Andrew Little’s claims are deceptive

Andrew Little has an opinion piece int eh Herald today and, as is usual with a union boss, it is highly deceptive.

Take these claims:

Paula Bennett wrote an opinion piece at the weekend, trying to justify the inexcusable reality we now face of new-born babies living in cars. Her excuse boiled down to ‘it’s too expensive’.

She claimed it costs $40,000 to house a family of five in Tamaki. That’s a trumped up example but let’s take it and see how many families a government with the right priorities could house:

• National spent $27m on a failed flag referendum. That could have housed 675 families

• $11.5m on a sheep farm in the Saudi desert could have housed 287 families

• $118m in dividends that National is taking out of Housing New Zealand could house 2,950 families

He fails to understand budget processes. Vote Housing does not include sums from Vote Internal Affairs (the flag referendum), Vote Foreign Affairs & Trade. But those claims too are facetious, because Labour has variously claimed the flag referendum money would have been better spent on Keytruda, education and other areas. Like tax cuts money Labour will spend it ten times over in their claims that they know best.  

However, what his claims also miss out and he seeks to blame the government for a housing crisis is that the one area in which things could have seriously made a difference, but for the opposition of Labour and Peter Dunne, is in reform of the Resource Management Act. Labour has vociferously opposed changes there and it is those very changes that would have allowed the freeing up of land for housing.

The problem when you point the finger of blame at someone is that there are three fingers pointing back at you.

So, with just three different choices, John Key’s government could be housing nearly 20,000 more people. That’s enough to get on top of the homelessness problem, right there.

It’s always about choices, and National has made some terrible ones. They’ve let foreign speculators continue to buy our houses and use them as gambling chips. I don’t care if it’s 4,000 houses a year, as National says, or 16,000 as the official numbers indicate. One house that is owned by an offshore speculator rather than a Kiwi family is too many.

Rubbish. John Key could not have housed those people because there is no land or houses to put them in, mainly because of the intransigence of Auckland Council and the lack of RMA reform to force through changes. Andrew Little has only himself to blame for that. Even if what he says is true, and there is zero evidence that it is, about foreign speculators, the houses are still here and they still have Kiwis living in them. But facts have never been an impediment to Andrew Little lying. There is little or no evidence that foreign speculators are actually a problem.

If Andrew Little is going to suddenly ban any foreigner owning any NZ house then he has a massive problem on his hands that will reverberate around the world. What he is saying is an Aussie can’t come here and buy a house. If that is his position then I can well imagine the retaliation from the Australian government on that…no Kiwi would be able to buy a house in Australia.

But the lies and deceit just flow from Andrew Little’s mouth.

National has cut $1.7 billion out of the health budget, meaning that 160,000 people have missed out on operations that they need, and people have died because, in the Health Minister’s words Pharmac “haven’t’ got the money at the moment” to buy the latest life-saving medicines.

National has not cut the Health budget. In fact the health budget has risen in every single Bill English budget since gaining government in 2008. He should be held to account for mendacity of such proportions. National most certainly has not cut $1.7 billion out of the Health budget. But even if his claims are true, is Andrew Little stating that all that spending is good and Labour will reinstate it? That is a tax increase right there just to pay for that. For some reason Labour has a belief that they can just ratchet up tax rates and spend even more money. They ignore outcomes and only focus on inputs.

Andrew Little will never become PM if he misleads so badly in just one opinion piece. The government will line him up and destroy in a heartbeat if he makes spurious claims like that in a debate.


– NZ Herald


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  • JustanObserver

    Little Angry . . .
    Using your math.
    In 2008 roughly $30,000 would buy what $40,000 does today, so $660m (for KiwiRail) + $392m for debt repayment and Track maintenance = $1.052bn
    That would have housed 35,000 families
    Aaanndd, where are you going with your 675 families that could have been housed for the cost of the referendum?
    Seems the only houses you know appear to be made of Glass, and you have a ready supply of stones.

    • Pluto

      Don’t forget the $10b increase in loans to students since they were made interest free. 250,000 families ?

      • JustanObserver

        “The number of ‘Families’ that could be housed” , should be wheeled out directly after the Labour/Greens call for State Funding of political campaigns, ya just know it’ll be coming as $2 sausage sizzles just ain’t gettin them ahead.

    • In Vino Veritas

      Ah yeah. And then there is working for families. That’d have housed about 70,000 families. There wouldn’t be many families needing to buy their own house at all then, would there? But then, its not the Governments role to house anyone. So how about Little and his merry band of intellectual pygmies actually start earning their keep with some sensible suggestions around growing the economy so that poorer people have the opportunity to raise their standards.
      Sort of like National has been doing for the last 8 years.
      Is that too simple?

    • John

      How about the four billion their power company sale stunt cost the taxpayer. Remember that Andy?

    • Wayne Peter McIndoe

      true the money spent on the buy back of KiwiRail cpuld have gone into housing back in 2008, when the housing crisis was in its infancy – those in glass houses

  • Eiselmann

    Labour will solve the housing crisis have faith. And I will boldly state that if Labour come to power under Andrew Little they will do it in the first 100 days.

    How you may ask? SImple , infact so simple that they need do nothing, no new policy is required. You see under Labour , foreign investment will dry up since it will not be welcome here anymore…and more importantly we shall be back to stadium loads of people leaving each year, thus flooding the market with empty homes for sale.

    All this ineptitude and xenophobia is just a cunning plan.

  • KatB

    Andrew’s right, it is all about choices. So why doesn’t he go and ask the people with newborn babies, living in cars, what they were thinking choosing to have a baby when they didn’t have stable accommodation?

  • Seriously?

    Okay, lets throw $400m at the housing shortage, big a heap of new state homes, and completely leave aside where that is coming from. What happens?

    Where is the land to build on, and where are the people to do the building work?

    I don’t this the problem is one that can be solved by simply throwing money at it, even if we had it to throw.

  • Wheninrome

    They have plenty of rellies in the same situation who could help, problem sorted, if it wasnt for that darned land question.

    • Karma

      Given that a quite a number of those looking for social housing belong to a certain ethnic group that’s received considerable money and land from the Government, under a certain agreement – perhaps they’d like to pitch in with some land and few bucks.

  • Korau

    I’m really looking forward to the “Show me the money Andrew, show me the money” moment.

    With all the bombs Andy has dropped along the way I can see him getting very very red faced and angry in the leaders debates in the forthcoming election as he tries to defend the indefensible. (Of course, he may well have been consigned to the scrap heap of discarded leaders by then, or be consigned to the minor parties debate with the other also rans).

    • Vaughan

      Either way it would be win-win…….

  • Annoyed

    He does know that the $26m for the flag referendum (more likely lower since lots of it was NZ Post costs) was a one off expenditure right? That money would only house those families for one year. What then?

    • James M

      It’s also not as if the money spent on the flag referendum just popped out of existence. It was after all spent here in NZ with NZ businesses and it paid NZ workers.

      As far as I’m concerned the majority of the $27m spent was stimulating the economy.

  • arnietm

    So Little is going to build these houses for just $40,000 each!!! ($11,500,000 divided by 287) Wow if he can guarantee that I would even vote for him. “Yeah Right”

  • Left Right Out

    The TPPA was to be the death of NZ….. The RMA was to be the death of NZ….. No funding Keytruda was to be the death of NZ…. Panama papers were to be the death of NZ…. now it’s (a localised Auckland issue) Housing crisis that is to be the death of NZ…..

    I am very surprised NZ is even managing to function

    • D.Dave

      The RMA has NZ heading for life support IMHO. It is strangling progress and adding unwarranted expense to almost every project in the country. Getting rid of it would free up millions of dollars for investment.

  • Zanyzane

    John Key almost pulled of a change to the flag. Clearly it is a debate that was required as part of nationhood. Money well spent I would say.

  • Zanyzane

    Andrew Little says no CGT for Term 1 and maybe/possibly/certainly CGT for Term 2. Grant Robertson says CGT in Term 1 maybe if he can get rid of Andrew Little as the leader after the election. But he will undertake a tax payer paid holiday for a tax working group to meet again for another 12 months of meetings to be prepared for Term 1 CGT.

    Labour is a party of maybe, could be, don’t know and they are just busy sharpening their knives to stick into each others backs.

  • PhantomsDoc

    What Paula wrote in her article is this: “To give you an idea, it would cost on average around $40,000 a year to support a family in a three-bedroom social house in Tamaki.”

    So, that is a direct lie and another lie by omission.

    $40,000 a year Andrew…A YEAR.

    If this is the quality of both our opposition and editorial staff (not to even think about the ‘investigative’ section) then we need charter schools now sooner than later; because neither honesty, logic nor math has been taught to either group.

  • island time

    Andrew Little is not misleading at all. He simply does not understand numbers – a huge failing for business people who invariably go broke.