It was a simple question about housing and Point of Order listened closely to Housing Minister Megan Woods’ response.
Alas, we are none the wiser on one part of the question, about advice on how long it will take to get the waiting list down to around 5844. But – if we have done our sums correctly – we can tell readers there has been a hefty increase in the numbers of people on the state housing waiting list over the past five years.
We took a crack at working this out after Parliamentary questions were put by National MP Chris Bishop to the Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), who presumably was not in Parliament at the time. Megan Woods did the answering.
“How many people are on the State housing waitlist now compared to September 2017, and has she received advice on when that number will return to the levels of September 2017?”
Woods presumably has been a keen student of the art of Political Blather, deserving a pass with honours. Continue reading “The govt knocks down old state houses and builds new ones – but the net result is a waiting list that cries out for demolition”
Labour MPs delight in speaking of what the Ardern government is doing in resolving the housing crisis.
Take, for example, Dr Duncan Webb, MP for Christchurch Central, who this week told the House the government is making real progress.
“For the first time in a long time, we’re building more houses than there are people needing them….A housing crisis that was nine years in the making, and we’ve turned the corner. Only today figures have come out to show that not only have prices stabilised but there’s been a small drop in prices across the country, and that is indicative of the progress that we have made.
“How many houses did that lot build when they were in government? This government in the 4 years it’s been here has built 8,000 new houses. We have turned the Housing Corporation into a renter, a property developer, and a responsible landlord—2,400 in the last year, and do you know what? The Prime Minister said in her statement that we would have 2,000 more built in the next year. We will absolutely address these issues.
“Forty thousand building consents were issued in the last year. For the first time in a long time, we’re building more houses than there are people needing them. The Resource Management Act (RMA) fast-tracking legislation is being able to open up whole new developments so that we can have more housing development, and, of course, the RMA reforms—the Natural and Built Environments Bill—is going to progress that.
“Warmer homes, the idea that we need to go and make houses not only livable and warm but healthy as well, and our Residential Tenancies Act reforms and Healthy Homes reforms as well— awesome. On top of that there’s $3.8bn set aside for infrastructure funding so that we can unlock the potential of areas of land to make new strong communities with housing for everyone. Continue reading “Poverty and the housing “catastrophe”- Govt MP’s screed of social policy successes is sullied by the Sallies”
In January this year Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern insisted: “We can’t stand by while house prices increase at the unsustainable rates we saw in 2020.”
So what has happened since?
During Auckland’s level 4 and level 3 period – August to November – house prices rose $113,000, or 8.3%. In the 12 months to November, Auckland prices rose 27.9%.
The speed at which house prices have risen in NZ has even attracted the attention of The Economist. It noted recently that
“… in the past year, prices in NZ have shot up at a pace of more than NZ2000 a week. Costs in big cities have been going up for years, propelled by a mix of cheap borrowing and a scarcity of new homes”.
The pandemic has made matters worse: lockdowns boosted demand while labour and materials shortages constrained housing supply. Continue reading “The PM would not be standing by while house prices soared – and look what happened”
It’s an old adage that a speculative market collapses not when prices get crazy but when the last person who insists prices are crazy gives up in despair.
Worth bearing in mind when London’s Financial Times tells us that the pandemic has fuelled “the broadest global house price boom in two decades”, even bigger than the one which preceded and helped trigger the 2008 global financial crisis, and which is understandably reviving concerns about financial stability.
Continue reading “So how does the housing boom end?”
So what happened to “go hard, go early”? Does anyone expect house prices (which have risen more than $100,000 since early 2020) to start falling?
The Ardern government’s housing package aroused curiously mixed reactions, hardly any of them providing a glimmer of light to would-be first-home buyers that house prices will be falling any time soon.
From one side, the warning came that rent controls could not be far behind. From the other, “market forces” and the evils of neo-liberalism had at last been corralled.
Over on the Left, Chris Trotter sees a housing crisis ripping apart the country’s weakest and most vulnerable communities.
“While the detail of the Labour government’s housing package has been sufficient to unleash the very worst impulses of NZ’s landlord class – whose screams of rage and wild threats of social vengeance have pretty much confirmed the rest of NZ society’s worst fears concerning‘property investors’ – it is the rank insubordination of the nation’s elected leaders which most rankles neo-liberalism’s true believers”. Continue reading “Critiques of Govt’s contentious housing package raise questions about whose advice was sought”
The headline on a press statement from ACT – Megan Woods In Hiding On Housing – suggested the Minister of Housing had gone to ground somewhere. It quickly became apparent she hadn’t .
The press statement was posted on Scoop at 1:38 pm. Before long, Woods was in the House answering questions about her housing portfolio, albeit from National, not ACT, and about the numbers of people being housed in motels rather than about the numbers of new houses forecast to be built this year.
The replies provided material for a press statement from the Nats later in the day, to highlight figures showing more than $1 million of taxpayer money is being spent each day on motels for emergency housing.
Maybe there’s a case for Woods becoming Minister of Motels.
According to the Nats’ press statement the Government spent $82.5 million, or $917,000 a day, in the past quarter on emergency housing grants for people to live in motels and similar accommodation. This is on top of the $155,000 a day the Government is spending on motels for transitional housing purposes.
This is a more than ten-fold increase on what was being spent on emergency housing when Labour came into office, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says. Continue reading “Nats flush Minister of Motels into the open at Question Time but ACT have yet to flush out figures they seek on new houses”
One of the strange outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the surge in house prices, not just in Auckland but through the rest of the country. It’s a phenomenon that runs contrary to past experience when the economy has slipped into recession.
Many authorities say booming house prices are being driven by the loose monetary policy operated by the Reserve Bank in conjunction with the economic stimulus applied by the government. Mortgage rates have fallen, with at least one bank offering a rate below 2%.
The Reserve Bank’s chief economist Yuong Ha is on record as saying:
“The worse situation we’d face right now is actually if we had house prices falling”.
Just why that might be the case in the present recession has not been made clear, though he seemed to suggest the wealth effect of rising property prices is helping to sustain the economy. Continue reading “Houses (and their prohibitive prices) will be high in Ardern’s considerations as she appoints her ministerial team”
Blogger Lindsay Mitchell has used the Official Information Act to flush out data on emergency housing from the Ministry for Social Development.
The results have been posted under the heading Motel charges premium for emergency housing.
At long last MSD has updated OIA requests, Mitchell writes. Responses up to November 2019 are on-line
“ … and always make for interesting reading. For instance payments made to the Olive Tree Motel for emergency housing.”
Clients are granted an amount which is paid directly to the motel, Mitchell explains.
In the June 2019 quarter the motel was receiving $265 a night.
But nightly charges per unit range from $145 to $165 according to their website. Charges reduce for longer stays.
The response to another request reveals that over 600 accommodation providers received emergency grants in the June 2019 quarter. Continue reading “How taxpayers are pumping millions into the motel business to provide emergency housing”
Housing Minister Megan Woods this week eased herself past the KiwiBuild fiasco to announce a fresh range of housing policies. She conceded the commitment to specific KiwiBuild targets had been a “mistake”: others have labelled KiwiBuild as a “political humiliation”. Woods exuded confidence the new bundle of policies has what it takes to deliver on the government’s housing goals.
As for Greens co-leader Marama Davidson who appeared alongside Woods as the government’s housing policies were “reset”, she exclaimed that it was one of the best days in her political career. “I want to say to those NZers today who have given up hope on their dream of owning a home we have opened the door to you”.
Continue reading “Mrs Fixit has a new task: can she work a miracle?”
The Point of Order Trough Monitor typically alerts us to government spending decisions.
The merits of each grant, investment, loan and what-have-you which the monitor identifies are a matter of opinion. Recipients are apt to be keen to express their gratitude. Taxpayers often have cause to complain the money is being misspent.
But the monitor can also spot a handout which doesn’t measure up to what was promised. Somebody somewhere has been short-changed.
Take the case of the grants for energy-efficient heaters that are being dished out as part of the Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme which aims to make homes warmer and more energy
Warmer Kiwi Homes? Who can quibble with that? Continue reading “Before you get the warm fuzzies about Megan’s handouts for heaters, check out the frosty reaction from property investors”