The hot debate in Hong Kong at the moment is the question of whether Mainlanders should be protected from racism by local Hong Kongers.
As anyone who has travelled knows, Mainlanders are generally unwelcome in every country at the moment including other Asian countries and cities like Hong Kong. Â Everyone has the same problems with them – blaming high property prices, pressure on social services when they move in large numbers, asset bubbles, lack of milk powder availability, overcrowded streets from tourism and general rude social behaviour like hoiking and using the streets as a toilet. Â New Zealand is not alone in anti-Chinese sentiment.
There are two people I wish we never let into the country in the first place: Â Kim Dotcom and Russel Norman. Â The latter is just such an astounding hypocrite, it hurts my brain.
Being an immigrant from Australia himself, he now wants to stop non-New Zealanders from buying Kiwi properties. Â He wants to decide who you or I can sell our stuff to.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says home ownership is declining because prices keep going up.
“In countries like Singapore there are controls on foreigners buying homes to take the pressure off the market. It’s the same across Asia and it’s a sensible policy,” he told reporters.
“If you took 10 per cent out of the demand side you’d go a long way to stabilising prices.”
Finance Minister Bill English says prices are going up because there aren’t enough houses.
“Houses are just too expensive and we have to increase supply,” he said. Â Read more »
If Auckland’s housing is so unaffordable how do houses listed for sale keep getting sold?
â Cactus Kate (@CactusKate2) January 19, 2014
Cactus Kate is of course commenting on the news that Auckland is now second only to Hong kong for unaffordable housing.
Hong Kong is of course land constrained, Auckland is not except by design.
The NZ Herald reports:
Housing is increasingly out of Aucklanders’ reach as incomes drop and house prices rocket, an annual global study shows.Â Read more »
Last night our Hong Kong correspondent was entertaining some visitors from NZ when this happened to arrive at the table next to theirs.
Apparently it was Popcorn’s 8th birthday.
Popcorn is lucky it isn’t a fox otherwise it would be on the menu as donkey.
Word on the street around Auckland is that Len Brown is looking for a lawyer who will agree with him that Doug McKay improperly called for the investigation.
The report by all accounts is dreadful for Brown but his camp feel confident that they can try to marginalise the process by which McKay initiated then prosecuted the inquiry.
They may even try to injunct the report coming out which would be truly stupid, but then again he conducted a two year affair inside the mayoral office, so I guess stupid is as stupid does.
However Fran O’Sullivan explains carefully how Doug McKay has appeared to outsmart Len Brown by keeping the Auditor-General informed of every step.
Auditor-General Lyn Provost is keeping a watching brief on Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay’s review of Mayor Len Brown’s possible use of council resources during his two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.
Impeccable sources have confirmed to me that Provost has been in frequent close contact with McKay since he appointed top accounting firm Ernst & Young to undertake the review on his behalf.
It has clearly been a testing brief for McKay to effectively investigate his own boss. Insiders have correctly described the process as involving a good deal of “negotiation” between the mayor’s office and McKay’s executive suite to gain access to the information necessary for Ernst & Young to do a credible job.
McKay has been receiving advice from Crown Solicitor Simon Moore, whose warrant covers the greater Auckland area. Brown has his own legal adviser. Â Read more »
This morning the NBR reports of bullying from the Mayors office over support for the now discredited unitary plan.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown is ordering council-controlled organisations (CCOs) to fall into line over the controversial unitary plan.
Mr Brownâs office released the text of a November 15 letter yesterday after a request by NBR ONLINE.
Not only does the letter demand the CCOs resolve issues behind closed doors â not always to the satisfaction of those bodies â but he also wants their representatives to appear together before the unitary plan hearing panel and to show a united front.
The tone of the mayorâs letter has been described as âquite threateningâ by one person on the council payroll and comes amid Mr Brownâs review of the CCO structure, which the re-elected mayor says is necessary to ensure ratepayers are getting value for money.
In his letter, Mr Brown says the council has an internal process to identify and resolve issues over the councilâs submission to the plan.
Most issues are expected to be fully resolved, he writes, but he warns there may be matters âthat the council cannot agree to in the exact way that a CCO may wish.â
They will be subject to ongoing discussion and resolution, the letter says, with the ability for issues to be escalated to chief executive level and, if necessary, to Auckland Development Committee chair and deputy mayor Penny Hulse.
âI do not think it is appropriate for a CCO to make a formal submission to the hearings panel independent of the councilâs submission,â Mr Brown says.
âIn bringing together the eight councils of the Auckland region, there was a clear public expectation that the days of councils using ratepayersâ money to have lawyers and planners fight each other in court were over â we do not need to replace this with the council and CCOs following a similar process.â
NBR ONLINE invited Mr Brown, through chief press secretary Glyn Jones, to explain why it was necessary to write the letter but he has not responded.Â Read more »
Len Brown travelled to Hong Kong on a secret trip, purportedly paid for by the Hong Kong government. No evidence exists of this trip either in press releases or in photographs of Len Brown in any official capacity for his trip. Brown also failed to disclose the gifts of airfares, accommodation and entertainment resulting from this “official” trip as required by the Auckland Council Code of Conduct for elected members. To add further insult to injury he Mayor famously has declared that the rules and the code of conduct do not apply to him.
It is a travesty that the media have given him a free ride over the lying in LGOIMA requests, keeping his trip secret, and refusing to speak of it.
So how do they do it in Wellington.
Once again the media have been found wanting.
Len Brown, his office and his council have been caught red-handed lying.
They have given many different accounts of a secret trip to China and provided no answers other than to say my allegations were correct, that he had been to Hong Kong.
There are many answers that remain unanswered, mostly because the media just go soft in holding Len Brown to account.
Compare the treatment of John Banks by the media, about a forgotten helicopter ride…and allegedly incorrectly completed expense returns.
Now look at the soft treatment for Brown. He forgot not only two 11 hour flights to Hong Kong but also the 5 days he spent there. He then forgot to complete his statutory declarations of gifts as required by the Council Code of Conduct for Elected Members….which clearly applies to him. To cap all that off, he then lied through his office in LGOIMA responses. Len Brown and his council and his office have actually broken the law and yet he is given a free ride.Â Read more »