I’m a bit late to the party here but Stephen Franks is right on the money when it comes to identifying the “class” responsible for high house prices in our big cities.
In other words, our housing problem is the inevitable consequence of the political success of selfish middle and upper class families, working with their stupid green children. They enforce their aesthetic preferences for the status quo (labelled as ‘heritage’) by locking newcomers out of their leafy and quaint inner suburbs. The RMA has frozen the dynamic processes of rebuilding and intensification that have created all great cities (and our own towns and cities up till 3 decades ago). The result is that poorer people must pay for more expensive housing ever further from where the work is.
This class of people includes National, Labour and Greens supporters. On one side of the fence they are all about free markets, except when it comes to the ability to subdivide inner city sections and build affordable housing to save people onerous commutes. On the other side of the fence they are all about government intervention, except when their own self interest is served by a restriction of supply in the housing markets of Karori, Grey Lynn or Epsom.
This group of people are linked by a common thread : Radio New Zealand listening. I have to admit that at times I am a Radio New Zealand listener too, and sometimes agree with what’s on the agenda and the loaded experts they bring on. But I can see the wood from the trees and it is always a good laugh to remember that some people are more equal than others, and some people can be exposed to market forces, but certainly not others.
One of the things that Stephen forgets about is that baby boomers of this ilk can rarely afford to retire. Their whole retirement plan depends on an artificial restriction of supply in the housing market. If their $800,000 villa in Epsom declines in price to $400,000 that means their precious lifestyle will suffer and that is far more important than making family formation affordable.
Why is affordable family formation important? Because unless more children are born in hard working households, there will be no workers to support the
retirees grey-haired beneficiaries or employ their green children as apparatchiks. The small towns and provinces of New Zealand are only bad for Radio New Zealand listeners. Normal people would find them a breath of fresh air and affordable housing.