Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Strange Southern Superman

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  • Gareth Ward,

    The demented anger in the comments under Vernon Small's Stuff blog on the speech is unbelievable.

    I'm sure this topic has been covered a hundred times here, but I'm still a little floored by just how demented so much commentary is around NZ politics.
    I like to think I'm not some Victorian-young-lady-of-the-internet-age who is easily shocked, and I know there are nutters who take advantage of anomie and "go off", but I still end up a little slack-jawed around so much of this...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The demented anger in the comments under Vernon Small's Stuff blog on the speech is unbelievable.

    Only if you never read the comments at Kiwiblog. In addition to raving, the nutters also rove.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    But Small is prey to curious narratives too. "Politically it is obviously an attempt to counter the compassionate conservatism that is becoming a hallmark of John Key’s leadership," he writes. Um, is there some policy with that, or just a lot of soft press and photo-ops?

    Sheesh, Russell, what more do you want from the man? Don't you remember he was nice to that small girl in that dodgy street in Phil Goff's electorate a while back?

    And since then he's further advanced his compassionate and conservative credentials by, umm................

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    What we need is government provision of cows.

    I draw your attention to an old post of mine, and the words of George Bernard Shaw:

    I just want to ask: why not distribute it freely? This is very important in New Zealand. A little loss on milk doesn't matter. It is of enormous importance that all your children should be a generation reared from first class children. When you have done this, when you have distributed free milk, which is just as possible as free water, I would then suggest that you should go on from free milk to free bread. If you have free bread, and anybody can go to a store and get it, such a thing as a hungry child will be impossible in New Zealand.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The key problem all of this raises for me, is what effect will increasing the competition for the cheapest (comparatively speaking) houses in a particular area actually have on prices?

    Which is why the other half of the policy is about the government increasing the supply of such homes. if the market won't provide, then the state will ahve to.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    I'm still a little floored by just how demented so much commentary is around NZ politics.

    meh. AM-frequently talk-back radio has discovered typing.

    much of the stuff i used to read on the loony-comments sections bears striking resemblance to BBQ's at my north-shore relatives places. but markedly less polite.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    if the market won't provide, then the state will ahve to.

    you're sounding remarkably like a certain m.j. savage there i/s....

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I'm sure this topic has been covered a hundred times here, but I'm still a little floored by just how demented so much commentary is around NZ politics.

    Insanity feeds insanity. Blogs concentrate the loons and drive them to greater heights of dementia, while also allowing them to set the tone (either by infecting or driving out all those who disagree). And once its started, its difficult to stop, unless you draw a cordon sanitaire around the sewer and prevent them from spreading their hate elsewhere.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    The key problem all of this raises for me, is what effect will increasing the competition for the cheapest (comparatively speaking) houses in a particular area actually have on prices?

    Yup, and it's always a tough one in terms of any public intervention in the housing market.

    But IF (and there's no policy I can see around this yet) it is utilised in conjunction with the other initiatives announced, then it should have minimal impact.
    If it is used solely for specific new-build developments, and only as a small part of that development (mixed-ownership, from full private to mandated-affordable to shared-equity-affordable), then the impact you discuss should be negated (the "current owners jacking their price" theory).
    It actually becomes quite supply-side focussed.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Which is why the other half of the policy is about the government increasing the supply of such homes. if the market won't provide, then the state will ahve to.

    I understand the theory behind the proposals. A question remains around the ability to actually put state provision into practice. It would be possible to make the case quite easily that the squandering of opportunities will doom the whole concept.

    The Hobsonville project, for example, is for two thousand homes. Why on earth then, will there only be 300 affordable homes, and 300 state homes? Why on earth would it make sense to use one of the largest remaining tracts of state land that can still be freed up (at very little cost to the govt) to build 1400 homes that are not affordable?

    Doesn't it strike anyone, even just a little, as a wasted opportunity?

    On top of that, there is no longer any government infrastructure which employs builders, surveyors, QS's etc. who could actually carry out construction on anything close to the scale needed. This would make govt provision a more difficult proposition.

    Either way, the only winners from these scenarios appear to be the developers and the builders. I'm unsure whether any of these steps will assist people to get into their first home...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    My parents got a house by cashing up their child benefit as the deposit and getting a State Advances loan at 3% for 30 years. They never looked back from that. I know its a different thing, but a shared equity scheme is trying to achieve a similar outcome. A lot of the "drive up the price" stuff from the Kiwiblog right is a simplistic application of cartoon economics, which is par for the course.

    Oh and I hear on the Natrad panel the ever reliable Joanne Black is already wailing about the effect the hoi polloi moving into her street might have on her property values.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    You could turn this into a drinking game (and I'm already wishing I had).

    I had a mental side bet Key respond with "Is that it?". It took him far longer than I expected, but he did repeat it when he got there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I'm still a little floored by just how demented so much commentary is around NZ politics.

    Something I was reading about talk radio in the US makes me think - if if your views aren't reflected in the mainstream (if, for example, you're rabidly something-or-other) you'll naturally be attracted to alternate fora like comments sections. If they are, you won't.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Oh and I hear on the Natrad panel the ever reliable Joanne Black is already wailing about the effect the hoi polloi moving into her street might have on her property values.

    Not surprising. John Key has expressed similar sentiments in the past, calling the inclusion of affordable and state houses in the Hobson project "economic vandalism".

    This tells us all we need to know about either's views on affordable housing.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Why on earth would it make sense to use one of the largest remaining tracts of state land that can still be freed up (at very little cost to the govt) to build 1400 homes that are not affordable?

    Doesn't it strike anyone, even just a little, as a wasted opportunity?

    I believe the counter argument goes along the lines that if you dont mix the 'normal' houses with the affordable/state houses you are creating a future slum area....

    I'm not studied enough (or at all) in urban development to know how true or valid that is... but I've seen it stated before, and we've all seen whats happened in the UK to many of their housing developments (ie. council estates) of the 50's and 60's.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    If National does become government later this year, they should be worried about having to meet the expectations of the raving nutter vote.

    Isn't it everyone else who should worry? You know, that they might. I'm sure they'll give us a couple weeks to pick at their policy before the big day, but will the hollow men be honest with it anyway?

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Not surprising. John Key has expressed similar sentiments in the past, calling the inclusion of affordable and state houses in the Hobson project "economic vandalism".

    The mention of the Hobsonville (not Hobson) development was very deliberate.

    Key didn't have his "compassionate conservative" thing down by then, and his lament that "there's the chance to build something pretty good there" -- ie, so long as the poor people are kept well clear -- will no doubt be raised again. And fair enough too, actually.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The Hobsonville project, for example, is for two thousand homes. Why on earth then, will there only be 300 affordable homes, and 300 state homes?

    500 and 450. Partly, I think its for the reasons Fletcher suggests - HousingNZ now prefers to "pepperpot" rather than build entire neighbourhoods of state houses. But also there's the fact that Hobsonville was planned several years ago, before affordable housing became such a big issue. Hopefully they'll be thinking about how to put more affordable homes in there, and hopefully the tamaki development will include even more.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Slightly off-topic, but am curious how shared equity became the headline of that leaked speech - I read the full transcript and there is ONE sentence on it that is actually the 3rd or 4th point of the housing affordability section.

    Because that's what got *cough* strategically pre-released to the media, based on the assumption that was what would really grab the interest of mortgage belt morning newspaper readers? Kathryn Street didn't get Mike Munro's job to bring the sexyback.

    And such is the Herald's love affair, it appears, with John Key that the website story on the speech is topped with pictures of both the person who gave it and the saintly Mr Key, even though he is not actually mentioned in the story.</blockquote>

    Just as I'm consitantly bemused at the way the press solicits Helen Clark's opinions on all kinds of matters where her views could be considered marginally pertinent.

    <quote>I think this is going to be an interesting test of the Herald's editorial voice, because the housing affordability package looks detailed and technically sound to me. Might the Herald's leader column actually say something positive about the government?

    I'm sure it will, along with all the other occasions its said all kinds of positive things about the Gummint. Really, leave that kind of low-level paranoia to the Sub-Standard Left where it belongs.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Because that's what got *cough* strategically pre-released to the media, based on the assumption that was what would really grab the interest of mortgage belt morning newspaper readers? Kathryn Street didn't get Mike Munro's job to bring the sexyback.

    Hmmmm, having read the article this morning about how the PM feels that she is at a disadvantage by having to supply her speech in advance to opposition parties and being constrained in her topics (where it's a subsequent free-for-all), it does perhaps feel a bit like a long-planned media "joint venture"...
    It's just that the rest of the material released doesn't bear out the relentless shared-equity focus. Perhaps that's all part of the plan too... Conspiracies abound! tinfoil-)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Key didn't have his "compassionate conservative" thing down by then, and his lament that "there's the chance to build something pretty good there" -- ie, so long as the poor people are kept well clear -- will no doubt be raised again. And fair enough too, actually.

    And perhaps he should start reminding people when Helen Clark lwasn't keen on having dirty poor people in her backyard either. But I guess the problem isn't being a NIMBY, but the wrong sort of NIMBY...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    HousingNZ now prefers to "pepperpot" rather than build entire neighbourhoods of state houses. But also there's the fact that Hobsonville was planned several years ago, before affordable housing became such a big issue. Hopefully they'll be thinking about how to put more affordable homes in there, and hopefully the tamaki development will include even more.

    I'd respectfully submit that the comparison to "pepperpotting" would not be relevant to Hobsonville if it was a settlement of affordable housing. Hobsonville is a wasted opportunity, where it could have been established as primarily affordable housing, with a sprinkling of state houses (as is the wont of HNZ). This would not have created slums and would in fact have delivered against multiple social goals.

    BTW, decisions on Hobsonville were taken last year, not several years ago, and date from around the same time as the original shared equity announcements (I'm sure you'll find announcements about them by the previous minister of housing), and affordable housing was indeed a big issue at the time.

    Wasted opportunities like these should not be condoned, the people missing out due to bad decisions/execution are the ones the policies are aimed at.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm sure it will, along with all the other occasions its said all kinds of positive things about the Gummint. Really, leave that kind of low-level paranoia to the Sub-Standard Left where it belongs.

    Nope. With the notable exception of Audrey Young, who's an equal-opportunity kneecapper -- Labour has had overwhelmingly hostile op-ed from the Herald in recent months (for sure, not all of it undeserved). And John Key is having a very long honeymoon. I actually can't recall a positive editorial in that time.

    Fran O'Sullivan's frankly silly column and John Roughan's early valentine to John Key in last Saturday's paper sort of summed it up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It's just that the rest of the material released doesn't bear out the relentless shared-equity focus. Perhaps that's all part of the plan too... Conspiracies abound! tinfoil-)

    Who's conspiracy mongering, Gareth? It seems blatantly obvious to me that every politician -- and every spin-thing they have on the payroll -- are going to be trying to get as much favourable media coverage as humanly possible. Welcome to the permanent campaign and the eternally rolling poll.

    No visit to your favourite milliner for an aluminum chapeau required. Hell, even the Budget has become something of an anti-climax, now that all the really juicy bits tend to be leaked well in advance of the lockdown.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    PS: You could also say that Labour hasn't done much new to shout about, and has had various calamities. But Clark's speech today reads very well -- much better than the drab effort last month -- and the policy seems sound and detailed. Key, by comparison, and even bearing in mind his short time to compose a response, was rubbish in the House today.

    The Herald editorial column firmly declared Key the winner in a contest of speeches that reached no great heights on either side last month. I'm interested to see how it reads tomorrow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

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