The Nation – male suicide, housing and US politics

On The Nation this morning…

Auckland housing again:

Has the Government done enough to tackle Auckland’s housing crisis? Newshub’s political editor Patrick Gower asks Housing Minister Nick Smith.

Same old.

Smith says he can’t force private landowners to build.

Smith says the best way to fight land banking is to create a competitive market … cites Chch as an example.

Last year Smith wrote to four developers to ask them to contact the Council with a time frame for development.

Smith sticks by his previous comments that he wants a house price to income multiple of 4.

MBIE figures show it’ll be 2030 before Auckland’s housing shortfall will be met.

Male suicide (‘the silent epidemic’):

Last year 428 New Zealand men took their own lives. Three times more men die by suicide than women, leading some experts to call male suicide a silent epidemic

This week The Nation investigates what causes men to take this step and what can be done to prevent it.

takes a look at a new prevention programme.

NOTE: If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or the Suicide Prevention Helpline on 0508 828 865

And US politics:

And Paddy also talks Trump with Philip Rucker, a Washington Post political correspondent.

says the Trump campaign is “flailing”.

Spinoff Auckland poll

As a part of their SSI polling The Spinoff got some numbers from party support in Auckland that should cause a bit of concern for National – but Labour and Greens won’t be encouraged much either.

In what appears to be an Auckland poll only, party support:

  • National 42.6%
  • Labour 32.7%
  • Greens 11%
  • NZ First 10.4%

They compare this to the Auckland vote in the 2014 election:

  • National 48.6%
  • Labour 27.7%
  • Greens 9.7%
  • NZ First 6.8%

From: Housing crisis uselessness costing National in Auckland – Spinoff poll

The latest nationwide political poll, this month’s Reid Research-Newshub survey had Labour sitting about the same as the SSI result in Auckland at 32.7 – for National, its 45.1% countrywide figure suggests it might be Auckland at 42.6 in SSI that is weighing it down.  Does the housing bubble turn out to be an anchor?

National has ranged from low forties to low fifties in polls over the last few months, suggesting a lot of volatility in support.

Much may depend on the state of housing this time next year.

The Spinoff-SSI poll was online only. I presume this applies to the above poll:

Survey Sampling International (SSI) conducted an online survey among a representative sample of 760 Auckland residents aged 18 and over with quota applied to gender, age and region within Auckland. All respondents were screened to ensure they were New Zealand residents and eligible to vote. The polling period was 17-19 August and the margin of error is +/- 3.6%.


Another Auckland housing poll

Polling on house prices seems to be in fashion. Following the release of UMR poll details on housing – see Poll on house prices (no party poll release this time) – The Spinoff has also asked some housing questions via SSI.


The median house price in Auckland has jumped by 85% over the last four years, with the average home now costing roughly 10 times the average household income. The corresponding figure before 1990 was around four times median income.

“Have you in the last two years considered moving away from Auckland because of house prices?”

  • Yes 32.2%
  • No, but it’s a good idea 36.3%
  • No 31.5%

Some of those will be thinking of looking for somewhere with more affordable housing so they can buy their first home, while others who already have homes will be wanting to take advantage of their surge in value with a view to buying a cheaper and perhaps better house elsewhere.

Obviously employment will be a major factor – many won’t be able to move away from their jobs.

“Do you think we have a housing crisis in Auckland?”

  • Yes 84%
  • No 10.3%
  • Don’t know 5.7%

I find the obsession with media and opposition parties to dramatically label things is a bit pointless.

A crisis “is any event that is, or is expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society”.

If the media and opposition had chosen to promote a different label then it would probably have rated highly when they polled on it.

“Why do you think we have a housing crisis?”

  • Foreign investors 55.7%
  • Government inaction 39.6%
  • Developers + speculators 38.5%
  • Incompetent Auckland council 28.8%
  • Selfish NIMBY baby boomers 9.1%
  • Over cautious Reserve Bank 7.8%
  • Ungrateful spendthrift Millenials 3.9%
  • Too much immigration 3.3%

Multiple responses were allowed. There is no ‘Other’.

This probably reflects more on media coverage over the past few months than anything. Is there any way of telling how close to reality it is?

It’s interesting that immigration barely rates.

Poll details:

Survey Sampling International (SSI) conducted an online survey among a representative sample of 760 Auckland residents aged 18 and over with quota applied to gender, age and region within Auckland. All respondents were screened to ensure they were New Zealand residents and eligible to vote. The polling period was 17-19 August and the margin of error is +/- 3.6%.

More polling and commentary at The Spinoff – One in three Aucklanders has recently considered quitting Auckland because of house prices – poll


Auckland mayoral poll – two leaders

In two ways of looking at an Auckland mayoral poll there are two leaders – Phil Goff easily leads the other contenders, but ‘Don’t Know’ easily leads Goff.

But care needs to be taken with this poll – it has been done by a pollster with an unknown record and was done entirely online with none of the traditional polling being done.

The Spinoff: Exclusive: new Spinoff/SSI poll shows Phil Goff with huge lead in Auckland mayoral race

A survey commissioned for the Spinoff’s War for Auckland pop-up site puts the Labour MP well in front of his nearest rival, Vic Crone, just weeks out from voting. But many remain undecided.

Comparing the contenders (decided voters):

  • Phil Goff 60.3%
  • Victoria Crone 15.5%
  • John Palino 7.9%
  • Penny Bright 4.6%
  • Mark Thomas 3.3%
  • David Hay 2.8%
  • Other 5.6%

This is a big lead for Goff. Being the only one with well established name recognition the lead isn’t a surprise but perhaps the size of his lead is.

Crone has a huge job to try and close the large gap.

Palino stood against Brown last election so should be known, but his campaign has failed to impress since it launched.

But the numbers look a bit different when adding one significant number.


  • Don’t know 43.7%
  • Phil Goff 31.2%
  • Victoria Crone 8.0%
  • No intention of voting 4.6%
  • John Palino 4.1%
  • Penny Bright 2.4%
  • Mark Thomas 1.7%
  • David Hay 1.4%
  • Other 2.9%


Despite the large lack of certainty – about half chose none of the candidates – that is still a huge lead for Goff. As ‘don’t knows’ get to know other candidates the gap may close but this looks like it is Goff’s campaign to lose. This seems unlikely as he is likely to run a fairly bland campaign.

However the accuracy of this poll is unknown. It was conducted by am international pollster with no phone surveying done.

Survey Sampling International conducted an online survey of 760 Auckland residents 18+ with quota applied for gender, age and Auckland region. Polling took place August 17-19 and there is a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.

From the SSI website, About:

SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology to drive business success.

As the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, SSI reaches respondents in 100+ countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings.


Goff distancing himself from Labour

In a local body election where Labour (and the Greens) are more actively and openly supporting candidates it is interesting to see that current Labour MP, Phil Goff, appears to be trying to distance himself from Labour in the Auckland Mayoral contest.

Phil Goff steps out in National Party blue-and-white <& his latest policy has the same hue


There are obvious mixed political messages there. And that will be deliberate.

Goff’s website is also absent any Labour links – and doesn’t seem very left leaning:

“A city that thrives on talent and enterprise
– where talent and enterprise can thrive”

 Meanwhile Goff’s opposition…


Similar blue plus some Labour-like red.



Another similar blue plus some read highlights.

Has anyone hear about any polling done for the Auckland mayoralty? Whale Oil claims that Crone and Mark Thomas are lagging but spoiling Palino’s chance of competing with Goff by splitting the right wing vote. Poll rumours are notoriously unreliable.

Goff is not promoting himself as left wing anyway, far from it.


Candidate vows to reduce council costs

An Auckland mayoral candidate has vowed to cut council costs. Wow. A unique approach that would stand out would be to vow to increase costs, but no one seems to try that.

NZ Herald: Phil Goff vows to cut council costs

Labour MP Phil Goff vows to cut fat, introduce road charges and cap rates rises at 2.5 per cent if he wins the Auckland mayoralty in nine weeks.

His fiscal policy, out today, contains a pledge to restore public confidence in the management of ratepayer money.

His fix involves capping rates at 2.5 per cent or less, cutting council spending by between 3 and 6 per cent and introducing road charges.

“Vows to cut fat” will probably, and rightly, be viewed with some scepticism by voters.

But I think there is more to question here.

If spending is reduced by 3-6% and road user charges are introduced how come there is a capping of rates at 2.5% or less? Shouldn’t that read reducing rates by 2.5%?

Ok, no one would believe that, but how does Goff’s maths work? Reduce costs, increase user charges and still allow for rates increases? Something doesn’t add up to me there.

Another point, bot in relation to Goff’s policy and also relevant to the Wellington mayoral candidates who on The Nation all appeared to say they would limit rates rises to about 3%.

Inflation is under 1%, and has been low for some time with no sign of a major change to this.

Why are candidates happy to propose that rates continue to grow significantly ahead of inflation rates?

And thirdly, pledging to cap rates doesn’t make sense. Should inflation suddenly take off does anyone expect that rates caps would remain?


The Nation – Australia, Auckland, TPP


Election analyst/guru talks election results & political trends with  

The Unitary Plan – can Auckland build its way out of the housing crisis?

Panel and Simon Wilson from

Cosgrove to work for Mayor Goff

Duncan Garner tweeted this morning:

Hat tip; Clayton Cosgrove to work for Phil Goff when he becomes Mayor of Akld. 

I heard that somewhere a while ago too, so maybe this is a thing.

In April Cosgrove announced he wouldn’t stand again at the next election. He lost the Waimakariri electoratein 2011 and has been a list MP since.

RNZ in April: Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove to leave politics

He said he wanted to take on new challenges and opportunities and was looking for opportunities in the business sector. He did not rule out resigning his seat before the election.

Working for a mayor is not in the business sector. Working for an ex-fellow MP sounds like jobs for mates.

I’m not aware of Cosgrove having much of a connection with Auckland.

Lining Cosgrove up alongside Goff makes it look less like the independent bid for the mayoralty that Goff has tried to portray, and more like an attempted Labour Party takeover.

Goff is probably still hot favourite to win the Auckland mayoralty but Goff + Cosgrove gives his opponents more of a shot.

War for Auckland

The Spinoff has announced ‘the war for Auckland’ (they now have a separate ‘Auckland’ menu):

War?! We know, we know. But what else would you call the vastly differing visions for Auckland presented by Auckland 2040 and Generation Zero? We feel like the next few months will define this city’s future, and will thus cover the Unitary Plan and the subsequent election with a rare fury. Read on to hear our justification – and to find out how you can help.

Today The Spinoff launches a new pop-up section. For the next three months, alongside Television, Sports, Politics and all that, we will also have an unashamedly campaigning new part of the site called The War For Auckland.

The name is a little provocative, sure. But we think it’s what we’re living through.

Today Auckland Council will receive a final set of recommendations from its Independent Hearings Panel on the Unitary Plan. That sounds like a wonky, impenetrable thing. But we think it happens to be a pivotal moment for the Unitary Plan – the single most important publication for this city in our lifetime. Potentially the most important it will ever know.

What I’m saying is: if we lose this fight, we might as well all leave. We think that’s a deeply depressing thought. We don’t want it, and won’t give up the city without a fight. That’s why we’re getting worked up and belligerent in naming the section.

They are also seeking funds to run finance the war.

So this post is to announce our intention. But it’s also to say that, if you believe this is important too, then we’d love your help. We’ve funded every part of our coverage of this election and the housing crisis ourselves to this point – from satirical takes to deeply reported features. It’s part of how we give back to the community which raised us. But it’s also exhausting, and expensive.

So for the first time we’re opening up the opportunity to contribute to The Spinoff financially via our PledgeMe campaign. We’re asking for money for this specific project, from both businesses and individuals, to chip in either publicly or anonymously. What we’re saying is: if you think it’s important that we live in a modern city which is fit for purpose into the future, then we would love your help to cover this election with that in mind.

The money we get will be ploughed into paying contributors, increasing the social reach of election-specific posts, creating collateral, developing election-specific parts of the site, paying fact-checkers, creating video – basically anything we can think of to make the young and the interested care more about the election, and get them voting.

But someone has tried to bomb the war effort.


Chloe King is right, Bradbury and The Daily Blog have long had a reputation for censoring comments that don’t fit their narratives and for banning people they don’t like, so that’s very ironic.

And yes, Bomber’s tweets are unavailable to me as well as The Spinoff and probably a lot of others that are seen as in the wrong army to the far left revolutionary’s.

The Spinoff ‘war for Auckland’ seems to have sparked a war on online fund seekers and attention seekers.

More on the Unitary Plan

NewsHub summarises: Unitary Plan: What you need to know


  • The panel has recommended another 422,000 houses be built by 2040
  • Land will be freed up for 130,000 of those homes to be built over the next seven years
  • 270,000 of those houses will come from increasing zoning density
  • This means more apartments, less single homes, more three storey houses and removing some protection from homes built pre-1944
  • “High density zones” will be located around town centres, along travel corridors and adjoining open spaces and schools. Examples include Mt Eden, Remuera, Ellerslie, Hillsborough and large parts of west Auckland
  • The city’s boundaries will be stretched to fit 30 percent of the new homes in those areas
  • Changes to the city’s rural-urban limits could be applied for by resource consent rather than a decision by the council
  • The Unitary Plan has been pieced together by an independent panel which has sat through two years of meetings and 13,000 public meetings
  • A decision on the panel’s recommendations will be made by the council in meetings from August 10-18. These meetings will be open to the public
  • The decision will be publicly announced on August 19

That’s a lot of house and apartment building. It is about 17,500 houses a year, or close to 50 a day, if they get started straight away.

More from NewsHub:

NZ Herald Editorial: Unitary Plan panel delivers right answer

The recommendation of the independent hearings panel on the Auckland Unitary Plan cannot be a surprise to anybody. The panel has confirmed Auckland needs to go up as well as out. More dense multi-unit developments will be permitted wherever they are within easy walking range of suburban centres and public transport hubs.

This makes sense. It is no more than the previous Auckland City Council proposed 30 years ago, until opposition from Panmure caused the council to lose its nerve. The new Auckland Council faced a similar outcry from the eastern isthmus and North Shore when it published its draft Unitary Plan, and again this year when the council tried to file a late submission to the hearings panel.

The council now has two weeks to consider the panel’s recommendations but the time for public input has passed. The council has to come to a decision early next month, so that any procedural appeals can be resolved and the plan can be adopted by its statutory deadline of September 19.

he Unitary Plan in the shape the hearings panel has recommended makes room for more than 400,000 additional dwellings, meeting Auckland’s expected need over the next 30 years. Besides dense development around suburban centres it proposes to push the urban boundary outwards to increase the metropolitan area by 30 per cent. That sounds like much more sprawl than council planners would like to contemplate. But if it means the city grows more out than up, Auckland’s spacious suburban character should survive.

And a view from the other end of the country – ODT: Auckland goes up and out

It is enough to make a planner drool. The proposed Auckland Unitary Plan recommendations released yesterday have been described as the largest statutory project in the southern hemisphere.

When finalised, the plan will regulate what can be built and where. It decides the shape of Auckland and also deals with some environmental issues, both natural and in heritage.

It is significant enough for the rest of New Zealand to take notice. Auckland promotes itself as this country’s international city and its housing and transport sectors are in crisis. It needs to be effective and efficient if New Zealand is to thrive.

The plan is realistic in recognising Auckland has to go up even more than out. If Auckland is, indeed, an international city then a large proportion of its residents will need to live a big city lifestyle.

As more detail emerges in coming days, expect growing opposition from some quarters. Nevertheless, the plan – while not going as far as some would have liked on intensification and on the urban boundary – is bold enough to provide a blueprint to allow Auckland to better house its burgeoning population.



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