Monday, August 05, 2019

A stillborn policy

The Greens used their party conference over the weekend to push for a rent-to-own scheme, where people would be able to work towards home ownership by renting from the government. Its a sensible policy, and one which could make a real difference to home ownership rates. But its also basicly stillborn. Why? Because the first step is "the government builds a home", or works with an NGO to do so. Which means (quite sensibly, because its a long-term investment) "the government borrows money to build a home". And that is something that Labour, the Greens' coalition partner, has basicly ruled out.

Its the same reason why KiwiBuild failed: because Labour is too chickenshit to use the government's balance sheet to achieve its goals. It doesn't matter that its an investment in an asset, or that money is basicly free at the moment, or that the debt will be repaid by rents and the eventual sale of the asset - Labour just won't do it. They're too afraid of being called "socialist" or something. Or of being called financially profligate, even though the right will call them that no matter what they do. Michael Joseph Savage wasn't afraid to do it, and he made New Zealand a better place as a result. But now that Labour is just a collection of apparatchiks chasing jobs, their risk-aversion makes them incapable of delivering meaningful change. Which means that as long as the Greens are saddled with Labour, they'll be incapable of delivering change either.