Monday, May 13, 2013

Follow the money

On Friday the government announced its plan for the housing crisis: enabling Auckland developers to build even more unaffordable palazzos. The plan has been panned as a weak compromise with no requirement for affordable housing. Why not? Follow the money. As John Minto points out, government MPs are deep into the property market, and therefore have a strong financial interest in maintaining a shortage:

Parliament’s 2013 Register of Pecuniary Interests shows half National MPs own three or more properties. Many have a harem of four or five and one has no fewer than 20. Together National MPs own over 170 properties.

“Other political parties have a luke-warm love in comparison” comments Minto.

170 houses between 59 MPs is almost three each - and the last those MPs will want is to see the value of their major assets drop. So the sorts of policies which would solve the housing crisis - a capital gains tax, or a government building program - are off the table, replaced by weak measures like enabling the private sector to fail for a while longer. Its a perfect example of how the interests of the vast majority of New Zealanders are overridden by those of a tiny wealthy elite who are massively over-represented in Parliament.