OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Lies, damn lies, adjectives

93 Responses

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  • Matthew Poole,

    So I reckon a house is productive like, say, and education. If that isn't "productive" in your terminology, then there is presumably another word which applies and renders the prevalent productive/unproductive dichotomy meaningless since it doesn't span the relevant options.

    Provision of education is a service, certainly, and the property held and maintained to facilitate the provision of that service would likely be considered productive inasmuch as it requires upkeep such as cleaning and maintenance. It doesn't, however, constitute productive in relation to provision of education. The education can be provided under a tree, or in a park, or even in the middle of Aotea Square.
    Is education itself a productive asset? Do you mean the provision of education, or the knowledge gained from education? The former is clearly productive to the educator, as it generates income, but for the educated it is unproductive as consumption of education requires time that cannot then be used for other things.

    Are people employed to maintain the shelter "machine"? Yes.

    If that makes housing productive then I'll argue that cars are also productive assets because they keep mechanics employed. As an entire class of asset that may be true, but as discrete instances they're very definitely not productive.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Oh, I should point out that I'm talking about owner-occupied homes. Obviously a rental home produces something for the landlord, though on the evidence it produces less than nothing for the wider economy.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Alien Lizard (anag),

    hmmm
    Therefore is the House of Parliament
    an asset that we all own?
    (for some reason we seem to be paying the tenants!!)
    Do they pay a Capital Gains tax it would be apt...)
    and is it productive?
    (perhaps there could be a good behaviour bond... you know where we decide if they have left the House/Country in the same state they found it in)
    : )

    The Arrrgh Complex • Since Jan 2010 • 158 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    [Education] is clearly productive to the educator, as it generates income, but for the educated it is unproductive as consumption of education requires time that cannot then be used for other things.

    This feels like the heart of the difference between some technical definition of "productive" and the word's meaning in the question implied by the original discussion: "Is investing in the provision of rental housing productive for NZ society?"[1]

    To my thinking, an education is productive for the educated and for society. To invest in buying university course seats and on-selling them for weekly payments to students who could not (or chose not) to buy the course upfront seems like a socially useful possibility with a high likelihood of increasing society's output of useful achievements (material or otherwise, but certainly including economic outputs). This seems directly analogous to rental housing, but the value I am getting at is there whether you pay the course fees directly and at once or indirectly on weekly installments; whether you own the house or rent it.

    [1] There is also an element of proportionality in the question of whether to change the tax regime, but it was hard to phrase without obscuring the point about how "productive" was used. For the record, I think that we invest in housing beyond the optimal level, but I don't think all rental housing is unproductive and am intrigued by a possible terminology gap which is distorting the public discussion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 93 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart,

    Surely in this instance we must decide if they've left the House(Country) in a better state than they found it in?

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    Listen to Bob Buckle on Morning report today

    Nine to Noon. But yeah, scream. SCREEAAAAAAAAAM *headsmak*

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    > Are people employed to maintain the shelter "machine"? Yes.

    If that makes housing productive then I'll argue that cars are also productive assets because they keep mechanics employed. As an entire class of asset that may be true, but as discrete instances they're very definitely not productive.

    I only made that comment because somebody else had asked a question which seemed to imply that generating employment matters. I don't myself see the connection clearly. A machine that makes widgets seems productive to me, but doesn't employ people.

    On the other hand, you also said

    the property held and maintained to facilitate the provision of that service would likely be considered productive inasmuch as it requires upkeep such as cleaning and maintenance

    which seems directly analogous to a house needing maintenance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 93 posts Report Reply

  • Alien Lizard (anag),

    in a better state

    true, I was just not being too optimistic...

    The Arrrgh Complex • Since Jan 2010 • 158 posts Report Reply

  • Andy Fraser,

    Nine to Noon

    Thank you stephen.
    That error comes from starting work and 4:30am...

    Invercargill • Since Jun 2009 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    And after all that....no land tax, but up goes GST. Sigh.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Exactly what wasn't needed.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    SCREEAAAAAAAAAM *headsmak*

    Can someone start importing desk pillows? The lump on my forehead is getting rather large.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    hmmm
    Therefore is the House of Parliament
    an asset that we all own?

    But do we occupy it?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    My favourite bit from this mess:

    mining in national parks to go ahead with the establishment of a conservation fund from some of the proceeds as a sweetener.

    A conservation fund to conserve... um...

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    He didn't rule out tightening up on depreciation, but it was pretty uninspiring. Looks like I have to resign myself to being a lifetime renter

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Bernard Hickey slams Key: Leave the country now[,] Gen X & Y

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    My prediction: shortly, there will be an announcement of a bold new vision to match Australia by emulating their more open approach to immigration, maybe with a slogan like 5 million for 2015.

    Housing prices are way out of line with incomes, with inflation, and with return on rentals. We collectively can't keep borrowing indefinitely, so at some point prices will no longer be sustainable, unless new people are brought in to increase demand. The tax regime will not help in the long term.

    If you are are a Tory government who doesn't want the big realignment to happen on your watch, this is the only thing left to do, and it has the added benefit of putting downward pressure on wages -- yay structural unemployment! It's all win.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Bernard Hickey slams Key: Leave the country now[,] Gen X & Y

    Dear Bernard: Age before beauty, darling. Don't let the departure gate hit your arse on the way out, and don't remember to write.

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

  • Kumara Republic,

    Bernard Hickey slams Key:

    Sounds like a case of cold feet after the Quarter Acre Cartel threatened to push the Big Red Launch Button.

    Nixon has just squandered his chance to visit China.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sounds like a case of cold feet after the Quarter Acre Cartel threatened to push the Big Red Launch Button.

    Really, Red? Perhaps i missed something, but it seemed blindingly obvious to me that the numbers for a land tax just weren't there -- and never would be. Depressing, but hardly surprising.

    Nixon has just squandered his chance to visit China.

    And Key can count.

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

  • George Darroch,

    If you are are a Tory government who doesn't want the big realignment to happen on your watch

    Realignment. Such an unassuming word.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Dear Bernard: Age before beauty, darling. Don't let the departure gate hit your arse on the way out, and don't remember to write.

    You know, it's not actually an inaccurate characterisation of what some of my younger non-property-owning friends have been saying this afternoon. And these people aren't whiners.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Perhaps i missed something, but it seemed blindingly obvious to me that the numbers for a land tax just weren't there -- and never would be.

    They have two support parties. I can think of one who would agree, under the right circumstances.

    Actually, that raises a very interesting question: how on earth are the Maori Party going to give a 15% GST to their constituents? This Government has served them rat soup.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    FWIW, I think the throwing open of Canterbury's water resources to corporate farmers is much worse than the mining decision.

    I can see how the latter could deliver benefits greater than its various costs. The water thing is just hostile.

    If Goff can't make some headway in Canterbury now, he really shouldn't be leading his party.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    You know, it's not actually an inaccurate characterisation of what some of my younger non-property-owning friends have been saying this afternoon. And these people aren't whiners.

    I'm sure they're not, Russell, but while I've got a lot of time for Bernard Hickey his regular 'gangway to the departure gate!" column is a case of familiarity breeding contempt. This really is becoming a tiresome routine with Herald editorials and columnists: Claim to want a "serious debate" but someone else has to do the heavy lifting.

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

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