Politics

National all rhetoric on housing, but little is delivered

How the government got through the election without this particular policy failure biting them in the bum is beyond me.

It’s been revealed the Government’s flagship housing policy has delivered just five homes in its first year.

And in a week where Auckland’s house prices reached a record high, the Government’s strategy has been labelled an utter failure by the Opposition.

The Government last year promised to get on top of Auckland’s housing crisis by building new subdivisions. Tens of thousands of homes would be built in fast-tracked zones called special housing areas.

“We know this has been a problem that’s been around for 30 to 40 years, it’s not going to develop overnight and it’s not going to be fixed overnight,” says Prime Minister John Key.

Granted, Len Brown and his band of merry troughers have a large part to play.  But five houses?  The private sector could have put up 5 houses.  It is a terrible result, and one that needs turning around.

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Key signals SAS involvement in ISIS theatre

SAS-Baddass

Hand up who didn’t see this coming?   Patrick Gower reports

 

Prime Minister John Key says Kiwi troops going into Iraq as trainers is a real possibility. It would follow Australia’s lead, which is sending its SAS as advisors.

Any day now Australia’s SAS will be back in Iraq to help the fight against Islamic State militants after Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flew into Baghdad to get final sign-off on their role “to advise and assist the Iraqi government in building up the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces”.

“Training is definitely an option,” says Mr Key.

“Training”.

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Good point John, but those whingers don’t vote for ya

The people who whinge about affordable housing and the fact they can’t afford to buy their million dollar house are probably not National voters.

John Key has given some sound but unpalatable advice for these whingers who have been brought up thinking the world owes them a living, or at the very least a million dollar house next to where their parents lived so they can dump the grand kids every time they want to go out to the swanky restaurants that infest their neighbourhood.

First home buyers in Auckland might have to consider an apartment in order to get onto the property ladder, Prime Minister John Key says.

His comments follow the release of new CVs for Auckland, which have soared since 2011, particularly in city-fringe suburbs.

There are fears the mostly higher CVs could lead to rates increases well in excess of the 3.7 per cent planned for homeowners by Mayor Len Brown next year.

The latest figures show CVs across the city have risen an average of 34 per cent since 2011, and in Hobsonville a whopping 65 per cent.

Mr Key told TVNZ’s Breakfast show today the valuations reflected what had been happening in Auckland over the past three years.   Read more »

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Gracinda? Someone needs to tell them they’re dreamin’

Ok so the name that they’ve come up with for a gay man and childless single woman to lead Labour is…”Gracinda”.

I mean seriously?

These people with single page CVs of nothing jobs and a lifetime in the trough are wanting to lead a party called “Labour”…I doubt either of them have ever had a callous on their hands from using a shovel or doing some other sort of “Labour”.

Bryce Edwards is drinking the Koolaid.

The dynamic duo of Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern – now termed ‘Gracinda’ on social media – could well be the Labour Party’s best bet for recovering from its 2014 electoral nadir. The two are probably the most dynamic of the leadership candidates on offer, and have real talent. There will be a strong temptation among the membership to choose their ‘new generation’ message. But there are also some major problems with putting ‘Camp Robertson’ in charge of Labour. While they might have more style than their counterparts, some commentators are pointing to their lack of substance as being a worry for the party’s future.

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The Huddle

newstalkzb

Last night Susan Wood sat in for Larry Williams to do The Huddle with Jock Anderson and myself.

Our topics were:

  • Labour Leadership race
  • Parliament swearing in, but grumbles about allegiance to the Queen rather than Te Tiriti
  • Australia has backed off its anti-burqa law

Read more »

Face of the day

Andrew Little has been put forward for the Leadership by his cat.

Andrew Little has been put forward for the Leadership by his cat.

What do the twits on Twitter say about him?

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Labour review is doomed as they appoint the most odd collection of people

sad5

Former British politician Bryan Gould will head an independent inquiry into Labour’s dismal election result.

New Zealand-born Gould, who served as an MP with the British Labour Party from 1974 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1994, will convene the panel, which also includes former Speaker Margaret Wilson, Auckland lawyer and businessman Brian Corban and broadcaster Stacey Morrison.

And these people are going to do an in-depth review of policy, media, social media, Dirty Politics, policy, communications, strategy, fundraising and positioning are they?   Read more »

A reader contribution on the transport debate

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A reader emails:

Hello Cam

After reading your blog for several months now, I have seen it steadily transforming into a voice of alternative opinion in many ways, and celebrate that.

I had been working for some time on this piece about Auckland transport, when I read your article yesterday, which sang my song.

Just wondered whether this may have any appeal for your site.

Best regards and keep up the good work


Part 1

Observations:

As a recent returnee to Auckland after over 40 years working and establishing businesses in regional New Zealand, I have recently paid considerably more attention to local body plans and actions in this region.

Joining the local area ratepayers committee on arrival, I soon hear, and discover first hand that generalised wastage/inefficiency seemed to characterise virtually all dealings of the new super city. Examples: 1. a near 200 page document of detailed technical drawings and specifications to place some traffic quietening speed bumps on a street in our area, 2. Two Council staff visit in a Council car, for a half day, to consult re spending well less than $1000 on plants in the area. When it is suggested that the most in-need areas require some soil first, we are told that this is beyond their brief and would require a completely separate department to be involved.

Accordingly, I began to pay closer attention to Len Brown’s call for underground rail for the city, which seems to be preparing to strip all available capital and then some from the City’s coffers for the foreseeable future – and beyond – at the behest of one man with a dream.

The idea of a trainset for Auckland gained great credibility under Mayor Robbie in the late 60’s, and had it been implemented then, it would probably remain a good idea today. Most people in Auckland ‘know’ this so there remains a soft spot in Auckland for the notion of ‘rapid rail’ and relatively little opposition to Len Brown’s plan.

But is it a still good idea if we start now?

There are many new ways and new technologies in the wings, some of which I have observed first hand on our travels, which may soon render an underground trainset for Auckland, a costly white elephant.

Additionally, in a volcanic city and a ‘shaky’ nation, underground makes less sense. Imagine the chaos if a Christchurch-type earthquake broke the underground rail links, after all other public transport had been seriously weakened by rail’s availability.

With these concerns in mind, I decided to look more closely at overseas systems on our recent 4 month trip to the Middle East, UK, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, France, Monaco and Italy and the following observations also factor in some of the previous experiences I have had of undergrounds and public transport in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Australia and so on.

On this trip, I visited many cities of not too dissimilar size, one way or another, to Auckland i.e in area or in population. There are few that have both the area and the population of Auckland. In each city, I paid particular attention to their public transport options and in particular their trainsets. These included Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London, Istanbul, Madrid, Porto, Valencia, Granada, Barcelona, Nice, Monaco and Milan as well as many other less well known cities.

What I observed made me wonder whether this whole underground rail for Auckland proposal has been properly thought through.

Underground rail worked well, it seemed, in the sorts of high rise, high density cities that have relatively small footprints for their populations, like Madrid. Accordingly Granada, for example, is in the throes of beginning one, and I can see the point there. It is a compact city with many tourists.

Trainsets also seemed to work well in more widespread cities covering land areas like Auckland’s, even with intervening waterways, so long as they had one of the following conditions:

  1. High population (eg Istanbul, Sydney) or
  2. A long ribbon of development, as in a strip style city running along a shoreline (eg Dubai or Perth).

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The Huddle at 1740

newstalkzb

It’s Monday and Susan Wood is sitting in for Larry Williams to do The Huddle with Jock Anderson and myself.

Our topics will be:

  • Labour Leadership race
  • Parliament swearing in, but grumbles about allegiance to the Queen rather than Te Tiriti
  • Australia has backed off its anti-burqa law

You can listen online via iHeartRadio and normal methods.

As usual I will post the audio in the morning.

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The image softening of Andrew Little (caution: it is nauseating)

A journo in Taranaki’s local rag is happy to provide Andrew Little with a human dimension… such as it is.  By making Andrew’s cat, and how much it loves Andrew, the story

In the tight race for the Labour party leadership, a cat called Buddy is taking a lion’s share of the Little limelight.

So far, four candidates are contesting the leadership of the party that was humiliated at the polls in September and further tortured by their leader David Cunliffe’s reluctance to concede he was a deadweight.

Two time New Plymouth candidate Andrew Little’s announcement he would stand for the position hardly came as a surprise but few picked his run for the top spot would also make a star of his cat Buddy.

The black moggy has photo bombed several of the Labour list MP’s promotional pictures and jumped up onto his lap, uninvited, during television interviews.

In doing so, Buddy has become a hit with Little’s Facebook following, so much so that more than a few are asking if the cat can stand for the leadership or at least be Little’s deputy.

“When he wandered in while I was doing a television interview, I thought this was a cat with a media savvy that few other cats have,” Little said yesterday.

We can’t find much else to relate to Andrew Little.  Not is lovely family, or his kids, or the time he spends at the local surf club rescuing kids from the surf.  In fact, Andrew Little is a very plain, boring person.

Buddy to the rescue!   Read more »