Labour’s housing plans are actually pipe dreams

Labour is still pushing the housing issue hard, despite the fact their campaign strategist is trying to spike an affordable housing development in his own electorate.

But have a look at these contortions in explaining their housing plans pipe-dreams:

Cities like Invercargill are now caught up in the “major mayhem up and down the country” from the housing crisis, Labour leader Andrew Little told a public meeting in Invercargill on Wednesday.

Investors cashing up from the housing bubble further north, were?looking to properties in regional cities like Invercargill, pushing up both house prices and rents for working people on reasonably low incomes here, he told a crowded Big Willys bar at the Newfield Tavern.

Though he offered no figures, Little said he was “astounded to see how quickly rents are rising in New Zealand, including Invercargill.”

Read more »

Looks like the housing crisis is over, Labour opposes building new houses in Auckland

It beggars belief that the crisis that Labour manufactured in housing seems to be over.

You’d have to make that assumption because Phil “Chinky” Twyford has come out opposing the building of new houses and shanking Maori interests at the same time.

Labour has dropped support for legislation that would see public reserve land at Pt England developed for housing as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement with local iwi – labelling the move a “land grab”.

The 300 home development has emerged as one of the most controversial local issues in Maungakiekie in election year and Labour’s candidate Priyanca Radhakrishnan announced her party’s opposition to the development along with housing spokesman Phil Twyford. ? Read more »

Photo of the Day

The punishment pool in San Pedro Prison. Inmates’ children are pictured surrounding a pool inside San Pedro prison, the biggest in Bolivia’s main city, La Paz. The children play in the pool during the day, and at night it is used to drown inmates who do not respect the inmates who run the prison.

The City Within a City

Inside the prison where guards are too scared to enter

Located only meters away from the tranquil Plaza San Pedro, lies one of the word?s most notorious and corrupt institutions, San Pedro Prison. San Pedro Prison is one of the biggest in Bolivia and the common destination for people convicted of breaking the countries drug laws. It is found in the heart of the country’s administrative capital, La Paz.

Imagine a tough and dangerous men?s prison full of violence, drugs and corruption that is also home to families of women and children. A place where cells, some with cable television, kitchens and private bathrooms, are bought and sold, complete with title deeds, and the real estate market has bubbles, just like on the outside. A place where backpackers pay to go on tours, guided by inmates. A place where the police rarely venture, except to collect bribes. A place with its own strict set of rules and regulations, where prisoners elect their own leaders, who enforce the law in the only way they know how, violently. A society that lives and dies by the cocaine economy. A vibrant collection of small businesses flourishes ? photographic studios, restaurants, messenger services, market stalls, copying shops, shoeshine boys, and grocery stores.

Originally built to accommodate 600 prisoners, San Pedro holds over 3000 inmates and their families at any one time.?Entire families live in San Pedro men’s prison, as it’s often cheaper and safer on the inside.

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Twyford is right: Nick Smith is dreamin’. But then he loses all sense of reality

Nick Smith has confirmed National has no plan to build 69,000 houses in Auckland, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

In Question Time today, Nick Smith admitted that the 69,000 figure is only the theoretical number of houses that could be built to replace 27,000 existing state houses over the next 30-50 years. There is no plan to actually build these houses, let alone to ensure they are affordable for first homebuyers or kept as state houses.

“Bill English is buckling under the pressure. He?s got no answers on the housing crisis and is making up policy on the fly. Nick Smith has now admitted the government has no plans to build 69,000 houses.

“This isn?t leadership; it?s desperation from a Prime Minister who just wishes the housing crisis would go away but won?t do anything about it.

“At the same time, Nick Smith is trying to claim the housing shortage is ?only? 10,000-20,000 houses but he can?t back that number up in any way. The Government?s own documents say the shortage in Auckland is 30,000-35,000 and the nationwide shortage is 60,000. Read more »

Bob Jones on the seemingly permanent housing crisis

Bob Jones writes at NBR about the housing crisis, but first a little history lesson.

Wait ? hold your horses! Before readers start screaming, setting fire to their?NBR, boxing their wives? ears and rushing into the streets sobbing ?no more, please God no more about the bloody housing crisis,? believe it or not, the opening paragraph above comes from the?NZ Building Progress?editorial in November 1918.

The magazine was our building and architectural monthly trade journal a century back and the reason I have copies is my penchant for picking up old publications in second-hand bookshops. They never fail to give one pause for thought when perusing them, as that editorial demonstrates. ? Read more »


Social Housing Minister Amy Adams is enduring Paula Bennett’s hospital pass

Paula Bennett’s old job was done so well, she got promoted to Deputy PM. ?Except in reality it was done so poorly, Amy Adams is now having to face the music.

The official waiting list for social housing has risen again to nearly 4800 households, nearly half of whom are in Auckland.

The waiting list is now at its highest level since it was transferred to Work and Income in mid-2014.

Figures released by new Social Housing Minister Amy Adams today show the number of people on the list jumped by 169 in the last three months of 2016 to 4771 – an increase of 3.7 per cent. Over the last year, the list grew by 37.3 per cent.

The increase was driven mostly by demand in Auckland, where the list grew by 153 people to 2060. The biggest increases were in South Auckland suburbs such as Mangere, Otara and Manurewa.

The waiting list also grew in Hamilton, but fell in other main centres such as Christchurch and Wellington.

John Key was quite keen to see this area sorted before the elections, but it remains to be seen if Bill English will empower Adams to do anything about it. ? Paula Bennett became the minister of Announcing solutions, but all of these had 2-4 year realisation periods. Read more »

Herald pimps poor again, and fails to research their bludging backgrounds

The NZ Herald has joined Radio NZ and John Campbell in highlighting the plight of bludgers.

They have taken a slightly different approach trying to make the situation appeal to the long suffering taxpayer.

A group of Auckland families are facing a bleak Christmas in cramped motel rooms that are costing taxpayers thousands of dollars each week.

The Herald visited a motel in South Auckland today where several tenants been housed under the Ministry of Social Development’s emergency accommodation scheme.

Hazel Waipouri and her two granddaughters have been living in a single-bedroom unit at the motel, which the Herald has agreed not to identify, for four months now.

She said the room was costing taxpayers more than $1000 a week.

“It’s terrible, traumatic, bad. We’re stuffed in one room, we’re all getting sick,” Waipouri said.

Despite the cramped conditions, Waipouri said she had no complaints about the motel’s management. ? Read more »

John Campbell pimps the poor and fails again

The problem with bludgers, governments and civil servants is they think everything can be solved by the application of plenty of other people’s money.

When that coincides you get situations like this:

Work and Income is paying $2300 a week for a family waiting for social housing to stay in a motel.

Tuaine Murray, her husband and her son, who has a disability, have been living in motels for most of the year, while they wait for a Housing New Zealand property.

Ms Murray said the $2300 per week was for a unit at the Allenby Park Hotel in Papatoetoe.

Initially the money had to be repaid, but now the government is paying for it.

They were recently placed in emergency housing at the motel after stints at various other motels and the Manurewa Marae.

Ms Murray said she desperately needed a Housing New Zealand house, because they were struggling to get a private rental and were at the mercy of Work and Income.

She said the room did not have a functioning oven or a laundry. They could not go on living with these conditions and needed more stability, she said.

“We can’t really carry on doing this. It’s really hard. We’ve been doing it for such a long time … We can’t keep doing this to my son.”

The Allenby Park Hotel has been charging Ms Murray and her family a premium – the normal rate would be slightly more than $1700 a week.

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National is getting pretty good at announcing housing

It might be nice if they could arrange for some houses to actually get built sometime soon.

Meanwhile, they are inoculating the housing crisis with cash:

An extra $300m will go towards providing emergency housing over the next five years, the Government has announced.

The money will fund 1400 places around the country, 600 in Auckland and the remaining 800 in high demand areas around the country.

The $303.6m package, over this financial year and the next four, is made up of: ?? Read more »

Free up land or else Nick Smith tells councils

Central government is to order councils to free up more land for housing…or else

The government has signed off its national policy statement that ensures councils in rapidly growing urban areas provide enough land for new housing and business developments.

It takes effect on December 1 and big councils experiencing high growth will be most affected – Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga and Hamilton.

Smaller fast-growing cities such as Nelson and Queenstown will also be affected.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith says the national policy statement requires councils to allow for a greater supply of houses, so prices rise more slowly and houses are more affordable.

“The long-term, root cause of New Zealand’s housing affordability problems is insufficient land supply, especially in Auckland where median section prices increased 350 per cent from 1990 to now,” he said on Monday. ? Read more »