Response to KiwiBuild ballot criteria

There were nearly 6,000 registrations of interest for KiwiBuild homes on the first day people could apply.

There were also a number of criticisms of the generous income criteria for those eligible to buy tickets in the government housing lottery. Few houses are likely to be available this year, and not a lot next year either.

RNZ: Ballot will keep Kiwibuild equal, Twyford says

Requiring people to ballot for Kiwibuild homes would help to ensure those on lower incomes still have a good chance, Housing Minister Phil Twyford says.

The income caps are $120,000 for sole purchasers and $180,000 for couples.

To be eligible, buyers must be purchasing their first home, or be “second chancers” – those people who have not yet had an opportunity to own their own home or who no longer own one.

They must be New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or those who ordinarily reside in New Zealand, and intend to own and live in the house for at least three years.

As of early evening there have been nearly 6000 registrations of interest in KiwiBuild since it opened online at 10am, and the numbers are climbing.

The balloting system would help to avoid those on the higher incomes blocking out those earning less, Mr Twyford said.

“Everyone has an equal shot in the ballot so people who are on a low income, or a high income, as long as they fit the criteria … then they can have a crack at doing this.”

He defended the high threshold for the income cap saying there were “not many” houses in Auckland people earning more than $100,000 could afford.

But some people will be more equal than others – those who can afford deposits, and those who get drawn from the ballot.

National’s Amy Adams: KiwiBuild a fail for lower-income families

The Government is admitting that its ‘affordable’ KiwiBuild houses are out of reach for many lower and middle income families by having to lift the eligibility criteria to $180,000, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“Housing Minister Phil Twyford has set the eligibility criteria for KiwiBuild so wide that 92 per cent of first home buyers are eligible. That’s because he knows he will fail to deliver houses that are affordable to lower and middle income earners.

“Having such a wide criteria and a ballot system to determine the lucky few to get a subsidy is unfair and will mean struggling families could miss out in favour of higher income families and people with significant cash assets.

“There are 24,000 first home buyers a year and the Government is now only planning to deliver 1,000 homes in its first 20 months in office – so they should be targeted to lower and middle income families.

“It is ironic that Labour doesn’t think that someone on the average wage deserves a tax cut, but believes families earning $180,000 deserve a subsidy to help them buy their first home.

Some people on lower incomes will be able to benefit from low rent state houses.

But KiwiBuild is likely to be dominated by people on higher incomes who see an opportunity to make some capital gain from a cheaper Government funded/built house.

Members’ Bill ballot today

The last Members’ Bill ballot of the last term was in June. The first ballot of the new term will be today. As they can only be submitted by members who are not Ministers this provides an opportunity for all national MPs, and new Ministers will have had to drop their bills or hand them over to other MPs who are not Ministers.

David Farrar has a list of 48 bills in 1st members’ bill ballot with numbers per party (with number of non-minister MPS):

  • Labour: 24/26
  • National: 15/56
  • Greens: 5/5
  • NZ First 4/5

National MPs who were Ministers would not have had bills already prepared, hence why so few are in the ballot. I expect that by early next year National will have over 50 bills in the ballot.

Going by that list Labour Ministers have handed their bils over to new MPs.

Graeme Edgeler commented:

It’s likely some will be added before the ballot is held tomorrow.

But has the opposite happened? Farrar’s list doesn’t correspond with the list on Parliament’s website which has just 24 bills listed under Proposed Members’ Bills.

There could be changes by the time of the ballot at noon. Three bills will be drawn.




Helen Clark fails another UN ballot

Helen Clark has again failed to feature in the top five in the latest ‘secret ballot’ (that’s farcical) for the next United Nations Secretary General.

In the first ballot Clark was ranked sixth. Since then one candidate has dropped out, leaving eleven for now.

RNZ: Clark not in top five after UN secret ballot

Helen Clark has failed to rank among the top five candidates for the next United Nations Secretary General in the latest secret ballot, diplomats say.

Just how Helen Clark fared is not yet known.

Going into the first straw poll last month, the former prime minister was considered one of the favourites, but she came a disappointing sixth.

Several other straw polls will be held before the council’s choice is put before the General Assembly for a final vote, which is expected in October.

The top five:

  1. Antonio Guterres (former Portuguese Prime Minister)
  2. Vuk Jeremic (former Serbian Foreign Minister)  up to second
  3. Susana Malcorra (Argentinian Foreign Minister)
  4. Danilo Turk (former Slovenian President)
  5. Irina Bokova (from Bulgaria, the director-general of UNESCO)

This is a secret so please don’t tell anyone.

Stuff: Clark’s big UN blow

David Farrar at Kiwiblog: – the results are:

  1. Guterres 11-2-2 (encourage, neutral, discourage)
  2. Jeremic 8-3-4
  3. Malcoora 8-1-6
  4. Turk 7-3-5
  5. Bokova 7-1-7
  6. Kerim 6-2-7
  7. Clark 6-1-8
  8. Figueres 5-2-8
  9. Gherman 3-2-10
  10. Luksic 2-4-9
  11. Lajcak 2-7-6

Dropping from 6 to 7 doesn’t look great for Clark.

Members’ Bills ballot

There was a Members’ Bill ballot today. The four drawn were:

  • Education (Restoration of Democracy to University Councils) Amendment Bill Hon David Cunliffe
  • Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill Dr Jian Yang
  • Electricity Transparency Bill David Shearer
  • Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) Andrew Little

There’s been issues raised with two of those Bills.

Graeme Edgeler has pointed out a flaw in the Name Change/Child Sex Offender Bill and the Speaker has ruled that the Healthy Homes Bill shouldn’t have been accepted due to similarity with a Bill that failed earlier this year and if it comes up for it’s first reading this year it will be rejected.

Under a law change proposed by National MP Jian Yang, every person convicted of robbery is deemed to be a “child sex offender”.

Edgeler backs up his claim with a link to the bill: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill [PDF 114k]

And to a law it refers to: Parole Act 2002

And a Speakers ruling on the Healthy Homes Bill:

The Speaker David Carter has delivered a ruling on Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2), and its similarity to a previous bill before the House.

The ruling is as follows: “Honourable members, the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) was drawn from the member’s ballot today. The bill has the purpose of ensuring that every rental home meets the minimum standards of heating and insulation. It requires the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to set the standards, and requires the landlords to meet them.

On further study, the purpose and effect of the bill are the same in substance as the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill which was defeated at its first reading on 18 March 2015. Standing Order 264 provides that a bill that is the same in substance as a bill that received or was defeated on its first, second, or third reading may not be proposed. In my opinion, this bill should never have been accepted for the ballot.

Now that the bill has been drawn, I need to find a way forward. The point at which a bill is proposed to the House is when the member in charge moves its first reading. If the first reading of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) is reached in the current calendar year, I will then rule the bill out of order.

However, if it is reached later than that, it will not trigger the prohibition in Standing Order 264, and will be in order. I have asked the Clerk to ensure that bills proposed to go in the ballot are scrutinised more carefully for compliance with Standing Order 264. In future, bills that are the same in substance as ones read or defeated in the same calendar year, will not be permitted into the ballot”.

End of Life Choice bill (euthanasia)

Maryan Street (Labour list MP) has announced she is putting her End of Life Choice bill in the Members Bill ballot this week.

I have, after 6 months’ work, finished my End of Life Choice Bill. You can find it here.

I think the social conversation has moved on from the last time such a bill was debated in 2003 and lost 60-58. The two missing votes at that time were one abstention and one voted not lodged. So that was close.

I hope I have enough specificity and enough safeguards in place for people to support it this time. I am sure it can be improved.

I am equally sure that is time that we approached this issue with compassion and gave people the right to be as self-determining at their point of death as they have been in life. It would only apply to people who were of sound mind and suffered from a terminal illness, or an irreversible condition which made their life unbearable, in their own view.

It also provides for people to register End of Life Directives in the event that these situations occur and they are unable to communicate their wishes to receive life-ending medication.

Other features include:

  • the need for two medical practitioners to attest that the person is of sound mind, has the condition they say they have and have not been coerced into their decision;
  • the need for counselling and a period of reflection;
  • and a Review Body to examine the law after a period of time to ensure it is not being abused and is operating correctly.

Let me know your thoughts.
(Comments on Red Alert blog).

Discussion on this also on:

[This bill is an excellent example of an opposition MP putting their time to good use. Other opposition MPs could do less campaigning and more work developing bills that are important to constituents. – PG]