As many of us have been saying for some time, this government has no interest in solving the housing crisis. Instead they single out scapegoats (foreigners, immigrants, land-bankers, NZ’s alleged prosperity) and just tinker while home prices burn. They tinker while pretending to solve things – and they hope the marginal voters see the tinkering while their voting core sees their home prices continue to rise.
So while Nick Smith tinkers, offering no answers beyond making several specially-designated Housing Areas more Special (including the power to confiscate people’s land if the minister feels like it), others at least have retained their focus.
“The big threat,” reckons the writers at Making New Zealand, “is the public not knowing what will and what won't deliver true affordable housing.” This of course is what Nick the Dick is relying on. At least, in their speeches to the House this week opposing Nick’s tinkering “Phil Twyford and David Seymour are doing their best to not allow this issue to get confused.”
Overwhelmingly, the market works. If you want to question that, then ask yourself why the cost of goods, whether it be cars, electronics, clothing, or food, has gone down relentlessly for decades and decades.
There is one commodity that strangely enough has not gone down in cost, and that is housing. What is different about the housing market from every other commodity? I will just give you a suggestion that no other market has more intervention by councils and the government than the housing market.
So three years ago this [present tinkering] was some kind of interim measure. But now they need another three years while they desperately hope that the Special Housing Areas will deliver some kind of results. Will this minister ever do anything more than the chronic piecemeal tinkering that passes for a housing policy?
Well, given that the minister himself acknowledges that “land-use policy is the single most important public policy issue affecting housing supply and affordability,” and he’s had the opportunity as minister many times to drive a stake through the heart of the Act that most regulates land-use policy, the Resource Management Act – even as far back as the late-nineties when as minister he refused reform and called the thing “far-sighted environmental legislation” – then we can be absolutely certain that chronic piecemeal tinkering is the very most this pathetic lying turd of a human being will ever do.
Watch their short speeches. They’re good.
UPDATE: Eric Crampton explains the parliamentary insanity that ended with Phil Twyfords’s life-saving amendment to abolish rural-urban boundaries losing out by by just one vote, that vote being David Seymour’s:
Parliament can be a confusing mess. I still don't quite know what happened last night, but it does look like a substantial missed opportunity…