Housing Hypocrisy in NZ

There continues to be a huge outcry in New Zealand that the cost of houses is too high, making it too difficult for low wage earners, and particularly for first time buyers, to afford a property.

 ‘Kiwibuild’, the Labour/Greens Government’s scheme to build affordable housing has been an abject failure, with effectively 600 houses being supplied versus a promised target of 20,000.

It turns out that in reality many Kiwis seem to be remarkably two-faced on this subject. On the one hand they decry the high cost of houses, expressing sympathy for those unable to afford a property (families living in cars etc), then cheer when the ‘housing market’ sees prices rise.  Political correctness warring against greed.

Economics 101, either supply is plentiful so that prices drop, leading to affordable housing, or prices rise, then some people make a lot of money to the detriment of low income earners and first time buyers.  So which is it?

Pretty clear really that ‘greed’ wins out; money for nothing on the backs of the less fortunate.  Evidence for this can be seen in the Labour/Greens Government back down on introducing a Capital Gains Tax, which was a key election promise (like Kiwibuid), intended to reduce the attraction of houses as an investment opportunities. This back down was clearly based on a realisation of the number of votes that would be lost; AKA ‘we’re listening to the people’ .. right!

Houses are a necessity for living, not much different in that regard from water, food, and power.  Nobody should be making a lot of money from selling houses,  unless it is a builder, building lots, efficiently, and at reasonable cost/profit. The rest is parasitic.  

My vote will go to whichever political party has the gumption to tackle house costs head on.  Something like:

a. Challenging the construction status quo by encouraging  (via tax relief etc) dwelling pre-fabrication. Also passing legislation that forbids and nullifies deeds of covenant and other devices that ban pre-fabricated houses and apartments.

b. Simplifying the resource management act and other legislation in order to significantly decrease the cost and time to build a house (factory built house components could have a different method of approving quality). Maybe also setting maximum planning approval and inspection charges (subsidise if necessary, much like for health services, e.g. GP ‘inspections’).

c. Investing in the development of new methods of building foundations and bringing services to properties. Then invest in the tools and materials needed to implement those methods.

d. Introducing a dwelling capital gain tax (which will help pay for a. b. and c.).

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