Harré on forced selling of housing

Laila Harre was on the Q & A panel last Sunday. She made some extraordinary comments about people being forced to be homeless, and considering forcing people with houses deemed to big for them to sell them.

Susan Wood: Do you think Laila that the Reserve Bank is going where politicians fear to tread around property in New Zealand, and certianly in Auckland?

Laila Harre: Well it’s already indicated it wants to go further than the Government wants it to go and that’s why we see these delays in the introduction of controls on lending to the corporate housing buyers to the so-called investors, but these are very large property portfolios who have had opportunity to increase the size of those portfolios as a result of the LVR restrictions on first home buyers.

I think this problem has become way too complicated for people to connect to.

There’s two basic questions we have to answer.

One is do we think that more people should live in their own houses, as Bernard Hickey frames it?

The second is should there be more serious controls on the rental market in terms of the rents that can be charged, and the security of tenancy?

If we could agree on out answer to those two questions there are endless options for controlling this problem.

The problem is that the Government doesn’t know where it stands on those two issues. It doesn’t know whether it wants more people to live in their own houses. It doesn’t know whether it wants to control the environment for renters.

And we have to answer those two questions before we can get into complicated solutions.

It’s not up to the Government to decide if “people should live in their own houses”, people should be able to choose for themselves whether they rent or own/mortgage a house.

I’ve been in and out of home ownership five times due to personal and financial circumstances. Sometimes I have not been able to afford a house or a mortgage, but I have worked back into a position to be able to buy – at one time with interest rates at 18.5%.

Matthew Hooton: I think we all agree don’t we and I think Olly Newland agrees, Loan to Value Ratios are an appalling mechanism, because they’re the ones that attack people getting into their first home.

Laila Harre: Well…I….I don’t agree with that, I mean the evidence is clear that it has helped to reduce price inflation…

Matthew Hooton: How do we know that?

Laila Harre: Well we know it from the data.

I just want to come back to this obsession with the supply issue, because I think this is a massive red herring in coming up with policy.

We are told by various authorities that there is something between five thousand and thirty thousand shortage of houses in Auckland. Now how can you rely on authorities like that. They cannot agree on whether we have five thousand too few houses, or thirty thousand too few houses, that’s a factor of six. I just don’t buy any of this as being people who understand what the problem is.

Meantime plenty of the people who have the third, fourth, fifth house um for renting out are living in large houses with families who’ve left, and we certainly don’t have a shortage of bedrooms in Auckland.

So you know we’ve got to ask ourselves do we tear up our rural environment to allow people to hang on to large properties in the central city areas without dealing you know with…

Susan Wood: You can’t force people out of their homes, if they don’t want to leave their leafy mansions you can’t force them out…

Laila Harre: Well we have actually Susan, we’ve forced thirty thousand families out of homes. That’s the number of New Zealand families who are officially homeless. So we can force people out of their homes.

We’ve just decided we’re not going to touch those who are in positions of power and influence and have political authority…

Matthew Hooton: …I don’t think it’s politically…I don’t think it’s a likely political position for anyone to take that there would be forced sales of people that own their own homes that were deemed too big for them, I think that would be…

Laila Harre: Oh I don’t know, I could be signed up for something like that…

Matthew Hooton: …I’m not sure, I’m not sure that it would gain more than one or two percent of the vote…

Laila Harre: Well I know all about that too Matthew…

Harre will know about gaining one or two percent of the vote.

It is likely to be something she remains familiar with if she thinks that people should be forced to sell their homes if they exceed a Government dictated quota for number of bedrooms or floor area.

Leave a comment


  1. kittycatkin

     /  22nd November 2014

    The idea of having controls over the amount of rent is absurd-if a landlord buys a house for $900,000 he’s going to want to pay the mortgage (some people seem not to realise that landlords and landladies have to BUY the houses and usually pay the mortgage-not to mention rates and insurance etc) from the rent. So is the landlord who owns a house that they bought for $300,000. Who’s going to have rental properties that they lose on permanently instead of just at the beginning ? People don’t own rental properties so that someone else can have a cheap place to live at the owner’s expense.

    Laila Harre is away with the fairies. I won’t start on people being forced to sell too-big houses.

    • Agent BallSack

       /  22nd November 2014

      Wait Kitty, there could be some merit to this. Does a certain fat German fraudster really need a mansion in Auckland when a 12 by 7 concrete room in Paremoremo would fulfill his needs just as well? I am sure Laila would agree her and her party members should be the first to lead by example.

      • kittycatkin

         /  22nd November 2014

        (stops laughing long enough to write) Well, yes. And he could even share it with someone-although he might be considered to be two cellmates in one himself 😀 Or even three.

        Maybe we should challenge Ms H to lead by example.Oh, do let’s !!!

  2. FarmerPete

     /  22nd November 2014

    A pilot study seems to be in order, say a sample of one or two. Perhaps we could start with Laila and her sisters houses. Seems fair for them to put their money where their mouths are!

  3. Mike C

     /  22nd November 2014

    I’ve never liked mean nasty people who gang up in numbers against those they don’t like or disagree with.

    • Kittycatkin

       /  22nd November 2014

      Nor do I, but we don’t really mean it-it’s just that nobody can stand Dotcom !

  4. Agent BallSack

     /  23rd November 2014

    One pertinent point that hasnt been mentioned here is that Laila was being questioned by Matthew Hooton. The same guy that straight after the election was over, she went on a skiing trip overseas with. Can he really be expected to ask her the hard questions? Seems a bit too much cosy cosy for my liking.

    • Kittycatkin

       /  23rd November 2014

      Someone did mention it somewhere, but I’m glad that you did, too-it’s a really good point. How could he possibly be objective ?

    • Mike C

       /  23rd November 2014

      Laila Harre has always been happy to cosy up to anybody who she thinks can get her tired old political arse back into one of the Parliamentary leather seats, BallSack 🙂

      • Kittycatkin

         /  23rd November 2014

        It would have been better had they postponed her interview until someone else was there and not him.


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