Friday, February 26, 2021

The central problem with housing policy

We've had a housing crisis for the past decade, and successive governments have done nothing to solve it. Why not? Bernard Hickey gets it right when he says its all about protecting the rich:

The Government is reluctant to push down house prices fearing they'll loses the support of those who already own property, according to Bernard Hickey.

The economic and political commentator says the Government should tax capital and wealth and invest significantly in infrastructure in our major cities to combat the housing crisis, he told Breakfast.


Hickey said the economy would survive if there was a significant dip of 30 to 40 per cent in house prices to improve affordability, but it would mean a certain election defeat for Jacinda Ardern and Labour if they oversaw such a drop.


“If we saw a house price fall of 30 per cent, it’s not going to get me or anyone else elected but it wouldn’t kill the economy, we have to have a debate about what we really want, do we want affordable housing or do we want just a chunk of the population to be really, really rich?"

The Labour government has clearly opted for the latter. The sight of a Labour government protecting the rich while its own voters are consigned to lives of rent-slavery to make those people even richer ought to fill that party's supporters with fury. What is Labour for, if not to solve problems like this?

If Labour doesn't fix this, they deserve to get de-elected at the next election. It is that simple. The question is whether they'll rise to the challenge, or just try and terrorise their voters into supporting them out of fear again. Sadly, given their past practice, I expect it'll be the latter.