Come to NZ – the nice stupid people will finance your home

Cathy Odgers

Meet Sharissa Naidoo.

Sharissa Naidoo, 25, and her partner have been renting together for four years and say they are desperate to buy their first home.

"The concern is if we're wanting to start a family and move into a house that's more than one bedroom, we can't afford that," Naidoo says.

Naidoo recently graduated with a masters degree in sociology.

She is now sick of renting and expects the net taxpayer (you) to underwrite a home for her to live in with her "partner" (hate that word) of four years.

All of this, not even one year after her graduation ceremony in May 2012.

Can someone tell me why the net taxpayer already subsidises someone like this to go to university to do an absolutely uneconomic degree in the first place?

Least of all let them run up a student loan to take a job as a youth activist intern? Seriously, do you NEED a masters in sociology to do that job?

It does get worse with a simple Google.

A political activist like this from the left thinks they deserve to have all the things they saw others have when they grew up. They were sold a silly dream that to go to university and do a degree was the only thing they needed to do to have everything they ever wanted in life. Graduate and everything else lands on a plate for you.

Knowledge is power, education is the key ... all that garbage.

You can only imagine how this paper read:

Poor dear Sharissa. Her debt was not even accruing at a market rate at that point.

One year after graduation even those in professions have next to no money, and most people do not have parents generous enough to finance them into a home or business even if they can afford it. I didn't, and I didn't have any savings at all at age 25.

PwC junior pay was and, probably still is, appalling. Many people do not have a partner to live with to split costs and definitely most people live in a place far less opulent than the video footage of her current rental.

It gets worse.

If Sharissa is finding New Zealand a little too tough, perhaps she should pop back to South Africa after receiving her education at one of the best universities in the world and see what affordable housing looks like. A bit mean? I think not.


That is right, Sharissa seems to have only recently arrived in New Zealand. Six years ago as at 2012. That would be a couple of years tops in New Zealand's state education system and then the benefit of New Zealand's university system.

So after seven years and the grand sum of zero of those as a net taxpayer, she expects assistance to buy a house?

What country in the world does that for people who have only lived there for seven years and not one of those as a net taxpayer?

This should get the talkback fired up.

I have been in Hong Kong longer than Sharissa has been in New Zealand. Hong Kong people haven't worked, survived the British and the 1997 handover and paid their taxes to give immigrants like myself who choose to come here a cheap underwritten mortgage to buy a home. 

I pay more taxes than at least a third of the working population have in their lives by definition of the tax free threshold. 

Hong Kong housing is less affordable and a third the size than that of New Zealand. I do not expect the Hong Kong government to prioritise immigrants into "affordable housing", and neither do any immigrants who come here.

The more Sharissa Naidoo is thrown in front of the camera by the mainstream media the faster these silly buy-a-vote policies will go down the dunny with the middle-swing voters.

Cathy Odgers is a Hong Kong lawyer. She blogs as Cactus Kate.

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73 Comments & Questions

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Thanks for that right wing rant. Very constructive.

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Yep, she is nothing if not predictable in her mindset.

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I admire the logic, common sense and compelling reason of your fact-based argument. It confirms my expectations of the left.

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So are you going to buy Sharissa a house?

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Cathy - top class analysis!

Perhaps another Labour / Green / union plant as they try and paint a "woe is me" picture of a poor hard done by person just wanting to be treated fairly by the ruthless, unfair National government...

Reminds me of the other famous union / Labour plant - Mr. Cecil Walker down on the MUNZ picket line at PoAL - who also cried crocodile tears during the union manufactured crisis they were trying to paint.

Except... an inconvenient truth and fact was the complete opposite of what MUNZ / Labour were trying to paint... resulting in even more loss of credibility and the entire country just sees the unions / Labour / Greens as lying opportunitist, eagerly willing to sacrifice integrity and credibility for made-up b*llshit and manufactured lies and deceit...

...and hopefully that's why NZ won't want them ever as a government.

Please keep up the great work Cactus!

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You have hit the nail on the head with this Cathy, an excellent post and very thought-provoking.

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Great article. I am 25 and find it frustrating that so many of my friends complain that they can't buy a home. To put it in perspective, they all want a new house in the top neighbourhood and they want it for next to nothing. They have no patience and feel too proud to purchase a lower quartile home that needs to have a bit of work put in. I find the proposals made by Labour and the Greens troubling, but I'm afraid that they will appeal to young people who want everything in life the day after they finish school.

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Stand by for a super-whinge from her post-grad supervisor and the source of her entitlement.
http://artsfaculty.auckland.ac.nz/staff/?UPI=lhum005

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Great article. Just out of uni and wants a house. Fine, start saving like the rest of us did (bought my first one at 32 after working for many years).

Shows you how deluded and dangerous the Greens would be in government!

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"Education at one of the best universities in the world"? I thought Sharissa went to university in New Zealand?

Come on Cactus Kate, the prickles are all very well and in fine form, but New Zealand universities are way down the list, no matter how it is assessed. Parochialism or hyperbole? I might be able to forgive the latter.

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University of Auckland is independently ranked in the top 200 worldwide in all three of the ranking systems:
http://www.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/key-statistics

Ahead of the majority of Australian universities, too!

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Might want to check that - Not ahead of Monash (Melbourne), University of Sydney, Australian National Uni or University of NSW.

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Actually they said "Ahead of the majority of Australian universities.." which is correct. There are 40 Unis in Aussie...so if my maths serves me correctly the statement is correct.

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Thank you, Anonymous, you have completely reinforced my point.

First, let me just note and acknowledge that there are more than three ranking systems in the world of academic institution ranking.,Aall are different and focus on different criteria, so best can be quite subjective. Needless to say, every university that gets ranked, lobbies hard and quotes the rankings that best suit. I stand by my earlier comments, however.
Second, to speak of "one of the best universities in the world" implies rather clearly a far better ranking than 161st, 83rd, or sub 151st for the University of Auckland (in Anonymous' example). Six Australian universities are between 28 and 99 in the Times Higher Education ranking as a contrast to Auckland's 161st. I personally think the Universtity of Auckland is a fine university but emphatically not one of the best universities in the world. As I said, if Cactus Kate is employing hyperbole in her column, I can forgive it. (Oh sorry, for the under-educated, hyperbole is a rhetorical device exaggerating a point in order to strongly reinforce that point through evoking a strong response. The alert ones among you will have detected that I am using this stratagem. Parochialism, of course, is used to describe an attitude which evidences a [wilfully] narrow scope or understanding of only a small section of bigger matters at issue.)
Third, over 10 or so years of hiring New Zealand graduates in our major cities, I have been very surprised that many of them could have deserved the grades they have been awarded when they demonstrated such a low level of literacy, numeracy and ability in concrete and abstract reasoning irrespective of their major.
Fourth, while I note that lots of people disliked my comments, someone has to point out that the emperor has no clothes on - New Zealand is a fine country which hits well above its class for its size and remote location. But let's not pretend that we are what we are not!

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JonBoy is right, you nailed it! Great article. Now let's see the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the "The world owes me everything" brigade... It won't be an argument based on logic, sense or reality, but there will be plenty of rhetoric about rights and none about responsibility. Wa Wa

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Well put. My partner and I worked hard, gained degrees, got reasonable jobs and performed well. We saved money, didn't get Sky or eat out every week, didn't upgrade the car and held off having kids. We finally saved enough, found the house we wanted in a modest neighbourhood, bank approved the mortgage and we moved in. I feel a much more satisfying sense of achievement having done this.
What some people forget is there are plenty of other places in New Zealand which are much more affordable than Auckland. Wages aren't as good, but cost of living and housing is much better so you might actually be better off.

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Wow, you want applause for that? Why you whining now?

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Bang on the button Cathy.

Now check on the adult student loan rort.

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Subsidising housing is a pretty ridiculous policy. Unless it's combined with increased construction (ideally, by easing supply constraints), it'll just push prices up. But appetite for this kind of bad policy is fuelled by the high prices caused by those supply constraints. Fixing land use planning so prices can start coming down should help fix things.

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I am a student studying finance at Massey in my third year now and have been working alongside uni all this time. I am ready to buy my first house at the moment, just need to find the right one. I do not receive student allowance just loan (why pay it off when its interest-free). It is possible to buy your first home just work hard for a few years. I think a lot of students do not understand this and borrow large amounts of money that holds them back in the future.

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Got a rich daddy?

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Sounds bad enough. How about list MPs in NZ no more than six years in the country, yet creaming almost $200K a year, beat that. We better be careful on this one, as in a matter of five years' residency we could have the country being run by import list MPS whose passport ink is not quite dry.

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That is an object lesson in the vagaries of modern life as we now know it, posing several questions. Is Ms Naidoo demonstrating (a) a degree of stupidity gained from her tertiary education obtained here in Auckland?, or (b) a level of arrogance cultivated elsewhere? and (c) how did she manage to obtain a masters?

Is that the New Zealand way?

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Agree with this. There's no such thing as a fundamental human right to own property in the location of your choice, and no justification for any policy that supports idea. The state does have a role to play in ensuring that all housing meets minimum standards - but this is quite a different thing.

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The government idea of affordable housing is I suspect based on the fallacy that housing is affordable. Hardly.

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If housing was really unaffordable the buyers wouldn't be out looking and the market would soon fall. I can't see any evidence of that.

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Back before the rise of Facebook and Twitter I was a Google Web Master, when Myspace and Google were the main social media outlets. Back then, at least once a week, we would get a desperate, pleading request from a teenager seeking help to remove disparaging stuff they had posted on social media, that they later regretted, that came back to haunt them.

Nothing has changed. Probably worse.

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Aunty, come home! Sharissa's a callin'.

Mind you, going by HC's U.N. dismal report card, it's a wonder she hasn't already been summarily deported.

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Now she would make the perfect Kiwi export... to anywhere but here... and she can take her cohort Cullen with her too...

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We agree wholeheartedly on this one, and good on you for raising the profile. Hopefully govt bribes are not quite as effective as they were in 2005..

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Well, why is generation X expected to finance the retirement of the baby boomers?

They received free education, state houses and one of the best periods of economic growth in history. Surely they should be paying for their own retirement and paying to finance there own health care.

No no, this generation gets squeezed - student debt which will take years to get rid of, houses outpriced by no capital gains and the wealth of baby boomers being used against them when they buy more investment properties (many of the baby boomers I know own at least 2-3 investment properties). And to make matters worse, the 20-30 year olds are expected to pay taxes to pay for retirement and healthcare to extend the baby boomers.

Generation X has got the raw deal - no wonder you're in Hong Kong, no wonder the smart ones have gone to Aussie.

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Anonymous, you must actually be quite thick to believe what you have written. On one hand, you claim to know baby boomers that have 2-3 investment properties, and on the other you wail that Gen-X have to pay for them. Doesn't quite equate, does it?
Baby boomers were promised by succesive governments that their retirement would be funded from their taxes (that's why top tax rates were at 66% at one point) and this gave the government the opportunity to raise tax rates
You also need to re-read economic history. 1999-2007 was the best economic conditions of a generation, and what happened there? Labour gave it all away to Gen-Xers - interest-free student loans, for instance.
Only the dumb Gen-Xers go to Australia. The smart ones know how to calculate cost v benefit.
I have a suggestion. Get yourself a job, work your butt off, buy a starter house in Otara, can the Sky, the Xbox, the iPhone, eat mince and Esplins pies with three veg, save your money and buy an investment property.

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Baby boomers also paid income tax of upto 66%.

They also didn't have access to easy credit like we currently do.

Nor did they do coffee shops or iPhones.

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Given negative gearing and the associated tax benefits I wonder how many people have already had a large chunk of their investment properties funded by tax dollars.

Pretty much everyone in my family have followed that (Thank you baby boomer parent advice) method. Rent while owning an investment property, get a huge tax rebate and chuck it on the mortgage. (It’s a bit harder now that depreciation has been removed)

Taxpayer funded home. wallah.
Now to put it into a trust......

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Funded by tax dollars? How do you make that out Anon? The business of owning a rental property that makes a loss is like any business that makes a loss. Depending on how the business is structured, the tax loss either carrys forward to an income producing year and is offset, or is offset against taxes already paid. And never forget, that if the owner is considered a trader, any capital profit is taxed. Long and short, you don't have to pay tax if you are making a loss (sort of common sense, but the logic evades quite a few).

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Gee, I remember the baby boomer days - massive taxes, needed a prescription to buy margarine, old rusty cars and nothing decent to buy which was easy as we earned beggar all. Had to fly to Fiji after years of saving to get a transistor radio duty free. Yup we had it all, lucky us.

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I was born in 1952. - a "baby boomer. "Our parents paid taxes to fund our education and we paid taxes too. State houses, yes for the minority of the population who really needed them, as families were larger then and mum had to stay at home to look after half a dozen children, that was the norm. "One of the best periods of economic growth in history"... well you too can have that if you want to suffer a couple of horrific wars and a depression, to enjoy the recovery period. It was a time of economic growth because we all got off our backsides and worked !!! Yes you should be helping with your parents' and grandparents' retirement, they have all done their bit for your future.

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How did Ms Naidoo get into NZ?
Who sponsored her and what skills allowed her to be allowed in?
I'm a bit confused having watched a qualified mechanical engineer mate from the UK finally get sent on his way because he missed a few points, yet was fully employed and paying tax for his entire stay here. Better off back in Blighty, anyway.

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in 1990 my parents bought their first house in NZ. It was a good, three bedroom place in Wainuiomata and cost $56K, this was when they were both working average mid-income jobs, so taking home a little under $40K a year between them.

In 2002 they sold that house for $126K. Ten years later that same house is valued at around $300K.

Back when they bought the house, the price of the average suburban home was about 1.5 to 2.5 times the annual average household income. These days it's about 5 to 6 times the average household income. I'm earning quite a bit above the average income myself, but will never be a home owner because the price of an average (usually poor condition and quite small) house that's anywhere I'd actually want to live is about 10 to 15 times what I earn in a year.

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So your point is NZ is a low wage economy, well we all know that.
If the rich fullahs and immigrants pour into the place with wallets stuffed full of real cash from working the WA mines you cant complain if the market price of houses is too rich for you.

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So this issue is that you don't want to live where you can afford to buy, you want to live now, in an area where people have bought by building up equity over years. Then that is your problem, and no one else's. No political party should be pandering to the likes of you.

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Sociology sounds an interesting subject to study. I might do it when I retire. As a career choice perhaps not all that wise. Rule number one in life skills is make sure what you are offering employers is something that is useful to them which they can on sell. Youth intern sounds like
some non productive job dreamed up by some Government agency or a local council.

As for housing, if Auckland is too expensive try shifting to somewhere cheaper like Gisborne or Hawke's Bay. Just don't expect to earn Auckland wages.

And stop whining about the outcome of making poor choices.

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Well put !

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Excellent work, keep it up Cathy. Spot on.

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Something I haven't seen from the Greens/Labour is what they class as a 'low-income' household. What's the definition? Is it the lowest few % including beneficiaries? Is it otherwise statistically middle-income families/couples who don't own a home? For me this leads to people highlighted in the case above thinking 'I don't own a home therefore I must be low-income - this scheme must be for me', instead of thinking how they can achieve home ownership on their own (whether this should actually be a financial/life goal is another matter).

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Thank God for common sense from Cactus Kate, and a nice sensible reaction from Eric Crampton

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While it's clever to pick out an extreme example to support your case against government intervention in the housing market you fail to address the long-term impact of housing affordability.
It may be morally valid to lambaste Sharissa for her lack of realistic expectations but the consequences of the housing market becoming the exclusive preserve of the wealthy are broader than that.

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Sounds like Sharissa should've taken a few economics papers.

Has anyone got source on her actual thesis? I'm wondering why that PwC pay comment was brought up.

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Re-reading it, I presumed that was where Cathy Odgers first worked.

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I’m a migrant myself, arrived here 12 years ago searching for a country that I could call home. All what knew about NZ were that it was a far away and an English-speaking country, and that suited my situation as I’d lost my parents at the age of 19 in a tragic car accident and since then couldn’t bear living in my birthplace.
Came here with absolutely nothing and built my life with absolutely no help. Last year my tax bill was over $80,000, not to mention right now I can afford any house that I want to. And yes, I put it down to the fact that from day one I’ve relied solely on myself and on hard work to get to where I want to be.
It drives me crazy when some people pick and choose what work suits them when there is a work shortage or decide to have kids and expect others to support their lifestyle. I gave up so many things in order to get to where I’m at, so why should I or others pay for your desires and needs so you can live comfortably. I absolutely have no problem supporting needy people, like elderly, disabled, etc – it’s just a civilized thing to do to look after the disadvantaged.

My message to those people who expect free lunch is, get off your lazy asses and do what you need to do to support yourself and support NZ, and don’t have kids unless you know you are financially able to support them, period.

Love NZ and I’m proud to call it my country for ever, even though I’m stopped at the airport every time I travel just because of my look – but it’s all good. He,he,he.

Happy 2013 to all of you out there, and let’s make NZ one of the coolest countries in the world. NZ Immigration, can you please bring in cool people with cool attitude – mix it up a bit as variety is always good.
Peace/Love.

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Gareth, when the Rena ran aground, the Green Party went into "disaster" overdrive. The sinking was hailed as an "environmental disaster". It turns out that around 1000-2000 birds dies as a result of the Rena grounding. How do you reconcile this with your stance on windfarms (supported by your party), that around the world, slaughter tens of thousands of birds (estimated 440,000), some of which are protected species (including at least eight golden eagles by the Pine Tree Wind project in California)?
Surely, if you were not being hypocritical, this should be considered a disaster and announced as such by your party?

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Theres a quota for law graduates in NZ, why not for arts degrees. The ministry funds arts graduates (and 'anybody' gets accepted). How will the poor arts graduates with no jobs ever pay off their student loans and buy a house? Of course, Sharissa should get a subsidised house.

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Wind farms... Pretty versatile comments section.
Perhaps the Greens want wind farms because some of their members have got shares in them?
What I want to know is how do the greens keep warm in winter?
They wouldn't have a coal fire? A gas fire? Would they cut down trees? Surely not? Or do they use that dreadful stuff from the white plugs.... electricity? I'll keep wondering.

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It would be interesting to hear NBR's other columnist Dr Brian Edwards' take on this. He was totally besotted by Helen Clark who spawned the progeny which gave us the likes of Narissa Naidoo.

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I mean, Sharissa Naidoo.

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Who does the author think is really benefiting from money from "housing bonds" is it the same bankers & their people.
Its not a liberal move at all.
Its a "more debt creation" move to trick all those people that want to change this stupid banking system so that every person has food and shelter in the world.
Obviously the author wants no equality for anyone and also feels like only her and her elitist friends have earned rights to prosper, others who work hard in service shouldn't expect what she has. Who was it that decided Cactus Kate is deserving and yet someone who was born disabled or poor cannot deserve to have shelter?
Thank goodness she is not running/supporting any equality campaigns as that would be just too ironic and hypocritical .

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Good to see that the masters degree has worked out for her - taken from the Amnesty International site

"In the three weeks since I started as the new Youth Intern at Amnesty, I have been thrown head long into Freedom Challenge....preparing kits, packaging resources and sorting large amounts of very colourful Amnesty badges!"

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Sadly, it's politics above sound policy. Helen Clark did the numbers, dished out billions to students and got another term. Labour/Greens are getting the numbers, and John Key sees it. He ditched the competent Phil Heatley to show he's doing 'something', next see new housing minister come up with a plan that will be economically as mad, designed solely to sway a big chunk of voters; all those wanting 'cheap' houses - and who doesn't when it's plain self interest? Pity about the long term economic impact for everyone, just like student loans saddling all taxpayers with massive and mounting debts.

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Well written and so true

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It's not about votes, its about creating problems and when the people see these problems and are offended and vocal offering ludicrous ideas like this one which is just a way for bankers to get more money in debt from the tax payers and all the economic problems remain.

Einstein said you can't expect those that created the problems to fix them, but yet here we are letting them make them worse.

"The combination of massive bank bailouts, virtually free and unlimited credit for banks and financial institutions, and austerity for the working class has served to prop up the financial system and further enrich the ruling elite by inflating financial asset values, but has done nothing to revive the real economy” Barry Grey.
Come on guys - most of you know this is a farce and that the whole system needs to change in order that all prosper.

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She should take her interest in human rights and "rights of women" back to South Africa.

I bet housing is cheaper there too.

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While I respect (and agree with) the overall message, I don't like the way this article attacks a young woman who is obviously still finding her feet in the real world and had all of one sentence quoted in the paper... clearly not enough to judge a person on!

And remarks along the "go back to your country" train of thought are not helpful in making New Zealand more inclusive or open minded.

Next time focus on the issue, not the person. Some rants are better off saved for friends and family, not national media.

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Over not so many years its amazing to witness the massive shift into the ," We are owed attitude". MMP and election bribes have accelerated this outlook.

We have 600,000 on superannuation, 400,000 on working for families, 200,000 on interest free student loans, 350,000 on welfare and 1.7 million claiming ACC. Without paid parental leave and God knows what else.

Is our adult population so useless, devoid of independence and resilience, a complete lack of personal responsibility, drive and initiative.I dont think so.

We have created this situation and we go nowhere until these changes are reversed.

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It's not the MP's and in powerful positions with their " we are owed attitude "that is the biggest problem. As we cannot think that the innate right to food and shelter is comparable to an mp/beaurosplat thinking they deserve an obscene salary and bonuses for maintaining social harm and oppression( or the "status quo") .
Its the fact that these 20% people ( controlled by the 1% )incorrectly think that the other 80% of human beings wanting basic needs (and the idea of a respectful equality) is undesirable as that would take away their illusion of superiority, which is what they use to feel good about & justify the chaotic state and disequilibrium.
We need to think about positive changes and ending the reign of the NWO asap. It is possible.

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I guess I better work harder and pay more tax. Sharissa wants a house (in Herne Bay no doubt).

Hmm - Will someone help me out paying off the house I am already trying to pay for?

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your article deserves to be on the front page of the herald, and on prime time media...thank you so much for your very pertinent article.

these people have a nerve: expect it all, and now, and others to pay for it.

im sure they would expect all new furniture, too, upon moving in.

i remember my secondary economics teacher[yes she had a 'real' degree], who said -somewhat wistfully- that they sat on beer cases for furniture when they moved into their first home, and used beer cases to make a dining table...that would be far too beneath this generation of bleeding heart whingers!!!

whats worse, the govt uses this propaganga to increase socialism and the higher taxes imposed subsequently.

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This anti-social article is pure propaganda. Don't you know that most foreign global multinationals, big corps, elitists and banks operating in NZ don't pay tax in NZ.
Your higher taxes have nothing to do with socialism. Who told you that lie? Don't continue to be so gullible. Educate yourself on taxes and the interest we pay on money that the corporations and Crown borrowed privately (money we could have created ourselves at no cost). Now that is something to complain about, not social equality or wanting every human being to have shelter and food. Since when has the correct social behaviour become offensive and negative in NZ?

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"Money we could have created ourselves at no cost." LOL...

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Why is it funny to you that your govt prefers to let private banks create money and to borrow money with interest from these bankers. Those who don't know how money is created and that our nation has a right to create money should not be commenting on a business blog, (did you just get lost? Kiwiblog is that way->)
Iceland told the banking cartel to go take a jump, which is what our PM would do if we had one (who wasn't an investment banker).
http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-has-iceland-experienced-a-strong-econom...

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It's not that hard to buy a house even on a low income.
I earn 45k per year, am single and 25 and still managed to buy a section and am building at the moment. It cost me just shy of 250k. All you have to do is lower your expectations. You're not going to live in a large four-bedroom house in a flash new subdivision for your first home.
Mine is a humble 128m2 three-bedroom house with attached garage in a small town outside Hamilton.
I think houses are still affordable. People's expectations are not.

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Not all Kiwis in NZ earn $45k per year and are single and live in the whop whops outside Hamilton.
People expecting shelter for their families is not unreasonable. The building bonds and the lowering wages of the bottom end of building trade will make the problems worse and they know this because they are responsible for the situation completely (no matter how much they pretend they are unaccountable).

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Housing is very unaffordable in NZ. That's been proven.

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I love your 'No Holds Barred' direct down to the tee frank analysis, Cathy lol...and carry on.

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