Much of human history has consisted of unequal conflicts between the haves and the have nots — Jared Diamond

The New Zealand political-economy over the last 40-years has a Koru Club aspect to it — the sort of people who can afford membership to Air New Zealand’s exclusive club are doing well. This privileged and self-entitled group have made huge gains, not from hard work or enterprise, but from regulation that prevents competition in supermarkets, petrol prices, electricity, house building, and so on. Meanwhile the wider population works harder and harder but makes no gains.

The worst offender is housing…

Part Seven: New Zealand’s Rack-Rent Housing Crisis

The planet is on fire. Humanity is responding — hopefully fast enough

Source BBC News article — Australia attacks sweeping EU climate plan to tax imports

Europe’s coal and steel union evolved into the European Union. Which is now evolving into an environmental union that intends to tax imported carbon. Such a tax would make exporters to the EU pay more for goods like steel and cement.

The global warming threat to humanity and the international response has significant implications for New Zealand. The country should carefully consider its position.

Australia is attacking the EU plan, if the US follows the EU lead, then Australia will eventually follow too.

It is not in New…

The point of incremental change is to grease the machine to make a more efficient model.

In contrast radical change requires governments to move past current practice to create an entirely new system better suited to the obstacles presented.

Note — email address depicted is not current

As my family and friends know, I am more than a little obsessed about housing. I believe, and have done for a long time now, that our cities and towns are profoundly broken. The poor way New Zealand manages the built environment risks making the housing crisis an obstacle that might prove insurmountable. …

“Urbanism works when it creates a journey as desirable as the destination.” Paul Goldberger

Auckland Light Rail so far has been an unhappy initiative — it has been delayed by three years and the project is now on its second Minister.

Michael Wood the new Transport Minister has created a new light rail process with public engagement at its core. There will be a six-month work programme undertaken by an Establishment Unit. At the end of the year when the Government receives advice from the Unit, it will make the key decisions on route, mode, and delivery entity.

So, now…

“We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us” Winston Churchill

Source: “The hottest new thing in sustainable building is, uh, wood”

Renting in New Zealand is bad — is how I have written about housing in the last few months. Nobody disputes the narrative. New Zealand’s housing market has become so farcical it is an object of satire. Getting on the property ladder is like joining the landed gentry class in a Jane Austin novel, and mocked for it — Pride and Property, an Austentatious tale.

These kinds of stories cast landlords as a villain in the nation’s story. There is a legitimate beef too — landlords did not pass on…

“While Adam delved (dug) and Eve span, who then was the gentleman?” John Ball priest — hung, drawn and quartered, 1381.

There was no privileged landed gentry in Adam and Eve’s time so why are they favoured in later times?

Source. Real health Price Index versus Real Personal disposable Income (2000Q1=100)

New Zealand is bad at housing its people — very bad. Relative to income, homes in the country are among the most expensive in the world.

(H/T Sophie McInnes for suggesting the title — it is a big improvement)

View of Avondale and Burwood section of Christchurch’s red zone

Post-quake development in East Christchurch remains a difficult question. Greater Christchurch is at the stage where it needs mass transit to shape its spatial growth pattern. There have been several suggestions for this, such as the below ‘Hand Plan’. However, it has been difficult to incorporate the East into these plans due to the effects of the 2010/11 earthquakes, which caused it to lose houses and population. Add in concerns about liquefaction and sea level rise and it becomes hard to justify large-scale public investment.

New Zealand’s Rack-Rent Housing Crisis: Part Four

People might vote with their feet

Actually rather than the middle-class the evidence points to the working class and the lower middle-class being the largest groups leaving California. Image Source

The first three parts of The New Zealand Rack-Rent Housing Crisis series focused on housing inequality, an issue that feeds into and underpins numerous societal ills. Bold political action is needed to make housing affordable and prevent the entrenchment of New Zealand society into a class system based around inherited property wealth. This paper though focuses on productivity.

Jenée Tibshraeny, a journalist at, has done excellent work investigating the inequality effect of printing money, a strategy employed by the Reserve Bank in response to the forecast economic downturn associated with Covid-19 (articles here

New Zealand’s Rack-Rent Housing Crisis, Part Three: Political Precommitment

On the basis of a warning from his erstwhile lover, Circes, Ulysses instructs his sailors to bind him to the mast of his ship and block their own ears before sailing past the island of the Sirens, whose enchanting song draws sailors to shipwreck. Ulysses and the Sirens is a 1909 oil painting by Herbert James Draper. Source Wikipedia

The end of the John Key government was marked by a desperate scramble to reverse housing policy settings. Media reports showing homeless families living in cars shocked the nation. As a stop-gap measure, the homeless were housed in motels. The former prime minister was forced to contend with the consequences of his earlier housing attention being focused on middle-income earners and his assumption that building social housing was economic vandalism, when in fact housing as a human right was the political necessity.

New Zealand’s Rack-Rent Housing Crisis, Part Two: Economic Opportunity


Former Finance Minister Michael Cullen recently wrote an opinion piece on housing and monetary policy. To paraphrase him: the Reserve Bank are the Jedi Knights of the economy with interest-cutting lightsabers fighting against the evil empire of inflation. This worked when the problem was stagflation — high consumer price inflation and poor economic growth — but it is not working now when the problem is poor productivity, rising inequality and high house price inflation.

The Reserve Bank (RBNZ) has rejected Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s proposal for its monetary policy remit to consider house prices as well as its current inflation…

Brendon Harre

Trying to optimise amenity and affordability values for urban areas

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