Feedback to Rack-Rent Series

Note the full report on New Zealand’s Rack-Rent Housing Crisis can be read here.

Nice work Brendon. Just need to start building at the low price end and offering finance to purchase/rent to buy/or simply rent.
My observations are that:
1. Rents are way too high (Christchurch rents are starting to soften, but Wellington/Auckland remains a challenge).
2. Supply will certainly solve this problem.
3. LVRs for investors need to rise further (40–50% at least) and 100% mortgages (which essentially is rent to buy) be offered to first home buyers/owner occupiers. That will rebalance the field quickly.
Supply and financing….CGT is a red herring is this discussion (switching to land value and away from improvements at the rating level would certainly help). — Raf Manji — Former CCC Councillor — (Medium response)

“Excellent Brendon, a perfect distillation of the political choice that has to be made in term 2 of the Ardern Government…” — Chris Harris — Urban Historian (Medium response)

“Some savage reality checking there Brendon. The housing affordability discourse is dominated by addressing the problems of middle income first home buyers, when really they (we) are the canary in the coal mine, not the priority issue. “ — Jared Humm (Twitter)

“Good, raising some very salient points for a somewhat harder discussion, that we’ve been playing a little too far around the edges with, as far as I (in my personal opinion) have seen just so far. As you say it all “might seem unpalatable” to some, but you’ve traversed it well.” — Alan (not ekshully a B’Stard) (Twitter)

“Yes. Not just about people ‘getting on the ladder’, about the impact it’s having on people’s lives.” — Julie Alp (Twitter)

“Some very valid points in here. We need a multitude of State housing with an eventual option for the tenants to buy.” — colette sale (Twitter)

“This” NZ needs to broaden the housing conversation from being just about first home buyers. That is a middle class narrative that doesn’t give any space to other concerns. The more important issue IMO is how messed up poverty and renting is. — DRD (Twitter)

“Yes #getonwithit” — Christopher Kelly (Twitter)

Good points here… If we want affordable housing we must provide affordable housing to those with the lowest income first. A large scale state housing worked before & it can work again. Trying to build affordable housing for middle income people (Kiwibuild) won’t work. #nzpolLiquid Times (Twitter)

“This is a very honest look at the problems we have in NZ to do with ensuring our housing provides for vulnerable low income earners. We need as a country bold solutions not tinkering around the edges” — Janette Walker (Facebook)

“Ohhh looks like a really good read, thanks for that. Love the illumination of the moral dilemmas I can see there. I can’t help but think we are not brave and bold enough” — Michelle Mickey Cole (Facebook)

“My good friend Brendon Harre writes extensively about housing in New Zealand. He understands the complexities of NZ housing infrastructure more than anyone I know. His articles are well worth reading” — Deborah Radeka (Facebook — The Cost of Dirty Politics group)

“Too much of New Zealand’s economy is rack-rent, where those with market power exploit those without. Effectively, wages are confiscated. #nomaterialhardship, #getcracking, #nzpol “ — Marney Ainsworth (Facebook) kindly republished New Zealand’s Rack-Rent Housing Crisis: Political Constraints. There were lots of supportive comments. The following are some that I particularly liked.

“I really don’t understand why the government is allowing the RBNZ to print money which is been used to overinflate the existing housing market and not instead using that money to build state houses with a design either to rent to own or just rent. In the 1960’s when my grandparents moved from England to Sydney (Australia) they participated in the “rent to own” scheme for state housing in Sydney, at that time there were two options offered either rent to own or rent and the house goes back to the government at the end of the day. The scheme developed new Sydney suburbs, created employment and gave the bottom quartile — hope. We know that home ownership ensures people get a step up in life and can begin to build wealth, creating a base for the next generation and breaking the intergenerational poverty cycle.” — ikimpaul (

“My grandparents got a state house in the forties that they were later able to buy off the government. That opportunity was a springboard for three generations (and counting) of financial wellbeing. State housing can give people the social and financial stability they need to build generational security, if done right.” — al123 (

“Excellent. A bit more in news media about what real housing crisis is (unaffordable rents for the working poor in short) would be useful instead of total focus on FHB and deposits and sky rocketing house prices.
So NZ is worst in class for rent paid by bottom 20%. What an indictment…” — mikekirk29 (

“Great article, and an important reminder that — while middle-class FHBs are indeed screwed over by the current situation — the genuine crisis is elsewhere, and too often ignored. Also a good summary of Kiwibuild failures, and the weirdness of targeting a social housing initiative at… people who can already afford to buy a house.” — Brisket (

“Best article in some time. Well done Brendon. I’m just curious as I’m not sure where I read it, but didn’t someone, maybe on this site wonder out loud why this extra $128b that the reserve bank is creating, why is it not going directly to the Government to spend on what we need. Why are the banks getting it (to lend on housing) when the Government should and could spend it on state house building starting tomorrow.” — Njay (… Vested interests and their long-held ideology driven more by emotion and self-interest (rather) than reason? — RickStrauss (

“Dear Prime Minister. The stars have aligned to give you a once in a generation chance to fix a problem that has been festering for 30 years. Do you see all those levers over there? Pull them all now. Stop talking and start doing. You have 3 years. If the public vote you out after that. So what. You don’t want to be prime minister for ever do you? Be remembered for fixing the problem…” — WestieAJ (

“Great article Brendon. The government should keep building until rents fall to 30% of income. This would require an order of magnitude shift in the number of houses built. The government should also not restrict who can access these properties (based on ideology) but instead should allow everyone to go on the list which gets ordered by need then delivered to those most in need first. I would also suggest that the government build to international (note: not NZ) best practice. This will also resolve fuel poverty and poor health. The health savings alone would pay for any premium to meet this standard. These houses will be in place for the next 100 years so any compromises now, our grandkids will be paying for.” — kiwimm (

“+1 Brendon. We need a massive fiscal stimulus to build state houses. The monetary stimulus we are getting is simply raising asset prices as property investors drive the market higher & does nothing to increase supply.” — Kiwi_overseas (

“To be honest I’m actually blown away that we’ve allowed this to happen here — its like a bad nightmare yet every day you wake up you realise once again that it is for real. I never quite understood how societies could break down, but now I’m witnessing the making of it here in NZ through self interest, ignorance, greed and a general lack of wisdom.” — Independent_Observer (


When cities erect barriers that make it harder to build houses, I think this is landowners lobbying lawmakers so they can earn without toil.

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Brendon Harre

When cities erect barriers that make it harder to build houses, I think this is landowners lobbying lawmakers so they can earn without toil.