Taking property by deceit

Stephen Franks blogs about The Historic Places Trust being able to?literally take your property on the basis of some weasel words in the?legislation.

It deserves wider attention, and so I re-post it in full.

I?ve been around the law and politics for some time. Legislation is moulded by politics. Some politicians insist on obscure language to disguise the real effect of law, to delay opponents realising how far it goes. I understand that. We live in a democracy. Democracies need politicians who act to minimise the number who want to vote them out. So a law-writing ?hand may get? an irresistible urge to obfuscate .

Until recently we had some protection?from?Parliamentary Counsel. There was a convention supporting?some?gate-keeper role in rejecting such deceit, but it seems that semi-constitutional?filter has gone.

There are less cynical and offensive ways to deceive the public, but deceptively written law is becoming ?normal?. Few lawyers in Parliament have the background to detect it, which may have something to do with selections for identity group ?reflection? instead of?established merit.

The increase may also be because the deceitful hand is not necessarily that of ?the politician. ?Officials with an agenda their elected masters won?t like have the time to hide their obfuscations deep in dense language. Politicians may not work out what they are voting for until too late.

A Bill well through the Parliamentary process ?updating? the Historic Places Trust legislation is a classic example. The 1993 Act over-rode property rights, but only for the unfortunates who happen to own?really old?places, The replacement Bill turns that limited exception into general contempt for the property rights. Now they are to be confiscated from pretty much anyone?with property that ?Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga? finds appealing. The Board can declare a place to be category 1 or 2 protected (economically seized for practical purposes) if they are satisfied of its ?significance or value in relation to? any one or more of its:

  • ?Technical accomplishment, value, or design?;
  • ?Symbolic or commemorative value?;
  • ?Community association?;
  • ?Public esteem?;
  • ?Potential for public education?;
  • ?Importance to tangata whenua?;
  • ?Extent to which it forms part of a wider ?cultural area?.

Observe that?none of those need have anything to do with history. ? Read more »

Herald editorial on state house changes

The Herald Editorial discusses the changes the government have made to state housing.

An era ended yesterday. The idea that a state house was awarded to tenants for life has been consigned to history. Legislation that put an end to this idea passed through Parliament late last year, remarkably with little comment. The law came into effect yesterday just as quietly. From now on, tenants will face a review every three years to see whether their income or circumstances have improved.

The absence of much protest suggests the public attitude changed long ago. Yet it shows some courage on the Government’s part. Sooner or later an elderly person is going to be evicted from a house she loves in a neighbourhood where she has lived most of her life, so that a family may be given the three-bedroom home she has occupied alone, and she will be on television.

Normally Housing New Zealand would be able to offer her a smaller but reasonably alternative home. But another historic change that took effect yesterday means the corporation no longer decides who gets a house.

The role has been passed to the Ministry of Social Development, which will assess applicants’ housing need as part of all forms of assistance they require. That makes sense and should make the system fairer.? Read more »

Restrict sale of Kiwi properties to foreigners, says Australian Russel Norman

There are two people I wish we never let into the country in the first place: ?Kim Dotcom and Russel Norman. ?The latter is just such an astounding hypocrite, it hurts my brain.

Being an immigrant from Australia himself, he now wants to stop non-New Zealanders from buying Kiwi properties. ?He wants to decide who you or I can sell our stuff to.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says home ownership is declining because prices keep going up.

“In countries like Singapore there are controls on foreigners buying homes to take the pressure off the market. It’s the same across Asia and it’s a sensible policy,” he told reporters.

“If you took 10 per cent out of the demand side you’d go a long way to stabilising prices.”

Finance Minister Bill English says prices are going up because there aren’t enough houses.

“Houses are just too expensive and we have to increase supply,” he said. ? Read more »

A solution for the issue of unmown berms

The NZ Herald ran another story on the weekend about the unmown berms in Auckland.

I think I have found a solution to the problem…on the Council’s own website.

Properties with overgrown grass

Overgrown properties are a common complaint year-round, and can have serious implications. The council will become involved with overgrown properties if they involve a potential risk to health. This includes:

  • long, dry grass posing a fire hazard
  • overgrowth?providing a breeding ground for rats and other vermin
  • property providing a?breeding ground for flies, mosquitoes or other insects capable of causing or transmitting disease. ? Read more »

It appears affordable homes are everywhere

Despite the claims by media and opposition parties that there is no affordable housing the Herald goes and proves that there are plenty of homes for first home buyers…and they are all over Auckland, even in Ponsonby.

PropertyIQAuck_Suburb2013 Read more »

The fallacy of affordable housing


A reader emails about affordable housing.

Saw your post on the box solution but thought your question on why nobody was making solutions is interesting so here is my take on it:

To be affordable the cost of housing needs to be approximately 3 times the average income which is to say for Auckland around $220,000-250,000.

Houses were at this price or less only as far back as 2003 – 10 years ago. I recall friends acquiring a house in Kingsland for $238,000 in 2003 after selling a house in Waterview for $145,000.

Either a solution at or about $250,000 is required or alternatively incomes need to rise to reach $220,000 per annum.

The latter isn’t possible but it is fair to say incomes are part of the problem.

The most obvious solution is for housing that is priced in the $220-300,000 bracket.

The problem is that’s not possible. And that is why nobody is coming up with solutions. ? Read more »

What about Kiwi property speculators?

Policy Parrot says:

Last night whilst sharpening one?s beak on cuttlefish this Parrot took at gander at the comments from yesterday?s Policy Parrot post about Labour’s ridiculous housing policy to restrict foreigners.

I noticed one comment that really caught my attention. The comment was about kiwis who are buying and selling property speculatively and not paying any tax. They went on to comment that they have a friend who made $1.8m tax free and predominantly because the IRD don?t have the capacity to track transactions thus it is undetected.

The comment went to say lots of people are doing this.

And this Parrot tends to agree.

The sad fact is that a portion of our market are indeed speculating on gains in short and medium durations. By defining the trade period as short or medium it is fairly clear that the property owner had no real intention to buy for long term investment gain. Rather they strategically acquire and sell?with a quick profit generated.

Sometimes a little work is needed on these short or medium term?property trades. Some properties might need a partial reno. Others a lick and paint tart up. Whilst many?are barely touched. The cost of perpetuating a trade is irrelevant. The trade occurs. ? Read more »

Chinese? No, NZ Citizen actually

I see Stuff has an article about a rich “Chinese” businessman seeking to buy Mark Hotchin’s now finished mansion on Paritai Drive.

The sale of the Hotchin mansion on Auckland’s upmarket Paritai Drive is expected to be finalised within the next two weeks.

Market speculation is focusing on the family of a prominent Chinese businessman with extensive business interests in this country as the most likely buyer.

Graham Wall, the real estate agent handling the sale of the sprawling clifftop mansion built by former Hanover director Mark Hotchin, said a sale was close.

“Supremely confident is how we’d describe our situation. But we’ve quite a few jumps to get through before before we could say we’ve sold the house,” Wall said.? Read more »

Local Government troughers have a whinge fest

Policy Parrot says:

Yesterday Local Government got together for a little conference group hug.

Joining them central government parties of all denominations platforming and performing like prized cockatoos.

Nothing unusual and likely a total waste of rate payer funds from all parts of NZ spent bringing together council hobbits from all over to strategise against the threat of losing control.

Why don’t they just use the web. Forum. Email. Phone perhaps?

This Parrot heard the pathetic and woeful cries from local government leaders and all left leaning political parties denouncing the National Party as meddlers followed by the obligatory claims of ‘beat-ups’ and unjustified reform.

‘We are unfairly picked on’ cried the local government spokespeople.

Aggh… no you are not. Things don’t happen randomly or without good reason. ? Read more »

Auckland Council now wants to be a property developer?

Policy Parrot says:

So Auckland Council is thinking about doing a mixed use property development. Now there is a dangerous proposition and one doomed for failure no matter how much expert advice they receive.

Auckland Council has put out a request for Expressions of Interest to give initial advice on feasibilities for a Mixed Use property development.

Firstly it is nothing more than a stitch up. In typical fashion cronyism is at work and this Parrot knows that Council is merely going through the motions of tender but has already a preferred supplier in mind.

But more importantly – why is Council attempting to do a property development with rate payers money? ? Read more »