NZ Government shamed for housing failures on morning TV

By Leith van Onselen

If you get a chance today, make sure that you head over to NewsHub to watch The AM Show host, Duncan Garner, demolish New Zealand’s National Government and Auckland Council over their epic housing policy failures.

Garner holds nothing back and gives National both barrels in a sustained verbal assault. Below are some highlights, but there is much more gold in the video:

[Garner] said to own a home now in Auckland was a “complete luxury for the very few”.

“This was National’s biggest weakness five years ago and it continues today. Under National the dream of home ownership disappeared.”

“We didn’t plan, we didn’t build. We didn’t release land. I’m not just going at this Government, the last one was useless too”…

Auckland Council had also been “useless”, Garner said.

He said houses had become a “crude, brutal tool in a market of vampires, pimps and investors running wild overseen by central and local government who were out to lunch.”

“We didn’t tax to slow the market down – it was an out of control bonfire”.

Home ownership had only once been lower than it is now – in 1955…

Garner said to own a home now in Auckland, “is a complete luxury for the very few”.

“House prices in Auckland when National came to office were half a million dollars, now it’s $1.03m. Wages never kept up with that.”

He said teachers have fled Auckland for the regions, and at present there were 200 teaching jobs available in Auckland.

The Government had denied there was a crisis for far too long, Garner said.

“There is a crisis, a crisis of affordability. It has been a complete disaster, a bonfire, and shame on those authorities that oversaw this and let it happen”

“We left the market to solve affordable housing and the market said ‘stick it’. Find somebody else to build them.

“There was no one around until now – Election Day”.

He said first home buyers were the biggest losers.

“Those who won big in this housing market won really big. They became overnight accidental millionaires. Others got smashed. Others got burned, others got uninvited, and others got locked out.”

“It no longer mattered how hard you worked. It mattered how much you earned, and how much mum and dad could flick you.”

We could do with the likes of Garner in Australia. Sydney’s housing market is just as broken as Auckland’s, with Melbourne’s not far behind.

Unconventional Economist


  1. That was a good rant.
    However he is wrong about LVR’s negatively impacting First Home Buyers. LVR’s need to be wound progressively higher but should also apply proportionately higher to investors.

  2. He said houses had become a “crude, brutal tool in a market of vampires, pimps and investors running wild overseen by central and local government who were out to lunch.”

    Oh ho ho, what a cracker! 10/10 savagery

      • And yet – he did not identify the main demand driver of the market… this supposed rant against the government was faux outrage! PC to the end… I mean, seriously, he talks about LVR’s, the investor market falls 50%, but house prices rise 11% in Auckland y-o-y (once you strip out inflation)!!!

  3. rob barrattMEMBER

    Err, was he describing Australia or New Zealand? Oh. of course, it must have been NZ. He mentioned that government was “out to lunch”. Couldn’t have been here then. It’s “flu” season so no-one turns up at government offices here anyway. Which reminds me of an experience I had last winter. I worked for a well known government department in Brisbane for 3 months last Winter. Office half empty. Amazingly enough, the disease never affected any of the contractors (who don’t get paid for sickies). Just goes to show, contracting must be good for your health. I assume(?)….

    • And they all get nice salary increases and most are on defined benefit pensions. Nice “work” if you can get it.

  4. Thank you Leith !


    Possible Ministers in a Labour-led Government … NZ Herald / Kiwiblog

    Audrey Young looks at possible Ministers in a Labour-led Government.

    Her top 10 for Labour are:

    Jacinda Ardern

    – Prime Minister, National Security

    Kelvin Davis

    – Deputy Prime Minister, Corrections, Maori Development

    Grant Robertson

    – Finance

    Phil Twyford

    – Housing, Building and Construction, Transport, Defence

    Megan Woods

    – Climate Change, Communications, Science and Innovation

    Chris Hipkins

    – Education

    Andrew Little

    – Justice, Treaty Negotiations, Trade

    Carmel Sepuloni

    – Social Development

    David Clark

    – Health

    David Parker

    – Attorney General, Economic Development, Environment

    I’d expect the strong performers, if they form Government, to be Twyford, Woods, Little, Clark and Parker.

    The biggest risk is Davis.
    Extensive further material on this Kiwiblog thread …

  5. I’ve long thought that we won’t get any real action on housing affordability until we shift from thinking about housing as wealth creator/investment asset class to a basic necessity. Imagine what action would have occurred if the public reacted to higher house prices the same way they do to petrol prices. Remember when gas when up 50c a litre? There was rioting in the streets (okay mostly dissent on talkback radio, but it was fierce).

    Sadly, too many people are hooked into higher house prices. Two thirds of the population are homeowners. State govts get stamp duty and land tax, councils get rates, the federal govt gets GST and warm fuzzies from the “wealth effect” – all from higher prices. The big losers are the following generations – but they are too politically weak to rail against the injustice – and society as a whole as it just makes living more expensive – but we are blinded but the illusory windfalls.

    In short, we need to think of housing as an expense, not an asset.

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      In shorter, Australian houseowners need to put the needs of others before their own…

      Never going to happen.
      I hope I’m wrong.
      May NyewZuland will lead the way.

    • Well summarised Peter… Imagine if each generation had to pay more for food water and clothing than the older generation who were well fed, hydrated and clothed already… The outrage.. But with shelter another basic human need it’s seen as a given that prices should rise.. you know prices double every 7 years etc.. πŸ˜€

  6. What will Winston do? … Kiwiblog

    … Pavletich comment on Kiwiblog thread …


    Winston Peters and David Seymour working together … really ?

    Watch: β€˜The day I stop to think about the ACT Party …I’ll check myself into a lunatic asylum’ – Winston delivers two fingers to David Seymour … TVNZ

    … Winston with Guyon Espiner on housing … all over the reservation.

    Has he actually read anything since he was at Law School ? …

  7. Quite why Bill English / National persist with this is beyond my comprehension … digging a deeper defeat …

    Watch: English grilled by reporters over claims Labour will raise income tax and accused of ‘fake news’ by Ardern

    One suspects Bill English on Saturday night will be playing …

    Kris Kristofferson, Help me make it through the night

    … hoping that its not a repeat of the 2002 election …

    New Zealand general election, 2002 – Wikipedia,_2002

  8. Election 2017 Live: National’s poll puts it at 43 to Labour’s 39 … Newsroom

    With three days to go, the election debate focused on infrastructure stresses in the midst of a jet fuel crisis, although officials said this afternoon the crisis was easing. Jacinda Ardern campaigned on homelessness and low wages in South Auckland and warned Bill English against using “fake news” in tonight’s debate. Bill English spoke to lawyers in Auckland about the polls, with National’s own poll putting it four points ahead of Labour. Tim Murphy, Mark Jennings and Bernard Hickey report from the campaign trail. … read more via hyperlink above …


    As it happened: Jacinda reveals Greens might not be her first choice, Bill will work with ‘challenging’ Winston | 1 NEWS NOW | TVNZ

    … extract …

    … 8.01pm Closing statement – Jacinda: “I fundamentally believe that New Zealanders are united and agree on some of the big tough issues. I believe New Zealanders want affordable housing, they want to see us clean up our rivers, they want decent and accessible health care. We’ve set out how we’ll do it and it all adds up. We will have action, there’ll be no more auto pilot.”

    … 8.00pm: Closing statement – Bill: “National has a plan to take NZ forward, to build on our economic strength… and use the opportunity to deal with the long term challenges. Raising our environmental standards dealing with poverty, changing the lives of the most vulnerable. If I am elected prime minster I will work with everyone who shares that vision. … VIEW & READ more via hyperlink above …

  10. If labour wins the NZ election and follows through with their promises I might consider moving to NZ. Australia is a good place to get away from.

  11. Patrick Gower: National playing ‘post-truth politics’ | Newshub

    OPINION: The National Party is deliberately spreading misinformation that Labour is raising income tax – when it’s not.

    Bill English is sticking by the claim, when asked on Wednesday if he could say hand on heart that Labour will raise income taxes he replied: “From 1 April next year.”