He was mayor for life. Sadly, this technique was extremely effective, to the point where it not only worked on blacks in Detroit, it also worked on the whites in the suburbs. To this day, almost twenty years after Young left office, the animosity is such that any cooperative endeavors between Detroit and its surrounding communities are always fraught with a significant dose of racial politics. Blacks always think that whites want to take over and whites don’t see any benefit in doing anything that helps the city.

    It should also be pointed out that the flight from urban Detroit in the last twenty years has been by the black middle class, there being few whites left by the early 1990’s.

    Detroit could have recovered from the wreckage of the US car companies, as other places have recovered from similar industry failures – had it been led by people other than union-dominated, racial grievance mongers like Young, and had it gone in the opposite direction from more government spending, more taxes and more “intervention”. Now vast swathes are basically turning back into farmland.


  12. Paranormal says:

    DK you’re only repeating your flawed ideology with no real comprehension of the economics behind what is or has happened.

    Detroit is the way it is because American businesses (car manufacturers) failed to heed the competition was making a better product.

    Similarly you really have no understanding of the US economy. It is one of the most regulated economies in the world with local, state and federal legislation telling businesses what they can and can’t do. Quite often State and federal law can be at loggerheads.

    Why would we need a register of overseas buyers? We want more overseas buyers. As a nation of net spenders we need foreign investment.

    As for your red herring regarding money laundering, we already have international AML regulations in place.


  13. tom hunter says:

    DK you’re only repeating your flawed ideology with no real comprehension of the economics behind what is or has happened.

    Ain’t that the truth. This happens every time I decide to “engage” with Greens. I get all this “implied superiority” stuff thrown in my face at the start – we understand business, economics, science better than you do, plus the usual moral/ethical superiority (children dying in damp houses … I CARE – and then when you actually get to the details you find that they don’t actually know what they’re talking about and are simply repeating the same old left-wing mantras and pushing the same old barrows that have failed before.

    In future I think I’ll just stick with one sentence rebuttals such as yours. The effort required is appropriate.

    Still, the silver lining is that this attitude towards ordinary people (non politicians, non-activists) is precisely why they’re pegged at 10% – and they can’t seem to help themselves. Long may that continue.


  14. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom it appears that you leap to extreme assumptions about my suggestions when we are probably in agreement about a lot of things.

    You also assume too much about Green economic policy, remember we were the only party to have offered tax cuts and a balanced budget during the last election. We also instigated an independent audit of our costings and no other party provided that level of transparency and verification. We don’t believe in increasing debt and operating beyond our means, living sustainably encompasses more than just the environment. You may have noticed that we practice what we preach and raised more money than Labour over the last campaign and the financial management of our party is very robust.

    You relate my view that we need a better managed economy to a ‘planned’ communist one when that is just leaping to exaggerated assumptions. All economies are managed to some extent and it depends on what criteria you use to determine success. Pragmatism rather than political ideology seems to win out in most cases. India is a democracy and China is governed under communism and yet it would be hard to determine the value that their political systems provide to their economy. The most resilient economies probably have a mixture of state control and market freedom.

    Managing an economy is all about balance, for instance ensuring that employers don’t exploit workers (zero hour contracts, Pike River) and allowing workers to have a strong voice for safety and fairness while ensuring employment costs are managed sustainably. Given the amount we spend currently on wage subsidies ($3 billion for WFF), our appalling health and safety record and the number of workers on unnecessary casual contracts, our industrial relations’ balance is largely out of kilter.

    What would make Green economics different from other parties is our holistic approach where we believe that a successful economy is based on valuing and building our economic, social and environmental capital in a sustainable way. Neglecting our social capital means that we end up with an unhealthy population that is poorly housed, unskilled and may cost more to support than what it adds to the economy. Currently almost half our population are dependent on state support in some form or other and we have low levels of productivity compared to many OECD countries.

    Neglecting our environmental capital means that we consume much more than is sustainable in the medium to long term and by exporting raw commodities in bulk (logs, Kauri, milk powder, meat & fibre…) we are only realizing a fraction of our resource potential and economic value they potentially have. There are sustainability issues when we fell more trees than we plant, for example.

    We also need to assess state owned assets beyond their book value and basic balance sheets (tracking income and expenditure only). The value of state housing and our rail systems go beyond that and actually support the wider economy while never necessarily returning a profit themselves. For example good healthy homes will reduce costs of health services and reduce worker absences. It actually costs the country between $3 and $5 billion a year to address the symptoms of child poverty and much is due to poor housing.

    Which brings us back to the original topic, a register of overseas investors need not be that invasive but provide a good indication where the investment is coming from, the amount of investment and where it is going. This will allow for good planning and possibly even allow us to redirect that investment to where it can better suit the economy. We would get greater value from overseas investment if it directly supported productive industry rather than overheating our housing market.

    We have a housing stock that is well short of the quantity we need, it is largely in poor condition (the median quality has been assessed as 50 years behind Europe), and it contributes to much of our health spending. We are also developing very distinct communities of wealth and poverty (gated communities and doubling the number of homeless). 1 in every 120 people were homeless in 2006 according to that census and it is obviously much worse now.

    It really does appear that this Government does not want to base decisions on evidence; wants to remove itself from responsibilities that can only be effectively delivered by the state, and is reluctant to intervene when markets fail.


  15. Mr E says:

    Irony (or perhaps hypocrisy?)

    The Green Party says – the government shouldn’t spy or collect personal data on New Zealanders or foreigners. Collecting meta data- even if it is non person specific is not acceptable. Privacy is at risk and should be protected at all costs.

    Then Dave says when it comes to housing, the government should collect data, so that it can negatively influence the rights foreigners. And then this blog pops up, questioning privacy breaches, and Dave seemingly ignores privacy issues and goes back to claiming the need for more data (what might be referred to as spying).

    It is comical to watch. Another reason why I think the Greens are not fit to lead.


  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, what nonsense, we have car registration, dog registration, people have to have passports to enter our country, immigrants have to meet certain criteria and people must register to vote. To say that a request for nonresident investors to identify themselves so that we can verify their identity and ensure their money is probably legally obtained is quite different from spying. When I buy a second hand car I can find the previous owner through a registration check too. It should be the same for property. You do make some bizarre connections.


  17. Will says:

    You have a nerve touting the Greens tax cuts here Dave. Have you forgotten you were going to fund them by taxing gross animal emissions?

    I think we have been over the rest of it. I would like to see you create a few value add businesses yourself, instead of berating others about it. How hard can it be eh?

    One more thing. Markets don’t fail. They are what they are, a mechanism for establishing price. If the market conditions turn against you, you adapt or your business fails. You lefties are so weird. If a boat founders, do you claim the ocean failed.


  18. Mr E says:

    “what nonsense, we have car registration, dog registration, people have to have passports to enter our country”

    Our Government collects this from foreigners? Stone the crows!

    Strange Dave, strange.


  19. Dave Kennedy says:

    Yes, Mr E before people can visit our country they have to produce a valid passport. If anyone wants to live here they have to meet certain criteria. I surprised you weren’t aware that we don’t allow just anyone in…and we probably shouldn’t accept just anyone’s money.

    And you call me strange 😉


  20. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, I bet you never read our full policy which included:
    “The agriculture sector has some options
    for reducing biological emissions, in ways
    that are sustainable, many of which are also
    cost effective for farmers. The Green Party
    believes that there should be an early and
    measured phase-in of a levy on greenhouse
    gas emissions for the whole sector. This
    will ensure that the market rewards those
    farmers who actively reduce their emissions
    and are more efficient.”

    The whole policy:

    Click to access green_party_climate_protection_plan.pdf

    “One more thing. Markets don’t fail.”

    Only if you believe that boom and bust is a natural process of a market system. Pure markets as Smith envisaged may not fail, but you find me one of these that actually exists.


    Without some regulatory controls monopolies and duopolies naturally develop as businesses grow to try and capture and control their markets. Some may crash and proper markets to re-establish but so many industries, like the mining industry, can control supply to keep commodity prices high even if there is abundant supply.

    Ruth Richardson introduced the 5% unemployment philosophy here, where as long as you had a good number of people kept out of work you can drive down wages below a living income. It would also mean that benefits should also drop so that they were always below the minimum wage. Of course Labour then had to introduce WFF as a wage subsidy, thousands of families can’t afford rents without the accommodation supplement (cost $1 billion a year) and we now have growing numbers of homeless sleeping rough on Auckland’s streets:


    A sustainable economy?

    “I would like to see you create a few value add businesses yourself, instead of berating others about it. How hard can it be eh?”

    Just came back from a meal with a businessman friend. He now uses his property investments to subsidise his business because as although there is a market for what he does, discretionary incomes have dropped, past clients can no longer afford to pay and his income is down from 10 years ago.

    All the things that I mentioned before about low incomes and low productivity means that our domestic economy is struggling. The 10% of households that have captured over 50% of the country’s wealth can only buy one household’s worth of groceries. The 50% sharing 5% of the wealth have to get by on less groceries than they would like to buy. The only obvious growth business in Invercargill is charity shops and I have noticed the same in other cities. At the same time the growth in the luxury car market has never been better.


  21. Will says:

    I think I follow you. Your friend and his clients are being over taxed, leaving them less discretionary income.


  22. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, according to the last census Invercargill incomes are:
    -For people aged 15 years and over, the median income (half earn more, and half earn less, than this amount), in Invercargill City is $27,400. This compares with a median of $28,500 for all of New Zealand.
    36.9 percent of people aged 15 years and over in Invercargill City have an annual income of $20,000 or less, compared with 38.2 percent of people for New Zealand as a whole.
    -In Invercargill City, 23.5 percent of people aged 15 years and over have an annual income of more than $50,000, compared with 26.7 percent of people in New Zealand.


    At the same time Invercargill earns 12% of New Zealand’s export income from 3% of the country’s population and we only have 5% unemployment (Ruth’s magic figure). I think you will find that most income earners in Invercargill effectively pay no tax and a good number will get the WFF wage subsidy.

    A woman I know who works in home support gets paid for the hours in each clients house, not traveling between, only managed to earn $14,000 last year from a job that is supposed to be full time.

    In Auckland “the Mangere-Otahuhu local board area has seen its median income drop from $19,900 to 19,700 between 2006 and 2013. When adjusted for inflation over the same period, the median income for the board dropped by 16 per cent.”


    I don’t think the problem is too much tax, our low wage economy is the real issue.


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, another opinion on an official register of house sales 😉



  24. Will Dwan says:

    That sounds like bollocks. Does Invercargill really earn all that export income, or are you counting aluminium, smelted with electricity we all paid to bring about?


  25. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, you’re right, I meant Southland earns that income, Invercargill is just the centre. Slip of the keyboard 😛


  26. TraceyS says:

    As is frequently the case Dave only gives part of the information we need to make an informed assessment purely because it suits the position he has taken up:

    “In Auckland “the Mangere-Otahuhu local board area has seen its median income drop from $19,900 to 19,700 between 2006 and 2013.”

    That’s the bit which suits his position. Further reading reveals:

    “…Ann Ball from Statistics New Zealand said it is not easy to make inferences about the changes in income. (my bold)

    “The census data gives a snapshot in time of place. The people who lived in an area there in 2006 might not be living in the same area in 2013.”

    She said the median income does not include the number of people who fail to declare their income but does include people declaring zero, or no source of income…Ms Ball said median income is affected by those who say they receive no income.

    “Young people tend to not fill out the income survey. This increases the count of population with zero income.”

    For these reasons, the Census median income can be misleading. But anyway, I made a little graph for you Dave, which gives more information. This is from the data for the Mangere-Otahuhu local board area. Notwithstanding the cautions highlighted above, I find the picture very encouraging as it shows a shifting of incomes from the $20-$40k income brackets to the $40k+ brackets.

    It also highlights the problem of looking at the median statistic without considering distribution, and in particular, the change in distribution of incomes over time.



  27. Dave Kennedy says:

    You have again have completely lost me with your reasoning, Tracey. This a large community where a hell of a lot of people don’t earn much. Using the same method as in 2006, the captured group earned even less 7 years later. Your excuses sound very much like the shopkeeper in the Monty Python Dead Parrot skit.

    “No they’re not really poor, they’re just pretending, and it may not even be the same people…and it doesn’t refer to people who hid behind their curtains when the census lady came, and even then the median takes the middle income it ignores the fact that two people in Mangere were actually very very rich and even owned a garage…”

    Good grief.

    Sarcasm I know, but really Tracey you excelled yourself with that lot

    “informed assessment” That was a brilliant, a little like your critiquing of highly technical climate science out of context and misinterpreting a key factor. Your wee graph was entertaining too, especially when one is dealing with a median, then the distribution is neither here nor there when you are determining the ‘middle’, half will earn less and half will earn more…the end 😉


  28. TraceyS says:

    “Excuses”? No excuses needed, Dave, all I did was go to the link you provided and continue on reading. Then I cut and pasted directly from the exact same piece that you yourself referenced. Didn’t you read all of it initially? Because you didn’t translate the full story. I pointed that out, and can understand why you are irritated, but there is no need to shoot the messenger.

    Further to that I picked up the raw data, which the article was based on, and then put it directly into a graph without processing of any kind. Don’t you trust the information that came out of the censuses? If not, why did you point to it in the first place?

    This might sound incredibly naive, but how can anyone become SO inflamed as a result of viewing a graph which shows that the number of people receiving incomes over $40k per annum has significantly increased? To me, that is nothing but good news, unless all the poor moved out and were replaced with richer residents. Seems unlikely in this area. But you might be able to make something of it and blame the Chinese.

    You will note that I began the graph at the $10-15k bracket. There are thousands of people who fall into categories below this. A high percentage of them are at zero because they have stated this on their census form – or they are not earning anything – probably because they are not working in paid employment. Epiphany: there are people who don’t work (for money) to be found within any community. The ones who are earning up to $10k per annum very likely work part-time. If not, they (and those up to the $30k band), are not getting minimum wage and that is a compliance matter given that we have laws around it.

    None of this is meant to discount that there are people who are really struggling. There are.

    “No they’re not really poor, they’re just pretending…”

    Was this ridiculous, childish, unattributed quote meant to sound like it had come from me? Because that’s the way you have made it look. Note that I said nothing of the kind, nor would, because that certainly is not the way I think.

    Your constant talking-down of people in communities such as Mangere-Otahuhu, and even your own Invercargill, obscures the identification of specific issues by pretending that total communities are in dire need, and held back, when in fact they are not. It is also really offensive and disrespectful to the many people who will have improved their income and circumstances significantly – mainly through working very hard. They deserve to be recognised but get overlooked in your repetitive whingefest. I am thoroughly sick of your whining and doom which does nobody any good and only drives morale down, despair up.

    You need to brush up on your stats, too, I think. The median can stay exactly the same (as this data set shows) whilst the distribution of incomes moves around within each half. This doesn’t mean that there is no progress happening and it certainly is not caused by a few rich people’s incomes skewing things. As you can see, there are not enough people in the $100k band to have that influence.

    To demonstrate, pictorially, I have plotted all the income bands on a second graph below. Apart from more people reporting zero income, and a decrease in the number earning $5-10k, the number of people in each income bracket is largely the same between 2006 and 2013 up to the median of around $20k. That is why the median has changed minimally between the two censuses.

    “…when one is dealing with a median, then the distribution is neither here nor there…”

    What nonsense, Dave! The median is only a measure of central tendency. There could conceivably be a median of $20k with the bottom 25,000 incomes all being around $18-19k and the top 25,000 being around $21-22k. That would be a very different picture to what we see here. If all were assumed to be working full-time then that would indeed be an awful scenario – much worse than the subject community where we know many people work part-time.

    So you can see that the distribution is VERY important – maybe not to you – but certainly to the thousands who are earning more than before.


  29. Gravedodger says:

    Income data statistics will always be unreliable for the simple fact that many respondents LIE.

    Many drug dealers are simple in the view of a law abiding citizen for their retarded anti social behaviours whereas the truth is the opposite and they are very adept and successful in their commercial activities. Are they going to commit their income stats to any source of data, never.

    Also it is not uncommon for the more entrepreneurial among those on welfare to have “income” enhancing machinations that if they are to continue to enjoy the Government contributions to their income will never reveal the facts to authorities.

    Add in a very real misunderstanding as to how the “Statistics Department” must never reveal information they collect, so it becomes apparent that such published information will never be accurate and in fact will always be very suspect.

    Does anyone know of a person who is ripping the welfare off who is going to write down on a government printed form collected under some implied degree of duress by badged enumerators, how much cash is being contributed to their place of residence and the sources?

    Not even Dave will believe such garbled statistical nonsense but if such inaccurate data suits his narrative then he will not hesitate to employ it, as that is how he is wired.
    Before you go off half cocked Dave there is similar misrepresentation of true income by many further up the food chain such as people operating under multiple names, tradies paid cash, small business operating two tills and other white collar criminals.

    One thing for certain statistical data in household incomes is never going to be accurate and unless honesty is making a serious comeback it aint gunna change. For evidence just search for estimated amounts of the sums involved in the euphemistically titled “black economy”, it is billions and what component of that will be revealed in statistics departments findings, well very little.

    Income stats are a minefield of misinformation.


  30. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I thought you would have realised that I was taking the mickey out of your absurd reasoning, when i stated as much and included the Monty Python link. The median is just what it is, the middle income from which half earn more and half earn less. In Invercargill the statistics look even worse because 37% of working age residents earn less than $20,000.

    “the number of people in each income bracket is largely the same between 2006 and 2013 up to the median of around $20k. That is why the median has changed minimally between the two censuses.”

    This amused me because you are confirming my argument. The fact that the median hasn’t changed much is a huge worry as the bottom half have made few gains and, as you noted, incomes over $40,000 have “have improved their income and circumstances significantly”. That is why the use of averages is so misleading as this group lifts the average considerably. Remember last year almost 50% of workers got no increase in pay while some Govt CEOs saw 20% increases.

    We have become a country of extremes, we have a higher percentage of people working more than 50 hours a week than most OECD countries and we also have one of the higher levels of under-employment (those wanting more work but can’t get it and around 11% of the pop.).

    Without intending to, you have given me more material to support my argument, thanks again 😉


  31. TraceyS says:

    I agree they might only highlight potential areas of concern/progress and reflect very broad trends over time. Therefore it is important to make deeper and more specific analyses. But this is something that Dave thinks members of the public should NOT do (see his comments regarding my gall to comment directly on climate research). Whereas, I consider that as a reasonably capable member of the public I am duty bound – and certainly entitled – to do such analyses rather than rely on the filtered versions that come via the media and various other forums.

    Regarding the stats above, there is some evidence that the peak in people reporting zero income might reflect the increase in unemployment in that area. Maybe people are too proud to indicate this on their form – or they consider it a temporary state – so skip the question? It is likely to be a lack of jobs, not the so-called ‘low wage economy’ that is the problem. If the focus is on raising wages, as Dave would like, it won’t very much help those who don’t have a job in the first place.


  32. JC says:

    Am I missing something here? Lots of women dont work because they don’t need to. They and their families are perfectly happy with an arrangement that sees mum home all the time and/or working for the family business. At times they may take casual work to build income for a specific cause or do a spot of house cleaning around town that falls below the tax ceiling.

    This is very true of older families where the woman wasn’t expected to work full time unless there was an emergency or a change in lifestyle. The rural community has always been something like that.. farmers, forestry and rural contractors can make more productive use of their mates than swanning off to a town job; and what about those half million small businesses where wife and older children pitch in as required?



  33. TraceyS says:

    In the Mangere-Otahuhu local board area 54% of people identify as Pacific Peoples (Census 2013).

    The New Zealand Income Survey to June 2014^ shows that Pacific Peoples median weekly incomes from all sources have increased by 20.42% since June 2010. This is faster than the rate of increase for either Maori or European and reflects some progress towards a more equal society, particularly if it can be sustained.

    Interestingly, Asian median weekly incomes from all sources increased by 32.23% over the same period. This increase, too, is very encouraging because it was off a low base of just $363pw.

    So there is clear evidence of improving incomes in New Zealand – and not just all rich white people either.

    When the median increases of 20.42% and 32.23% are considered in the context of Auckland, you can see that rising incomes might also have something to do with strong competition for houses in some areas.



  34. TraceyS says:

    “Without intending to, you have given me more material to support my argument, thanks again.”

    No worries Dave, I’m happy to share information.

    But how do you know what my intentions are? Are you a mind-reader?

    I was simply providing facts and my first comment, which you used to launch an inflammatory personal attack, intentionally did not include any reasoning at all. It was just facts.

    You are the one trying to have an argument around intentions rather than debating the facts.

    I didn’t watch your video because the whole comment was in the style of your brother-in-law, former commenter here, which suggested to me that you had (hopefully temporarily) descended into nuttiness. Therefore I thought it would add no value.

    In future, when you wrap your statements in quote marks, please be clear whom you are suggesting has said it. Otherwise the reader is free to attribute ownership to the writer – you in this case.


  35. TraceyS says:

    Interesting comment, JC at 12:27pm. The number of people “Not in labour force” increased by 1,941 for the Mangere-Otahuhu local board area between the 2006 and 2013 censuses. Many of these people should be, and probably are, reflected in the zero income band. Although some may have sources of personal income not derived from labour force participation, such as investments.

    I don’t think it is fair to assume that all of them left the labour force unwillingly – as you have pointed out.

    But that doesn’t fit with Dave’s theory that the sky is falling.


  36. tom hunter says:

    “…when one is dealing with a median, then the distribution is neither here nor there…”

    The readers of HomePaddock should start a list of Things Dave Kennedy Does Not Understand.

    Add statistics to the list.


  37. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, I was referring to Tracey’s comment about the distribution on ether side of the median. The median is what it is, the middle of all figures entered, you are right that it doesn’t read well when taken out of context.

    We don’t lack jobs as we apparently have the 5% level of unemployment that was supported by Ruth Richardson. Also if employers cant find workers prepared to work below the minimum wage or in dangerous conditions then there are heaps of migrant workers prepared to do it.

    It is funny that a doubling of the homeless in Auckland in a year isn’t an indication that something isn’t going well.

    Just came back from a housing meeting in Invercargill where I was one of the speakers. Todd Barclay was standing in for Sarah Dowie and had a torrid time (good on him for fronting though).

    His messages didn’t go down well with the New Zealand housing tenants and general audience. They couldn’t understand why:
    -the government was giving up on being a good landlord, Todd admitted they weren’t doing a good job which is why they had to give them up to an Australian provider (who should provide social housing?) $1.5 billion of differed maintenance.
    -when there was a shortage of social houses that only 350 of them had been built in 7 years.
    -they are only supporting expensive houses being built on Government land like Hobsonville Point http://www.hobsonvillepoint.co.nz/
    -there was an annual cap on providing state houses with basic items such as carpets and curtains.
    -housing New Zealand couldn’t invest rental income back into the under maintained houses, but give the Government coffers an annual $250,000 million.
    -National MPs repeatedly say there is an issue with the sizes and locations of many state houses when Housing NZ doesn’t support that.
    -the Government keeps claiming that supply is the main problem but refuses to build houses to meet supply (25,000 need to be built each year to meet demand, only 15,000 consented over last three years).
    -the lower 25% of housing our housing stock is degrading and slum landlords can profit from the accommodation supplement.

    One old guy with a walking stick bellowed at Todd that he had actually listed all the issues himself and yet claimed that the Government was powerless to act. Michael Joseph Savage just built the houses and solved the problem.


  38. JC says:

    All you need to know about DKs housing meeting..

    “More details of the meeting:

    Chair: Rebecca Amundsen – Local City Councillor


    George Park – local state house tenant

    National: Todd Barclay – MP for Clutha-Southland

    Labour: Lesley Soper – former Labour MP

    Greens: Dave Kennedy – local Green Candidate

    State Housing Action Network: John Minto – National Convenor

    John Minto – Convenor”



  39. Dave Kennedy says:

    Thanks JC, as I said Todd was a brave man to try and argue that the Government was doing everything it could to deal with a housing crisis in a room full of people who understand what social justice and human rights really means. Todd questioned the facts of others but didn’t challenge any of mine. Here are the notes of my presentation

    Kia ora koutou

    I want to bring some historical perspective to our current housing situation.

    80 years ago Honest George Forbes led the then Liberal Party (and later the National Party)
    • Napier earthquake
    • Global recession (Great Depression)
    • Poor housing
    • Child poverty
    • Declining wages
    • Poor health and education statistics for Maori.
    • Reduced Government spending, restricted wage growth
    • No improvement for a large % of the population.

    In 1935 Michael Joseph Savage replaced Forbes as PM
    • Ignored the advice of Treasury and the Liberal agenda
    • Raised benefits
    • Increased funding for Maori health education
    • Supported adult education WEA
    • Supported non commercial, publicly funded broadcasting
    • 1936 budget money for 5000 houses, 30,000 homes built by 1949.
    • Improved health and education outcomes, the economy recovered.

    Savage and his Government recognised the importance of housing to lift the health of the nation and support economic growth. A strong stable economy is supported by a healthy well-educated workforce.

    By 1990s 70,000 state houses. The peak.

    Here we are in 2015
    • Christchurch Earthquake
    • Global recession
    • Poor housing $11.5 billion cost of repairing leaky homes built after 1991 deregulation of building industry.
    • Child poverty
    • Low wages (almost 50% of wage earners got no pay increase last year).
    • Poor health and education statistics for Maori/Pasifika children

    Key Government largely sticking to Forbes’ failed approach.
    • Reduced Government spending,
    • restricted wage growth (lower than increases in productivity)
    • Centralised Housing New Zealand, established call centre and dis-established local teams.
    • Reduced State housing stock to 65,000 managed properties (2000 more to be sold.
    • $1.5 billion of differed maintenance
    • Wanting to shed responsibility of social housing to private sector and NGOs while almost 5,000 households in urgent need (priorities A & B) involving 8-10,000 individuals.
    • 20 – 23,000 homes required to be built per year to keep up with demand (only 15,000 building consents issued over past three years).
    • Pushing greenfield developments without accounting for the costs of servicing them (water, roads, sewage, electricity, fibreoptic cable…).
    • In 7 years only 350 new low cost homes, social housing built in Auckland.
    • Promised lower cost houses in new developments being cut back (Hobsonville Point) Partnership between Council and Government on Government own land has become another exclusive housing money maker: 20% of the (axis) homes were supposed to cost below $550,000 but very few have become available. The minimum price for homes otherwise is $825,000, apartments $540,000 and terraced houses $650,000. This may be increasing supply, but for what demographic? When will the families living in garages see the benefit?

    Current situation
    • Over 40% of current state housing are the Savage originals
    • Homelessness doubled in Auckland CDB, doorways movement sensor water spraying.
    • Christchurch Police have non – association orders to stop homeless from congregating.
    • In 1949 the price of a new house was two times the average salary in the 90’s it was 3 times median household income now the median house price is five times the median household income.
    • Almost all houses being built are for affluent end, average house being built makes our new houses the third largest in the world after the US and Australia.
    • It s 30% more expensive to build a house here than in Australia.
    • Since 2005 the average weekly rent for a 3 bedroom house has increased by almost 30% to $360 and almost $600 a week in Auckland.
    • Electricity costs rising around twice the rate of inflation.
    • 2006 census established that 1 in every 120 people were homeless, probably closer to 1 in a 100 now which would number 46,000 homeless.
    • Home ownership dropped to 64%, the lowest for 65 years.

    Closer to home

    Queenstown, market forces
    • Gated communities
    • Land banking
    • Developers reluctant to provide low cost housing for workers and lower income earners because it will reduce returns.
    • Strong NIMBY culture.
    • Workers living 20-30 in one house 3-4 per bedroom. $200 dollars a week rent for a bed.
    • Caravans, sleeping rough, tents hidden in public places.

    • Southland earns 12% of NZ export income but only 3% of pop.
    • Median Income 27,400 (less than national median)
    • I bought my first house in Invercargill on a teachers salary when I was 27, my son will be around 37 before he can.
    • 37% of those of working age earn 20,000 or less.
    • 40 homeless, up to three a night sleeping rough in Queens park (Salvation Army)
    • Invercargill City Councillor, Alan Dennis was quoted in the Southland Times as saying: ”Money can be found to look after stray animals, but not homeless people”.
    • 13 households on Housing NZ priority list
    • No new state houses built in Invercargill for over 20 years.
    • 250 state houses to be sold off
    • SIT increase in student numbers put pressure on houses for low-income families, more money to be made in student rentals.
    • Many beneficiaries end up in Bluff and Otautau for cheap houses, but no public transport and further from support and services.
    • Warm home initiative active in Invercargill and Bluff but large number of privately owned rentals un-insulated, no double glazing, poor heating.
    • Community Health nurse told me yesterday, unhealthy homes a major contributing factor to poor child health.

    What would the Green Party do?

    In a country with a relatively small population but rich in natural resources, as well as having “rock star” economy (or did) the fact that we can’t provide high quality housing is perplexing.

    Many European countries consider a healthy home a human right, like access to food and water, education and medical care. We don’t. It is illegal to drive an unsafe car on the road but not illegal to rent a damp, cold hovel. There is little housing security for renters and the average tenancy is only two years.

    The state is the logical provider of low cost and social housing. There are huge cost savings in economies of scale and being able to borrow at low interest. No private developer in their right mind would build low cost houses when they could make many times more. The state is the best provider of low cost housing for those in need.

    • Support Labour’s policy of building 100,000 homes. We not only have to build many new homes but also replace the worst of the existing stock.
    • We would introduce a rent to buy scheme so that more families can own their own home
    • We would introduce a far more stringent WOF for rental houses, things like curtains and carpet and heat pumps are as important as insulation.
    • Acknowledge the work we have done with National to insulate houses through our MOU (around 300,000 houses). This scheme has barely touched the poorest rentals, will extend the scheme by another 200,000. The cost benefit analysis has shown $4 dollar value for every $1.
    • We would provide greater security of tenure. Shifting tenants out immediately their financial circumstances change or at landlord whim is not good for establishing strong communities and giving children the security of staying at the same school. National’s ‘reviewable tenancies’ show no regard for family security.
    • We also would invest more in researching construction methods using one of our most plentiful natural resources, wood.
    • The cost of the Greens housing policy was $327 million over three years and as we have seen with the home insulation scheme, the cost benefit outcomes would more than cover the investment.
    • Investing in housing is investing in a better healthier future we need to shift our priorities from spending billions on motorways that are largely unnecessary and spending a few million on our families and kids.
    • 420,000 kids live in rental and state housing, half of them live in in conditions that are having a negative impact on their health and future. Those born into those circumstances in 2008 when National was first elected are now 7 years old, how much longer do they have to wait for their situation to change?


  40. Name Withheld says:

    Not so much a meeting to find solutions for housing problems then.
    More a party political broadcast for the greens.
    Todd questioned the facts of others but didn’t challenge any of mine.
    I’m sure he didn’t.
    Probably comatose from boredom.


  41. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Not so much a meeting to find solutions for housing problems then.”
    Interestingly Todd didn’t disagree with the extent of the problem and he heard some shocking stories of the poor treatment of those living in state houses.
    His response was that the government was doing a bad job therefore it should pass it on to someone else. When asked who could take over the current 65,000 homes on Housing New Zealand’s books and deal with the $1.5 billion of overdue maintenance, he had no real idea. The solutions were made loud and clear:
    -Do the maintenance as a responsible landlord (as no private business would take on that number of properties that need substantial investment).
    -Build more houses (The government has the advantage of low cost finance and getting them built more cheaply through economies of scale).
    -Re-establish local offices so that the needs of occupants can be properly established and monitored.
    -remove the cap on providing curtains, carpets and heat pumps into state houses that need them (one person in a state houses had a bill of $400.00 for a month because of the heating systems she was forced to use to keep her children warm).
    -Introduce rent to buy, to repay costs and shift more people into independence (Todd agreed with this one).

    More state houses and lower cost (but good quality) homes is urgently needed to meet the demand and shift around 250,000 children into healthier environments. For every dollar spent on insulation there is $4 return. Investing in decent housing has a better return than spending billions on bridges and motorways that fail cost/benefit analysis.


  42. tom hunter says:

    That Party Political broadcast by Dave Kennedy on behalf of the Green Party, was paid for by Elle, a private citizen hosting a blog.


  43. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, The problems a real one, I presented unchallenged facts, the ball’s in the government’s court and yet its answer coming back is do very little and fob the problem off to others.

    I will take every opportunity to promote the issues and the obvious solutions, you can call it a political broadcast if you like but this is an issue that has really gone beyond politics.

    I suggest Ele finds another provider if this blog costs her, mine doesn’t cost me anything 😉


  44. homepaddock says:

    The wonderful WordPress doesn’t charge those who use it to blog.


  45. TraceyS says:

    What is a blog without an audience? The cost of a blog surely resides in the time taken by the author to develop an audience.


  46. Dave Kennedy says:

    I did think that would be the case, Ele, but I do appreciate your tolerance of a Green commenter providing a different view.

    Interestingly the biggest difference that has been made to improve our housing stock came out of a Green/National Memorandum of understanding and insulating 300,000 homes is still a substantial achievement.


  47. Dave Kennedy says:

    “What is a blog without an audience?”
    I agree Tracey, I do my best as a contributor too. Imagine how quite it would be if I didn’t comment occasionally. Who would you disagree with? 😉


  48. TraceyS says:

    I don’t think that it would be quite as quiet as your blog, Dave!


  49. homepaddock says:

    Dave while I often don’t agree with your views you are welcome to air them here. It would be nothing but an echo chamber if everyone agreed with everything in the posts and comments.

    If people stick to the issues and debate them rather than resorting to attacks on people, they’re welcome regardless of their political persuasion.


  50. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I don’t think that it would be quite as quiet as your blog, Dave!”

    You’re right, Tracey, I haven’t given it much attention recently and it has dropped a little from it’s 30,000 a month views. However many of my posts are republished and much of the discussions occur on Facebook rather than the blog itself.


  51. tom hunter says:

    National MP beaten senseless by left-wing Social Justice Warriors – now there’s a surprise.

    To be fair to Todd however, the “comatose” crack is probably correct. Deluging one’s opponent with a massive laundry list of “facts”, each one combined with “Don’t you care (TM) implication, works well in a public space. By contrast the internet was made for fact checking.

    Of course on the internet the to get around way around detailed rebuttal is to simply drop the point (Farm pollution, markets vs. central planning, private vs. public business, Detroit, US manufacturing, trains, etc), move on and then just repeat the same stuff again when in the middle of an argument where a suitably emotive and assertive soundbite is needed.

    Here’s just one example of how a political activist/politician tries to deceive:

    Electricity costs rising around twice the rate of inflation.

    True since 2014 – but before that the electricity CPI matched the overall CPI – as opposed to when Labour were in charge, where they rose at more than twice the rate of inflation for years on end. And this was not because of private profit but the left-wing’s insatiable demand for more money, which demanded larger dividends from 100% SOE power companies.

    How cruel and mean 😉

    Or this:

    Home ownership dropped to 64%, the lowest for 65 years.

    Which is still higher than that well known economic basket case where people freeze to death in rented hovels – Germany at 46% – and put’s NZ in good company with most West European countries: : note that the Europeans with the highest levels of home ownership are former communist countries. We’re constantly told we should follow Europe’s example on matters socio-economic.

    Or this:

    Reduced Government spending,

    Compared to what – which is the key questionn. In terms of real, constant dollars the answer is no. In terms of GDP, yes – and a bloody good thing too, otherwise it’s time to move to Greece.

    Others – god, it’s endless, and I have work to do. Which is what political activists count on in the fight against ordinary people.


  52. Mr E says:

    Speaking as an Invercargill landlord and a relation of State housing users, I think you are overstating issues.

    You appear to be using anecdotal evidence to ham up issues that would exist no matter how much money is thrown at housing.

    Invercargill housing is some of the cheapest in the nation, and yet we have near median incomes. Southland has the best affordability index in the nation, yet you seem to ignore it, rather preferring to criticise your home town. It doesn’t seem very patriotic, I have to say.

    Click to access Invercargill_home_loan_affordability_12.pdf

    Also of importance is the simple point that some reports show it is better to buy in Invercargill than it is to rent.


    As per the link – “It takes a typical household 2.2 years (with a saving rate of 20%) to save a 20% deposit, as now
    required by most banks.”

    The number of rentals available to let are declining in Southland, which is evidence that people are taking the opportunity to invest as buying has become a better option under the National Government.

    “In February 2014, it takes 13.9% of a typical households take-home pay to service the mortgage and related household costs on a lower quartile priced house. But it also takes 17.5% of household take-home pay to make the median rent on a 3 bedroom house.”

    “That means in February 2014, it takes 3.6% less of your household income to afford the mortgage than to rent.”

    Click to access Invercargill_rent_or_buy_6.pdf

    When it comes to social housing, in March 2015 there were only 13 applications for state housing pending. Only 7 of them priority. Nearly all of the application (10) were single bedroom requirements.
    13 pending applications is 0.3% of pending applications in NZ. There is hardly an outstanding demand for social housing in Invercargill. Typically there are 50-60 private houses to rent at $240/week. (http://www.landlords.co.nz/housing-statistics/)

    With regard to state house quality, statistics on stocks show that Dunedin, Invercargill and Timaru have 2667 houses, with 66 vacant. The average rent was $246/week. The median rent for a private owned 3 bedroom home in Invercargill is $240/week. So is quality less when people are willing to pay more for a state house than a private home.
    I’m not sure it is an apples with apples comparison but I think better than your anecdotes.

    I have family that have used many state houses in Invercargill, and I have family that own some of the worst houses in Invercargill, some in your suburb. You probably know some of them.

    In my opinion some of these houses should be torn down. But people choose to live in this way. All the handouts in the world would not change the situation of some. I know this because I have seen it.

    As a landlord I know that irrespective of the quality of the residence you provide, decline can happen rapidly. Last night I spent 2 hours cleaning an oven that was spotless pre tenant. This year, we have spent approximately 16hrs cleaning ovens, only to know that they will get plastered again. I plan to spend 2 hours every night for the next 3 nights to bring an oven back to its original state.

    One of my houses – the residence kept a goat in the lounge. Yes Dave, a goat. The house was but 3 years old. 2 years ago 2 people spent 2 days scrubbing the floors of that property. It would be a health and safety risk to walk though without shoes on.

    People choose to live in all sorts of situations, and people choose to damage property. It is unfair to attribute all blame to landlords.

    In summary. There doesn’t appear to be a large scale social housing issue in Invercargill. Nor does there appear to be a significant housing issue in Invercargill. Affordability is the best in the country, and it is more affordable to buy than rent.

    There doesn’t appear to be the demand for more state houses in the city, and encouraging people to use them, may discourage them from purchasing, which appears more affordable and would likely result in a better result for many lower quartile income earners.

    It is worth noting that housing affordability has improved under the National Government, which I think is a much better outcome that spending masses of money on state houses that are in low demand.


  53. tom hunter says:

    Well, well, well – and now we have an actual slumlord speaking from Dave Kennedy’s town!

    A person in the housing business and not only that, a local on the ground, and with family to boot.

    Much better than searching the internet for comparisons. I can’t wait for the response from DK. I’m sure it will be filled with “Gee, maybe I should check my facts / reasoning / argument” 🙂

    I doubt it though; you start doing that and you’re likely to start questioning one’s ideology.


  54. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, there are a wide range of people needing housing from those on very low incomes, people with disabilities and beneficiaries. An element of those would need some management to ensure they are looking after the property and getting appropriate support. If children are involved it is even more important that their lives aren’t too compromised by poor parenting and poor housing.

    “Nor does there appear to be a significant housing issue in Invercargill.”

    According to the community health nurse there are a large number of largely responsible families, doing the best they can, but living in substandard housing that effects their children’s health. The significant issue is housing quality.

    The quality of housing is probably more important than who provides it and even though rents may be cheap, the cost of heating substandard houses becomes problematic. To say people always choose their circumstances isn’t entirely fair as many have few choices.

    Remember that the criteria for state housing has changed and that removed about half the prior waiting list and those in priority A and B now are in urgent need (meaning they are genuinely homeless and may be living in cars, caravans or with friends and family. The average waiting time to be accommodated now is 122 weeks.

    The Government has already stated that having a strict WOF for houses will remove many rentals from the current supply and no NGO or private developer is likely to build good new houses for low incomes or social housing. If we want to lift standards we desperately need to build more houses and the rent to buy idea makes a lot of sense to recover costs and improve the way tenants regard their homes.

    The problem is going to escalate when the ICC gets rid of their 220 social houses because they are too old to be cost neutral to maintain and they would find it difficult to get support to rebuild them.

    Have a chat to the Salvation Army and community health people and you will get an entirely different picture of our Invercargill housing. You were talking about affordability for median incomes but I am talking about the bottom 25% who do struggle.


  55. Mr E says:


    “The quality of housing is probably more important than who provides it and even though rents may be cheap, the cost of heating substandard houses becomes problematic.”

    The thing is Dave – with housing being more affordable than anywhere else in NZ, people have a better chance of choosing better housing. If your not happy with what you have, slightly more might afford slightly better. As I said – in any month there are 50-60 houses available for rent. And if that doesn’t get you there, as people have more disposable income they have a better chance of affording heating than other parts of the country.

    “To say people always choose their circumstances isn’t entirely fair as many have few choices. ”

    Lucky I didn’t say that then isn’t it?

    But I know that some people will choose to live in a house that I think should be torn down, when they are quite cable of living in better.

    Last Thursday I visited a man – whose house I would not choose to live in. He had recently bought a brand new Double cab ute, and was looking to buy a brand new ride on lawn mower (town section that could easily be down with a push mower). He chose to accommodate his family in such a way, when clearly he had other options.

    One of my rentals ($270/week) had tenants who complained about the warmth of the house. A house that is fully insulated, polythene, underfloor insulation, with a top of the range heat pump. I’ve lived in the house and every tenant has commented how warm the house is. Our advice to the tenants was turn on the heat pump. They claimed they could not afford it, and would not overt their eyes from their 60 inch TV screen when they said so. Shortly after that they bought a car which was more than we would afford. It is fair to say, some people make choices different to how you and I would.

    Some people do nothing for their own situation, and frankly I think the number of those individuals is increasing. I’ve come across a number of the next generation, that spend every cent they earn on ‘wants’ without a care in the world for next week or next year.

    Again I say to you, I think there is a need for better education. Financial education – to make people more financially savy. On one of the weekend political programmes, I heard and Asian interviewee , referring to his culture being taught to buy a house as soon as they left home, where he watched NZers, choose to do an OE. I thought, how true.

    Peoples choices are important Dave. I think they are more important than you will recognise, and your political leanings may influence that.

    The reality is there are number of houses in Invercargill that I would consider to be unfit for accommodation. Ive been inside some of them. If we destroyed these houses, the next level of houses would become the worst, and our standards would change and these would become unacceptable. In short – there will always be the best and worst. Like a lizard – chopping of the tail just results in the new formation of a tail. And the truth is most lizards like their tails and don’t want them chopped off. It is the lizards right to make these choices.


  56. Mr E says:

    Love your comment. If it was aimed at me I don’t think I have ever been called a Slumlord, and it made me laugh when I read your remark.

    By the way Invercargill is not a ‘Slum’. Those of us with some pride, know it as the “City of Water and Light”. Lots of water and sometimes some light :).

    Seriously – we have the best agricultural land in the country, our productivity proves that, and with our housing prices and unemployment being so low, – we are the solution to Auckland’s Housing challenges.

    For the price of an average Auckland house, you could bang a new house anywhere in the city and live in luxury. Heck your could have a lifestyle block for that value.

    Our rainfall is the same as Auckland, so people wont get any wetter, it is just slight cooler down here. Climate change has promised to sort that out for us though, which is good news 🙂

    Importantly we have welcoming and positive people. Tim Shadbolt is a laugh a minute and what a great ambassador for the region. There is the odd sour lemon, but they are the exception, not the norm.


  57. JC says:

    When building public housing we should go for world best practice; here it is..


    You just need to look at the photos to see how out of touch we are.



  58. TraceyS says:

    “According to the community health nurse there are a large number of largely responsible families, doing the best they can, but living in substandard housing that effects their children’s health.”

    But the health issue is so much more complicated than housing. Things like diet, sleep, smoking inside (and during gestation), access to medical care, and clothing.

    Not many kids wear what I would call appropriate winter clothing these days. One of my children even got a hard time at school because the woolly jersey in winter was so foreign to other kids. Also, singlets seem to have become a thing of the past (sorry to sound old-fashioned). Same with having real food in the lunchbox.

    I managed to grow up a well child in housing that was far more substandard than any state house of today (it wasn’t a state house). There wasn’t enough food sometimes, and certainly not enough heat (or warm bedding), but the food was generally wholesome and unprocessed. Also Mum was a cleaning fanatic so mould never got a chance, and there was no smoking in the house by anyone under any circumstances!

    My children have eaten a lot more junk food than I ever did, but this is balanced with the best of the best (wild game, homegrown fruit, eggs and veges etc), and certainly no lack of quantity. Our house is warm and dry and they have lots of warm bedding and warm clothes. They have also been very well children so far. Both have only ever had one prescription for antibiotics each. We go years between doctors visits. The biggest problem has been allergies which seem to be very common nowadays.


  59. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, you can’t keep using your experiences to explain what others are dealing with. Power costs have increased, coal use is limited and many houses are in even worse condition than they were. There was not the mass availability of cheap processed food then either. However, if you talk to those at the frontline of child health, they will tell you that housing is a significant factor for causing the huge increase in child respiratory illness.

    Click to access Final-report-Solutions-to-child-poverty-evidence-for-action.pdf

    JC, we don’t really want to go down the line of the housing estates of other countries where you lump all the poor into one place and see crime and despair grow. The original idea of having state housing across different communities was a sound one we just need to provide different mixes and apartments and flats could be part of that mix. But we urgently need to start building them.



  60. Mr E says:


    You said
    “you can’t keep using your experiences to explain what others are dealing with”

    Do you read your own comments?

    ‘A woman I know who works……’
    ‘I bought my first house in Invercargill on a teachers salary…’
    ‘Community Health nurse told me yesterday…’
    ‘The only obvious growth business in Invercargill is charity shops and I have noticed the same in other cities.’

    Etc Etc……


  61. Dave Kennedy says:

    Good try Mr E, but there is a difference between recounting one’s own direct experience to those who are working on the front line. The community health nurse I spoke of is in a supervisory role and if she states that housing is an issue then her views carry some weight. Tracey was referring to her experiences as a child but things like electricity costs have increased and challenges in general have changed since then.

    My reference to my son was focussed on his income and the affordability of houses in Invercargill now for younger people, it was actually based on estimates of future income and projected house prices using existing data and would be valid for than more than my son.

    Anecdotal evidence can be useful as examples but to use personal experiences as your main argument has serious flaws.

    It is very clear that we have a severe shortage of good quality homes for young and low income families and people who have challenging circumstances. State houses have not been maintained as well as the could be and there is no profit to be made from renting to these groups.

    The only practical solution is for the Government to initiate a massive building scheme that will seriously deal with the problems of quality and supply. There is no other body or organisation that can do this to the extent necessary. End of story!


  62. TraceyS says:

    “I bought my first house in Invercargill on a teachers salary…”

    I particularly loved that one. And the one the other day when Dave said he’d done very well out of capital gains on property but now the market is “stuffed”.

    It’s not, of course. There’s still good opportunity to make steady gains in places like Invercargill and Dunedin.

    The other day I was frustrated to hear my sister say that her boys had a lack of job-seeking motivation partly in connection with “no hope of ever owning a house”. I replied “oh that’s terrible dear sister, and all the Government’s fault, let the boys laze around on your sofa for the rest of their lives because the market is stuffed”.

    Actually, no. I challenged her assumptions head-on, drawing attention to the fact that you can still pick up an old three bedroomed piece of sh*t in South Dunedin for $150k. And I reminded her that that’s where we started out – with grubby doer-uppers in depressed areas, made a bit of a gain upon selling, and then moved up a rung. When you start adult life at the bottom this is simply what you HAVE to do. Problem is many people don’t know how. Their parents didn’t have to and didn’t know how to teach them. Nor do the teachers at school.

    It is hard, hard work. I was working full-time, running the business office part-time, studying part-time, and doing up a house all at the same time. Interest rates were anywhere between 8 and 11%. To make matters worse we lost money upon selling the house. Fortunately we didn’t get hit when interest rates went up to 12% because I had locked in at 8%. That was cheap but the threat of rates escalating, and the fixed term expiring, was still frightening. Tight budgets need tight control over costs. It was a horrible time. But the silver lining was the motivation to get the mortgage down to reduce exposure to that uncontrolled beast.

    Dave, I will go on talking about my experiences for as long as I want to. I’m not trying to “explain what others are dealing with”. Just telling a story. I know full-well that the problems (and solutions) of the past are NOT the problems and solutions of the present or future. But one would be forgiven for thinking that when reading your speech above where you draw a correlation between the problems of 80 years ago and now, and propose basically the same solutions.


  63. TraceyS says:

    Dave at 5:16pm:

    Oh where is your aspiration you sad, sad man!

    You make me glad to have grown up poor rather than as a pampered poodle who thinks some that it’s the job of some “body or organisation” to fix all their problems.

    There’s nothing like being in charge of your own destiny. Nothing. Even if the road is rough…it is worth it!


  64. tom hunter says:

    If it was aimed at me I don’t think I have ever been called a Slumlord, and it made me laugh when I read your remark.

    I’m glad that you were able to laugh when I had not put on the /sarc tag. I just chuckled in thinking that’s probably the image that Greens like Dave have – or at least that they use in public to win arguments.

    Actually I have good feelings for your home town, though I’m currently a Waikato farm boy trapped in Auckland, so rain, cold, yada, yada, yada: no big deal.

    I’ll play the evil capitalist polluter on the blog by pouring buckets of cowshit into the streams at midnight – when the drones aren’t watching – because that’s just what we right wingers do. 🙂


  65. JC says:

    “JC, we don’t really want to go down the line of the housing estates of other countries where you lump all the poor into one place and see crime and despair grow.”

    Strange isn’t it.. planners, Greens and Len Brown believe all the rich and law abiding should be housed in apartment blocks and all the riffraff should have all the fancy fully furnished and free heating detached houses. Apparently this will solve all our urban problems.

    Anyway, lets have no more from you on how cruel NZers are to their poor compared to the rest of the much more compassionate world with their enlightened attitudes on public housing.



  66. Mr E says:

    Don’t be silly. Your stories are similarly just as anecdotal as Tracey’s.
    You suggest your advice to your son was based on data and relevant to others. You don’t think the Tracey’s story regarding providing a balanced diet to children is based on good science, good data and is relevant to others?

    Don’t be ridiculous Dave.

    Tracey, your background is a little similar to that of my wife. She has a self made story, she grew her equity from rags.
    She was raised by a solo mother until the age of 15. She has 6 siblings including 4 half siblings. Her mother was a beneficiary for nearly her entire life. When we drive through town, she regularly points out another house that she lived in. Nearly every house is now derelict.
    She tells stories of being warm and fed but with little more. Cleaning was not high on the priority list.

    She left home at 15 – went flatting, worked for for little more than the benefit and trained in a profession. Her motivation was to not live the way she was raised, and earning a little more than the benefit was achievement enough, when friends were achieving less.

    Like you, we have built equity through property, hard work and other investments. Together we are a story of success from hard work. We’ve taken big risks, some of them sleepless risks, but made many good decisions.

    My wife, despite her strong left upbringing, very much dislikes hearing some people complain of being trapped in a situation. Particularly the cold, poor and unhealthy story. She was raised with less than nearly anyone I have ever met, and has stories or warm, well fed and healthy.

    She has helped me form many of my views.


  67. Dave Kennedy says:

    It appears that there is the belief here that it is just as easy to buy a home as it was twenty or thirty years ago and hard work and savings will get most there. But for more and more families this will never happen. In the eighties one could easily buy a house that was equal to one years salary, now it is at least three time. In real terms houses are three times more expensive. In Auckland it is probably 11 times.

    As for state housing, there are numerous reasons for needing a state house. In 1990 there was 1 state house for every 47 New Zealanders, now there is 1 state house for every 70 New Zealanders and the government plans to sell off even more. Who will become the providers of social housing in the future? Private companies like Serco?

    I guess we just need to lecture these people who don’t have houses and tell them to worker harder and eat better and they too can have a house like you…really?


  68. TraceyS says:

    Mr E,

    Thanks for telling us a little of your wife’s story. Her motivation, and drive, does sound very similar to mine. I left school at 16 and educated myself. I had a “left” upbringing, too, but both my parents now vote for National. I’ve got two biological sisters and a brother, three step-sisters, and a step-brother. Each and every one has had some sort of major challenge or tragedy dealt to them (by comparison I’ve gotten off unscathed) and they are a window into the way life is for many. It’s only recently that I’ve come to truly appreciate having such a big family. I like using my strength to help the family pull together when needed – all the while knowing that my own big reality check might be just around the next corner. There certainly have been a few close calls! For now, I just feel lucky.


  69. Dave Kennedy says:

    Remember too there are some people for whom their focus is self improvement and financial security. There are others who focus on community service and caring for others (obviously some do both), to their own personal detriment. Some people are hard workers but do not have the knowledge or skills to be truly financially independent, others have disabilities, suffered unexpected misfortune or have been damaged by their past.


    I believe all people need to be treated with dignity and given as much support as necessary to provide them with decent, health housing. Where possible supporting them to a point where they are able to live independently.

    It is sad that many of you don’t believe the same.


  70. TraceyS says:

    “In the eighties one could easily buy a house that was equal to one years salary.”

    Easily you say? Well that’s debatable!

    My wage in the late 80s amounted to about $9,000 per year for full-time work. Union award rates!

    Mum bought a house in St Kilda Dunedin at that time for around $46,000.

    I was young but fully independent and needed a house. Renting was too expensive, and hard to find, and I didn’t want to flat because others my age didn’t live the kind of lifestyle I wanted.

    The pay scale in the award told me that as a retail assistant it would be at least a decade before I could even think about having any extra money to save for a deposit.

    I watched the house market anyway, and dreamed. Once the ridiculously high interest rates of the mid-eighties had started to come down, to the huge relief of everyone who already had a house with mortgage, guess what happened?

    It was obvious that with my $9,000 per annum wage growing at about 2-3% per year, and even modest houses prices at $40-50,000 growing at about 10% per year, the gap between my income and house prices was going to get very wide quite quickly and it was already wide enough! (x5). Moving up the pay scale in annual increments accelerated my pay increases to about 10%pa but still not enough to keep up because it was on top of a much lower base. Unless there was a dramatic change, I would never, ever own a house.

    Even if the existing labour relations environment had remained, and Unions had somehow managed to negotiate superhuman collective percentage pay increases, it still wasn’t going to be enough. Such increases would only have fueled house prices further. As a young person there was only one thing to do and that was to back myself and make a run for it. Which I did, facilitated by labour relations reform in 1991, and just never looked behind.

    My situation was not atypical of other young people at the time (just as Dave’s son’s situation is not atypical of other young people today).

    So in wide-eyed bewilderment I ask anyone to explain why, if the writing was so plain on the wall that an eighteen year old girl could see it back in the 80s, could so many others not? Not even those who smugly collected and now, decades later, bemoan what has happened like it is some great surprise.


  71. TraceyS says:

    “There are others who focus on community service and caring for others (obviously some do both), to their own personal detriment.”

    Maybe you are one of these, Dave? If so, why not donate the gifts the market gave you to those more needy?

    You might say you prefer to use your financial security as a strong base from which you’ll help people in other ways, like to help themselves.

    Great! That’s what I prefer to do as well. Mr E seems to prefer that too in his role as a good landlord. Which invalidates the latter part of your comment “…all people need to be treated with dignity and given as much support as necessary to provide them with decent, healthy housing…many of you don’t believe the same.”


  72. Name Withheld says:

    Where possible supporting them to a point where they are able to live independently.
    Live independently?
    In reality this hardly ever works as it was originally conceived, you are dreaming your socialist nirvana dream as usual.
    It is not unusual to find a third or even a fourth generation of a family living in the same state house, as it is passed down as some sort of family inheritance.
    When does the “live independently” thing kick in?


  73. Paranormal says:

    DK at 1.26 you are a [deleted]. You quite simply have no idea what people here do for others.

    I believe in helping people help themselves and assist them in making the right choices for themselves, rather than giving them handouts. You on the other hand, because you prefer to keep people trapped in one size fits all dependency to ensure a guaranteed voting block, are [deleted].
    [The personal abuse in this comment ahs been deleted – Ele]


  74. Mr E says:


    Some do both, you are right. I would say many. I am not going to list what I do with regards to community support. I consider myself humble, and don’t like to be measured by my social acts. Some of the acts I undertake are anonymous. It is one of the reasons why I have a pseudonym. This identity has been used for gifts of good, and there are those who would like to know who I am. This identity even made the front page of the Southland times, after acts of kindness, and a witch hunt (so to speak) ensued.

    But where I volunteer resources I believe the greatest act of good is one where thanks are not needed or sort out. Volunteering time is harder to do anonymously. But it can definitely be done with minimum recognition.

    I am a very proud man, fiercely independent, and it would hurt me to accept help from others. It is the reason why I try and make my efforts as unobtrusive and hidden as possible, as I often try to help those that need it the most but want it the least.

    I do believe though we are talking on cross purposes.

    There are those that absolutely need help – and more of it, I am sure we agree. But there are also those that don’t need help, but scream for more. I detest these people – I believe they rob from those that need it the most.

    This is also the main reason why I reacted to your commentary regarding social housing in Invercargill. Of course we need social housing in Invercargill, but if we create 5 star accommodation in Invercargill, are we depriving other areas that need it to a greater extent? Like South Auckland. The truth is with housing affordability being the best in the country in Southland, our housing needs should be the least. Cheap rents, mean a greater ability to provide the necessities, and as has been proven, encouraging the over use of social housing can deprive some people the opportunity into home ownership and onto a progressive pathway.

    It is all a case of balance, and affecting that balance is a group of people out their with a sense of inflated entitlement that are depriving those that really need support. Flooding the issue with more resources is not a solution in my opinion. Systems that encourage those capable out to the system, help us to focus on those in need. Education is indeed one of those systems.

    Did you know Dave, SIT provides free courses. One of those courses is a ‘Certificate in money management’. Prerequisites don’t exist, although preference is given to those with at least Level 2 NZQA.


  75. Dave Kennedy says:

    “just as Dave’s son’s situation is not atypical of other young people today”
    You are right Tracey, most young people won’t have the earning opportunities of my son and the vast bulk of young people won’t live in places where houses are as cheap as Invercargill. For them a cheap house will most likely be over six times their annual salary (3 times is considered affordable by banks).

    “It is not unusual to find a third or even a fourth generation of a family living in the same state house, as it is passed down as some sort of family inheritance.”

    It is unusual, NW, the average tenure is for two years.

    “You on the other hand, because you prefer to keep people trapped in one size fits all dependency to ensure a guaranteed voting block, are evil personified.”

    Oh dear, I wonder why Ele didn’t step in here, surely there is nothing worse than being called ‘Evil personified’ I think it must be a step above a ‘child abuser’. But I guess personal abuse here is often acceptable if it is me under the receiving end 😉

    Paranormal, I do hope that you can pull back from your hate filled rants and find evidence of a one size fits all belief. Where did I infer that you don’t help people? There is a huge difference between a hand out and a hand up, and I definitely support the latter. I guess you would be one of those who would say to those people who were raped and physically abused as state wards (and consequently struggled to properly function in society as adults) that they should grow a back bone and move on. Your callousness and lack of empathy is unbelievable and your ability to leap to unsubstantiated conclusions knows no bounds.

    I am constantly referring to the need to support every individual (who needs it) to be as independent from the state as possible. You obviously have this blind hatred of anyone who is Green (and a teacher) so that you refuse to read the comments and links in any depth and assume that they fit your crazed view of their beliefs.

    Mr E you also presume a lot. It seems that you think that the majority of people needing support just need better money management and many people have an inflated sense of entitlement. That is just pure supposition. There will always be a small percentage of those who work the system like the woman on the front page of the Southland Times today, but the actual level of benefit fraud is actually very low and there is evidence that a large number of people who are entitled to a benefit don’t receive one do to pride or the bureaucracy overwhelms them, so they give up.

    Housing is more that just availability and cost, it is also about quality and I was talking to an Austrian the other day who was shocked at our housing standards here, in Austria all houses are well insulated have efficient heating systems and double or triple glazing. Despite investing in insulation, some retrospective double glazing and a heat pump our house only achieves a 2 star rating (out of ten) on the Homestar evaluation of energy efficiency. I would guess that over 50% of houses in Invercargill would rate lower.

    The average level of Invercargill’s housing stock is appalling. There are still many families living in 100 year old villas with scrim walls, no insulation and no cheap method of heating. There are many others living in 30s-40s character houses with living areas facing south and no insulation and proper heating. There are more living in houses built in the 70s with limited insulation, single glazed windows and high levels of condensation and dampness. Compared to Europe we have the housing of a 3rd world country.

    I wrote the following 3 years ago and there is an image of some Invercargill houses that reflects hundreds that exist around the city that are still occupied. The standard of our worst houses is actually declining: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/housing-crisis-demands-immediate-action.html


  76. homepaddock says:

    Dave – I hadn’t deleted it because I was out all morning and hadn’t seen it. The offending words have now been deleted.

    Paranormal you’re more than capable of countering views with which you disagree without personal abuse of the one writing them.

    I don’t want this blog to descend to the depths of some others where vitriol and abuse are substitutes for debate.


  77. Mr E says:


    ‘you think that the majority of people needing support just need better money management ‘

    Nope – didn’t say that. Some do though, and as is obvious from some of my early commentary, I am mostly concerned about the next generation of money mangers. To be utterly frank, I would love to see some of these younger beneficiaries completing money management courses, to help them develop the tools they need to progress. Wouldn’t it be great if some of these people moved on to be the next John Key figures of this country 🙂

    I see this potential. I see this opportunity, but I doubt it will flourish when people see social solutions as throwing more money at the problem to provide all beneficiaries lavish conditions.

    Capable beneficiaries need a progressive pathway. I think increasingly there are opportunities to help the younger ones onto this progressive pathway. If all resources go into comfort and none opportunities you simply perpetuate a problem. Reviewing hardship surveys suggest it is the youth that suffer hardship the most. I think it also the right time to try and influence direction.

    As you appear to be moving back into your housing anecdotes, I know an old house is not necessarily a cold house. And as housing is more affordable more is available to spend on heating. From above the housing affordability index suggest 20% of take home income is need for a mortgage in Southland compared to Auckland at 95%.

    Nationwide Real Disposable Incomes have increased, meaning people have great ability to heat. In 2014 RDI was $46,914 and it is beating inflation by 2% per annum.


    Most hardship measures have been improving in NZ.
    Inequality measures have improved relative to the OECD
    Household costs to income ratio was also in decline when it was last assessed 2012-13. People earning more relative to living cost.

    With all these positives – considering housing is more reasonable here in Invercargill, than any other region – I’m surprised you are still beating that housing drum.


  78. Mr E says:

    At 9.55am I did a thumbs down to Paranormal’s 8.04am comment.

    I disliked the delivery of the point he was trying to make, and felt a thumbs down was an appropriate response.

    I see Ele, as always has taken the appropriate steps, and I respect that.


  79. Paranormal says:

    Ele my apologies for stepping outside the bounds of your blog with my comment.


  80. Dave Kennedy says:

    Thanks for the intervention, Ele, and your support Mr E. I don’t really feel hurt by Paranormal’s comments (it just reveals more about himself), but I do comment here because respectful debate can occur at times in a way that could never happen on WhaleOil. There are not many right leaning blogs where Greens and supporters of the right can debate.

    “throwing more money at the problem to provide all beneficiaries lavish conditions.”

    This is probably the crux of the issue. What should be regarded as lavish conditions?

    In Northern Europe a minimum would probably be a fully insulated house, with double glazing and an efficient heating system. In New Zealand the minimum is a tent, caravan, or house that has four walls and a roof.

    There is no basic warrant of fitness for private rentals yet and the Government is worried that introducing one will remove thousands of houses from the rental market. This admission in itself is appalling. Even state houses don’t have to have carpets, curtains, efficient heating systems (heat pumps?) and double glazing. The fact that you think that we would be spoiling struggling families by providing these is bizarre. Why do you believe that people experiencing all manner of misfortune should have to live in conditions deemed substandard elsewhere?

    “Most hardship measures have been improving in NZ.
    Inequality measures have improved relative to the OECD
    Household costs to income ratio was also in decline when it was last assessed 2012-13. People earning more relative to living cost.”

    Again it depends on the measures used, all agencies and NGOs working on the frontline of family support have statistics to show the opposite. Food bank numbers are up, families needing counseling and support have increased, the very poorest communities have seen their incomes drop (Invercargill has a decile 1 community for the first time) child admissions to hospitals with respiratory illness and rheumatic fever are up, the housing crisis is getting worse, the homeless numbers in Auckland have doubled, the numbers identified as working poor have increased, we have one of the highest levels of those seeking more employment in the OECD (11%).


  81. Paranormal says:

    Hate filled rant DK? No, simply calling it as it is.

    You think you have the monopoly on “caring” ™ when what you are offering is ongoing dependency to ensure a poor downtrodden left voting bloc is maintained. What would you suggest that approach be described as? Caring? I don’t think so.

    To suggest others on this blog don’t “care” ™ as you do is quite frankly insulting. Where is your proof that others on this blog don’t care?

    That you are ‘surprised’ to be called out on that comment is more evidence of your blinkered ideological outlook.


  82. Mr E says:

    A WOF does the following:
    1, Creates a cost of compliance that will be born initially by the landlord and in the long run by the tenant

    2, Removes a “tail” of houses that the “lizard” WANTS. If the tail is removed the “lizard” will have to pay more – but seemingly cannot afford it. If the “lizard” could have afforded it all along – then maybe they should not complain about their current situation.
    Perhaps the victim of this ‘living below their means situation’ is the children. But I think CYFS should be stepping in at this point, so systems to deal with these issues should already be there.

    3, Prescriptive living really limits peoples rights and opportunities to live how they want. Some people genuinely want to live in tents, caravans and who knows whatever else. Im sure you have been to Gypsy fairs and Circuses and the like. I for one don’t want to be restrict that.

    4, Increases running cost of rentals, which will ultimately be transferred to the tenant. Making them poorer, less likely to afford heating.

    Fundamentally I think the onus of living standard really is that of the individual. Not the landlord. A family in a brand new house can live in disgusting conditions, have a goat in the lounge, mould on the walls and zero heating. Unhealthy living. None of which is any fault of the landlord. Similarly a family can live in a 100 year old house, on low pay, warm, healthy and happy (without goats in their lounge).

    The point beings is the major factor is peoples choice. You want to limit choice but the net gain is nothing other than a loss of individuals rights.

    The gust of the situation is I don’t think your WOF will help anyone. Making rentals more expensive simply reduces peoples ability to heat homes. It is a robbing Peter to pay Paul situation.


  83. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, we have at around 250,000 children living in substandard houses.

    Our housing stock on average is estimated as 50 years behind northern Europe.

    The Government has stated there is $1.5 billion of deferred maintenance that has to be done on current state housing to bring them up to standard.

    The Slavation Army and PACT have been identified as the most likely to take on the social housing responsibility from the Government but neither have the capacity or finance to do it.

    The Government wants to sell off large numbers of social housing and is only wanting to deal with large scale sales and Todd and Bill English haven’t stated that the money will be directed back into social housing. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/70391155/all-state-house-sales-could-go-to-a-single-buyer–treasury

    Yet we need 25,000 new houses a year to keep up with demand and when the need for social housing is increasing we are reducing number and waiting times have trebled.

    Your claim that people choose to live in unhealthy conditions and caravans is appalling. There is a tiny minority that enjoy a nomadic and simple lifestyle but the vast majority just want a warm healthy home that is affordable on a modest income. You use of one story to condemn the majority is an appalling technique. Please find evidence for the fact that most tenants treat houses that badly!

    The responsibility of the landlord is hugely important. Slum and absentee landlords are a huge issue and I can’t see why houses should be regarded as any different from cars or any other transactions involving goods and services. Rented houses should be ‘fit for purpose’ and meet basic health and safety requirements.

    Renters who abuse a property should be managed appropriately but in my experience those who trash houses are in the minority and when there is a good relationship between the landlord and the tenant there is less likely to be issues.

    To say that having to insulate a house will only put up the rent and then the tenant won’t be able to afford the power is bizarre. It is similar to the argument that if an employer can’t afford to pay more than $10 an hour and someone is so desperate for work that they are prepared to work for that, then it should be allowed.

    We just need to lift the standard of our houses to that of most of the developed world and build the houses we need to to meet demand (350 houses over 7 years just won’t cut it).


  84. Dave Kennedy says:

    “To suggest others on this blog don’t “care” ™ as you do is quite frankly insulting. Where is your proof that others on this blog don’t care?”

    Through the denial around the evidence of the problem; through the suggestion that the disadvantaged deserve to live in appalling conditions and even prefer to; through the acceptance that the Government is doing enough; through the support for landlords not tbeing expected to rent a healthy safe home (how many deaths and hospitalisations is an acceptable level?); through the use individual horror stories to condemn all tenants; through the suggestion that suffering poor conditions is the best incentive and struggling people don’t deserve the luxury of curtains and carpet and insulation; through not understanding the difference between handouts and handups… how many more do you want?


  85. Mr E says:

    I think your last 2 comments are loaded with dishonesty. And quite frankly you’ve caused me to lose interest in your Green Party point of view on housing.

    I was enjoying engaging with you, but, you just lowered the standard of debate below a level that encorages me to respond.

    Good luck with promoting your views. I no longer care for them after that last lot of nonsense.


  86. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E there is a common pattern with past discussions as I continue to present evidence and facts and you produce generalisations and spin.

    One of your few links to support your argument that most families are better of used and average (pulled up by the huge leaps of wealth at the top) not the median or the bottom 25% we are really talking about. That is a very passe ploy.

    Just quote my dishonest statements and back up your own claims with evidence. Your defense of slum landlords and implying that beneficiaries would be unnecessarily pampered if given curtains is indefensible:

    “…mould on the walls and zero heating. Unhealthy living. None of which is any fault of the landlord.”
    If you were referring to the isolated goat story only, then what was the purpose if it, if not to suggest this was similar to how a dominant % of poor live and why the landlord can’t be responsible?

    “throwing more money at the problem to provide all beneficiaries lavish conditions.”
    Presumably you were referring to Insulation and curtains as being unreasonably lavish, if not what was it that I said that you objected to and thought was a lavish extravagance?

    “you just lowered the standard of debate below a level that encorages me to respond.”

    Mr E, you may not use abusive terms like Paranormal, but at least he is expressing his honest opinion, you on the other hand are manipulative and disingenuous in your methods of debate.


  87. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sorry second para “used an average”.


  88. Mr E says:

    Nice one Dave,
    Nice one.


  89. Dave Kennedy says:

    And your last two responses are true to form, Mr E, I think this is the third time you have caved, feigning personal affront when I have exposed your methods 😉


  90. Mr E says:

    Take care, homepaddockers.
    It is time for a hiatus from me. Some of you will note that I’ve been commenting less of recent times.

    A combination of personal matters and personal reward (or lack there of) from blogging here, means that I need to take a sensible break.

    I wish you all well, and will see you on the other side. Be good, keep your eyes on the prize, and most of have a little fun. I’ll be be endeavouring to live by these principles in a non- digital form.
    Mr E


  91. TraceyS says:

    So long Mr E. Perhaps we will meet one day? I think there is still an outstanding beer waiting in Invercargill for me and Ben Nettleton. Remember?


  92. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, as you know I debate here to test my arguments with those who will do so with some energy. Obviously I have to work much harder to support my arguments against those who will try and find even the slightest flaw and amplify it as much as possible. Sadly that is politics and if one engages in it then a tough skin is a prerequisite.

    National refuses to quantify offshore investors in New Zealand property who are putting pressure on the demand side of the market. Labour, rather naively, used the number of Chinese purchasers of properties to try and determine the extent of these (New Zealand real estate is marketed with more energy there than in other country). The data they found was difficult to brush aside but left them open to accusations of racism and this proved to be a useful defense strategy for National to divert attention from their refusal to manage overseas investment like most countries (including China itself).

    Early on in my commenting here you and I had some worthwhile debates about farming that I found useful and you presented some strong arguments and even changed my thinking on organics. More recently you have been using Crosby Textor style strategies (similar to the racist attack above) regularly to imply all manner of things about my honesty, intelligence and life experience.

    If I am as dishonest as you say and cause such offense and remove your pleasure from commenting here than just ignore me and comment under the many of Ele’s posts where I have no presence (most of them in fact). Your exit seems a little melodramatic and I’m sure Tracey will be disappointed.


  93. TraceyS says:

    “Old fridges serve as cupboards and doorways; a large truck tyre has been turned into a window frame in the master bedroom. A new pizza oven, made from mud, straw and sand, rests on a stack of tyres.

    It would seem she’s living the slogan: reduce, re-use, recycle.”*

    One slogan but perhaps not another.



  94. Mr E says:

    I remember owing Ben a beer. As a slumlord I can only afford one. I’ll split it between you two, ok?


  95. Name Withheld says:

    feigning personal affront when I have exposed your methods
    As usual Mr Kennedy, your breathtaking hypocrisy has made my (early) morning.
    Feigning personal affront has been one of your specialties. A master at it if you will.
    Mr E, Sad to see you go.
    You cannot debate lefties.


  96. Name Withheld says:

    Their default starting position is “I am right and you are wrong”
    They don’t get us because their minds are simply not programmed that way. Presented with any right wing argument, their brains are quite incapable of weighing the pros and cons and then drawing a considered conclusion.
    Our resident leftie believes that the answer to our problems lies in bigger government, more bureaucracy, more state-enforced fairness and higher taxes. No debate will change that mind-set.
    Clever people who are actually clever exhibit two characteristics, their thoughts are unconventional, and they react with curiosity to ideas that offer legitimate challenge to their own. You will never see that reaction here.


  97. TraceyS says:

    That’s OK Mr E, Ben can have it. You don’t owe me anything.

    Dave at 1:19am: Personally, I don’t have a problem with either.

    Although I wonder whether one of them meets YOUR high standard for social housing? An uncomfortable question, I know, so feel free not to answer it. Imagine if a landlord offered a house to rent to the poor made out of recycled stuff?

    I also wonder if you have considered the environmental impact of building the thousands of replacement State houses you think are needed when a bit of kiwi ingenuity, creativity, elbow-grease, and a new kitchen made of old fridges* might be all that is needed to revive them?

    The State can’t do that of course, but individuals can, and that’s why it’s a good idea to sell State houses to people who, given the motivation, are quite capable of making honey out of dog sh*t. Maybe not to the standard of a mansion (although this has been done) but not everyone needs, or wants, to live in a house like that. Likewise not everyone would want to live in a house like Metiria Turei’s.

    (* just joking!)


  98. Mr E says:

    Actually after sleeping on in – I think Ben owes us a beer? The slumlord demands rent is paid.

    Name Withheld,
    Thank you for your sentiment.

    I have been raised, and have raised my own under the premise, ‘if your can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all’. Nice comes easy to me, in every day life, and even in matters of conflict. I have thick skin and am not easily riled. So I hope people don’t see my exit as anything other than a practical thought out outcome.

    I am analytical by nature, I come here to learn, to get my daily dose of rural news and events, and to understand what is on the political agenda. I also come here to understand what makes others understanding different. I get satisfaction out of trying to understand all angles of different issues.

    When I was young, my parents cuckoo clock broke. They sent it to the local jeweller to get fixed. Some time later it returned unfixed. My parents binned it. That was simply not acceptable to me. Unknown to my parents, I retrieved it, layer by layer I removed cogs, painstakingly drawing diagrams and labelling them one by one. Within days it was fixed. I still own that clock – it still ticks and coos merrily.

    The point is, my brain is wired to try to understand issues, to dissect problems, to understand and most importantly to try and fix.

    It seems matters of politics don’t work that way. Political issues are not like pieces in a puzzle – even though that is the way it should be. There is always someone hanging onto a piece who will swear black and blue that it wont fit. Or just when the puzzle is close to together someone will storm through and smash it all up, saying it is all wrong. Some seemingly want to perpetually oppose the positing of individual pieces. And even sometimes, it seems, some don’t want the puzzle solved at all. Sometimes, all parties want the puzzle together and agree on the positioning of peices but fight over where to start and finish.

    None of those things work for me. I am solutions, outcome, and output driven. Life is fun for me but not a game. I wear a practical and pragmatic hat.

    For these reasons societal issues are of interest to me, and so is politics, but I should never be a participant. I could not sit on a merry-go-round for more than seconds as I would want to know how it works, how I can make it faster or run smoother, or use the technology in another application.

    Most importantly, there are simply not enough hours in the day to get done what I need to get done. Seconds on the merry go round cost me a lot.


  99. TraceyS says:

    “Their default starting position is “I am right and you are wrong”.”

    What is wrong with that? We all like to believe that we are right. Being immovable from the initial position indicates that the person fears giving even a little ground – perhaps because it will reveal their self-doubts and they’ll lose control. Or he fears what his opponent will do with the opportunity. If giving a little undoes the position entirely then it was not a strong one to begin with. Why would anyone not want to know this?

    Such a person is vulnerable to getting left behind and sticking to the solutions of the past. Dave gave a good example of this in his speech he posted earlier (from the Invercargill housing meeting). No new answers or solutions.

    It is better to be honest, at least privately, that one has doubts. But the fact that people don’t always show their doubts doesn’t mean they don’t have them.


  100. TraceyS says:

    “I think Ben owes us a beer?”

    Yes, you are right Mr E, Ben owes us a beer (your memory is better than mine)!

    I loved your story about the cuckoo clock. My parents also own a cuckoo clock.

    And you sound just like my son – wanting to fix everything.


  101. Paranormal says:

    Mr E, when it comes to what you get out of blogging please add in expanding others views who don’t comment. That could be far more important than you realise.

    I thank you for broadening my knowledge and hope at some stage you feel motivated to come back.

    New Zealand needs more sensible input in politics, not less. It is a shame that politics is not that rewarding for people with day jobs. It leads to a certain lack of perspective in political commentary.


  102. Dave Kennedy says:

    Their default starting position is “I am right and you are wrong”

    NW, that made me chuckle, when I comment here I am constantly told that I am wrong and you are right, often in a very condescending manner too and accompanied by all sorts of attacks regarding my thinking skills and political background.

    Ele’s post questioned Labour’s hamfisted attempt to prove the extent of overseas investors in our property market. There is real concern at the lack of effort to dampen the demand side of the market and the extent can’t be determined until the data is there.

    The housing problem is actually very simple we have too many people and too few houses and many of the houses are of poor quality (I can’t imagine any challenges about that).

    The two things needed to address the issue is to dampen demand (the Government refuses to do this) and build more houses, especially at the affordable and social housing end.

    Our housing market is riddled with overseas investors and only 350 affordable/social houses have been built in Auckland over past 7 years through the housing accord.



    Two simple things would make a huge difference 1) stop non-resident investment in property like China, Australia and many other countries do. 2) Just get on with building the houses rather than shifting the problem to other providers (who can’t and won’t).

    Tracey is right, they aren’t new solutions, heaps of people and organisations have been pleading that the Government do it, but they won’t.


  103. Mr E says:

    If something has a mechanism or a process- I have to know how it works.

    Last year after hiring a DVD the player would not work. 2hours and about 5 thousand pieces later, we started watching the DVD at 10.30pm. Most people would throw away. I repair.

    18 months ago, I put down a dog, a long friend, 15 year old black lab who lived and travelled with me as much as was practical. The vet could not diagnose what was wrong, only that he was in pain. At the time, I knew sooner or later had become sooner ,but also found frustration with the inability to diagnose and potentially fix. I also recalled Ele’s poignant words when she lost her dog.

    A number of years ago, I stopped into at a pub for lunch after a presentation. I was shirt and tie, and didn’t really fit in with the crowd. Leaning close to me on the bar was a group of men, I presume farmers, who had struck up a conversation about sweat breads. One of looked at me and said, “you’ll be into sweat breads won’t you” in a cheeky tone. My response – “ummm yep I think so”. His response “do you even know what they are”. I looked at the ceiling for an extended ponder, and slowly told them everything I new about the thymus and pancreatic gland, the location, the purpose, the taste and texture and gave them my favourite recipe. I left that pub chuckling away to myself.

    I am no vet or doctor and there really is no reason for me know about the thymus or the pancreas and it’s function other than my curiosity.

    Currently I own 16 combustion engines. All of varying ages – 1939-2014. The only time I use mechanics is for warranty services. I am largely self taught. My father was a great help. This weekend I will be adjusting the valves in one motor.

    As a youngster I was drawn to the lost souls. The bullied, the picked on, the unfairly targeted. I have always tried to fix things no matter how complicated and against my own personal gain.

    At about 10yrs old, I recall, fighting the ‘tough kid’ at school in defence of a disadvantaged kid. And I continued to defend him where I could. That kid enjoyed better times, (still not great) because of my actions. Many years later I found out his step-father was prosecuted for sexually abusing him.

    This is not intended as a show-off comment, just a small insight in what makes a codger like me tick.


  104. tom hunter says:

    As a youngster I was drawn to the lost souls. The bullied, the picked on, the unfairly targeted. I have always tried to fix things no matter how complicated and against my own personal gain

    So that’s why you engage with Dave Kennedy!

    Sadly I think you’ll have to write off this particular lost soul.

    …. and many of the houses are of poor quality (I can’t imagine any challenges about that).

    This is a good example of politics vs culture and how the likes of DK think the former can and should be used to change the latter.

    As numerous others here have pointed out, NZ houses that are cold and damp are nothing new. But rather than blaming it on government and the private sector it should be noted that this has been part of our culture for decades now – and that is driven by peoples’ wants and needs and their personal value of such things.

    For example, I grew up in a solid brick farmhouse built in 1965 – with zero insulation, single-glazed windows, electric blankets, a fire and one electric heater. We all know the story: freezing cold in the winter (I learned to stand on the sides of my feet while brushing my teeth in the bathroom before school); puddles of condensation to be mopped up from the windows, the occasional appearance of mould and damp.

    But my parents were Depression-era teenagers. To them the house was great: running water, indoor toilets, electricity and so forth. In vain I pleaded to at least put “Batts” in the attic (as the 70’s commercial went). Nope. And it was the same for every other farmhouse and family. When my American wife landed there temporarily upon our return from the US I asked her what she thought and she described it as “luxury camping”. My mother would regularly inquire as to how we coped with the dreadful cold of a North American winter, and I would explain that over there you’re only cold outside the home.

    Not until they were both gone did we get the chance to upgrade the place, in 2001. Walls stripped and filled with insulation, as with the ceiling, and foam panels fitted under the floors – and double-glazed windows. The latter is where the culture raises its head again. Because of our US experience we were determined in double-glazed windows – but in this we were opposed by the architect, the builders, and even the glaziers, who said it would cost twice as much and was it worth it.

    Similarly with our house in Auckland, where we did all the above and then added a gas-fired, boiling-water-radiator central heating system – which most people also thought extravagant – until they step into our home on winters days and proclaim with great surprise, “Wow! It’s so nice and warm in here”. Yeah – what a surprise.

    I just returned from a trip to Chch, where I walked into the Motel room to find the burglar-proof windows all set slightly open – to “air the place out”. FFS. People still think like this – based on what I see, the majority of us still think like this.

    That is why our housing is “Third World” – and while I’m pleased to see that regulations have come in around double-glazing and the like, it’s mendacious to lay the blame at the feet of government or the private sector in the past. We as a people, probably through some weird influence of shitty English heating/housing demanded nothing more.


  105. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, you are quite right, there is nothing to be gained by blaming the past, but we still have to recognise what we currently have so that we can address it as best as possible. Consecutive governments and all parties (including the Greens) have probably not had a strong enough focus on addressing our housing problems earlier, but that shouldn’t excuse us from not acting with more energy now.

    You would have noted that I did acknowledge the Green/National MOU that has insulated 300,000 houses. This is a significant initiative but there are still the very poorest houses that largely remain untouched.

    We once had a bad smoking culture that has since been identified as unhealthy and legislation and education has seen smoking numbers drop and fewer people are dying of lung cancer. We now have ample evidence that many of our houses are having a negative effect on health.

    We all have stories of living in cold, primitive houses, my Grandmother never got an inside flush toilet until she was in her 80s. As a kid for many years our cooking was done on a coal range and open fires provided heating elsewhere in the house. One would think we should have moved on substantially from then but my student daughter is currently paying around $170 dollars a week for a room in a 100+ year old wooden house in Wellington where she has to have a dehumidifier running in her room most of the time to manage the damp. The house has some roof insulation but little else has changed since the house was first built because there has been no incentive or requirement to do so. Cars are required to be safe and fit for purpose but not houses.

    Obviously this research has commercial bias but it does highlight a real issue: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1507/S00014/mould-and-damp-driving-people-from-homes.htm

    Things are probably worse for many families because if they are living in an old villa (and out of the house during the day) heating it in the evening is problematic. In earlier days there would often be a stay at home mother who would have the coal range operating for most of the day and there would be at least one warm room in the house. Energy was relatively cheap then too (coal was readily available). I would suggest that a large % of the houses that a quarter of our lower income families live in have actually deteriorated over the last 20 years ($1.5 billion of differed maintenance on state houses). We also have the leaky buildings built in the 90s reaching a point where they are even more dangerous to live in.


    I am not blaming the Government for what has happened before, and much is because of our past culture, but surely it has a significant role in addressing the problem now. Our poorest families are worse off than they were before (the houses are even older and there are fewer available) and practically all the new houses being built are for those who are affluent:


    It does appear that this Government does not want to interfere or reduce the profits and capital gains of developers and investors and would rather have families live in the most appalling conditions to maintain the status quo. What other conclusion can I draw from their current actions and what it has achieved over the last 7 years.


  106. Paranormal says:

    Yet again DK you don’t understand the dynamics involved. You just see greedy property owners and poor, woeful tenants. You may be surprised to learn that times of increasing property values are when more renovations happen. That is people fixing the problems you lament in our housing stock. The added value makes it worthwhile. It could be said your jolly foreigner invasion is actually improving the lot of tenants.

    Stopping the demand has worked well in Sydney and elsewhere it’s been tried, not. The big problem is the restrictions on supply. If you really ‘cared’ ™ you would be beating a drum about sorting out the councils planning department roadblock and rectifying the RMA. Of course that is ideologically anathema to you so the best option you have is blame johnny foreigner.

    As for your ‘own humble situation’, is this a ‘the less things I have the closer I am to god’ moment? (for bonus points which London based NZ singer songwriter used these lyrics in their song Arena of my soul?). How very Catholic of you. That’s where that sentiment comes from. in the middle ages the church started this concept to oppress the people. Interesting then that it has found its way into your ideology. This all changed with protestantism where to be successful was a sign of gods favour. A highly recommended watch if you’re interested in todays science, economics, culture and politics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zq58

    So does all this mean you’re a better man than John Key? Nope it just means you have less things than John Key. it is just you trying to ascribe a judgmental value to that.


  107. tom hunter says:

    It does appear that this Government does not want to interfere or reduce the profits and capital gains of developers and investors …..

    Sigh. Did you actually see the part where I wrote about the glazier we used? They tried to persuade us not to get double glazed windows because it would cost twice as much – even though it would have made them more money

    This type of unthinking, intellectually deficient, knee-jerk attitude seems to be coded into the genetic makeup of left-wingers.

    By contrast right-wingers acknowledge that their are good bastards in the building industry (my builder than I used for three house renovations) and bad bastards (Vanguard homes who stiffed my plumber for $70K and are now broke I think).

    But that comment above is aimed at the general, capitalist driver of making a profit. I don’t think good or bad comes into it for you; they’ll all bad.

    We once had a bad smoking culture that has since been identified as unhealthy and legislation and education has seen smoking numbers drop and fewer people are dying of lung cancer. We now have ample evidence that many of our houses are having a negative effect on health.

    Not a good example if you want to appeal to people’s best instincts for liberty. I’ve never smoked but my Dad did, my sister still does, and many of my friends at varsity did. Not good and I had no objection to higher prices on tobacco, let alone “education”. But the anti-smoking program has recently begun to descend to Police State levels as the old 80:20 rule comes into force, to the extent that I see fanatical bureaucrats talking about banning smoking out doors.

    Authoritarians with no limits – that’s who you empower Dave, even if that’s not your intention. I can easily see the mindset of assholes like that being unleashed on the housing industry. Here’s another example The Cost of Scaffolding. You support that I’ll bet. Some comments on it …

    I’m a qualified licenced builder and it adds 20 k to the build costs of a average house build. It may have reduced some claims but I don’t believe it is 30% reduction in what I read in the building magazines . But the cost to train and police the scaffolding is huge.
    The cost of compliance is a joke in this country. We had a quote for $2500 for scaffolding to do a $250 roof repair that would take an hour. If you don’t play the dumb game and Work-shaft catch you, the fine’s huge.

    Do what we say or you will be punished – that’s you and the Greens Dave – and you wonder why people are scared of your getting into power. Not to mention that added $20K to a house build: tell me again about housing supply and demand.


  108. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, the RMA has had minimal impact with the lack of lower cost and social housing being built, it is purely a lack of will or interest in investing in them. Hobsonville Point is a develpment on Government owned land and I would have thought that there was an opportunity to create a huge number of lower cost but higher quality homes. Why have they not done so and why have the scaled back the number of houses being made available for less that $500,000?

    ” is this a ‘the less things I have the closer I am to god’ moment?”
    Not at all, but then again having a quarter acre, three bedroom house, and a reasonably well insulated and dry one, would probably make me one of the 20% more affluent in New Zealand. According to Mr E, I have a lavish lifestyle.

    I thought it was interesting that Tracey put up a link to Metiria’s home and the contrast with Key’s was telling. Research has shown that the more removed ones circumstances are from ordinary people, the more difficult it is to show empathy. Key’s view that it quite possible for a low income family to save for and buy their own home is delusional and giving false hope (it is not impossible, but may as well be). Am I a better man than John Key?

    I guess that depends on the criteria, I probably win on honesty 😉

    “It does appear that this Government does not want to interfere or reduce the profits and capital gains of developers and investors …..”

    Tom, I was referring largely to new housing developments in most areas of New Zealand where there is little will to include low cost housing and social housing in the mix as we once did. I was also referring to the reluctance to limit the substantial influence of offshore investors in the Auckland property market, it certainly has supported the 26% increase in values over the past year and provided amazing capital gains for investors.

    Of course there are good bastards in the building industry, I know many and have employed many. However I have a concern that we are losing that culture of when such a high % of new building and renovations are not up to standard. There is a lot of buck passing and avoidance of responsibility occurring since the 1991 legislation changes too.


    We lost a huge number of our experienced construction workforce over many years (under Labour and National) and now that we are reliant on less skilled and an imported workforce, we are paying the cost. Hence my links to prefabricated buildings in an earlier comment where quality control can be better managed and out put ramped up more easily. These could be high quality homes that could also have export potential, Scandinavia do this well already (and so did we with the Lockwood homes of the 60s):

    You make a good point about the cost of scaffolding and we also know the costs of materials here is 30% greater than Australia. There obviously needs to be some review of our industry and we potentially have monopolies operating within the industry too. I am also aware of corruption within the building industry in Christchurch from those within it, especially around material supply and job quality. The solutions may be many and varied and I am open to your thoughts on how this could be done.

    “Do what we say or you will be punished – that’s you and the Greens Dave”

    That’s your interpretation Tom, but I think you will struggle to find evidence of it. We all agree that we have have a housing problem (many of you have described them too). However most of you appear to be apologists for this Government’s lack of action and blaming low income families, the RMA and city councils when we desperately need strong leadership from the top. Other than insulating houses with the Greens, this Government has achieved almost nil in addressing the housing needs of low and middle income families over the past 7 years. I would really be surprised if you can show me otherwise. Upper income earners on the other hand are doing exceptionally well. What happened to Keys election night speech when he said that he will be serving all New Zealanders?

    Here are the facts again:


  109. tom hunter says:

    That’s your interpretation Tom, but I think you will struggle to find evidence of it.

    You mean under a Labour-Green government I’ll be getting a visit from the ice cream man if I refuse to comply with all your new rules and taxes, rather than a visit from the IRS and the cops?

    I gave you a link to that evidence, which has happened under a bloody National government:
    The cost of compliance is a joke in this country. We had a quote for $2500 for scaffolding to do a $250 roof repair that would take an hour. If you don’t play the dumb game and Work-shaft catch you, the fine’s huge.

    Pretty simple test around “evidence” Dave: tell me that you and the Greens:
    – won’t be enforcing the above with “Work-shaft”
    – that you agree with cutting $20K off the price of an average house with the abandonment of this stupid new rule
    – that you don’t support trying banish outdoor smoking.

    We don’t all agree that we have a housing problem as defined by you – that’s just your argumentative way of trying to move on to your proposed solutions.

    However most of you appear to be apologists for this Government’s lack of action and blaming low income families, the RMA and city councils

    The thread has demonstrated that the problems with housing – primarily focused in Auckland – that most on this thread agree with are as follows:
    – Auckland Council’s awful consent process, which, at least in my case, added $50,000 to the cost of my house renovations as I paid for architects and other experts to address their questions and concerns. Other Councils (perhaps Invercargill?) may be better. Certainly my other Council in the Waikato were excellent.

    – The RMA, which added another $100K to the cost by delaying construction of one part of the house by two years, all for a garage roof peak that jutted 30cm’s into the 45 degree “street space” slope.

    – Both now being repeated with our Scout Hall. Added cost there is $30,000 so far – and we’ve not even produced detailed plans.

    – Cost of material thanks to oligopolies.

    – “Safety” costs like the aforementioned scaffolding insanity, which you don’t refute or take issue with: “You make a good point” is the classic politician’s response for, not going to do anything about it. It has health and safety written all over it and as such I cannot imagine you would ever get rid the rule, no matter how many builders told you it’s stupid.

    When you go on the attack about “apologists” you’re also saying that you and your party fully support all of the above (no change to the RMA, probably will make it tougher) or have no idea what to do about it (the oligopoly), or try to fudge the issue with waffle about how the process must be managed better: the Sir Humphrey model.

    I already dealt with one of your “facts” – home ownership % – from that link in an earlier comment, where I pointed out that this still puts us ahead of many Western European countries – the ones that have superior housing. Sure the 64% is a “fact” – but facts have a funny way of being twisted if context is ignored, or in this case narrowed to only talking about NZ. If I find the time I’ll take a look at more of those facts.


  110. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, if you read my link to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment facts you would know that it isn’t just an Auckland problem, amplified there admittedly, but still widespread.

    Many of the things you describe I totally sympathise with you, more likely it is the local council bylaws that often stuff things up rather than the RMA and in terms of the ‘scaffolding insanity’ how much is really health and safety and how much is it an over the top reaction to squeeze out more money (I suspect a little of both)? A number of years ago I couldn’t connect the down pipe from a new shed into a barrel so that i could store water over Summer for the garden (we sit on an old sand dune) and it had to be connected at great expense to the storm water system. This sort of inflexibility and lack of common sense drives me nuts.

    I also agree with you regarding the oligopolies in the construction industry. Possibly because we are a small country we cannot support enough large building firms to allow for real competition. Surely in those situations there needs to be a higher level of industry scrutiny. The strongest competitor to Fletchers was killed off despite having Jenny Shipley on the board.

    In terms of house ownership (I think you were referring to that) I agree that we still have higher levels of home ownership here, however in Europe renters have much greater securities and rights and rental houses can pass through generations and are almost seen as permanent family homes. The quality of rentals are much higher too because of the higher standards required.

    You assume a lot of things about what the Greens would do, Tom, as if there must be diametrically opposing positions. But we Greens believe that evidence should be a main driver for decisions and this Government refuses to do much information gathering. It is clear that their decisions are more about shifting responsibility away from the Government and onto NGOs and the private sector when neither can do the job needed. It will be just a repeat of the private prison situation if social housing becomes a private business.

    I thought that the prefabricated housing idea has merit, tighter scrutiny of unnecessary profiteering must also be looked at and our government procurement practices for construction work could move outside Fletchers occasionally to help build more competition. I do believe that procurement processes could involve wider considerations.


  111. TraceyS says:

    “Research has shown that the more removed ones circumstances are from ordinary people, the more difficult it is to show empathy.”

    Maybe, but these effects are not just caused by riches. Power has a similar influence:

    “…the most powerful among us may be the least likely to make decisions that help the needy and the poor. They may also be the most likely to engage in unethical behavior.”*

    Correct me if I am wrong, Dave, but are you not seeking political power which you intend to use to progress your causes? Surely you are not putting yourself forward just for the fun of it! No, you want power to change the system.

    However, if the research is correct, the more power you manage to attain (and you need lots to change entire systems) the less empathy your brain will physically experience. Have you ever though about that tricky conundrum? As a normal human being you are not immune from these effects.

    Luckily for you, and any rich or powerful person who wishes to retain a high level of empathy for others, it is something that can be consciously nurtured and practiced. Thankfully our brains are fairly plastic. As an educator you will know this.

    Just how “removed” an individual is from others is an internal manifestation – something going on inside their brain. You can’t observe that from where you stand. It’s private. And it’s not something that can reliably be determined by looking at the material possessions a person owns or utilises.

    So, while researchers may be able to generalise of their results from one group to another, it would be quite improper (enthical even) to use these generalisations to try and judge an individual person’s relative level of empathy. That would analogous to saying that everyone whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy has a birth defect simply because studies have found a link between prenatal alcohol consumption and birth defects.


  112. Dave Kennedy says:

    I think one can judge the level of empathy that another has by what they do and say. Key’s comment that low income people could still buy a house was a great example of empathy failure. While possible, it would be highly unlikely for the vast majority surviving on minimum wages that they could ever buy a reasonable house, most would struggle to pay rent without the accommodation supplement. While hope is good, false hope is just plain cruel.

    You are right some people to manage to maintain empathy and humility while in powerful positions or leadership roles.


    Our Green MPs tend to manage that too, as you highlighted with Metiria. However wealth can be regarded in different ways especially if one has a close family, good friends and good health.

    A warm home, good healthy food and a happy family are probably a bottom line for most people. It’s just a pity that in this country we have shockingly poor houses for many families and170,000 children who do not have their basic needs met (regular hot meal, their own bed, a healthy home, shoes or a coat etc). This Government has only managed to build 350 houses for them in seven years. Housing NZ has a 4,600 shortfall for those on a priority list and we are 25,000 houses short of the demand every year.

    …and John Key says it is possible that a family on a low income can but a house 😛


  113. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sorry, “can buy a house”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: