How big does my farce look?

Caption: It looks this big Phil.

Having never met Housing Minister Phil Twyford, I’ve simply assumed he’s a man. Nowadays we cannot be certain about these things, and the fact that he has never apologised for being one leaves the question somewhat open to conjecture. If he is a man he will probably have been blessed with a modicum of self-awareness and one day may have raised the rhetorical if slightly curly question above with his most trusted advisors, as most men eventually, if somewhat reluctantly, do.

Well, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you Phil, there is no way to diplomatically put it; your farce is huge, and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Because you’re an idiot.

You and your lefty cohorts banged on and on about ‘housing problems’ and ‘homelessness’. You conflated real housing unaffordability with a mixture of sob-stories about extraneous and peripheral un-tenantable-types. These included the drug-addled, the anti-social and the unfortunate, but often of-their-own-making: the flotsam unable to either rent or own.

For fully a year before that lottery of vanities called the General Election you threw your press-releases at lazy media-types, who lapped up your fake hard-luck stories and called it a crisis and more: a double or plural crisis; a cluster-crisis of affordable accommodation.

The dullards and goslings of the press believed you might have an actual solution in mind, thus proving they’re as stupid as you are. You’ve achieved nothing and never will as long as your farce points downwards. In fact, by every measure, you’ve made everything worse.

You never imagined the Green Parrot’s favourite client would anoint the fisherman’s friend as our overseer and put you in the position of actually having to do something other than jaw-wag. This led you to panic and forced you to dream up something on the hoof which has proved to be an unquestionably huge debacle.

Already backtracking, the media message is now being massaged, talking about a total 10,000 houses in 10 years: not the 1,000 you originally stipulated in the very first year, followed by 5,000 in the second, a mere 10,000 in the following twelve months, to be merrily continued with 12,000 per year, every year, for the remainder of the decade.

You hit all the nails on the head Phil, but unfortunately you’ve hit them all askew and bent every one. The wrong messages, the wrong solutions and the wrong product focusing on the wrong market options, and to top it off, your end-target wasn’t even ambitious.

In the 1950s New Zealand had a real housing shortage and a quality problem. The government responded, declaring that our nation of just 2.67 million souls should aim for 206,000 new housing units within ten years. They fell short, only just, but nevertheless pulled off an admirable achievement in managing 203,200 completed constructions, a shortfall of just under 2% of their ambition, because they engaged and listened, and were not hindered by stupid philosophical constraints: quote.

Government Encouragement ? The impetus of post-war housing levelled off in the early 1950s and led the Government in 1953 to call a National Housing Conference. This conference, which was attended by organisations and persons associated with housing, surveyed the general housing situation and investigated ways and means of implementing the Government’s housing policy of promoting the building of more houses at a reasonable cost. Every aspect of housing was discussed, and the action taken on resolutions adopted by the conference helped to effect the expansion in house building to the present level. The conference assessed the extent of the housing shortage and set a number of 206,000 houses in 10 years as a target to overcome the shortage and provide for the increase in population expected from both natural increase and immigration. At the end of the 10 years a total of 203,200 house units was actually constructed. end quote.


You may do well to read up about the 1953 ‘National Housing Conference’ and learn a thing or two, especially about the importance of enabling the opening up of new land for housing in order to reduce building prices: quote.

The demand for land for housing development has resulted in adaptations to the system. The normal procedures relating to subdivision title and finance have been streamlined. end quote.

But, then again, you could just go on believing that your huge farce is, in fact, a perfectly manageable size, if exercised as in your imagination. You can simply ask the compliant media crew to turn the spotlights off it so, that way (hopefully), everybody will forget about your under-ambitious and ham-fisted debacle.

Everybody, except us.