Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How much have our MPs made from the Auckland bubble?

Parliament's Register of Pecuniary Interests was released last week, showing that almost all of our MPs own their own home, and 75 of them own more than one, with a large number of them owning investment properties in Auckland. Which leads to the obvious question: how much have they made from the Auckland bubble while ordinary kiwis are shut out of the kiwi dream? It ought to be easy to find out - the addresses of these properties are available from property records (and Keith Ng already did that exercise a few years ago), while a rough value (almost certainly an underestimate) can be gained from local body rating valuations. As for the why, it would put some figures on the scale of the conflict of interest they have over deflating that bubble, any concrete measures for which (such as land taxes, capital gains taxes, or a mass house-building program) would lead to a drop in house prices and hence their paper wealth.

Upton Sinclair once said "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it". In this case its wealth, not salary, but its the same problem. Our MPs are reluctant to recognise that the Auckland bubble is a real problem because so many of them are making a thousand dollars a day from it. And if you refuse to recognise a problem, you're sure as hell not going to come up with a solution.

Meanwhile, the two major parties really don't want to talk about this. Which I think tells us everything we want to know. Our deeply conflicted MPs are again colluding in a conspiracy of silence to cover up that conflict and keep on making money from their policy failure. And then they wonder why people don't trust politicians...