Here’s the answer


Here’s the answer to the housing shortage in one picture:

Why did Christchurch diverge from the national trend?

Land was freed up for development after the earthquakes.

Housing statistics released today and over the weekend show an unfolding disaster for New Zealand families and communities, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“We now have the lowest rates of home-ownership we’ve seen in 70 years, the biggest social housing waiting list on record and record numbers of Kiwis turning to emergency housing.

“New Zealand’s housing problems are fast becoming a national emergency. Where is the urgency in the Government response?

“It’s time for emergency measures to get more houses built, like those used in Christchurch to rebuild the thousands of houses that were wiped-out by that disaster.”

The National Government at the time recognised emergency regulations needed to free up land and remove development constraints. As a result, new house building took off.

The surge in housing supply put a lid on affordability, with the ‘multiple’ between median incomes and median house prices stabilising in Christchurch for the period 2014-2020, while elsewhere cumbersome regulations resulted in housing become more unaffordable.

National is willing to work with the Government to develop immediate measures modelled on the Christchurch response by zoning more land for housing, over-riding the RMA appeals process and increasing leniency on the timing of provision of infrastructure.

“If we get the regulations right, developers will build at scale and pace,” Ms Willis says.

“We can’t afford to wait years for this Government to get on with Resource Management Act reform while house prices continue to rocket.

“Faced with an emergency of inter-generational proportions, action is required.”

The high cost of building is part of the problem of sky rocketing house prices but the price of land is the much more significant and the solution to that is to increase the supply.

It worked in Christchurch, it would work everywhere else.

Time for a more relevant holiday?


Is it time for a more relevant holiday than today’s that celebrates the Queen’s Birthday, even though it’s not her birthday?

Queen’s Birthday holiday is the most irrelevant public holiday on our calendar. It’s time for a holiday that actually reflects Aotearoa’s unique place in the world” said Lewis Holden, Campaign Chair of New Zealand Republic.

New Zealand Republic has a petition for Matariki to be marked with a public holiday. Matariki is one potential alternative to Queen’s birthday.

“Queen’s Birthday is not celebrated in the United Kingdom as a public holiday, it’s not the Queen’s actual birthday and only falls on the first Monday in June because that’s when the weather is best in England for military parades. It’s hard to think of a more irrelevant day” concluded Mr Holden.

We have 11 statutory holidays and don’t need another but I’m open to the idea of swapping this one for Matariki.

New flag has champions


On my walk this morning I was thinking about the flag referendum and concluded that the alternative one needs some champions.

I got home and found it has several:

All Blacks’ great Dan Carter is just one of a number of high profile New Zealanders to have joined a campaign to support changing the New Zealand flag.

The 112-Test veteran appears in a short video along with other sports, business, cultural and civic leaders. Other kiwis stepping up to vote for change include Silver Fern Maria Tutaia, New Zealander of the year finalist Rob Fenwick, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, former Mayor Sir Bob Parker, business leader Rob Fyfe and playwright Roger Hall to name just a few.

There’s another champion not in the video.

New Zealander of the Year Richie McCaw has just told Kathryn Ryan he favours the new flag.

Back to the media release:

These leaders come from a wide variety of backgrounds and political persuasions, and more leaders are expected to join the campaign. The video also features members of the public advocating for change.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to vote on its flag and the campaign encourages kiwis to take the once in a lifetime chance to change it.

Campaign Chairman Lewis Holden says he was struck by the passion of the high profile New Zealanders who have joined the campaign.

“Though the polls show we’re the underdogs, we’ve got a great team that’s prepared to advocate for change and explain why having a new flag makes sense economically, culturally and internationally.”

Mr Holden says a recent poll of 1000 people by Curia Research showed support for the new flag was growing, while support for the old flag had dropped to just 56% from a high of 69% last September.

“The trend suggests it could be much closer than people think and we believe that momentum is swinging towards change. I think New Zealand is ready for a new flag after 114 years of the old one.”

Mr Holden said the video would be highly visible on social media, with more than half a million views expected over the coming weeks.

“I think people will engage with this campaign and would like to hear the arguments for change from some of our most successful New Zealanders.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to vote for change and get a flag that represents New Zealand and New Zealanders in the 21st Century.” 

Some people genuinely don’t want change and some are open to it but are not enthusiastic about the alternative to vote for it.

There are also people who want change and will vote for it.

Then there are the people who want change but have let politics and what they see as an opportunity to knock Prime Minister John Key trump that.

It would disappointing and a waste of both money and opportunity if those political tragics held sway.

It is good to see people across the political spectrum and with no overt political preferences in the video because this shouldn’t be about political partisanship.

The first country in the world to give women the vote is the first to offer its citizens a choice about its flag.

We should celebrate that and vote for change or not because that’s what we want and not waste the vote on petty politics.

Change the NZ flag


The movement to change the New Zealand flag will get more momentum with the launch of Change the NZ Flag:

Change the NZ Flag is a movement campaigning for New Zealanders to vote to change the New Zealand flag in the upcoming flag referendum. We want to see a flag by New Zealanders, for New Zealanders – a flag that represents the modern, vibrant and diverse country we are today, not the far flung colony of the British Empire we once were.

Our purpose is to educate New Zealanders about why the time is right to change our flag, to encourage them to think about our national identity, our shared culture and values, and about how they want those represented to the rest of the world on the international stage

Although the referendum was a National Party election policy, the government has got cross-party support (with the exception of NZ First) in parliament.

This movement is not politically aligned and does not favour a particular design:

“Change the NZ Flag is an independent, non-political, design-neutral society that is committed to building support for, and involvement with, the flag change process,” says Change the NZ Flag spokesperson Lewis Holden.

“New Zealand has the unique opportunity to pick a flag that represents the modern, proud and independent nation that we are today, and it’s important that Kiwis take this once in a lifetime chance to have a debate on how we represent our national identity to ourselves, and the world.”

“We’re enthusiastic about the proposed flag change process,” says Mr Holden.

“It offers Kiwis far greater involvement on what our new flag should look like than has ever been done before. Even in Canada where their flag change process produced the iconic Maple Leaf design, the final say rested with their Parliament, rather than voters, so we’re excited that the people of New Zealand get to decide on both their favourite alternative design, and whether we should adopt that ahead of the current flag.”

Over the coming months, Change the NZ Flag will work to promote the merits of changing the flag, share information about the flag change process, and encourage all New Zealanders to get involved in what is an important national debate.

“This flag referendum process represents perhaps the best chance for centuries to come for New Zealanders to pick a new flag that is truly for New Zealand, from New Zealand,” says Mr Holden.

Change the NZ Flag has recently launched a new campaign website at, and has a longstanding presence on Facebook at and on Twitter via @nzflag. Change the NZ Flag is an independent group not associated with the Flag Consideration Panel.

This group is aiming to educate us and encourage everyone to get involved in the debate and the process which is a good move.

The movement for change should come from the people not politicians.
Change the NZ Flag's photo.

Nats select Lewis Holden for Rimutaka


The National Party has selected Lewis Holden as its candidate for Rimutaka.

A fifth generation New Zealander, Mr Holden (29) was educated at Hutt International Boys School in Trentham, Upper Hutt, before completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration at Victoria University in 2006.

He is a keen debater, participating in the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships, and New Zealand Universities Debating Championships in 2006 which his team won in that year.

Mr Holden’s candidacy follows a career in the information technology industry, working for IBM, New Zealand-owned solutions-provider Spectrum, Ingram Micro NZ, and most recently for Oracle New Zealand in Auckland.

He is married to Jennifer and will return to the electorate to contest the seat.

Mr Holden is also known for his work as Chairman of the New Zealand Republican Movement from 2006-2013.

National has selected another capable candidate who has experience in business and life.

He will be contesting the seat against sitting MP Chris Hipkins who gained a majority of 3126 in 2011.

However, National won the party vote which indicates the seat is more purple than red.

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