Harré on forced selling of housing

Laila Harre was on the Q & A panel last Sunday. She made some extraordinary comments about people being forced to be homeless, and considering forcing people with houses deemed to big for them to sell them.

Susan Wood: Do you think Laila that the Reserve Bank is going where politicians fear to tread around property in New Zealand, and certianly in Auckland?

Laila Harre: Well it’s already indicated it wants to go further than the Government wants it to go and that’s why we see these delays in the introduction of controls on lending to the corporate housing buyers to the so-called investors, but these are very large property portfolios who have had opportunity to increase the size of those portfolios as a result of the LVR restrictions on first home buyers.

I think this problem has become way too complicated for people to connect to.

There’s two basic questions we have to answer.

One is do we think that more people should live in their own houses, as Bernard Hickey frames it?

The second is should there be more serious controls on the rental market in terms of the rents that can be charged, and the security of tenancy?

If we could agree on out answer to those two questions there are endless options for controlling this problem.

The problem is that the Government doesn’t know where it stands on those two issues. It doesn’t know whether it wants more people to live in their own houses. It doesn’t know whether it wants to control the environment for renters.

And we have to answer those two questions before we can get into complicated solutions.

It’s not up to the Government to decide if “people should live in their own houses”, people should be able to choose for themselves whether they rent or own/mortgage a house.

I’ve been in and out of home ownership five times due to personal and financial circumstances. Sometimes I have not been able to afford a house or a mortgage, but I have worked back into a position to be able to buy – at one time with interest rates at 18.5%.

Matthew Hooton: I think we all agree don’t we and I think Olly Newland agrees, Loan to Value Ratios are an appalling mechanism, because they’re the ones that attack people getting into their first home.

Laila Harre: Well…I….I don’t agree with that, I mean the evidence is clear that it has helped to reduce price inflation…

Matthew Hooton: How do we know that?

Laila Harre: Well we know it from the data.

I just want to come back to this obsession with the supply issue, because I think this is a massive red herring in coming up with policy.

We are told by various authorities that there is something between five thousand and thirty thousand shortage of houses in Auckland. Now how can you rely on authorities like that. They cannot agree on whether we have five thousand too few houses, or thirty thousand too few houses, that’s a factor of six. I just don’t buy any of this as being people who understand what the problem is.

Meantime plenty of the people who have the third, fourth, fifth house um for renting out are living in large houses with families who’ve left, and we certainly don’t have a shortage of bedrooms in Auckland.

So you know we’ve got to ask ourselves do we tear up our rural environment to allow people to hang on to large properties in the central city areas without dealing you know with…

Susan Wood: You can’t force people out of their homes, if they don’t want to leave their leafy mansions you can’t force them out…

Laila Harre: Well we have actually Susan, we’ve forced thirty thousand families out of homes. That’s the number of New Zealand families who are officially homeless. So we can force people out of their homes.

We’ve just decided we’re not going to touch those who are in positions of power and influence and have political authority…

Matthew Hooton: …I don’t think it’s politically…I don’t think it’s a likely political position for anyone to take that there would be forced sales of people that own their own homes that were deemed too big for them, I think that would be…

Laila Harre: Oh I don’t know, I could be signed up for something like that…

Matthew Hooton: …I’m not sure, I’m not sure that it would gain more than one or two percent of the vote…

Laila Harre: Well I know all about that too Matthew…

Harre will know about gaining one or two percent of the vote.

It is likely to be something she remains familiar with if she thinks that people should be forced to sell their homes if they exceed a Government dictated quota for number of bedrooms or floor area.

More digging in a dirty hole

Cameron Slater has often boasted about playing dirty, and he continues to live down to his standards making insulting and nasty comments about Jacinda Ardern.

On Whale Oil yesterday:

Yeah, here’s the gay man going: “look!  this barren woman cares about kids, even though neither of us are in a family situation that anyone would recognise as mainstream New Zealand”.

And on Newstalk ZB’s The Huddle yesterday afternoon:

Susan Wood: Let’s talk about this Labour Party leadership and Jock, Gracinda is what I see the social media is calling Grant and Jacinda, the only I guess leader who has declared who would be his preferred running mate. Do you think they’ve got what it takes?

Jock Anderson: Well they obviously do, um bearing in mind that some of the constituents they are clearly hoping to attract, um when i say some of the photographs I just wondered if they’ve sort of entered into some kind of a civil union or something…

Cameron Slater: It was like New Idea type stuff wasn’t it John…

Anderson:Yes, and…

Slater: The wedding of the year…

Anderson: Maybe it is…

Slater: …the gay man and the barren women…

Slater remains barren of decency, further isolating himself from anyone in politics wanting to avoid association with someone who has dug a dirty hole and keeps on digging.

It’s not a good look for Newstalk ZB to be still giving airtime to this sort of nastiness.

Labour’s insidious dirty politics

Labour supporters Deborah Mahuta-Coyle and Robert Reid clashed on a Q & A panel discussion this morning in a display of dirty politics.

Mahuta-Coyle is an ex-Labour candidate – Tauranga electorate and ranked 26 on the Labour list in 2011 –  and Robert Reid is General Secretary of First Union and was prominent in organising the anti-asset sales petition last term.

Dirty politics is spread across the political spectrum to varying degrees. One form of dirty politics is more prevalent on the Labour left – an intolerance of not being ‘left’ enough, an intolerance of different opinions and an intolerance of criticism and an intolerance of questioning of unsubstantiated claims.

It frequently results in Labour Party members or supporters (or potential Labour voters) being attacked, often for not being left enough, with little or no attempt to debate the issues raised. On blogs it’s not unusual for it to be used as an excuse to ban people deemed to be not having the right degree of leftness.

Mahuta-Coyle describes this on Q & A during a discussion on the Labour leadership contest:

Mahuta-Coyle: But Labour has real problems within the party structure itself. , and what I’m saying is this process is gonna be messy but not in a good way, because at the moment there are a lot of members that feel as if the culture of Labour is wrong.

So for example if I hold a different opinion about say what people are calling a fringe issue, and I voice that issue in Labour, I will get attacked, I’ll get slaughtered on social media, I’ll be isolated.

Because even though we talk as a party about being a broad church, in practice it’s actually not real, and that’s the problem…

Reid:But half way though an election campaign you’ll sit on this panel and criticise your own party…

Mahuta-Coyle: Of course I will, the thing is  because give me something to defend…

Reid: …but this is a discipline that La-, this is a discipline that Labour is lacking…

Mahuta-Coyle: Don’t sit there and tell me I’m criticising my party, I am Labour, I will call myself original original Labour, I’m not light blue, I’m not light Green, I’m Labour.

And when I get up here and criticise my party I do so because I want the party to improve, I want it to change and I want it to win. Don’t sit there having a go at me…

Reid: I would do that a few months before an election or now after an election but not in the middle of a campaign.

Mahuta-Coyle: But that’s you, that’s you. For me I was not happy…

Susan Wood: I think we’re seeing as illustrated before the divisions in Labour…

Mahuta-Coyle: Exactly. Yeah because I criticise the party someone has a go.

That was relatively civilised. The example was picked up at The Standard by a long time Labour activist Anne:

Its just a pity no-one told Deborah Mahuta-Coyle on Q&A this morning. Loud and abrasive… she treated Robert Reid with overt hostility and tried to rubbish everything he said despite the pertinent points he was making. She shouted over the top of him and when in response, he brought up her disgraceful critique of Labour half way through the campaign, she did a Pagani and claimed victim status.

A terrible performance so what is she doing there? Together with Josie P, these two are light weights who, more often than not, have no idea what they’re talking about.

Was she another of Matthew Hooton’s “recommendations”?

Josie Pagani has also had a few run ins with The Standard. She is not considered left enough so is labelled right wing (as also happens to me).

David H continued:

If this is the New face of Labour then it’s going to be worse than the last one. Robert did make (when you could hear him) some pertinent points. I hope that she gets hauled up before the powers that be and told to pull her head in. Because tired Labour voters just want the leadership sorted and not another overly loud prima donna starting even more problems.

Colonial Viper (another Labour candidate from 2011):

Deborah Mahuta Coyle works for the oil and gas industry now in PR. Do you need to know more.


As does Josie’s husband and Shearer supporter John Pagani.

Follow the money.



More “Dirty Politics”.

Ironic accusing Mahuta-Coyle of “dirty politics” because of where she works. This was picked up by ‘lurgee’:

Yes, actually. Unless you can actually prove influence or taint, you’re just smearing – engaging in your own little bit of dirty politics.

So they become the target of baseless attack by Anne:

Haven’t read the book have you cos if you had you would not have smeared. Some of us are well informed and have considerable personal experience to draw upon. Something you apparently seriously lack.

‘Lurgee’ responded:

Actually, I bought the book on the day after it was published. I have read the book and re-read it. Closely. And The Hollow Men.

I have commented several times that I see worryingly similar trends hereabouts – the constant denigration of people who have different ideas, the trial-by-rumour seen above, the implacable assumption of right and that the ends justifies the means, the Hollow Men style attempt to infiltrate a party an impose an extremist ideology on it and crush dissent. There are several pint sized whales swimming around this website.

Still, nice to see you doing a Slater yourself, immediately, and stupidly, trying to dismiss an argument with a personal attack.

If CV has proof that Deborah Mahuta Coyle is tainted or acting dishonestly because of her employment, let him present it. Otherwise, it is rumour and hearsay, smearing to silence or discredit alternative opinions. Very, very Dirty Politics.

Not at the level of Whale Oil dirty politics on it’s own but it’s so common – often the default reaction to anyone deemed critical or not left enough – and it is so widespread across the Labour left it’s insidious. It’s a trademark of the most Labour associated blog, The Standard.

The left of left activists of Labour are driving away support – and I know from experience that if you point out the negative nature of this culture of smearing and personal attack and how it’s counter-productive to building a health Labour Party you get banned.

They don’t want to hear, and they don’t want to change.

The rebuilding of unity within Labour and the attracting of new members and more voters will be very difficult, if not impossible. The culture is toxic and probably terminal.

See this exchange with Lynn Prentice yesterday – arrogant, self important and blind to the damage, he is a significant part of through his promotion of the toxic intolerant abusive culture at The Standard.

They are shitting in their own nest and blame everyone and everything else for the decline in support for Labour.

It’s not as in-your-face awful as Whale Oil but it’s at least as widespread and insidious as on the right and the results are a significant part of the damaging dirty politics culture ingrained in Labour, from top to bottom.

Whoever becomes the new Labour leader will have a very difficult job uniting a party riven by dirty politics.

Williamson on helping Liu because of money

Maurice Williamson has been accused of helping Donghua Liu because Liu is rich and because he has invested a lot of money in New Zealand.

Part of the reason for these accusations is what a policeman stated in an email on the issue as published by NZ Herald:

DAVEY, Gary Date 29 January 2014:

He started by saying that in no way was he looking to interfere with the process, he just wanted to make sure somebody had reviewed the matter to ensure we were on solid ground as Mr Liu is investing a lot of money in New Zealand.

Williamson has disputed this is how it was said. He was questioned about this by Susan Wood on Q&A yesterday:

Susan Wood: So if you’re not helping people who are rich, you’re helping rich and poor, why would you mention this man is a wealthy investor, why would you even mention that to the cop?

Maurice Williamson: Well I don’t actually believe it was my instigation of mentioning that, the policeman said to me during the conversation “You know the assault took place in the hotel that this man owns?”

And I think my response, I can’t give you the exact, but I think I said “Oh yes, he owns the hotel and all the land that’s around it”.

But it wasn’t in order to say “cause he’s wealthy he should be treated separately”. I was acknowledging who he was.

Williamson then described how he had also helped a young Chinese pianist with no mention of wealth. Then…

Susan Wood: But you defended your comment to me around why you talked about the wealth that Mr Liu has.

Maurice Williamson: So let me get it…well because don’t think, I, no, because I don’t it was me that raised the wealth. Lt me get it…

Susan Wood: The words came out of your mouth…

Maurice Williamson: Let me nail it right now, let me nail it right now.

I made a mistake. I got it wrong and I’ve resigned. I don’t know how more clear I can say it. I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have made the call, you didn’t ask me about why I made the call, you just said “Why did you raise his wealth” and I said I don’t think it was me that raised it.

I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have made the call. I’ve resigned. Now I’ll say it as many more times as you’d like me to say it.

Susan Wood: Do you think you were sucked in by Mr Liu, impressed by his wealth?

Maurice Williamson: No. I meet lots of very wealthy people. I know lots of exceedingly wealthy people around this country and have met them at so many functions. It’s not something that either impresses or doesn’t impress me.

Susan Wood: How important are the Asian donors to the National Party?

Maurice Williamson: Well first of all I don’t anything about what people give including Mr Liu. There’s a schedule. What i like about New Zealand’s political scheme, if people do donate above a certain amount it has to be declared. It’s transparent and you from the public get to see it. I think that’s good.

But Susan there’s another dilemma with regards political funding. The public don’t like the idea of state funding, that is taxpayer’s funding political funding, they think they should raise their own.

Then political parties go out to raise their own and people think it’s cronyism, and I don’t know how you resolve that dilemma.

Susan Wood: Can you not see though that the claims of cronyism, especially if we’ve got Judith Collins has been in a lot of hot water over Oravida. They, people put this together and starts to look like a picture.

Maurice Williamson: Well, look, I would very much accept that if that was, I only dealt with people who were wealthy. Now I got, some of the commentators yesterday see “oh he shouldn’t be helping people that are wealthy like this.

So what I should start in my electorate office is when they come in for I help I should say “Right, net worth please?” And they say “ah twenty million”, I say right…

Susan Wood: That’s, we’re being silly now…

Maurice Williamson: No no…

Susan Wood: …we’re being silly now,

Maurice Williamson: …you can’t do that can you,

Susan Wood: …no no you’ve made your point and I get that…

Maurice Williamson: You have to help everybody.

Without a recording of Williamson’s conversation with the police or a counter statement from Davey this is what we have to go on.

Drury posturing on IRD upgrade?

NBR had a guest comment from Rod Drury last week on the proposed IRD computer upgrade.

Dear IRD: how to shave $1b from your $1.5b software spendup

The New Zealand Government has recently agreed to spend $1.5 billion to redo the New Zealand tax system.

To anyone in IT this is an obscene amount of money to spend on any software project.

From the outside it seems like a slow moving train crash reminiscent of earlier Big Bang projects that always blow out if they are ever delivered.

It reeks of global consulting firms winning the business and then rapidly hiring a bunch of grads and putting them up in hotels for years.

It’s just not smart.

A $1.5 billion  injection into local service companies, that are world class, would grow an industry. Government spending of this magnitude should see numerous other benefits.

It’s easy to say nothing but the fact is government officials have no idea what’s reasonable. The companies with the budgets to win these projects are the people officials meet.

Comments were active after the online article, and also at Kiwiblog in Drury on IRD computer system.

Drury is CEO of online accounts company Xero so knows a bit about software development.

Xero has spent around only $80 million getting to where it is today. Even if IRD was 10x Xero (it’s not) why isn’t $800 million a reasonable number?

IRD software requirements are much different to Xero.

But an interesting thing about this is what Drury doesn’t say. He implies it’s an “us against them” scenario and that he is criticising “from the outside”…

The companies with the budgets to win these projects are the people officials meet.

“But rather than just criticise here’s some practical suggestions I’d offer…”

…but Drury doesn’t reveal that IRD is already consulting with him on this project. On Q+A yesterday Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said:

Well, we’re working closely with Rod Drury. I’ve talked with him on occasions.

I know he meets with the commissioner of the department regularly.

Perhaps Drury doesn’t think he is being listened to enough but that doesn’t sound like his suggestions are only “on the outside”.

Also on Q + A Susan Wood opened the panel discussion:

Rod Drury came out this week and said Government, IRD computer systems should be made locally, should be done in smaller packages I think is what he was saying, have we got the capability to do it here?

Phil O’Reilly, Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, responded:

I was talking to Naomi Ferguson just this week who’s the Commissioner of IRD and she’s made a real commitment to try and involve and engage New Zealand companies so that’s great, and one of the things you notice about systems like this is inevitably it will be a bit of a world effort.

There will be some companies in the US and the UK with particular skills, but the fact that Commissioner is really engaging locally is going to be quite an important piece.

Bear in mind that the cost of this thing is nothing much compared to the benefit that New Zealand will get. Some of the opportunity for New Zealand business to reduce compliance costs alone would blow a billion dollars out of the water right there, so the trick I think is to have a debate about what the value is to New Zealand Inc. rather than say oh, it’s a lot of money, we should just think about those two things.


In Wellington Novopay has turned into a verb, “you’ve been Novopaid”, it’s crazy, and as a result there’s a real political desire to make sure these things run well, hence all of the work going on, I’m sitting on several committees with IRD trying to work out how we do this best, for example.

So lots of consultation, lots of consideration, this thing’s taking place over ten years or so, not just because it’s the key thing, IRD is the thing, you have to raise tax to run an effective government, but it’s also a reaction to all of that stuff.

Rod Drury seems to have been posturing in public debate to try and promote value for Xero Inc, while quietly talking with IRD.

Drury’s Xero is not the only local business that will be trying to position itself to get a bit of the substantial IRD IT pie.