Local bodies try political activism

The new Dunedin City Council has continued it’s predecessor in political activism, influenced by a new intake of councillors and ongoing activist pressure and lobbying.

The council voted by 9 to 4 to call on the Government to place a moratorium on deep-sea oil and gas exploration and extraction.

ODT: Council green as grass on oil exploration issue

The incoming Auckland council did similar recently – see Auckland Council votes against deep sea drilling.

Not exactly core business for councils, nor a productive use of their time and council resources.

As these symbolic moves can in no way be seen as representative of all city residents the Government can safely ignore them, and they probably will. They are local body and activist posturing on national issues.

Another attempt was made with the Southland regional Council yesterday but was voted down – but a Southland Times article hides that in what looks largely like an activist promotion.

Stuff: Environment Southland urged to oppose oil and gas exploration in the south

Environment Southland has been urged to oppose oil and gas exploration in the region.

Opponents of oil and gas exploration addressed councillors at an Environment Southland committee meeting on Wednesday, saying the fracking industry in the US was damaging natural resources, contaminating drinking water and using exorbitant amounts of water.

Invercargill resident Nathan Surendran, speaking in the public forum of the meeting, said councils around New Zealand were opposing the government’s oil and gas exploration block offers in their submissions.

Those councils opposing the Government have done so without a mandate from their residents and ratepayers.

Reverend Denis Bartley, a former oil industry engineer for 30 years, supported Surendran, telling councillors an increasing number of community groups and organisations had divested from the fossil fuel industry for environmental, climate change and economic reasons in the past four years.

Peter McDonald told councillors that environmental and social risks shadowed the drilling industry; he questioned whether the drilling industry shared Environment Southland’s vision for the region.

Jenny Campbell told councillors the biggest contributor to the global temperature rise came from the burning of fossil fuels.

When they had finished speaking, Environment Southland councillor Robert Guyton moved a motion for the council to oppose the Government’s 2017 block offer proposal for two oil and gas permits in Southland.

This is how it is done – orchestrated activist lobbying, and they claim popular support because they outnumber people who don’t get involved – most people have no idea about the political games being played.

He received voting support from councillors Maurice Rodway and Rowly Currie, but they were out-voted by councillors on the strategy and policy committee.

So while they get most of the article publicity they failed in their bid.

Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell, who believed there were insufficient substitutes to fossil fuels at this stage,  said if the council opposed the Government’s block offers now it would take it out of discussions further down the track.

“It’s appropriate to remain neutral at this stage.”

Southland, Dunedin and Auckland would be stuffed if they didn’t have ongoing supplies of fossil fuels. We should do what we can to reduce use, but we are a long way from the activist ideal of being oil free.

And ‘oil free’ is what activists want. From the ODT:

Oil Free Otago’s Brooke Cox said her group was relying on councillors to be ”a voice of reason”, to take a strong stand and say ”no” to the block offer.

”It’s time to think about how you are remembered as a council.”

And it’s not just activists outside councils. Stuff:

However, a council staffer said the council would still be able to make submissions on the issue in future.

ODT:

Council corporate policy manager Maria Ioannou said in a report councillors resolved in 2015 to call on the Government to place a moratorium on exploration in New Zealand waters.

”However, this position may no longer reflect the views of the new council following local government elections earlier this year.”

What is a ‘council corporate policy manager’ spending time working on ‘oil free’ activism?

The Christchurch City Council has also voted to oppose offshore drilling.

There appears to be increasing attempts by local body councils to lobby Parliament on behalf of small activist groups with the growing involvement of Green and Labour parties.

Most people don’t know and/or don’t care so the activist groups and activist councillors get to promote their agendas, which is not the core business of local bodies, nor a good use of their time and resources.

Warship protests

Auckland Peace Action has planned a protest against warships visiting Auckland.

website-header-new2

Flotilla time change

NOTE DATE CHANGE!
All Navy boats arriving Wednesday 16 November in groups of 4 from 5am – 2pm with a gun salute at 11am. Please feel free to go out on the water to protect the peace from these warships.

The planned peace flotilla has been postponed:
We will be meeting from 12.30pm in the harbour and surrounding the navy ships that will be lined up there, stationary, from 12.30pm-2.30pm. Navy event details here: http://nznavy75.co.nz/international-naval-review/

This flotilla is part of the ‘Week of Peace’ – a series of organised public demonstrations to challenge the business of war and send a message that peace is not just the absence of war, it’s something we must work actively towards. Please join us on the water – if you don’t have a boat, find someone who does to take you out, or borrow a kayak!

The Daily Blog has tried to make this an Anti-Donald Trump protest as well.

Do you hate Trump and want to show it? Then protest the American warship visiting Auckland this week

So are you shocked by the Trump result and the magnitude of political and social carnage he is about to wreck upon the planet?

Then protest the American warship that is visiting Auckland next week.

Rage against this ugly mutation of Western Democracy by protesting against the American Warship visiting Auckland next week.

Trump isn’t president yet so making it an anti-Trump protest seems a bit of a diversion, or opportunism to protest at anything on whim. That was posted before this week’s earthquakes.

Now the ugly mutation of Western Democracy and others are using their warships to help in Kaikoura.

Fleet of international warships to help out with earthquake response

A fleet of international warships are bypassing Auckland’s historic naval celebrations and heading for Kaikoura to assist with the earthquake response.

They include the first United States warship to visit New Zealand in 33 years.

The USS Sampson was due to enter Auckland Harbour tomorrow morning for the International Naval Review as part of celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The USS Sampson, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, has departed from the Hauraki Gulf and is now on its way to Kaikoura, where it will deploy two MH60 helicopters to help as required. The US has also offered a P-3 Orion for surveillance flights,” Brownlee said.

The Australian Defence Force had diverted the HMAS Darwin from her planned participation review.

“The Darwin is expected to arrive off the Kaikoura coast on Wednesday evening and will deploy its Seahawk helicopter from offshore. Canada is sending its frigate the HMCS Vancouver.”

Brownlee said the New Zealand Navy had already sent HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Wellington to Kaikoura and would also send HMNZS Te Kaha and tanker ship, HMNZS Endeavour.

The New Zealand Navy is something some activists and parties like the Greens want to do away with.

Ships of war are often used in peaceful emergency roles as well as trying to help prevent wars.

Being able to protest is an important part of a free democracy.

Perhaps activists doth protest too often, to be effective you need to choose your battles wisely. In this case a natural disaster has rendered their Auckland protests a bit pointless,  especially with the warships being used to do some good.

War and peace is complicated.

The brand desired by few

Auckland City has a new slogan apparently – The City Desired by Many.

That sounds awful to me, and it seems to a lot of others. The price tag is awful too.

NZ Herald: Auckland’s new $500,000 slogan not so desired

Auckland council bureaucrats have spent $500,000 on a new city slogan…

The new brand is the work of the council’s promotion arm, Ateed.

…was worked on by 115 council staff over two years.

That’s almost 6 staff members per letter of the slogan – but that’s just the short version, there is more to it:

Its full title is Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland, The Place Desired by Many. Folklore has it that the people of Ngati Whatua o Orakei know Tamaki Makaurau as “Tamaki the place desired by many”.

Explaining is losing when it comes to slogans. That sort of thing is ok somewhere on Wikipedia, but it’s not exactly catchy.

There has been a somewhat dissatisfied reaction to this waste of time and money is

…which has already been condemned as “outrageous” by some councillors and does not have the support of new mayor Phil Goff.

Mayor Phil Goff has received an initial high-level briefing on aspects of Ateed’s Global Auckland rebranding project.

A spokeswoman said the rebranding or marketing of Auckland was not a project the mayor was interested in championing.

I’m not surprised.

Goff has promised a crackdown on council waste, greater scrutiny of council-controlled organisations (CCOs) such as Ateed and phasing out former mayor Len Brown’s slogan The World’s Most Liveable City.

I’m not surprised “the world’s most livable city” is being ditched, but switching to the most laughable slogan is not a joke.

Dick Quax said he was dumbfounded.

Councillor Desley Simpson, deputy chair of the finance committee, said the project was another example of where the council has to tighten the decision-making of CCOs, “when you can see a mile off it is not a priority for ratepayers”.

Said councillor Fletcher: “It is arrogance in the extreme. It is disrespectful to the ratepayer and a complete waste of money.”

Has the ‘brand’ has been chosen without the councillors input or approval?

Ateed accounts show $517,000 had been spent on Global Auckland to the end of June this year.

Documents leaked to the Herald show work on the brand project has included focus groups, interviews, surveys and social media. Advertising agency Colenso BBDO and brand gurus DNA were used. A total of 115 council and Ateed staff attended workshops.

Does the cost include internal staff costs or just external costs?

In a statement, Ateed boss Brett O’Riley confirmed that the literal meaning of Tamaki Makaurau, “the place desired by many”, had come through as a strong theme from the Global Auckland project but no final decision had been made on the proposition.

Decisions about how the research and narrative will be used will be made in consultation with the council and private sector, O’Riley said.

So they spent two years and half a million – so far – and don’t know what they are going to do with it?

No date has been set to reveal the brand.

It looks a bit revealed now. It looks like someone has blown the whistle on it. That may save more money being spent on it.

No wonder the Auckland City Council wants Government money for less important things like transport and housing.

This is the sort of ‘politically correct’ elitist committee driven bland waste of money that people in other parts of the world are fed up with and revolting about, but council staff are safe from being dumped by voters.

Losing the unlosable election?

Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater are launching a book on the recent Auckland local body election. It has a curious title, considering Lusk was managing the campaign of one of the mayoral contenders.

Losing the Unlosable Election – How the Right Lost Auckland Again

unlosableelection

Yes the centre-right to right was fragmented and did poorly in Auckland. Again.

In 2011 John Palino was an odd contender for the mayoralty. He was the best of the rest but came a distant second to Len Brown.

Then just after the election there was an attempt to discredit Brown and have him dumped – the discrediting worked but Brown remained to see out his term. Palino was seen as linked to the virtual coup attempt even though I don’t think he could have stepped up if Brown had stepped down. Both Brown and Palino came out of it severely tainted.

So it was odd to see Palino stand again with Lush as his campaign manager. Slater tried to talk up a consolidation of the right wing candidates – which appears to have favoured Thomas and Crone stepping aside to give Palino a better chance against Phil Goff.

Palino never stood a chance, even if it was just him versus Goff. So Lush helped split and fragment the centre-right. And now he seems to be complaining about it.

The Auckland mayoralty was pretty much an unlosable election – for Phil Goff. As soon as he announced he was standing the media installed him as front runner and that’s how they played out the whole campaign, never seriously reporting a contest.

The media ended up giving a bit of consolation coverage to Chlöe Swarbrick, probably to try and inject some interest into a contest they had decided months previously.

There has been a lack of serious centre-right or right candidates in Auckland for some time. John Banks (versus Len Brown) in 2010 was hardly a great new talent, and Palino never looked like getting close in 2013.

This time the mayoralty was virtually unlosable for Goff as soon as he stepped forward.

And it was unwinnable for Palino, even if Lusk has persuaded the centre and right to back him exclusively. He was never going to be seen as a Trump.

To win mayoralties, especially in major cities, you need a credible candidate with good name recognition and a strong campaign team.

The Lusk formula might succeed in knocking a few contenders down, but it’s always going to struggle to get a top candidate and widespread support, even from the right.

But if you want his advise on how to not win an election – New book being launched Nov 7, pre-order now.

Councillor’s family racially snubbed

The Samoan family of new Auckland councillor Efeso Collins were refused allocated seating at his swearing in ceremony. This is appalling in the city with the largest Polynesian population in the world (about 200,000 or 15% of the population).

efeso-collins

RNZ: ‘Racial discrimination’ mars Auckland councillor’s swearing-in

The Tuesday evening ceremony was a proud moment for Efeso Collins, who was the first in his family with a university education and was sworn in as one of two representatives in the Manukau Ward in south Auckland.

But the joy wasn’t fully shared by his wife, daughter and elders, who were refused their allocated seating in the councillor’s family area at the Auckland Town Hall.

“My family was told that they couldn’t sit where they were because that was reserved for council guests, and that’s when my wife said ‘We are council guests’, but no one believed them,” he said.

In the formal atmosphere of a gala-style ceremony, Mr Collins had no doubt as to what happened to his Samoan relatives.

“The fact that we don’t look ‘normal’, and that’s the problem – too many people offering the suggestion, which is essentially racially discriminatory, that brown people don’t belong there.”

The lack of Polynesian representation is in part due to ongoing racism.

He said Auckland Council needed to break down racial preconceptions.

“If I’m still being challenged like that now, you can imagine the experience of the very people I represent, where every day we’re confronted with this type of thinking.”

New Zealand and Auckland in particular are multicultural by numbers but  entrenched European attitudes are still apparent.

The council’s general manager of democracy services, Marguerite Delbet, said she was appalled and mortified after looking into the incident, calling the staff member’s behaviour “completely unacceptable” and has apologised profusely.

Ms Delbet said the usher, who was employed by a council agency, had been very rude and tried to push away Mrs Collins.

“There really is no excuse,” she said.

There would appear to be no good excuse.

Mr Collins noted the strikingly Anglo-Saxon tone of the the inauguration ceremonies, of which this week’s was the Auckland Council’s third.

From the opening fanfare to the now customary performance of Handel’s Messiah, there are few signs of the evening being the work of a council elected by one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities.

Māori protocol is a given at council functions and the ceremony included a rendition of Pokarekare Ana by the Stellar Singers.

Mayor Phil Goff thought the evening’s mix was appropriate.

Tradition can be important but if Auckland is serious about wanting multicultural representation then the city has to move with the times.

The make up of Auckland population (from the 2013 census):

  • European 59.3%
  • Asian 23.1%
  • Pacific Island 14.6%
  • Maori 10.7%
  • Middle Eastern/Latin American/African 1.9%
  • New Zealanders 1.1%
  • Others 0.1%

I’m surprised so few identify as ‘New Zealander’. It’s likely that quite a few putting themselves down as ‘European’ have a mix of ethnicities.

Auckland Council recently spent $1.2 million in a voting campaign trying to convince the city’s different communities that it was relevant and important to them.

Perhaps they should spend a bit of time convincing their staff  of the importance of different communities.

Mr Collins wants to see future council inaugurations do better.

“Because it’s important that the wider population feels that they are being represented, that they can see their colours and flavours in it, and I think we need to do better to ensure that everybody feels a part of it.

“I don’t think we’ve got the diversity right in those inaugurations.”

Now he is a councillor Collins can perhaps push for deal with diversity better.

Watch: Efeso Collins makes his maiden speech at Auckland Council

$680 million for Mt Roskill by election

Labour is promising to spend $680 million on light rail from Britomart into the Mt Roskill electorate. Andrew Littler announced this along with Labour’s candidate for the by-election in Mt Roskill, Michael Wood.

NZ Herald: Labour to fund early start on light rail in Auckland

In an announcement linked to the Mt Roskill byelection on December 3, Labour leader Andrew Little today promised the first stage of a light rail system from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill.

The 13km line would run via Britomart, along Queen St to Dominion Rd, ending near the Stoddard Rd-Sandringham Rd intersection, said Little, who was joined by Labour’s candidate in the byelection, Michael Wood, at Dominion Rd in Balmoral.

Little said accelerating light rail on the Auckland isthmus – known as the “void” because it lacks access to rail and mass transit – would tackle the city’s worsening congestion problems.

“Right now, gridlock is choking Auckland’s ability to grow. Auckland is crying out for infrastructure projects to get the city moving, but the Government is out of touch and ignoring the problem. Labour will deliver, starting with a modern light rail line,” Little said.

Under Labour’s plan, the Government would pay half of the $1.36b cost and Auckland Council the other half.

So it would also cost the Auckland ratepayers $680 million.

The council has no money for light rail, but new mayor and former Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff has promised to bring forward light rail subject to a business case in the next long-term budget in 2018.

Is Goff co-operating with Labour to enhance their chances in the by-election?

This is a fairly expensive carrot for voters.

And a fairly favourable response from The Standard: Labour wants light rail for Auckland!

Vernon Small at Stuff: The unmistakable sound of by-election bribes crackling in the air

Labour leader Andrew Little argued it was not an election bribe, because he was only promising to bring forward from 2028 a project already on the books. And it would provide broader benefits to Auckland. But the timing had that familiar porcine smell.

When political debates go crazy

A raging verbal fight broke out at an mayoral candidate meeting, promoted as The Anti-Debate, at the University of Auckland on Monday night.

AUSA and the Daily Blog present The Anti-Debate

Tonight we’re proud to put on the debate that no one else will – the Anti-Debate. Come to Shadows at 7 to watch some of the 14 OTHER mayoral candidates give you their vision for Auckland.

CAN’T MAKE THE DEBATE? No problem! We will be LIVE STREAMING the event from the Daily Blog – also at 7! A copy will be available afterwards too, but if you’re stuck at home tonight make sure you go to thedailyblog.co.nz so you don’t miss out!

It lived up to it’s ‘anti-debate’ billing in an unexpected way.

Stuff: Auckland mayoral debate turns into shoving match between screaming candidates

Auckland mayoral candidates came close to “a brawl” at a debate on Tuesday night, after a screaming war of words descended into a shoving match.

David Hay was abused by rival Alezix Heneti as he tried to make a speech at the debate, which was hosted by Auckland University Students’ Association at university bar, Shadows.

Hay arrived late from another meeting, but was given permission by a students’ association representative to make a 30-second statement.

However, Heneti took umbrage, and a fracas ensued.

The debate was MC’d by Martyn Bradbury and all he seemed concerned about was that it was being live streamed.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party candidate Adam Holland – dressed in a kaftan – then commandeered the mic to yell “vote for me! Vote for me!”.

Not good for the ALCP credibility nor good for the pro-cannabis lobby.

As 22-year-old mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick stepped in between Hay and Heneti, Holland continued his commentary: “There’s going to be brawl! Ooh, I can feel a brawl!”

Swarbrick tried to placate the mayhem and was the only one to come out of this with any credit.

The AUSA president was understandably disappointed.

AUSA regrets the incident that occurred at the end of the Anti-Debate. This unnecessary conflict between two candidates marred an otherwise enjoyable and informative debate in which a wide range of mayoral contenders were given a platform to have their views heard. AUSA encourages peaceful and democratic resolution of all issues, and appeals to mayoral candidates to maintain a standard of behaviour expected of the Mayoralty.

Unfortunately, one of the candidates present chose to waste the opportunity given to him and attend the debate in a highly offensive costume. AUSA is fundamentally opposed to racism and bigotry in all its forms. We are sure that Aucklanders will see this and be able to exercise their best judgement in choosing which mayoral candidate will earn their votes.

The day before Hay had conceded his campaign and said he supported Phil Goff for mayor:

MEDIA RELEASE 25 September 2016

Speaking at a mayoral panel debate for the African Community, in Mount Roskill on Saturday afternoon, mayoral candidate David Hay threw his support behind Phil Goff to be the Mayor of Auckland.

Another view:

I’m reluctant to suggest that non-serious candidates be excluded from standing for elections, but this makes a mockery of the democratic process. Electing the mayor of a major city is a big deal.

Hay  said the debate turned out to be the most exciting one so far on the campaign.

“Great political theatre!” he said.

No, it trashes what should be a serious process. Democracy is turning off too many voters as it is.

Managing the number of candidates – there are 18 standing for mayor in Auckland – is a problem. The AUSA tried to give the ‘lesser’ candidates a forum and some of them blew it.

I wonder if some sort of democratic pre-selection process would help.

Dunedin, Wellington ‘best cities to live in’

‘Best city’ surveys give a bit of an indication of what people think but there are many factors to consider, like family, work, weather, education, health and what you are familiar with.

The ‘Quality of Life’ project does a two yearly survey, and in the latest one Dunedin and Wellington have come out on top:

Overall quality of life – extremely good+very good:

  • Dunedin: 27+61=88%
  • Wellington: 28+59=87%
  • Porirua: 19+65=84%
  • Hutt: 22+60-82%
  • Hamilton: 18+64=82%
  • Auckland: 18+61=79%
  • Christchurch: 20+58=78%

Those are percentages based on city councils.

Obviously with a much bigger population Auckland numerically has many more people satisfied with their city, but also quite a few more who are dissatisfied, 4% of one and a half million people is 60,000 people, about half the population of Dunedin.

A notable omission of the major cities is Tauranga.

Overall quality of life – poor+extremely poor

 

  • Dunedin: 2+0=2%
  • Wellington: 2+0=2%
  • Porirua: 2+1=3%
  • Hutt: 3+0=3%
  • Hamilton: 2+1=3%
  • Auckland: 4+0=4%
  • Christchurch: 4+0=4%

Those are remarkably low levels of dissatisfaction with cities, especially considering Christchurch and it’s problems with earthquakes. However about 20% of Christchurch residents said they were stressed “always” or “most of the time”.

Stuff reports: Dunedin is the best NZ city to live in – just

Dunedin has pipped Wellington to become the best city in New Zealand to live in, according to a new survey.

 

Statistically Dunedin and Wellington are the same so ‘best’ is barely . However if you combine the greater Wellington cities which include Porirua and Hutt they drop a bit down the scale.

Affordable housing, civic pride, and a strong sense of safety seem to be behind the good results for Dunedin in the biennial Quality of Life Survey.

Those in Dunedin were also more likely to be physically active and less likely to be stressed than their urban counterparts.

The study questioned 7155 Kiwis across seven urban areas and two wider regions. Quality of life in general was relatively steady across the two previous surveys in 2014 and 2012.

The Stuff article covers a number of issues affecting people’s opinion s on their cities, such as stress, traffic and safety.

Wellingtonians were also the most welcoming to outsiders. About three quarters of the capital’s respondents said that New Zealand becoming home for people with different lifestyles and cultures made their city a better place to live in.

Aucklanders were the least welcoming, with just over half (52 per cent) saying diversity was a net positive and one in five saying it was a net negative.

It’s interesting that Auckland has by far the most immigrants and is the least tolerant of them, but ‘locals’ will be seeing huge changes to their city (or in many cases their adopted city).

I will post separately on what the survey found about housing.

Palino can’t quit the mayoral race but…

John Palino, who came a distant but creditable second to Len Brown in the 2013 Auckland mayoral election, is standing again but is failing to fire.

But he fired some shots that seem to have been aimed footwards this week when he made a claim about what amounted to Maori extortion.

In Our leaders need some steel in the backbone, not just in their roads and building projects Jonathan Milne writes:

Now in Auckland, mayoral candidate John Palino has backed off claims that if a home-owner wants to build a garage, Maori can demand $50,000. “You’ve got some individuals saying look, give me $50,000 and then I’ll sign off on that,” he alleged in a live debate.

In fact, iwi don’t have veto rights on developments. Now, back-pedalling wildly, Palino says that if such an extortionate demand was made, it was for a large commercial building on a farm, not a residential garage. More likely, it never happened at all: he admits it was just something someone once told him in the restaurant; he doesn’t know who the bloke was.

Sounds like he made it up

This is the same politician who beggared belief with his incredible attempts to justify sitting in a car in a darkened carpark talking to Len Brown’s mistress Bevan Chuang about “the mayor’n’all” just before she revealed the sordid affair in the council’s Ngati Whatua Room. He is either stupid or reckless or dishonest.

He’ll be gone soon – it seems likely he’ll quit the race before the voters throw him out.

I think that Palino’s campaign was doomed before he started this year, and with Simon Lusk running his team and an odd launch it never got off the credibility ground.

So it’s not a surprise to see the media hammer him when Palino spins blatant bull.

But he can’t quit the race. Once you’re in the ballot system you remain there until the election.

Palino could quit campaigning, he could tell people not to vote for him, but he can’t quit the race. Regardless of what he does the voters get the opportunity to choose him or throw him out.

UPDATE: I have removed a reference to Cameron Slater also being in Palino’s team. I accept that he isn’t. He says he has never been on Palino’s team.

It was reported that Slater was involved in Palino’s launch:

Meanwhile he batted off suggestions Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater – who broke the story about Brown’s affair – was also involved, despite Slater setting up an interview he gave to the Sunday Star-Times newspaper 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/77380817/former-candidate-john-palino-confirms-he-will-stand-again-for-auckland-mayor

So Slater has had some involvement at the start of Palino’s campaign, and has associations with Lusk who widely thought to have had input into content at Whale Oil (this is covered in detail in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics), but is not in Palino’s team.

Whale Oil has favoured Palino as a candidate in posts, and has attacked other mayoral candidates, especially Palino’s main right-ish opponent Vic Crone, but that may be more to do with Slater’s well known dislike of Michelle Boag and others supporting Crone than anything.

Housing headlines

The big housing headline yesterday was the latest QV news that shows that the average Auckland property value now tops $1 million.

NZ Herald: It’s happened: Auckland house values top $1m

Auckland house values have just topped a record $1 million, putting the city’s housing stock even further out of the reach of thousands of first home buyers.

The QV House Price Index out at midday showed Auckland region average values stood at $1,013,632 in August, up 15.9 per cent compared to the previous year and 6.1 per year during the last three months.

High house prices, particularly in Auckland, have long been of deep concern to the Reserve Bank and others, having the potential to cause wide economic distress, particularly if interest rates rise. However, the market shows little sign of declining and spring could see a further surge.

There are major problems with the escalation in house prices, especially in Auckland, and there are no easy or quick solutions. But it’s not just Auckland:

Hamilton values now stand at $518,387, up 29.3 per cent year on year, QV said. Tauranga values now $557,640, up 26.3 per cent year on year and Wellington values now $536,065, up 17.6 per cent.

The Government can only suggest possible tweaks.

ODT/NZME: More limits on housing demand possible: PM

Prime Minister John Key says he will back the Reserve Bank to introduce further controls on housing demand if property prices continue to rise.

In particular, Mr Key said he would be open to new measures which limit how much people can borrow for a mortgage, known as debt-to-income ratio restrictions.

Speaking to reporters at Parliament this morning, Mr Key said he expected house price inflation to “take some time to slow down”.

“I think you are starting to see some quite significant uplift in supply and over time that will have some impact.”

The Government has reacted to social housing pressure.

Stuff: Government announces $24m boost for social housing in Auckland

A $24 million funding boost for Auckland’s social housing will help ease pressure on the city’s “extremely tight” housing market, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

The $24.4 million of funding will allow community housing providers to receive a grant worth 50 per cent of any new social housing they build, or a weekly grant of up to 50 per cent of a property’s market rent.

Organisations leasing private properties for social housing can also receive a grant worth up to 50 per cent of the market rent.

Bennett said the funding, in addition to $120 million allocated for Auckland social housing places in the 2016 Budget, would help community housing organisations to create more social housing at a faster rate.