Attack of the housing BANANAs

ScreenHunter_24 Apr. 18 12.02

By Leith van Onselen

BANANAs (“Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything”) are a common feature of the urban landscape. They typically comprise people that bought their homes many years on the cheap (helped by governments that were amenible to development) decrying “evil sprawl” and high-rise development.

I witnessed a number of BANANAs in action yesterday when listening to the ABC Radio’s Morning program with Jon Faine, which aired callers’ concerns about the Victorian Government’s new 40-year Metropolitan Planning Strategy.

One by one, callers (mostly baby boomers) rang-up to voice their concerns about urban sprawl and in-fill development across Melbourne’s established suburbs. Jon Faine was mostly sympathetic to their views, seemingly concerned about Melbourne’s declining livability. About the only aspect of the new Strategy that callers seemed to agree with was the crazy proposal to fix Melbourne’s urban growth boundary (UGB), effectively outlawing further expansion of the city’s urban footprint, despite such measures failing badly in the UK.

Not once in the discussion did I hear anyone make the following point: with Melbourne’s population growing by 2% per year, and destined to hit 5 million by 2025 and potentially 8 million by 2050 (assuming current growth rates are maintained), where are all the new arrivals expected to live?

This type of mutually exclusive thinking – that somehow Melbourne can continue to accomodate increased population without growing the urban footprint and/or higher density – is also on display in planning circles. As an example, so-called RMIT planning expert, Michael Buxton, has spent much of the past decade opposing moves to expand Melbourne’s UGB. Yet Buxton has also regularly rallied against high rise development across the CBD and inner areas, claiming that it is reducing Melbourne’s livability, while also voicing concern about declining housing affordability

Just today, Buxton has presented these contradictory positions in The Age, simultaneously opposing sprawl:

Melbourne 2030 sought to redirect a large proportion of outer urban growth to the established city through a legislated urban growth boundary…

The 2013 strategy now proposes a fraudulent limit on outer urban sprawl, a fake policy since the Liberal-National parties in 2010 helped destroy the former growth boundary by expanding it by 43,000 hectares, making irrelevant any contrived limits to growth.

A metropolitan plan should begin with a city’s great assets and protect them.

Opposing density:

Large parts of Melbourne are becoming high rise already. The heritage values of the central city, Victorian-era strip centres, commercial and mixed-use areas and their residential environs, and arterial roads will be destroyed by high and medium-rise development.

Whilst crying over affordability:

This government has no idea about how to promote affordable housing. Melbourne will continue to grow as two city types that entrench unequal access to the best a city can offer. Well-serviced inner and middle-ring areas will become more exclusive, while sprawling new suburbs will condemn many outer residents to the worst standards of infrastructure and facilities.

Unfortunately, BANANAs seem to be winning the battle, with the end result likely to be further appreciation of urban land values, deteriorating housing affordability (despite shrinking home sizes), and worsening levels of congestion. Those lucky enough to be pre-existing land holders will benefit from the rising wealth brought about from higher values, whereas those yet to enter the market (and future generations) will suffer immensely. The overall Melbourne economy would likely also lose competitiveness as escalating land costs feed into the costs of production.

Expecting to achieve a more liveable city by restricting the urban footprint and opposing in-fill development at the same time as Melbourne’s population surges towards 5 million and beyond is a contradiction in terms and mutually exclusive.

Perhaps the situation is best summed up by Matt Cowgill’s quote yesterday on Twitter:

Gen Ys: when you read a boomer complaining about urban sprawl and/or rising urban density, the subtext is “you should pay more than I did”.

Exactly.

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Leith van Onselen
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Comments

    • He’s an ageing/middle aged white guy. He’s the incumbent… why would he want to spruik anything that risks his perch at the top of the pecking order?

  1. Boomers support Gen Y because of wealth effect from rising property. If property crashes then Gen Y needs to support themselves.

    Gen Y want to aspire to be like their boomer parents and own a property portfolio.

    Gen Y don’t want prices to fall.

    • Really? Gen Y i am sure are very happy to be living with their parents for the rest of their lives?

    • There’s a misconception that GenY are all still teenagers/early 20’s.

      A good bulk of GenY is already raising families in their 30’s. Yeah, mooching off their parents still. With HECS debts & renting.

      Still waiting for their lives to start in their own home. It’s a pipedream

    • Phil the engineer

      I am a 32 year old gen Y. I support myself. My boomer parents are pensioners and don’t have the capacity to give me a ‘leg up onto the property ladder’ (not that I would feel comfortable asking). I want prices to fall. Please feel free not to speak for me.

    • I am just like Phil: 32 supported myself for the last 10 years, one kid, still have a little bit of a HECS debt (went o/s for 5 years), renting, with part of that covered by investment yields (that would be most if IRs were closer to 6%). I’m completely priced out of the housing market.

      OTOH, my parents own four bed house on a 1/4 acre block less than 5kms from Brisbane’s CDB and about 100m from the river (up a hill). It’s land is valued at more than $2m. They make no income from this asset, so there is no wealth effect at play here, and they are past the age when they would risk leveraging its value to invest in income-earning assets (but they’d done plenty of that through the 90s). They have said that if the price started to turn on their house, they would sell it, but for now its to the moon, so why not hold on to it? That does nothing at all for me, and the only benefit any of my siblings have from it is that my parent were able to provide my sister with collateral for her mortgage.

      So Labrynth: Boomers do not support Gen Y through the wealth effect from rising property.

      • Alex, this is not a dig at you, but a general comment on the thrust of this thread of the comments. If it is required that children require inheritances to live a decent life. Then this is regressing to some kind of aristocracy.
        Good bye egalitarian state/workers paradise, hello Latin American style class inequality.

      • “this is not a dig at you”

        Cool, I didn’t interpret it that way at all.

        In principle, I would be in favour of an inheritance tax (combined with changes to superannuation arrangements). But given the choice, I’ll jump at giving my kids more options in life. I’m never going to make them rich, just take some of the financial pressure off.

      • Alex, I don’t really know even if inheritance taxes are the answer anyway and I don’t have an issue with what you’re saying. My point is, if it an inheritance is required to have your own house etc., then that will be a shift in the culture of our nation and goes against a lot of values Australians profess to hold.

      • I’m with you there. Chaining ordinary Australians to $400k+ mortgages is criminal.

        PS glad to see from your comment below that you are thinking laterally and doing something about it.

      • dumb_non_economist

        If you look at the figures it is not to the benefit of children for RE to keep on increasing for the inheritance, they actually end up more out of pocket. The difference between income and the median after taking out the inherited deposit becomes an increasing multiple of their wages over time.

      • I seem to recall a paper by Joe Flood and a co-author where they attempted to find an “inheritance” effect helping younger people obtain their first home, and the conclusion was that there was no such effect evident in Australia.

    • Your wrong!

      Most GenY I know, want a crash even though they know employment may be in short supply after one. A couple of years of under employment is better than a life time of massive debt.

      I personally am in between the generations, lived abroad and currently rent, as I fear I will loose much of my savings if I leverage it up against property. The fact is, it’s Australia’s turn to have the most expensive real estate now and I have personally seen that this situation never lasts long.

    • Consider this an interesting exercise in human behaviour.

      Ask around, assuming you don’t own property, what would you prefer:

      1) wages to halve and house prices to halve.
      2) wages to double and house prices to double.

      • thomickersMEMBER

        1) is better. progressive tax rates reduce your effective income if your income doubles.

      • Is there an example of house prices halving and wages halving? In countries where house prices have collapsed, unemployment has risen sharply and wages have fallen moderately, but not by 50%. I would choose house prices to fall by 40%, unemployment to rise to 12% and wages to fall by 10%, which is a more normal scenario based on other countries. But, we’d also probably have interest rates fall to 0.5% and rents falling more than 40%.

        Based on my age and other factors, I believe that a US type collapse of the housing market and recession would be in my interests.

      • @Monkey Agree with most of what you say. No no example of this. Just curious as to how people think.

        This is essentially a what weighs more 1Kg of lead or 1kg of feather type question.

      • as per monkey, cant think of anywhere wages have halved. The reality is, any FHB during the GFC would have been far better off with a scenario of prices dropping 20-40% notwhistanding an up tick in unemployment and wage stagnation – especially given it would have been accompanied by low rates. The pre GFC ponzi economy was and is still built on exponential monetary inflation feeding asset prices for the benefit of the rent seekers. Those not established fall back further and further when this occurs. A reversal of this situation will likewise see positive real gains for those tring to get established. It really is as simple as that.

      • Japan’s property prices have been falling for 20 years and have gone below half their bubble values. I pick that this has made their economy more competitive again.

        Their wages did not fall significantly, but there has certainly been stagnation.

    • sorry i’m late to the party, but if theres a bunch of people yelling out, ‘i’m gen Y and would love to see all the boomers get out of the way’ then don’t leave me out.

      ‘intergenerational wealth transfer’ surprised its not already a t-shirt

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        You youngun’s have my blessing and support in running from this mess. Fight on your feet, not live on your knees and all that. It’s too late for me but you can carry the flag. You are the new young and mangy.

        Wear that grotty shirt with pride!

      • No no the slogan is “Generation Screwed”. P

        Planning on putting it on kickstarter. who’ll buy a T-Shirt?

        BTW, I don’t know why anyone is surprised by this. It is not like we have short lifespans. This started the moment population growth starting falling below replacement.

        In one form or another the current generation has relied on the future generation for growth and support and future generation have been larger. Once this stopped, all models and systems reliant on this should have gone out the window…

        The only reason this did not happen is that bloomers became the largest voting block.

      • You’re suggesting we shut the door on recent migrants and their families. Your idea is extreme and probably only deserves the sarcasm that I gave it.

        Think it through. Australia’s post-WWII migration was built on young European blokes coming to Australia about 4-5 years ahead of their families. I would imagine the same holds true now.

        We would have more than higher property prices to worry about if we started shutting families off from these young blokes.

        We definitely have problems, but find a better solution …

      • There is not one solution but a number of dials that need to be adjusted.
        Deliberately growing the population at 400,000 per year while having a chronic housing undersupply and an infrastructure shortage is unsustainable and unnecessary.

      • Agreed. I just dont agree on your approach of closing the doors until we reach some arbitrary multiple. A bit too authoritarian/communist for my liking.

      • Turning the tap off before you try and fix the busted hose is more common sense than communist.

      • @KeenEyeKen

        On the contrary, it’s very democratic. 73% of us want fewer people. It’s dictatorial giving us the opposite to what we want.

        Flyingfox, would you mind telling me where you bought your commercial property?

      • Deliberately growing the population at 400,000 per year while having a chronic housing undersupply and an infrastructure shortage is unsustainable and unnecessar

        “There is no problem on Earth that could not be solved quite easily if you could reduce world population.” David Attenborough, 2012

      • Thanks flyingfox. I’ve been looking for somewhere overseas to invest and am struggling to find value. Any links or suggestions would be appreciated.

      • Because nothing is a problem to us if there is no human race…
        Taking it to the illogical extreme, sure, but the original notion is hardly helpful either

      • @rich42 We’re just starting out. Nothing fancy or big. Most would not look twice at it but I am in it for the yield.

        It depends on what you are after and your situation and your appetitive for risk.

        The real big moves will be in SE Asia due to their population increases (Indonesia and Phillipines) but have their associated risks.

        NZ can still have good yields but on residential and probably some commercial as well, I would wait until the RBNZ finishes with their macroprudential policies etc.

      • Regular commenter here, ChinaBob, is effusive with agreement about how good Houston is, to invest in.

        A lot of people are picking Detroit, too, because it is so low it can only go up, and grassroots urban rebirth is quite possible in the USA. (In contrast, say, to the UK, where local urban planning prevents it).

    • It is entirely possible to have a housing bubble and excess supply of housing. When entire generations of Australians own multiple properties and get most of the income from capital gains not rent you can have a lot of empty property out there.
      With the Politico-Housing complex controlling most of the data sources it’s hard to prove until after the crash but Prosper Australia has found some evidence of oversupply in Australian cities.
      Need to attack the sources of rent and the investors trough rather than population.

  2. Your assuming that they want population to grow? The easiest solution to satisfy the BANANAs as you state would be to cap any population increases (stop migration until the infrastructure is there to provide for the extra people). That way all their concerns are met (expect of course house price increases)

    • Exactly. They are probably anti-population growth/pro stability or whatever label you use. Achieve that end and the other stuff takes care of itself.

    • Yes but often those feel good BANANAs also believe that any calls for reducing migration or targeting a stable population is just racist xenophobia.

      When it comes to supreme powers of cognitive dissonance the BANANA is an impressive performer.

      And they are not all boomers either, plenty of them are Gen-X, Gen-Y and pre-WW2 babies.

      • Even if the immigration gates are closed there will still be a shortage of affordable housing from natural increase to the extent that new households form faster than the property owing older generation vacates.

        Partly choking demand by preventing immigration is no solution.

      • “Partly choking demand by preventing immigration is no solution.”

        Perhaps, but do not forget that the high level of immigration we witnessed in recent years would have been inconceivable without the strongly growing economy (especially with respect to the rest of the world). Once the economy tanks, I am guessing that staving off immigration (or rising house prices) will be the least of our worries……

      • “Once the economy tanks, I am guessing that staving off immigration will be the least of our worries……”

        Indeed. Ireland’s immigration was even higher than ours leading up to their bust. It’s not any more.

      • Fabian AlderseyMEMBER

        Indeed. For us to reach the heights of Ireland’s immigration (in per capita terms), we’d need around 650,000 immigrants per year.

        After a bust it’s like “huh? this level of immigration wasn’t natural and pre-ordained? We’re capable of having a net outflow? Nobody could have predicted this!”

      • “Even if the immigration gates are closed there will still be a shortage of affordable housing from natural increase ”

        Perhaps but it will be a great deal less than the shortage we now have.

        The point remains the same.

        If you don’t like intensification because it destroys the historic fabric of an inner suburb and you don’t like sprawl then you can’t be pro population growth – whatever the source.

      • “If you don’t like intensification because it destroys the historic fabric of an inner suburb and you don’t like sprawl then you can’t be pro population growth – whatever the source.”

        Agreed. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not pro-population growth.

      • AJ,

        Yes I tend to agree.

        Having regard to the general reluctance of locals to breed and the ageing boomers we could probably maintain a fairly stable population and allow a reasonable level of migration and refugee intake.

        But then I am not too fussed if that stable population is 23M, 30M or 40M or when we hit it. 40M sensibly arranged is unlikely to make the place feel cramped or unlivable. two cities of 4M, 3 cities of 3M, 24 cities of 500,000 with the rest in between would still leave lots of room for cows and kangaroos.

        The fact that our pollies just say ‘I am for growth” is what really grates.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        ‘But then I am not too fussed if that stable population is 23M, 30M or 40M or when we hit it. 40M sensibly arranged is unlikely to make the place feel cramped or unlivable. two cities of 4M, 3 cities of 3M, 24 cities of 500,000 with the rest in between would still leave lots of room for cows and kangaroos.’

        Precisely. We work out what is sustainable, economically viable, provides the best quality of life for a population doing something globally meaningful and which pays its way. We work out where they ought best be located, we work out the plan to get the population to the right size.

        But first we need to sit down and have a chat about what we want to achieve with any given population (apart from selling the worlds most expensive real estate to each other that is)

      • Australia’s cities managed far higher population growth rates a few decades ago. In fact this, and pro growth urban policies, provided the best real economic golden age in history. This is extremely interesting:

        https://rwer.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/reverberations-between-immoderate-land-price-cycles-and-banking-cycles/

        The author, the extremely erudite Mason Gaffney says:

        “…..postwar gloom capped land prices. Affordability of land ran high, e.g. for housing and farming…….Loans were mostly for production and use; price/earnings ratios ran low……”

        I think he is wrong to suggest that “postwar gloom” could have capped land prices for so many decades afterwards. I argue that “automobility” (from Henry Ford onwards) enabled a genuinely competitive process of urban development for the first time ever. Bill Leavitt was a kind of Henry Ford of suburban development. Gaffney’s further point is very helpful:

        “…..(there is) a belief that effective supply is fixed as demand rises. This is illusory, because access to land for higher (more intensive) uses expands into wide open spaces. There are dozens of stages of more intensive use……”

  3. As much as I’d like to abuse boomers I don’t think they’re aware that the Libs are pro mass immigration. The media certainly doesn’t tell them.

    I told one of them that they were, she just shrugged me off and said “no they’re not”. So there’s a rusted on pig ignorance there that’s almost impossible to deal with.

    They need to go asap, hopefully their lavish lifestyles funded by property theft will take a few years off than what they would have lived otherwise, but will gen x and y be any better informed?

    I primarily blame this on the ABC. Makes me want to join the likes of Rupert and annihilate them to dust. You simply can’t withhold such information and be considered a non corrupt media outlet.

    • I primarily blame this on the ABC. Makes me want to join the likes of Rupert and annihilate them to dust. You simply can’t withhold such information and be considered a non corrupt media outlet.
      So why are we primarily blaming the ABC for something other media outlets do to at least the same, and arguably a greater, extent ?

  4. Kinda like the programme I saw on History last night about Britain, complaining about how Britain has been concreted over and flooding is the result of that. It would have been nice if the presenter had taken the trouble to clarify that this was in certain cities only. Instead, viewers were left with the impression that the whole of the UK was being turned into one huge concrete jungle with no natural spaces anywhere and flooding resulting from that.

    Why let the truth get in the way of a good story? TBH, people on the left and right who accuse each other of misinformation do the same thing – pervert information to suit their own ends. Libs, Labour, Green – same difference. Each has their own agenda, and objective truth is sacrificed on the altar of self-interest.

    • Increasingly frequent flooding in UK and elsewhere is the result of global warming. Warmer temperature → more moisture can exist in air. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, and globally water vapour increases by 7% for every degree centigrade of warming.

      More moisture in the air means heavier rains, and heavier snowfalls.

      • “More moisture in the air means heavier rains, and heavier snowfalls.”

        I wish we’d get more snow here in Aus but I think the forecast calls for even less as our temperatures increase.

      • AB, keep an eye on the US Northeast. They are going to experience incredible snowstorms & blizzards in the future, 10-20 ft deep and more. And, as usual, the deniers will come out shouting “See! It’s snowing heaps, it’s cold, so AGW is bunk!” not realising what’s really happening.

  5. BANANAs == (Mostly) Baby boomers wanting to preserve the price of their multiple IPs.

    And they are For more immigration..self-interest disguised as altruism.

    • Self-interest disguised as altruism.

      That is today’s democracy/economy summed up in 5 words. Brilliant

    • +1

      Their “business model” appears to rely on reeling in as many naïve immigrants from asia as possible and then chain them to debt slavery for the rest of their lives….. it might work, unfortunately.

      • “Their “business model” appears to rely on reeling in as many naïve immigrants from asia as possible and then chain them to debt slavery for the rest of their lives….. it might work, unfortunately”

        +1 couldn’t have written it better…

  6. Sorry to see this discussion degenerating into a slagging exercise, lightened only by reusachtige’s photo.

    This shouldn’t be about destructive density versus demoralising sprawl; it should be about the kind of density and/or expansion we want. Anyone been to the suburbs of Paris? We too can have the worst of both worlds: the poor stacked in the sticks, while the rich enjoy the monuments in the city.

    • slattery – its the best of both worlds if you are rich! and its pretty much what existing policy in Aus is aiming to achieve. The ponzi economy needs more and more persons to slave themselves to debt, consume from big business and raise demand for land / assets – but the last thing the rich want is those new consumers in their backyard.

  7. I’m a bit disappointed with the quality of comments on here

    You can extend the boundaries as far as you like and it won’t have an impact on a house in Glen Iris, or Glebe, or close to any city

    Why? Because people will still want to pay a premium for a house in Glen Iris

    House prices within 10kms of the city to rise –

    why? The migrants arriving today are different to those that arrived in the 1970s and 80s

    These migrants are cashed up, many ready to drop over a million on a place close to good schools in the inner suburbs

    Supply and demand people

    • You can extend the boundaries as far as you like and it won’t have an impact on a house in Glen Iris, or Glebe, or close to any city

      That’s actually not true. House prices are determined at the margin and increases in supply/boundaries (even in adjoining suburbs) will have an indirect impact on those very suburbs you mentioned. It’s somewhat of a cascading effect. By all means those suburbs will still be expensive, but not as expensive as they otherwise would be.

      • I could debate you on this

        I said, “extend the boundaries as far as you like and it won’t impact on prices in Glen Iris”

        I stick by that, you can release as many new estates in Pakenham as you like, flood the market, and it won’t change the level of demand for Glen Iris one iota

        Why? Because the people buying in Pakenham arent’t the ones who were initially driving up demand in Glen Iris.

        As for supply in adjoining suburbs, that can’t be increased, so won’t have an impact on prices.

    • Is that just your gut feel or do you have any data to prove your hypothesis?

      I would be a bit disappointed if people use the term “Supply and demand” at the drop of a hat without actually looking at the data.

    • Yes – it is all supply and demand and people’s willingness trade off variables like location for space, ambience, schools etc.

      More supply in outer suburbs or greater intensification in inner suburbs means the trade-offs change and people’s decisions adjust to reflect how important various factors are to them.

      Move out 5 km and pay $150K less and have backyard is a different proposition to move out 5 Km and pay $50K less.

      Likewise – move trade a backyard for an apartment and save $150K and stay in the same suburb.

      Prices on the outskirts affect the prices closer in – even if for a particular property you pay through the nose because one other person likes it as much as you do and is willing to pay as much as you do.

      Clearly, letting in rich migrants rather than poor unskilled migrants will affect where migrants choose to buy houses and live.

      Boost supply and prices will stagnate and fall unless migration is ramped up – just as they did around the globe.

      No prizes for guessing that our governments strategy to maintain house prices is likely to involve cranking up migration as fast or faster than new housing is built.

      • Exactly, Pfh007; it is not “theory”, it is real life. All that anyone needs to do is look at the RE sites for any cities with a median multiple of 3.

        Fringe McMansions are half the price; CBD Condos are 1/5 the price. But none of these cities have “super dense CBD’s and affordable Condos”; they have super affordable CBD Condos for which there has been only moderate uptake, because all urban land from the fringe inwards, is cheap, and employment and amenities are highly decentralised, so there is maximum competition within the urban area, between different nodes of amenity and commercial specialisation.

        And many people have exercised their choices between the many options, all of which are affordable, for something other than the CBD Condo. Planners need to shove this up their thingies and stop acting like little tinpot dictators.

    • These migrants are cashed up, many ready to drop over a million on a place close to good schools in the inner suburbs

      And what evidence do you have of this?

      Yes there are cashed up migrants but at today’s exchange rates and house prices you can comfortably retire in many nice places for the cost of a house in glen iris.

      I know at least ten times as many immigrants who would struggle for a house deposit than buy a house in glen iris for cash.

      • No hard evidence, anecdotal

        I live in an area where the median is close to $1million, four houses in my street have been sold this year to folks that recently arrived from China, how do I know? I’ve spoken to them

        I’m sure there are others not as cashed up, but I’d be surprised if Yugoslav and Italian migrants back in the day were buying up Glen Iris

      • Forget back in the day. What about now? Are we talking 300,000 immigrants each year coming in with $1m , or is it just a few hundred/thousand Chinese migrants with that sort of cash?

      • @OMG and you know for certain that they paid cash upfront for the properties and it are not backed by debt here or back home?

        Edit: Also let me ask you this. How many people without a property or foreign cash do you think can buy in your suburb? Think long and hard and then think about what is wrong about your answer.

    • I agree with you OMG. Land closer to the city is always going to be much more scarce than in outer suburbia. The further out you go, the bigger the circle, so there is even more land. Also, the infrastructure is already there in Glen Iris, but when you start building past Pakenham, not only is there a lot less infrastructure but there is never going to be the same level of public transport, or indeed, any amenities.

      I think that the inner suburbs will only continue to go up. Look at an area like Bentleigh for example. That was always a lower-middle class area. Now, houses go for more than $1 million.

      • I agree with OMG and you md. Inner suburbs will always be more desirable. The problem I see is that as you say, lower-middle class suburbs like Bentleigh now have medians close to or over a million.

        Even for income earners in the top 10-15%, this is unaffordable. Probably even with leg ups from parents. Due to the upgrading effect this can and will continue for a while but how long will it last?

        Forget about the wage rises supporting this. Also look at what Au$1 Million offers you else where as opposed to an okish house in a lower middle class suburb that probably needs 100K worth of updates.

  8. Sack all the town planners and lets build everywhere. Dallas, Houston and Atlanta are doing just fine with few (almost no) regulations and never experienced a boom then bust. They’ve always had reasonably priced housing.

    • Slagging planners is too broad-brush. We need them to work out where the bus stops and new schools should go. The planning killer is zoning, and that is a political decision. Discern.

      Reusachtige’s avatar sets a lofty standard for us all.

  9. I think the debate is old and tired. X and Y will not achieve their aims by political means – they should be just voting with their feet and moving to places where they are not forced into debt slavery and focus on earning less and paying less tax.

    That should be pretty funny as the boomers retire.

    • they should be just voting with their feet and moving to places where they are not forced into debt slavery and focus on earning less and paying less tax

      Precisely what my son has done … but he’s paying only 15% tax on an increased income overseas, with the company paying for his accommodation too.

      Oz is no longer the Land of Opportunity.

      • Yes, this is reversion to equilibrium at work.

        Anyone who thinks population and hence house prices can grow to infinity is a fool.

      • “Anyone who thinks population and hence house prices can grow to infinity is a fool.”

        Well,….. yes. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture in the heat of the 24hr news cycle / propaganda I guess. Sometimes it is good to go back to kinder…..

        Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
        Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
        All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
        Couldn’t put Humpty together again……

  10. Off Topic:
    I find the Topic heading is really amusing:

    You see BANANAS is a somewhat derogatory term used by Mainland Chinese (PRC) to describe Taiwanese, especially the Taiwan ABC’s (American Born Chinese) “returning” to manage US business interests in Mainland China.

    They call them Bananas because they are Yellow on the outside but White on the inside!

  11. I just read this; Daniel Hannan; “The Anglosphere Miracle”

    http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-Anglosphere-miracle-7709#.UlBb0CDlTJE.twitter

    Magnificent essay of historical and cultural interpretation.

    Here’s some bits I think relevant here.

    “When I was four years old, a mob attacked our family farm…..

    “…..This was the Peru of General Velasco, whose putsch in 1968 had thrown the country into a state of squalor from which it has only recently recovered. Having nationalized the main industries, Velasco decreed a program of land reform under which farms were broken up and given to his military cronies.

    As invariably happens when governments plunder their citizens, groups of agitators decided to take the law into their own hands. It was the same story as in the Spanish Second Republic, or Allende’s Chile: The police, seeing which way the wind was blowing, were reluctant to protect property…..

    “……There were land-invasions and confiscations all over the country. The mines and fishing fleets were seized. Foreign investment fled and companies repatriated their employees. The large Anglo-Peruvian community into which I had been born all but disappeared.

    Only many years later did it strike me that no one had been especially surprised. There was a weary acceptance that, in South America, property was insecure, the rule of law fragile, and civil government contingent. What you owned might at any moment be snatched away, either with or without official sanction. Regimes came and went, and constitutions were ephemeral.

    At the same time it was assumed, by South Americans as well as by expatriates, that such things didn’t happen in the English-speaking world. As I grew up, attending boarding school in the United Kingdom but returning to Peru for most of my vacations, I began to wonder at the contrast.

    Peru, after all, was on paper a Western country. Its civilization was Christian. Its founders had thought of themselves as children of the Enlightenment, and had been strongly committed to reason, science, democracy, and civil rights.

    Yet Peru—indeed, Latin America in general—never achieved the law-based civil society that North America takes for granted. Settled at around the same time, the two great landmasses of the New World serve almost as a controlled experiment. The north was settled by English-speakers, who took with them a belief in property rights, personal liberty, and representative government. The south was settled by Iberians who replicated vast estates and quasi-feudal society of their home provinces. Despite being the poorer continent in natural resources, North America became the most desirable living-space on the planet, attracting hundreds of millions of people with the promise of freedom. South America, by contrast, remained closer to the state of nature which the great philosopher Thomas Hobbes saw as the terrifying prelude to civil government. Legitimacy was never far removed from raw physical power, whether in the form of control of the mob or control of the armed forces…..

    “……Now ask yourself how many countries that are habitually labeled Western have consistently applied those ideals over, say, the past century. How many have an unshakeable commitment to them even today?

    That question began to nag at me insistently after I was elected to the European Parliament in 1999. The E.U. is based on the premise that its twenty-seven member states share a common civilization. While their cultures might diverge at the margins, the theory goes, all sign up to the shared liberal democratic values of the West.

    The reality is different. The three precepts which define Western civilization—the rule of law, democratic government, and individual liberty—are not equally valued across Europe. When they act collectively, the member states of the E.U. are quite ready to subordinate all three to political imperatives.

    The rule of law is regularly set aside when it stands in the way of what Brussels élites want. To cite only the most recent example, the eurozone bailouts were patently illegal…..

    “……To British eyes, the whole process seemed bizarre. Rules had been drawn up in the clearest language that lawyers could devise. Yet, the moment they became inconvenient, they were ignored. When the English-language press said so, though, it was mocked for its insular, Anglo-Saxon literal-mindedness. Everyone else could see that, as a Portuguese MEP put it to me, “the facts matter more than the legislation.”

    Democracy, too, is regarded as a means to an end—desirable enough, but only up to a point. The European Constitution, later renamed the Lisbon Treaty, was repeatedly rejected in national referendums: by 55 percent of French voters and 62 percent of Dutch voters in 2005, and by 53 percent of Irish voters in 2008. The E.U.’s response was to swat the results aside and impose the treaty anyway. Again, to complain was simply to demonstrate that English-speakers didn’t understand Europe.

    As for the idea that the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion, this is regarded as the ultimate Anglophone fetish. Whenever the E.U. extends its jurisdiction into a new field—decreeing what vitamins we can buy, how much capital banks must hold, what hours we may work, how herbal remedies are to be regulated—I ask what specific problem the new rules are needed to solve. The response is always the same: “But the old system was unregulated!” The idea that absence of regulation might be a natural state of affairs is seen as preposterous. In Continental usage, “unregulated” and “illegal” are much closer concepts than in places where lawmaking happens in English.

    These places are generally lumped together, in Euro-speak, as “the Anglo-Saxon world.” The appellation is not ethnic, but cultural. When the French talk of “les anglo-saxons” or the Spanish of “los anglosajones,” they don’t mean descendants of Cerdic and Oswine and Æthelstan. They mean people who speak English and believe in small government, whether in San Francisco, Sligo, or Singapore…..

  12. “…..Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in the early 1830s, is often quoted as a witness to that country’s uniqueness. Quoted, but evidently not widely read since, on the very first page of Democracy in America, he anticipates one of that book’s main themes, namely the idea that English-speakers carried a unique political culture with them to the New World and developed it there in ways far removed from what happened in French and Spanish America. “The American,” he wrote, “is the Englishman left to himself.”….

    “…..The rule of law is rarer than we sometimes realize. Oppression and arbitrary power are far more usual. Man is a competitive creature, domineering and rapacious when the circumstances are right. Politically, a medieval European monarchy would not have been so very different to a modern African kleptocracy. Once people are in a position to set the rules, they tend to rig those rules in their own favor. Obedient to the promptings of their genome, they design the system so that their descendants, too, will enjoy an advantage over everyone else. Arbitrary power, hereditary status, the systematic looting of resources by the ruling caste: These things were once near-universal, and are still the norm for most human beings. The real question is not whether liberal democracy was always destined to succeed, but how it managed to get off the ground at all.

    We are still experiencing the after-effects of an astonishing event. The inhabitants of a damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the idea that the government ought to be subject to the law, not the other way around. The rule of law created security of property and contract which, in turn, led to industrialization and modern capitalism. For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up which, on the whole, rewarded production better than predation. That system proved to be highly adaptable. It was taken across the oceans by English-speakers, sometimes imposed by colonial administrators, sometimes carried by patriotic settlers. In the old courthouse in Philadelphia, it was distilled into its purest and most sublime form as the U.S. Constitution.

    So successful was the model that almost every state in the world now copies at least its trappings….

    “……The exceptionalism which they took for granted, and from which most twentieth-century historians flinched for fear of being thought supremacist or racist, turns out to be real enough. It is even possible to discern two enduring factions within the English-speaking peoples, one committed to the values which underpinned that exceptionalism, and one hankering after the more statist models favored in the rest of the world. To label these factions “Whig” and “Tory” is, without question, anachronistic; yet it is also an invaluable shorthand.

    The categorization, after all, was not an invention of the Whig historians. It was understood by many of the key agents of the events they described. Thomas Jefferson explained it in characteristically partisan terms:

    The division into Whig and Tory is founded in the nature of man; the weakly and nerveless, the rich and the corrupt, seeing more safety and accessibility in a strong executive; the healthy, firm, and virtuous, feeling confidence in their physical and moral resources, and willing to part with only so much power as is necessary for their good government; and, therefore, to retain the rest in the hands of the many, the division will substantially be into Whig and Tory…..

    “…..There is a reason that supporters of these precepts, both in Britain and in America, called themselves “Patriots.” They could see something that later generations affected not to see: that the liberties they valued were largely confined to the English-speaking world; and that their domestic opponents wanted to bring their political system into line with more autocratic foreign models.

    The tragedy of our age is that those domestic opponents are succeeding. Having developed and exported the most successful system of government known to the human race, the English-speaking peoples are tiptoeing away from their own creation.

    Britain’s intellectual elites see Anglosphere values as an impediment to assimilation into a European polity. Their equivalents in Australia see them as a distraction from their country’s supposed Asian destiny. In the United States, especially under the present administration, Anglosphere identity is seen as a colonial hangover, the patrimony of dead white European males. In every English-speaking country, a multiculturalist establishment hangs back from teaching children that they are heirs to a unique political heritage.

    Consequently, in most Anglosphere states, the “principles of the Whigs before the Revolution,” are being slowly abandoned. Laws are now regularly made without parliamentary approval, taking the form of executive decrees. Taxes are levied without popular consent, as during the bank bailouts. Power is shifting from local, provincial, or state level to national capitals, and from elected representatives to standing bureaucracies. State spending has grown to a level which earlier Anglosphere populations would have regarded as a cause for popular revolt…..”

    http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-Anglosphere-miracle-7709#.UlBb0CDlTJE.twitter

  13. I wonder how the indigenous Australians feel about all this, they are not only unable to buy a house they also had their house stolen from them by migrants