Updated by me after I had a nap andÂ realizedÂ that I had missed some pertinent details, I’m on school holiday leave andÂ chasing kids has left me zonked.
Well the announcement has been made and the policy revealedÂ and while I have not had time to dig all the way into things it seems on first look to be a clear and measured response to the housing “situation”.
What is on table are a combination of 10,000 new houses a year until things are “better” (under a revamped Kiwibuild program) and a policy to limit housing speculators (a penalty for anyone selling a house in the first five years after purchase which is not their only or first home).
The extra homes seems an obvious fix and the anti speculation policy seems to be on the mark as well, given the almost immediate howls of outrage from sections of the market. Whether they will work or not remain to be seen but that’s the fate of any policy so such a worry is a moot point at this time.
There are some extra details hidden in the main read which appear to be that the 10,000 new houses will be paid for in the long run by their eventual sale to their tenants which appears to be a neat way to dovetail state housing into actual home ownership. If this is the case then this seems to be a rather pragmatic, dare I say win/win, mix of state and market.
I would love to know who in Labour actually come up with these ideas as they seem to be less political bombast and more actual soundly thought out policy, probably not any of the actual MPs.Â If this is the work of some Labour policy wonk then well done to them.
In short its a mix of state housing (something I predicted) and market controls (something I did not).
But in my last post I noted that for this to work we would have to have a comprehensive policy AND it would have to have some uptake with the voting public.
So while we have the first the second has yet to show itself but the next round of public polling should provide some clarification there.
And if it does show up in the numbers (even if small) then its a solid first step on the road to electoral victory for Labour in 2017.
Yes it is a big prediction but as an “astute political analyst” we get the kudos and the big bucks for seeing things before they become clear and despite the obviousness of Labours low political polling I think things are heading towards the usual situation we get with every third term government in recent memory.
And I dont think IÂ am alone in this as a recent article in the media about National needing to think about a post Key enviroment echoing my own comments from a few months ago seems to indicate that while Key retains his personal popularity the fortunes of the party are now starting to take a beating under a constant barrage of grumbling in both the public and media regarding it’sÂ inability to have a coherent response to anything except vomit forth political and statistical double speak.
This means that when Key leaves (and takes his high polling with him) National had better have a Plan B beyond allowing the various mutants and misanthropes in Nationals cabinet to descend in a power struggle similar to what has marred Labour in the last two terms (although I must admit I relish watching that ugly scenario play itself out and National return to its dead duck status of the early 2000s; with a forest of knives sticking out of various Cabinet members backs).
A good example of this is the recent Housing NZ furor with Steven Joyce’s $92 Million tweet sounding less like a pre-planned policy or decision and more a bunch of school kids trying to hide the body before teacher finds it. Did he jump the gun, did he misspeak, who knows but I can only assume some angry phone calls among the minions as things were sorted out.
I would add here that if it is victory for Labour it wont be alone as even with a rising tide of public opinion Little and Co are unlikely to get across the line without the help of their “good buddies” the Greens and Winston so while a good policy is a start Andrew Little had better still be watching what their mood on this is.
So for me, and I remind readers that I am not a fan of Labour anymore than I am of National, this announcement is the start of something. The usual nine year itch is starting to manifest itself in a persistent rash of grumbling about “the government” and its dealing with whatever is the “problems” of the moment (I dont know what it was under Helen Clark in 2007 as I was living in Asia at the time) and we are still a year out (at least if the recent slip by the President of the National Party can be believed about National calling an early election).
So where to from here? For me I will await the next round of polling to see if this new policy has actually sparked any interest in the public. And even if its only a low jump in the polls it will be enough of an indicator for me as the political environment in NZ is starting to flux and Nationals policy of keeping its head down is looking more like a head in the sand attitude than anything else.
If no change in polling the its back to the drawing board and expect another tilt at the windmill some time soon.
But for those with a yen to know the future now is a good time to think about what schemes and plans National will be cranking out in its Dirty Politics division to shut down Labour and its message (also deflecting on the lack of anything National is doing), as I don’t think National will be able to rollÂ out any positive policy between now and whenever we go to polls, as it had numerous chances, in the last six months to shine and has botched them all to one degree or another.
So expect those evil little minions in the PMs office and adjoining spaces to start digging for dirt and loading the muck throwers. Already there has been a rather bitter remark from Steven Joyce that all that Labour has announced they (National) have already been doing but I see little to support that.
But muck or not this is a rather good start from Little and Co and if followed by more could be a good base for going into 2017. Seems like I was not the only one to think Labour needed to take a page from Norm Kirk’s good times school of vote mongering if it wanted to get back in the game and address the current problem/situation/crisis (you choose) regarding housing in NZ.
But crisis or not the market in Auckland (and the rest of NZ) needs cooling and more houses ASAP and Nationals infrastructure policy was so politically lightweight as to not even be trying. Labours new policy, if actually enacted, appears to be a more direct and immediate reaction but requires Labour to be in government to enact it.
In one way its a rather shrewdÂ policy as it addresses the immediate situation but has a rather subtle “Labour has to be in government for this to happen” aspect to it which is as good as it gets for sneaky electioneering.
So consider this a rather prolonged scratch at that particular itch of nine years of the same government going to seed, becoming increasingly detached from the electorate and now officially asleep at the wheel.