KiwiCon lottery gets better for lucky few

November 8, 2018

KiwiBuild – or as it should be KiwiCon –  isn’t popular in Wanaka:

The South Island’s much-heralded first foray into KiwiBuild home ownership has been a bit of a fizzer — at least so far.

So few prospective homebuyers have entered the ballot for 10 KiwiBuild house and land packages in the Northlake suburb of Wanaka that the developer has asked to extend the ballot period by 10 days.

The ballot was due to close on Thursday.

KiwiBuild senior media adviser Mark Hanson said yesterday 20 ballot entries had been received.

‘‘Some houses have received no entries and the developer has asked us to extend the ballot to Sunday, November 18, to allow for people who they are working with more time to work through their pre-qualification process.’’ . . 

And Housing Minister Phil Twyford has backed down on penalties for those who flip KiwiBuild properties early:

Documents obtained by Newshub show owners will no longer have to give up all capital gain they make on the house if they sell it within three years. . . 

When Labour announced the policy in 2016, its plan to stop buyers reaping windfall gains was they must not on-sell their home for five years – or else they had to hand all the money they made to the Government.

That’s now changed to if buyers sell within three years, they must give up 30 percent of their profit. . .

There is big money to be made. Based on the last three years, the average price of a home in Papakura has risen from $569,000 to nearly $700,000, meaning house owners could have made $130,000 in the last three years.

That means even after the 30 percent penalty applied by the Government, they’d still pocket more than $90,000.

A $90,000 profit for selling up after three years – that’s very easy money.

But you don’t have to wait three years – you will get to keep 70% of the profit it you sell the very next day.

This is not the first KiwiBuild backdown we’ve seen. Since being in government, Mr Twyford has changed the price caps, the eligibility criteria and now this – a change which has the potential to leave KiwiBuild open for abuse.

With each announcement the KiwiBuild lottery gets better for the lucky few who win.

The government keeps saying KiwiBuild houses aren’t subsidised but if the government isn’t putting money in why would the owners have to hand over any profit if they sell?

At the very least there’s an opportunity cost with money spent on this policy not available for spending on the many areas of much greater need – and that’s people on well below the income level for those who qualify for the KiwiBuild lottery.

You can follow progress on the scheme here – so far only four houses have been sold.

 

 


365 days of gratitude

April 26, 2018

We drove from Wanaka to home via Lake Onslow and the Maniototo today.

Early in the trip we marveled at how nature had painted leaves golden against a blue sky, later on we were in tussock country and passed not a single car until we got to Ranfurly.

Tonight I’m grateful for changing seasons, nature’s beauty and that it’s still possible to enjoy them without crowds of people.


366 days of gratitude

March 13, 2016

The Upper Clutha A&P Show must have one of the best sites in the country.

It’s just a few blocks from the centre of Wanaka and over the road from the lake.

When we first went only the horses were camped on the neighbouring park.

Gradually pressure from trade exhibitors led to the show expanding across the street the show grounds.

It’s the South Island’s second biggest show. This year it attracted more than 40,000 people with 472 stalls and it covered almost half the park.

The A&P Association has, I think, only two paid staff. The rest of the work is done by volunteers.

Today I’m grateful for the show and the people whose work make it possible.

 

 

 


Wanaka wow

June 24, 2015


The earth moved

May 4, 2015

The piano started creaking, there was a rumble and the lights began to swing.

My first thought was Christchurch, but Geonet tells me the earthquake was 30 kilometres west of Wanaka and it was severe:

  • Map showing earthquake location.
Intensity severe
NZST Mon, May 4 2015, 2:29:10 pm
Depth 5 km
Magnitude 6.0
Location 30 km north-west of Wanaka

Bigger is better for QLDC

September 21, 2013

The group wanting to split Wanaka from the Queenstown Lakes District Council should be careful what it’s wishing for.

QLDC had a nil rates increase this year. Deputy Mayor Lyal Cocks said the split would lead to at least a 6.3% increase in Wanaka rates.

Local government is an increasingly complex and expensive beast.

Duplicating services and overheads and spreading the cost over a much smaller rating base would be stupid.

Bigger isn’t always better but it is in the case of the QLDC.

 


Puzzling World adds attractions

December 19, 2012

When Stuart and Jan Landsborough first went to the council with plans to build Puzzling World on the outskirts of Wanaka they were told it would never work.

The council was wrong.

Nearly 40 years and 3 million customers later, Puzzling World is still working and is celebrating the latest addition to its world unique attraction.

Puzzling World’s vision for more amazement and magic in line with its philosophy of ‘puzzling eccentricity’ has materialised in the $2.5million SculptIllusion Gallery, complete with moving, living walls, floating objects and 3D illusions.

Heidi Landsborough and Duncan Spear – daughter and son-in-law respectively of Puzzling World pioneers Stuart and Jan Landsborough — put pen to paper three years ago to draft the latest optical illusion.

Ms Landsborough, Puzzling World’s General Manager, and Mr Spear, who is Operations Manager, said they were “delighted” with how architect Barry Condon of Sarah Scott Architects and Amalgamated Builders of Queenstown (ABL) had translated their vision.

 “This was a very different build, cast in concrete with many components which we changed throughout the process to improve the design or accommodate challenges,” said Mr Spear.

They wanted to bring more light into the building and worked with Mr Condon to design a system of windows to direct sunlight into an area that was previously dark and sunless.

The size of the build also required extensive upgrading to the facility’s amenities including new stormwater and sewerage upgrades and an increase of parking spaces.
Mr Spear said the success of both the SculptIllusion room and the behind the scenes amenities was down to good relationships and good workmanship.

“For us as a family business we really value the relationship we’ve made with ABL. We really felt that they had our best interests at heart, always suggesting and researching different materials and products to improve the build or the budget,” he said.

“From the first tender straight through to completion they’ve been fantastic.”

Amalgamated Builders quantity surveyor for the project, Brett Squire, said challenges were always expected in any construction but said it ranked as one of his favourite projects in his eight years at ABL.

“It was a geometrically complex building and much of the build occurred in the winter in the shadow of a mountain,” he said.

“This meant that aside from a very cold construction site, the ground froze which affected the logic of the build and the way we continued.

“Now it’s great to think when you look at the SculptIllusion gallery that we had a hand to play in the creation of it. It’s a real showpiece and we’re immensely proud of the result.”

He said any issues were overcome by keeping an open and collaborative approach between Mr Condon and Puzzling World, something echoed by Mr Condon.

“A spirit of co-operation prevailed throughout this challenging project,” he said. “We had much positive contribution from the contractors regarding illusion items outside of the scope of their contract and often with a good sense of humour.”

Ms Landsborough said the great working relationship on site had really made the process easier, especially on a project so close to her heart.

“This addition is the final piece to the family’s legacy of providing amusement and puzzlement to Wanaka and the thousands of tourists that visit each year,” she said.

“Although we attract tourists from around the world we remain a set up that’s built on solid and positive relationships, and we really experienced that with ABL and Barry,” she said.

Officially the SculptIllusion Gallery opens in March to coincide with the business’ 40 year anniversary, but Ms Landsborough said it was already open to the public for the school holidays.

“It’s the perfect opportunity for us to look at the public’s reaction and see if we need to make any small adjustments before March,” she said.

The 530sq m illusionary sculpture room is the fifth and largest Illusion Room and was built over eight-and-a-half months by ABL for approximately $2.5 million. The attraction includes a turned-on tap that seems to float in the air, benches that seem to have no stands, a cascading ceiling, columns that become people, a vertical garden and a unique collection of sculptures from local and national artists.

We’ve been to Puzzling World with children and adults, all of whom have loved the experience.

It will be even better now.

The ODT has a story and photos here.


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