Twyford defends KiwiBuild

Minister of Housing Phil Twyford has conceded that Kiwibuild is not for poorer people, but for ‘middle New Zealand’. He is correct that they can’t afford new house mortgages – but that was clear years ago when he was promoting it as a fix for homelessness.

Twyford said that Judith Collins criticising the first Kiwibuild house owners as having travelled the world is mean spirited.

Collins yesterday:


It didn’t help that the purchaser described winning the Kiwibuild draw as like winning Lotto.




Ardern muddled, middle missed

In an interview just before the election Jacinda Ardern referred to the ‘squeezed middle’ – ordinary New Zealanders ‘feeling the pinch’.

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern says Budget will also help middle New Zealanders feeling the squeeze

New Zealand knows it has poverty issues, and an emerging class of working poor, but we’re not paying enough attention to the “squeezed middle”, Jacinda Ardern says.

On Wednesday, Ardern said as well as helping those in poverty, and the working poor, the Government also needed to help those middle New Zealanders feeling the pinch.

“There is this other cohort of people who just feel like some of these services aren’t accessible, and we don’t pay enough attention to that,” she said.

Ardern was referring to people who were working, but were feeling the squeeze due to a range of factors, like high housing costs.

And while unemployment is at its lowest in a decade – at 4.4 per cent in March – wage growth has stagnated, meaning after costs, a growing number of households had barely any discretionary income.

Ardern said there would be something in Thursday’s Budget – likely a more targeted approach to cheaper GP visits, with the universal discount being phased in.

All well and good, but I have not seen anything significant in the budget that helps middle New Zealanders who are struggling with low wage rises, escalating costs for housing and for things like petrol, if they don’t have dependant children or already rely on state assistance.

Working New Zealanders without dependant children (so they don’t benefit from the increasingly generous ‘Working for Families’ will feel that the pinch is still on after the first Labour-NZ First-Green budget.

Labour scrapped the tax cuts that were due to kick in this year. Bracket creep effectively means that tax rates keep gradually rising.

Many middle New Zealanders have missed out on reduced taxes, but will keep contributing to the ‘redistribution of wealth’.

Ardern has missed the mark with her pre-budget comments, and the Government has missed the middle mark with their budget.

Missing the middle

Claire Trevett writes that Andrew Little has finally woken up to the need to appeal to the middle – then concentrates on the top and bottom in his budget speech.

Mixed messages in Little’s pre-Budget speech

Here’s a tip for Labour.

If your leader is about to deliver a speech on the plight of the homeless compared to the “wealthy few”, don’t kick it off with a tale about Bluff oysters.

Labour’s whip Chris Hipkins introduced Andrew Little for his pre-Budget speech by talking about the Bluff Oyster Festival Hipkins attended at the weekend.

Hipkins revealed he had bought three dozen oysters but left them in his hotel fridge.

A minute later Little took to the stage to deliver a triumphant piece of mixed messages.

Little sort of aimed at middle New Zealand, but it was more muddling than middling.

The centrepiece was a very convoluted piece of research about the proportion of economic growth returned to workers. Labour had concluded New Zealanders were getting $50 less a week than they would have been.

It was effectively meaningless beyond showing what clever clogs they were to have worked out such a thing. It also opened Little to questioning on how Labour would get that back into the pockets of those workers.

It seems Little has finally learned the group of people he needs to be talking to are middle New Zealand, but there are precious few signs he has discovered how to talk to them.

One of Little’s problems is thatr he may keep turning voters off, and if he ever discovers how to talk to them they may have given up listening. If they ever listened.

And those on the left listening and hoping for big things don’t want to help the middle, they want salvation delivered to the bottom and the far left

Marvelling at ‘middle New Zealand’

It is sometimes claimed that New Zealand is Middle Earth, but the term ‘middle new Zealand is increasingly being used.

I think I could be from ‘middle new Zealand’ in some ways, I’m somewhere around average income and my political beliefs are sort of centrist and have straddled left and right.

But it’s not a pigeon hole. Pigeons fly in all directions.

Lizzie Marvelly asks: Middle NZ: Just what does it mean?

Middle New Zealand. I can’t get my head around it. I’ve spent the week having an identity crisis. What on Earth is middle New Zealand? Am I part of it? Or am I lower, higher, further to the right or further to the left of it?

The use of the word “middle” suggests that middle New Zealand denotes the majority, the average, the cluster that represents the most of us – but if I’m to believe what Mike Hosking says, that cluster does not include me.

Recently, Seven Sharp broadcast a segment about the New Plymouth Mayor, Andrew Judd. Mayor Judd has decided he won’t seek re-election. Why? Because of the abuse he and his family have been forced to endure since he began to call for Maori representation in New Plymouth.

It’s nasty stuff. Understandably, Mayor Judd has had enough of it. The kinds of attitudes displayed in the Seven Sharp clip belonged in the 1960s, I thought as I watched it. Then Mike Hosking weighed in.

“He’s completely out of touch with middle New Zealand,” Hosking said, adding there was “nothing wrong with Maori representation on councils” because “if you’re good enough you’ll get voted on”. His comments are now the subject of a formal complaint made to TVNZ.

I have no doubt many people will agree with Hosking. They may well be the “middle New Zealand” he’s talking about.

That’s a very odd leap.

Equating “many people” who might agree with Hosking on a single issue with a very general “middle New Zealand” makes no sense.

I don’t often agree with Hosking – I don’t listen to what he says much, he’s not someone I look to for opinion.

I’m not sure whether it’s my age, whakapapa or abhorrence of racism that excludes me, but evidently middle New Zealand I am not.

Evidently Marvelly disagrees with Hosking on this but he isn’t an authority on what constitutes ‘middle New Zealand’. And neither is Marvelly.

If Hosking had said “he’s completely out of touch with New Zealanders” (similar to the way a number of politicians speak) would that provoke Marvelly into stating ‘evidently New Zealander I am not’?

Marvelly goes on to discuss ‘white privilege’ but that’s worth a post of it’s own sometime.

What is ‘middle New Zealand’ apart from a sign of growing obesity?

It seems to be nothing more than a generalised term used by people in the Beehive bubble, which is located approximately in the middle of New Zealand but seems increasingly out of touch with the diverse views of New Zealanders.

Message to Lizzie – even though I may have fairly average views on many things (but far from all things) what Mike Hosking (an Auckland media mouth) says is not representative of my views from southern New Zealand.

Don’t pander to radicals

Act have launched a  campaign –  Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?

That seems a bit radical. I guess they have to try something different to try and boost their poll ratings. Hang on, it’s not really different, it’s just a bit more confrontational than the Orewa speech.

Maori radicals have as much right to stand for election as financial radicals. If enough people vote for them to get MPs, they deserve representation.

That’s why Act is acting like this – 15% is a lot harder than they hoped.

Many people are fed up with attack politics, they’re fed up with deliberate antagonising and attempts at polarising.  They want a party that acts with integrity. Not Act like this.

There is more need than ever for a party of reasonable, sensible, middle New Zealand people representing middle New Zealand voters.