Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Today's must-read

Over at KiwiPolitico, Lew has an excellent post elaborating on the idea that the housing problem isn’t a housing problem; it’s a regional development problem. Why are houses so expensive in Auckland? Because everyone lives there. Why does everyone live in Auckland? Because there are no jobs or opportunities anywhere else. Thirty years of NeoLiberalism and leaving it to the market has gutted our regional economies, resulting in an economic wasteland. Even in those regions which are doing relatively well - Waikato, Taranaki and the West Coast - the picture is dim when you look closely: the resource extraction industries in each region produce a small number of high-paying jobs, which skew the averages up, but the rest of the picture is the same.

Fixing this requires serious regional development and a hands-on approach from government to build strong, sustainable and diverse regional industries (which in turn can sustain strong and resilient regional communities). We won't get that from National. We might see it from Labour and the Greens (and even NZ First is contributing to the discussion), but its going to take us a long, long time to get there.