Bob Jones boots the Media party in the balls

Bob Jones is a national treasure.

In his NBR column he gets stuck into the Media party. It really deserves a wider audience than the under 10,000 subscribers NBR has.

Imagine this criminal court scenario.  A respected and upright citizen, noted for his calm disposition, is facing double murder charges; his victims; the New Zealand Herald and Dominion Post editors.

He offers the following defence, namely he’s been away from New Zealand in a remote place for three years with no internet access.  On arrival in Auckland he buys a copy of The Herald to read on the Air New Zealand flight to his Wellington home, assuming that’s still permitted by that appalling nannyish airline.  Fortunately, I no longer have to suffer it.

In Wellington, he reads the Dom. Immediately he rebooks back to Auckland.  On the way to the airport, he calls into the Dom’s office and murders the editor, then in Auckland he knocks off The Herald editor.  A goner, I imagine you’re thinking,but wait, there’s more. For he then submits his justification, namely his uncontrollable rage at returning home to find the same old, day in-day out, wearying infantile hysteria dominating those papers on the bloody Auckland alleged housing crisis.  It’s my pick a jury would take no more than three minutes to acquit him, with a rider of gratitude for his public service; this followed by the judge leading a standing ovation for both the jury and the accused.

Be still my beating heart.

Let’s get some facts straight, once and for all on this matter.  First, most house dwellers in Auckland are owners.   Make no mistake, it’s no crisis in their eyes.  Good luck to them for this wealth windfall.

Prime Minister John Howard summed it up beautifully a dozen years back.  He listened patiently while a current affairs television journalist berated him about house prices.  “Listen,” he said, when the bore finally finished.  “Over the past three decades I’ve been harangued from one end of Australia to the other on every imaginable subject, with one exception. No one yet has complained to me about their home’s rising value.”

Secondly, Auckland is today and has been for the last decade or so, Australasia’s fastest-growing city.  In a nutshell, that’s the market, otherwise known as the public, voting with their feet – a huge compliment to the city.  With that rapid population growth comes unavoidable baggage, namely transport congestion and housing shortages. Nothing is free but what’s undebatable from the continuing inflow, not just from abroad but also from within New Zealand, is that those problems are a price people are willing to pay. That’s not opinion but logic; otherwise they wouldn’t keep coming.

Land re-zoning, house, road and rail construction to resolve these demand pressures can’t be achieved with a wave of a wand. They not only take time but lots of it.  More important, they’re all happening in Auckland right now. No one is sitting on their hands, despite the newspapers’ tiresome handwringing.

This situation is a global one with other cities experiencing similar inflow booms. London, Hong Kong, Sydney, New York, San Francisco and many more, are all having the same growth problems, without the accompanying tedious journalistic infantilism we are enduring.

Precisely. Only a foolish politician would go into an election promising to drop house prices in Auckland…oh wait…that’s what Labour is doing.

Last Saturday’s Dom reached the pits when that poor man’s Gareth Morgan, ‘Shambles’ Eaqub, trotted out his platitudes on the matter, but (ensure you’re sitting down) added it was everyone’s right to a home.  God help me; I haven’t heard that “rights” nonsense since the early 1970s.

Perhaps Shambles could entertain us and explain the difference between a right to a home and a right to an annual three months world cruise. As an aside, his “wisdom” on this issue, along with Bernard Hickey’s, the latter a doomsdayer without peer, should be seen in the light of both some years back, selling their Auckland homes and fleeing to the capital to avoid their claimed imminent Auckland house price collapse.

In the light of subsequent events, those brilliant judgments have cost them considerable loss of wealth, which rather weakens my life-long militant atheism.  Maybe there’s a justice-dispensing God after all.  And before readers jump on me for overlooking this, naturally I exclude Maoris, accepting that both those house and cruise rights are clearly prescribed in the Treaty of Waitangi, as doubtless many Auckland academics would assert and the Waitangi Tribunal would confirm.

Auckland’s house price boom is precisely what’s been happening in Sydney for the last 25 years.  Throughout that quarter century two things have occurred.  First; the periodic doomsday prophets of imminent house price collapse have popped up about every five years (they’re at it again right now, even though it’s never eventuated with their previous alarmist cries) and second, there has been massive transportation infrastructure and home-building construction undertaken to meet the new requirements. As a result, it’s easier to get around and across Sydney than ever before and having had a home there since 1972, I know what I’m talking about.

Perhaps Bob might like to explore the cosy financial arrangements between Barfoot & Thompson and the Herald…or Harcourts and the Herald or Bayleys and the Herald or Ray White and the Herald. The so-called ‘housing crisis’ is actually an advertising driven ‘crisis’.

What about low income people and young married couples you may ask? In the case of the first category they can shift to dozens of alternative cheap housing towns and cities, as many are doing. If that means a shortage of labourers, waiters and what have you in Auckland then the market will sort it. Demand will drive their wages up until it reaches a level matching house rental costs.

The newly-wed cry particular annoys me. If a young fellow and his girlfriend, or, to show I’m up to speed, two young fellows, or two girls, decide to sign a piece of paper and live together, why on those grounds does society suddenly owe them a discounted home?  Make no mistake; that is the essence of their claim.

So why does this idiotic newspaper nonsense continue? That’s easy and gets back to market forces again.  Market forces deliver what you deserve and in the case of journalists, that means low incomes. Thus they extrapolate their personal situations to the wider public.  It’s that simple.  They should shut up on this subject, that’s if they don’t want to be murdered.  Mind you, in the respect that lyrics from the Mikado’s Lord High Executioner aria spring to mind; “I’ve got a little list and there’s none of them be missed.”

It’s called ‘click bait Bob…not clicks in actual paper newspapers, but on their website. They are also probably working cap in hand with the Labour party to pimp the crisis.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.