Stuff repeats Herald mistake on foreign buyers

Yesterday NZ Herald:  It’s not 3% – ASB analysis suggests up to a fifth of properties sold to non-residents

Analysis from ASB has found that Statistics New Zealand’s estimate that non-citizens accounted for only 3 per cent of house purchases is well short.

Economists from the bank say the figure more likely sits between 11 and 21 per cent.

Examining transfers or purchases of New Zealand property, Mark Smith and Nick Tuffley analysed the information and reached different conclusions to those released by Statistics NZ.

“The estimates suggest that non-resident purchases made up around 3 per cent of nationwide house purchases over the March 2018 year. This was in a similar ballpark to previously published figures. However, anywhere from 11 per cent to 21 per cent of reported purchases over that period involved a non-NZ citizen, with the proportion considerably higher for some areas, particularly Auckland and Queenstown,” they wrote in their latest Economic Note.

This was criticised on Twitter:

Going deeper into the economic note, there is a strong sense that the reason non-residents and non-citizens are getting mixed up is because the authors of this report believe that citizens have more of a right to own property than non-citizens, even those who are resident here.

Hey , resident non-citizens who buy houses so they can live somewhere are not the same as the “overseas investors” that you’re worried about. Conflating them is not just misleading, but kinda dangerous eh?

ASB did the analysis, published an economic note/report, and then gave it to all the media agencies, who are basically just quoting what it says in the report. So pretty sure the fault lies with ASB’s economists.

ASB conflated them. The distinction matters because there are people who live in this country who are non-citizens, but they are definitely residents and shouldn’t be lumped into “foreign investor”

I know someone who was a permanent resident for over thirty years, part owning four houses, before becoming a citizen.

The Herald have since changed the headline to “sold to non-citizens”.

But today Stuff make the same mistake, if not worse: As many as one in five house buyers in NZ may be foreign

Restrictions on foreigners buying New Zealand property will depress prices, one economist says – and the effect may be greater than some have predicted.

The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill is working its way to becoming law.

But while official statistics and anecdotal evidence from the real estate industry indicate only 3 per cent of sales are to overseas buyers, ASB senior economist Mark Smith at ASB said that number might be deceptively low.

He said another 8 per cent of sales were attributable to resident visa-holders who were not citizens, such as people who had newly migrated.

And such as people who migrated years ago, and decades ago.

Another 10 per cent were corporate entities, for which ownership information is not available.

If there is no information then no assumptions can be made about nationality.

He said anything from 11 per cent to 21 per cent of purchases in the March 2018 involved a non-New Zealand citizen.

Actually that should be “anything from 3 per cent to 21 per cent of purchases in the March 2018 involved a non-New Zealand citizen”.

But it is unlikely to be anywhere near 21%. And permanent residents are likely to be a significant portion of 3-11%.

This is poor analysis from the ASB and very poor reporting from the Herald and Stuff.


‘I’d rip their throats out’ over the top

When I saw this via Stuff – ‘I’d rip their throats out’: Nats’ Judith Collins slams Labour’s handling of sex claims – I thought it sounded over the top and not good for building support for the new look National Party line up.

Judith Collins has hit out at the Labour Party for not telling the victims’ parents of the alleged assaults at the Young Labour summer camp.

On Friday, National Party MP Judith Collins told the AM Show if she were a parent she would expect to be told what had happened.

“I’d actually rip their throats out for doing that if it was my kid, I really would,” she said in reference to Labour not telling the parents.

Collins said the “culture of secrecy” bred abusive and coercive behaviour.

To me that sounds like an inappropriate expression, and it isn’t great regardless of it touching on something like a feeling many parents might have if they found out a political party had kept the abuse of their teenager secret from them.

But hang on a minute. here’s a Newshub report – ‘I’d rip their throats out’ – Judith Collins tears into Labour’s handling of Waihi camp incident

Judith Collins says parents of the kids allegedly sexually assaulted at a Labour Party youth event should have been told right away.

The Housing Minister admitted if it was one of his own children, he’d liked to have been told right away.

“It’s not a good situation. We’re not happy about it. I think we let these young people down,” Mr Twyford told host Duncan Garner.

Ms Collins, appearing alongside Mr Twyford, said there should never have been any question about what parents would have wanted.

“I’d actually rip their throats out for doing that, if it was my kid, I really would. Obviously not physically, but you might as well. That’s what I’d want to do.

“I cannot believe they’d sit there saying, ‘Let’s not widen the circle.’ Why not? This is the culture of secrecy that actually breeds this sort of behaviour.”

“Obviously not physically” puts quite a different complexion on Collins’ turn of phrase. I still don’t think ‘rip their throats out’ sounds very good, but it’s not dissimilar to ‘give them a kick up the bum’, albeit more impactful being less comon (I haven’t heard it before). She could have said something without violence connotations, like “I’d be bloody pissed off’, and ik think many parents would identify with that.

The partial reporting by Stuff was quite poor. It was written by Laura Walters.

Stuff: the 2018 predictions

I’m not into making political predictions, at best it’s an informed guessing game, but for some it’s an annual ritual. The Fairfax political journalists got barely half their predictions wrong for 2017. They try again.

Some are general speculation with a reasonable chance of happening, like:

7. The budget will feature few goodies, much of the cash already being spent in the mini-budget. But there will be one or two headline-catching surprises.

8. A backbench MP will come under fire for a professional, or unprofessional as it were, indiscretion.

13. The Prime Minister will be forced to require the discipline of a NZ First member of the executive.

18. There will be a political bombshell that will see the ousting of a minister.

Some predict ends of positions and careers, or non-ends:

2. National leader Bill English announces that after 28 years in Parliament and two election campaigns he won’t stay on to see a third as leader in 2020. As he goes he cites the need for “generational change”.

I think that’s a good bet.

9. Kelvin Davis will stay on a deputy leader of Labour, despite a few more bad patches as acting-PM.

10. The Green Party will select Eugenie Sage as co-leader…

15. National’s Nicola Willis will enter Parliament when a list MP retires – likely Nicky Wagner.

20. Jian Yang will remain on in the National Party pulling in serious donations, but negative stories about possible Chinese Government influence will continue to swirl. An inquiry will be talked about but not actually launched.

And some are on specific Government promises or bills:

4. KiwiBuild – the plan to build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years – stumbles out of the gate, and the Government aren’t all that clear about how many houses have been built. Estimates have it at less than 300, but the Government insists it will ramp up much more in the following year.

11. The Kermadec Sanctuary Bill will be pulled from the ballot and cause a major rift between the Greens and NZ First. But after the spat, the Greens will back down and vote along Government lines.

14. Abortion law reform will not be openly pursued by the Government, despite a promise to take it out of the Crimes Act.

19. Iwi leaders will take fresh water rights all the way back to the Supreme Court, after a broken promise by the Government to address the issue.

And perhaps the big one of the year, a conscience vote:

12. David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill will end up narrowly passing following a divisive national debate and some changes in select committee. It won’t go to referendum.

If MPs a split similar to public opinion it should pass comfortably. Some changes in select committee are inevitable, that’s hardly a prediction.

It shouldn’t need to go to a referendum, it isn’t necessary and it isn’t a suitable issue for referendum – it affects a small number of people directly and most people will never have to deal with it personally or as close family, or not for decades anyway.

Tracking progress of the new Government

Stuff has launched a website to try to keep track of what the new Government is doing.

They explain The First Draft: Tracking the start of a Government

Jacinda Ardern has been anointed the world’s 13th most powerful woman.

Construction of a motorway has been scrapped.

Students are enrolling for free tertiary education next year and foreigners have a couple of months left to buy existing New Zealand homes.

In the rush of the modern news cycle, it can be difficult to decipher the really important stuff. Or to review the progress of a Government over any given week, let alone month or year.

Stuff is experimenting with a new platform to try to untangle the muddle. Today, we’re launching The First Draft, a project tracking the early days of the Ardern administration.

The concept is simple: we’ll highlight key events with short pieces of analysis, fact-checking and data-based reporting. The posts will only be available to view via The First Draft. You’ll be able to scroll back over a preview of every post to simply review some of the most important developments.

The First Draft link:


Balanced politics, and unbalanced Stuff

On the eve of the election Stuff has a very unbalanced political page, favouring Winston Peters, Labour and Greens.


And that is negative for National and TOP.

The Herald is more general and more balanced:


Very balanced at RNZ:


Very good to see information for voters prominent at Newshub:


The two large parties dominate at 1 News:


The Spinoff features the last pre-election poll from Newshub (asimilar result to Colmar Brunton) plus general election information.


Newsroom focuses on Maori (not positively), Labour and the Greens.

Overall today’s election coverage looks very balanced, apart from Stuff in particular and also Newsroom.


Joyce v Robertson finance debate tonight

Stuff are streaming a finance debate from 7:00 pm between Grant Robertson and Steven Joyce. This may be challenging for Robertson in particular after today’s tax u-turn.

Ok, I’m getting sick of it already, same old arguments flying to and fro.

Robertson has just interrupted Joyce about five times in a row stopping him from talking. Waste of time.

Joyce is still claiming there is a fiscal hole, but seems to have changed his slant somewhat.

Stuff, the debate

Last night’s Press/Stuff leaders debate was another step in the campaign contest between Jacinda Ardern.

The first debate last week was fairly cautious and tame. English stepped things up a notch in Monday’s Newshub debate, but Ardern was the improver in last night’s Press/Stuff debate in Christchurch.

Stuff Leaders Debate: Jacinda Ardern wins with our pundits

Associate Professor Grant Duncan, who teaches political theory and New Zealand politics at Massey University’s Albany campus, called it a narrow win for Jacinda Ardern.

Social commentator Emma Espiner gave the debate to Ardern.

“Her debate performance is improving in sync with her poll numbers. I had her losing the first TVNZ debate, drawing even in the Newshub debate and I gave the Stuff debate to her on the basis on her dexterity, ease, humour and command of detail.

“If English debated the whole evening the way he did from about 36 minutes in, when he got angry about Labour disparaging farmers, it would have been closer.”

Political commentator Liam Hehir also gave Ardern the win.

“This debate threw the difference between the two candidates in stark relief with English talking numbers in long sentences and Ardern offering general aspirations but few specifics.

“Ardern was much more aggressive tonight (sometimes to the point of churlishness). But the combination of a hostile audience and issues like the fiscal ‘hole’ fiasco favoured that approach – so Ardern was the winner.”

Stuff’s online survey:

  • Jacinda Ardern 61%
  • Bill English 39%

Vernon Small: Bill English holds his own in even debate, after another polling blow

English had a clear edge talking about water and clean rivers, as well as – less surprisingly  – on the uncertainty of Labour’s tax working group.

But Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, even hampered by a crackling microphone in the first segment, scored points against English over trust and his finance spokesman’s debunked claim that there is an $11.7 billion fiscal hole in Labour’s plan.

There were none of those game-changing moments this time…

English is looking like needing a game changer but not of the Joyce kind.

But perhaps the most telling development of the night was Ardern’s new attack: variations on the idea that the bigger risk is in continuing as we are, the risk is in the status quo.

It is a clear attempt to neutralise National’s key theme – that a change to a new government with an untested leader and an uncertain economic plan is just too risky.

If Labour can harness the mood for change and present itself as the less risky option, then that poll result could soon be baked in.

With just over two weeks to go, English is fighting hard but with early voting starting next week he may be running out of time to slow and reverse Ardern’s momentum.

There is a small party leaders debate tonight, and another debate between Ardern and English next week.

RNZ: Leaders trade blows in feisty third debate

The Press/Stuff Leaders Debate

The Press/stuff leaders debate Between Bill English and Jacinda Ardern is at 6 pm tonight:

How to watch the Stuff Leaders Debate

It’s the third of four to be held around the country before the election and will be streamed live on Stuff and Facebook from 6pm, Thursday.

You can watch the stream directly from the home page on the Stuff website, or through Facebook Live on Stuff’s Facebook page, or at the Stuff YouTube channel.

A strong opening speech from English.

Ok but more subdued and routine from Ardern.

Ardern has warmed up well, but doesn’t get a crowd response when she says her whole front bench is ‘exceptional’.

English names his front bench and a groan follows ‘Steven Joyce’.

Too much bull from both sides.

A late half time.

English has been dogged but has had some difficult issues to deal with. Ardern has been strong in attacking and digging away at 9 years of not enough.

To turn things around English has to have ripper and he needs Ardern to stuff up, neither are happening.

I have half listened to the rest. Must be getting campaign fatigue.

I don’t think this debate will have changed much. English has to find something else to lift himself, National has to sort out it’s appalling campaign, or we’re likely to cruise to a change of government.


Stuff – raw, uncut, and error ridden

The Christchurch leader’s debate should be good. It is being promoted by Stuff:

‘Raw, uncut’ election debate to hit Christchurch

Organisers of Christchurch’s party leaders’ debate are guaranteeing it will be the “grittiest” of them all.

The debate on September 7 – one of four to be held around the country before the election – will feature Prime Minister Bill English facing off against Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

The Press Leaders’ Debate has emerged as the most hard-nosed of the election debates because of its traditional soapbox style in front of a heckling audience.

But the Press could do with being less raw and uncut in their self promotional blurb.

Press editor-in-chief Joanna Norris, who will moderate the debate along with Stuff political editor Tracy Watkins, said it would be the toughest of them all.


Cunliffe participated in the 2014 debate.

The Christchurch debate between John Key and Phil Goff in 2008 went down in political history, Norris said.

“There was a real turning point in the debate when John Key said to Goff ‘show me the money’ and basically the debate descended from there where Phil Goff couldn’t get traction back because Key just kept saying that over and over again.

 “It was pretty powerful, dramatic moment which became a bit of a turning point in the whole electoral campaign.”

The debate between John Key and Phil Goff was in 2011.

“This debate is not about the personality of the hosts and that sets it apart again from the TV debates. It’s about the leaders themselves and we’re very careful to provide a neutral platform and ask hard questions from both leaders,” she said.

Norris should ask hard questions of her writers and editors about their accuracy.

Stuff poll of polls

Perhaps in ,liwu of doing any polling themselves stuff has started a ‘poll of polls’ that they say “uses a different method then others”.

New Zealand election 2017: Poll of polls shows tight race

Most of our elections since MMP came in in 1996 have potentially been tight races.

In consultation with Massey University, we have devised a new method for measuring polling. The Stuff poll of polls differs from others by giving weight to each poll based on how recent it is. We do not use internal party polling.

I thought that was a common method with poll of polls.

So what does it show?

Until the latest Roy Morgan poll earlier this month, National would have held power without the need for any new coalition partners – just.

But National fell back slightly in that poll, dragging its support down to 46 per cent, which would translate into 56 seats in Parliament.

National could rely on another four seats from the Maori Party, ACT and UnitedFuture assuming the leaders of those parties hold on to their electorate seats – Te Ururoa Flavell in Waiariki, David Seymour in Epsom and Peter Dunne in Ohariu.

Flavell would bring another MP into Parliament for the Maori Party on current support.

That would give a National-led group of 60 MPs – an agonising one seat short of a majority in a 121-seat Parliament (there would be an overhang of one seat).

Then what? You guessed it, Winston Peters and NZ First hold the balance of power.

That doesn’t tell us much that we don’t already know.

It is fairly vague assumptions based on a number of past poll results.

And with only three polls being run now, and not very frequently, there isn’t a lot to collate.

What it doesn’t do is predict what voters will decide over the next couple of months, and what parties will decide once they get to coalition negotiation time.