The Dim-Post

July 12, 2016

Damn! We’re in a tight spot!

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 10:56 am

Via the Herald:

Housing New Zealand will spend $2 billion to build and buy more than 4000 new state houses after an apparent Government backtrack.

At least 3200 of those properties will be in Auckland, the state housing corporation confirmed today.

It comes as the Government decides to forego its dividend from Housing New Zealand, which would have be worth $92 million over the next two years.

The dividends were included in the May Budget, but ministers revealed yesterday that they would no longer be paid.

Finance Minister Bill English told Radio New Zealand this morning that a dividend was less important than the corporation expanding its housing stock.

“That’s the bit that matters. If we are going to have over $1 billion in investment, the $50m dividend is neither here nor there.

“When they’ve got a big capital investment programme, you don’t take the dividend because they keep those earnings and use them, in this case, to build more houses.”

Great, if it happens and these guys don’t end up paying the money to a generous donor in exchange for a thousand pillow-forts in a muddy field (‘I haven’t actually looked into it Guyon, but I actually think most kiwis think pillow forts are actually really suitable accommodation’).

But assuming it goes through, privitising Housing New Zealand was supposed to be National’s big accomplishment this term, along with the ‘social investment model’, which the housing debacle completely blew out of the water. Now they got nothing. There’s an entry in Alan Clark’s diaries, during Thatcher’s third term when he realises that the government isn’t actually doing anything meaningful, anymore, and that they have nothing to show for all the work and stress and sacrifice but ‘the passing of time and intrusion of age’. It must feel a bit like that in the Beehive these days, which I suppose is why they’re announcing policy reversals on twitter.

36 Comments »

  1. O, brother.

    Comment by flametuber — July 12, 2016 @ 10:58 am

  2. It occurred to a few of my friends and I (all well inside the Wellington bubble) that it really isn’t clear what ‘big accomplishments’ would be the Key government’s positive legacy, and how that would stack up when looking back from our brighter future.

    If the social investment model isn’t it, due to the housing omnishambles, what is?

    Comment by Patrick — July 12, 2016 @ 11:28 am

  3. I think that the answer is (a) weathered the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquake and built tons of roads and (b) National governments aren’t all about big impressive flashy achievements; they’re about steady competent stewardship.

    Comment by danylmc — July 12, 2016 @ 11:33 am

  4. @Patrick, how about record net immigration levels during a housing crisis ?

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — July 12, 2016 @ 11:49 am

  5. If the social investment model isn’t it, due to the housing omnishambles, what is?

    The biggest permanent reform has been the creation of Auckland Super City.

    Comment by unaha-closp — July 12, 2016 @ 11:50 am

  6. “the government isn’t actually doing anything meaningful,”

    Keeping those clowns from Labo out is enough.

    Comment by Simon — July 12, 2016 @ 11:55 am

  7. Who says they have been doing nothing-
    “MP Chester Borrows has been charged over injuring two women with a car during a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) protest.”

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — July 12, 2016 @ 12:41 pm

  8. As a departing National staffer said to me last year: ‘The Prime Minister is running around the world with Richie and pulling waitresses’ pony-tails. It’s kind of hard to believe in the mission any more.’

    Comment by danylmc — July 12, 2016 @ 12:48 pm

  9. But….people are looking for answers…..

    Comment by McNulty — July 12, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

  10. They can’t really claim Auckland Council given (a) Labour started the Royal Commission and (b) Act leader Rodney Hide was the Minister of Local Govt when it went through.

    I’d say the GFC, Chch (although whether there is much achievement with Gerald in charge?), and perhaps rewriting the rulebook on incompetence not impacting on polling

    Comment by Gster — July 12, 2016 @ 12:59 pm

  11. Their legacy will be having “weathered the… Christchurch earthquake”
    Hey, now, credit where credit is due. There are more than a few of us in Chch who are happy to acknowledge that the govt’s Command and Control response to the rebuild will be an enduring demonstration of how NOT to do it. For generations to come we will be thanked for the free lesson.

    Comment by McNulty — July 12, 2016 @ 1:07 pm

  12. The Key government will have a “do nothing” legacy, but it’s one they really don’t want to talk about – not to National’s base, anyway.

    The greatest achievement was in the populist things they didn’t do: didn’t reverse smacking law, didn’t block marriage equality, didn’t pander excessively to Maori-bashing (there was a bit of dog-whistling, but outweighed by progress on Treaty settlements and reaching out to the Maori Party).

    So they deserve some credit for that, even if they try not to claim it.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — July 12, 2016 @ 1:50 pm

  13. “didn’t reverse smacking law” ??? How could they reverse it when the whole caucus voted for it – “The bill was passed on its third reading on 16 May 2007 by 113 votes to eight”

    Comment by duker — July 12, 2016 @ 3:11 pm

  14. Classic display of KDS peeps.

    Comment by Richard Williams — July 12, 2016 @ 3:28 pm

  15. “14.Classic display of KDS peeps.”

    Who? How?

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — July 12, 2016 @ 3:31 pm

  16. Fibre internet is the only thing I can point to. Which is pretty significant, but not for, what, 8 years effort.

    Comment by James Green — July 12, 2016 @ 4:33 pm

  17. I think privatising Housing NZ was only John Key’s goal in the minds of people like you.

    Comment by GreenLight — July 12, 2016 @ 4:55 pm

  18. “14.Classic display of KDS peeps.”

    Who? How?

    Well, it’s criticism of National, innit? Only people suffering from KDS criticise National. QED.

    Comment by Flashing Light — July 12, 2016 @ 5:09 pm

  19. Fibre internet is the only thing I can point to. Which is pretty significant, but not for, what, 8 years effort.

    The Financial Markets Conduct Act is probably the most important piece of legislation to pass since the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

    Comment by Phil — July 12, 2016 @ 5:28 pm

  20. @Phil. The Financial Markets Conduct Act in a nutshell: Time to shut the stable door. Now, where’s that damned horse? But you’re right, it’s progress. In 1987 shares in Rod Petricevic’s Euro-National went from being worth $8 to being worth $0.08, but he was able to do it all again a few short years later with Bridgecorp, whose investors later got back 12 cents in the dollar while the man himself applied for legal aid (please ignore the yacht, Porsche, luxury apartments and massive sense of entitlement). He’s out of chokey now and roughing it in a central Akld apartment worth $1000 a week.

    Comment by McNulty — July 12, 2016 @ 6:10 pm

  21. What’s a ‘peeps’ – is it a kiwiblog thing?

    Comment by rodaigh — July 12, 2016 @ 7:39 pm

  22. What happened to all that money which must have come from the sale and/or demolition of all those State Houses?

    Comment by ianmac40 — July 12, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

  23. Perception of a government u-turn in response to Labour adopting the Greens no-dividend policy prevails in the media, but is it reality? Smellie, in the NBR yesterday, quotes English to the effect that the government is simply responding to a revised HNZ financial plan.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/govt-blames-outdated-budget-figures-housing-nz-dividend-u-turn-b-191477

    English explained that the budget amounts of $38M & $54 for the two years covered by the previous plan “appear to be based on older HNZ numbers dating from almost a year ago”. The corp has recently revised their plan to include greater spending on social housing, so the proposed surplus has evaporated.

    Looks like the reality is that the govt & HNZ are actually responding to the housing crisis somewhat belatedly. Labour’s spin is that a budget mistake and the Labour policy launch caused the govt to copy Labour’s policy, but it seems they are being disingenuous in ignoring the role of HNZ’s internal decision-making process.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — July 12, 2016 @ 8:35 pm

  24. Labour’s spin is that a budget mistake and the Labour policy launch caused the govt to copy Labour’s policy, but it seems they are being disingenuous in ignoring the role of HNZ’s internal decision-making process.

    Or, alternatively, Bill English is being “disingenuous” in claiming that HNZ were feeding financial information that was “almost a year old” into the budget (because if this is the case, then what the hell is going on with the Government’s books and how can we trust any of the numbers in them?). He could, of course, demonstrate that this is the case by making public HNZ’s “recently revised plan”. Then Labour’s attacks would be blunted. But … he (and Paula Bennett) haven’t. So it isn’t.

    Comment by Flashing Light — July 12, 2016 @ 9:35 pm

  25. Don’t jump to that conclusion too soon. HNZ is corporate rather than govt dept so he can’t just order them to send him one of their internal documents – even if they have now finalised that plan. But he could ask for it, and any opposition MP can issue a call in parliament for the plan to be made public. It’s in the public interest to do so.

    If they don’t, we can draw the conclusion that none of them believe the truth of the issue is important, and they feel the really important thing is to mislead the public with claims about the truth instead. When parliamentary culture is created by competing propaganda rather than reality, democracy is illusory – due to the key players becoming delusional. Hardly surprising they keep acting like they’re still in kindergarten.

    Also, the media can request a public statement from HNZ to verify the truth. If they don’t, it means they like the controversy of competing claims too much and the truth would be an unwelcome distraction.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — July 13, 2016 @ 8:56 am

  26. Memo to Dennis: less lecturing, more reading …

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — July 13, 2016 @ 10:29 am

  27. It occurred to a few of my friends and I (all well inside the Wellington bubble) that it really isn’t clear what ‘big accomplishments’ would be the Key government’s positive legacy

    Ahem. Two words: Cycle trail.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10560999

    Listen to the economy purr

    Comment by Paul Rau — July 13, 2016 @ 10:49 am

  28. -China FTA
    -Better relations with the US
    -Multiple Waitangi settlements
    -Waitangi Tribunal ruling in favour of Tpp Maori clause
    -Seeing off 3 (+1?) Labour leaders

    Comment by insider — July 13, 2016 @ 11:32 am

  29. -Multiple Waitangi settlements</blockquote.

    This.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 13, 2016 @ 12:19 pm

  30. How about
    – smaller civil service
    – forcing Government agencies to share\cooperate
    – forcing Government agencies to understand that cloud computing is a) a real thing, and b) can save the NZ tax payer serious money.

    Comment by Robert Singers — July 13, 2016 @ 12:46 pm

  31. It’s a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.

    Comment by Antoine — July 13, 2016 @ 12:59 pm

  32. China FTA? Wasn’t that the previous govt?

    Comment by MeToo — July 13, 2016 @ 1:08 pm

  33. @ metoo

    Apologies you are right Goff signed it. Key got all the benefits.

    Comment by insider — July 13, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

  34. “the Labour policy launch caused the govt to copy Labour’s policy”

    Yeah, about that .. https://www.greens.org.nz/news/article/greens-launch-state-house-solution-housing-emergency

    Comment by Sacha — July 13, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

  35. smaller civil service

    Take that MBIE and MPI!

    Comment by Gregor W — July 13, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

  36. Weren’t they meant to be “reforming” the RMA this term?

    Kind of hard to see what those who invested large sums of money into party donations got for it this time around, I wonder if they will be able to afford it next time around.

    Comment by Michael — July 13, 2016 @ 11:11 pm


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