Tag Archives: Affordability

Bill English PM : Super changes

john-key-54-and-bill-english-54-in-aug-2015-david-white-fairfax-via-stuff-co-nz-1

“New Zealanders are healthier and living longer so adjusting the long-term settings of NZ Super while there is time for people to adapt is the right thing to do.” –Bill English PM

### NZ Herald Mon, 6 Mar 2017 3:19 PM
PM Bill English announces Super changes [+ Videos]
The eligibility age for superannuation will rise to 67 years old by 2040, Prime Minister Bill English revealed this afternoon. In a major political development, English promised to begin progressively lifting the threshold from 65 to 67 years old in 2037. That means the changes will not affect anyone born on or before 30 June, 1972. The Government will not act on the promise until after the general election in September.

English said the major change would be legislated for next year. The Government will also limit superannuation eligibility to people who have lived in New Zealand for 20 years, rather than 10 years. That is lower than the commissioner’s recommendation of 25 years. English said the new residency requirement would apply to people who arrived in the country after the law was passed – likely to be next year if the National-led Government remains in power.

Other settings such as linking NZ Super to the average wage and universal Super without means-testing would remain unchanged. The age at which people could access Kiwisaver would remain at 65.

In justifying the change, English noted that even someone who retired at age 67 was likely to receive NZ Super for longer than someone who retired at age 64 today. “That is because average life expectancy is increasing by about 1.3 years each decade.”

The changes to the age of eligibility and residency requirements would save the Government at estimated 0.6 per cent of GDP or $4 billion once fully phased in.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce said New Zealanders’ life expectancy had risen by 12 years over the past 60 years. “When the age was set at 65 in 2001, a retiree could expect to spend about a fifth of their life receiving NZ Super. That has since increased to about a quarter. Following this change, those eligible for NZ Super at 67 in 2040 can still expect to receive it for a quarter of their life on average.”

Experts have said the Government will have to do more than raise the age of eligibility to keep the Super scheme affordable. The cost of the scheme is expected to triple in the next 20 years from $11 billion to $36b as more people reach the over-65 age-group and live for longer.

….English said raising the retirement age in 2037 would more fairly spread the costs and benefits of NZ Super between generations, ensure it remained affordable, and would give people time to adjust. It would also bring New Zealand into line with other countries like Australia, the UK, Denmark, Germany and the United States. English said he did not think his proposals would damage National’s chance of winning a fourth term. “I think they will enhance it,” he said.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: stuff.co.nz – John Key (54) and Bill English (54) in August 2015. Photo by David White/Fairfax, tweaked by whatifdunedin

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WikiHouseNZ @ Christchurch #eqnz

WikiHouseNZ - BackYarder (via stuff.co.nz)Possible interior of a WikiHouseNZ project called the BackYarder
Photo: Tigran Haruyunyan, WikiHouse (via Stuff)

The new prototype, called the Backyarder, is the “nucleus of a much larger house”. –Danny Squires, WikiHouseNZ

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 08:20, April 6 2015
Business
WikiHouse project ‘a social enterprise’
A communal house-building network that started in the dark days after the Christchurch earthquake will be a reality this year. WikiHouse is an open hardware project, where experts design houses, or parts of them, and share their creations online for any house builder who wants to use them.
WikiHouseNZ co-founders and directors Danny Squires and Martin Luff will build a 25-30 square metre prototype house by the end of the year, they said at a launch event. The house will be fully enclosed, watertight, insulated, plumbed and wired for electricity and the internet. It would cost no more than a conventional house of the same size, Luff said.
The pair would seek consent for the building. It would initially be manufactured and assembled in WikiHouseNZ’s lab in Addington, but could be disassembled in hours and moved anywhere. WikiHouses are built from plywood shaped by a computer-controlled cutting machine. Components were fastened with plywood pegs rather than nails or screws.
The houses are more than “hobbyist prefab systems”, said Alastair Parvin, the London-based architect credited with launching the WikiHouse idea in 2011. The New Zealanders came aboard almost immediately and were in effect co-founders, Parvin told the launch via Skype. The New Zealand arm was a social enterprise. It generated profits but used them for a social good.
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WikiHouse/NZ developed by Space Craft Systems
Space Craft Systems is a social enterprise forged in the crucible of post earthquake Christchurch to develop the WikiHouse system in NZ and revolutionise the way we create our built environments. http://spacecraft.co.nz/wikihouse-news/

Related Post and Comments:
23.4.14 WikiHouse.cc | open source construction set

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Housing affordability in this country is “just hopeless” –Hugh Pavletich

Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown announcing special housing Sept 2014 [radionz.co.nz]

September 2014. Another 17 Special Housing Areas were revealed in Auckland, under the plan to accelerate new home building – only two of them outside the suburbs. Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown announcing the special housing. Link Photo: Radio New Zealand

### NZ Herald Online 9:15 AM Monday Jan 19, 2015
Property: Mad truths on home prices in Auckland
Auckland housing affordability has worsened and it remains one of the 10 least affordable big cities in the world. Auckland’s surging housing market is now only slightly cheaper than London but pricier than Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Perth, Brisbane and Boston.

█ The latest Demographia survey (1.74 MB), released today, compares prices with incomes in 378 cities, including 86 with more than one million people.

Auckland is one of the most unaffordable places due to its high house prices and low incomes. […] Now, the median house price has climbed to $613,000 and income to $75,100, giving a multiple of 8.2 and maintaining Auckland’s top 10 spot for unaffordable major cities.
Property Council chief Connal Townsend blamed Auckland Council’s planning regulations. “We’ve got houses more expensive than LA. How is this possible? A dump in Pt Chevalier demands a million dollars, which gets you a mansion in Beverly Hills. We’ve reached the point of madness.”
Survey authors Hugh Pavletich of Christchurch and Wendell Cox of the United States criticised the Government and Auckland Council for failing to ease affordability by vastly increasing housing supply via the Housing Accord and its 80 Special Housing Areas, but said the situation was bad in other areas too.

█ Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith said housing affordability problems went back 25 years but the Government was planning additional reforms this year, particularly around the Resource Management Act.

Analysis: So … what can be done?
Auckland is extraordinarily expensive relative to incomes and rents but the solutions need to be broader than what Demographia argues on land supply, writes Shamubeel Eaqub, principal economist at the NZIER.
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Auckland Housing Accord (2014)
Under the terms of the accord approved between the Government and the Auckland Council, a total of 39,000 new homes/sections are targeted for approval over the next three years. Not all of those 39,000 have to be found specifically through the accord, as the figure includes all developments that might be approved in Auckland during that period. Link

Special housing areas - expected supply. Auckland 2014-2026 [interest.co.nz]Graphic via interest.co.nz [click to enlarge]

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 09:18, January 19 2015
Auckland in world top ten for housing unaffordability: report
By Laura Walters
The co-author of a survey which found Auckland house prices exceeded those in Los Angeles says housing affordability in this country is “just hopeless”. The 11th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey classified Auckland as the ninth least affordable major city in the world. Auckland is the 14th least affordable city out of all 378 cities surveyed, and has been rated as “severely unaffordable” in 11 surveys done – less affordable than Los Angeles and the Gold Coast. “It’s just not on, is it? The social injustice of the whole thing’s just dreadful. It’s screwing up people’s lives big time,” said Christchurch-based Hugh Pavletich. When the cost of housing exceeded three times people’s incomes it showed there was a “massive problem” with infrastructure financing and land supply, he said.

NZ HOUSING AFFORDABILITY DROPS
While Auckland’s house prices were extremely high, Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty, Christchurch and Wellington were also seen in the survey as “severely unaffordable”. Palmerston North-Manawatu and Hamilton-Waikato were “seriously unaffordable”. There were no moderately affordable or affordable markets in New Zealand, according to the survey. “Housing affordability has declined materially in New Zealand’s three largest markets over the last decade.”

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said the high prices of New Zealand houses had a lot to do with the tax regime being favourable to home ownership and property investment compared with other forms of saving or investment.
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Tephra Boulevard and Stonefields housing development, Mt Wellington, Auckland Feb 2012

Todd Property Group with Fletcher Residential – Stonefields is a 110 hectare development at Mt Wellington, located, only 8km from the Auckland Central Business District and next to the established eastern suburbs of Ellerslie, Meadowbank and St Johns. Photo: panoramio.com

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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ORC: City bus services, submissions

Buses, Dunedin [radionz.co.nz]

“Heart-wrenching” tales of parents walking with young children from Corstorphine to Dunedin Hospital or walking up steep hills carrying bags of groceries while buses zoomed past…

### ODT Online Fri, 12 Sep 2014
Call for cheaper bus fares
By Rebecca Fox
Calls for public transport to be more affordable and accessible for the “walking poor” dominated yesterday’s public transport hearing. “Heart-wrenching” tales of parents walking with young children from Corstorphine to Dunedin Hospital or walking up steep hills carrying bags of groceries while buses zoomed past were made to the panel of regional councillors Sam Neill (chairman) and Michael Deaker, along with Dunedin city councillor Aaron Hawkins, as they sat through the second day of public submissions on the draft regional public transport plan. About 330 people and organisations made submissions to the draft plan that contains sweeping changes, expected to lead to faster and more direct routes away from smaller residential streets.
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Related Posts and Comments:
28.5.14 Otago Regional Council: Buses —Journey Planner (now online)
10.4.14 Otago Regional Council + Dunedin buses
27.12.13 Otago Heritage Bus shines !!! —ORC holiday bus suspension…
24.11.11 Dunedin buses: ORC or DCC
29.11.10 Phillip Cole on Dunedin buses

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: radionz.co.nz – Dunedin buses, George Street

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WikiHouse.cc | open source construction set

WikiHouse is an Open Source construction system that makes it possible for anyone to design, download, adapt, share and ‘print’ CNC-milled* high-performance, low-cost houses that they can assemble by hand with minimal formal skill or training, anywhere.

WikiHouse is a non-profit project, developing hardware and software which is open and shared in the commons, owned by everyone.

WikiHouse diagram 1

The purpose of the WikiHouse construction set is that the end structure is ready to be made weathertight using cladding, insulation, damp-proof membranes and windows. WikiHouse is still an experiment in its early stages.

*CNC means Computer Numerical Control. A computer converts the design produced by Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers. The numbers can be considered to be the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of the cutter. In this way the computer controls the cutting and shaping of the material.

Visit the Open library and read the Design guide.

All the information shared on WikiHouse.cc is offered as an open invitation to the public, collaborators and co-developers who are interested in putting Open Source solutions to these problems in the public domain. If you are working on one of these, or would like to know (or do) more, please contact WikiHouse.

TED 23 May 2013

Alastair Parvin: Architecture for the people by the people
Architect Alastair Parvin presents a simple but provocative idea: what if, instead of architects creating buildings for those who can afford to commission them, regular citizens could design and build their own houses? The concept is at the heart of Wikihouse.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector

WikiHouse 2 (1)WikiHouse 1 (1)WikiHouse construction set (1)

Another profile:
WikiHouse prototype (1)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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State Housing matters

State housing [APN]All state house tenants, regardless of age or disability, will find themselves subject to the government’s new policy of reviewing state house tenancies.

### NZ Herald Online 11:45 AM Wednesday Mar 19, 2014
Elderly, disabled included in state house review
By Simon Collins
More than one in five of the first 780 state house tenants facing possible eviction under a new Government policy will be elderly or disabled. A paper taken to Cabinet last month by Housing Minister Nick Smith and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett reveals that the two ministers have decided not to exempt the elderly and disabled from the new policy of reviewing all state house tenancies, ending the previous policy that a state house was “a home for life”.
The full paper, placed on the Social Development Ministry website last week included a detailed breakdown showing that 20 per cent of the first batch of tenants to be reviewed would be 65 or over and 27 others would be “permanently and severely disabled”. The paper was later removed and an edited version was subsequently posted with the breakdown of affected tenants deleted.
The controversial policy is intended to “shift expectations away from social housing for life to social housing for the duration of housing need”. It takes effect after the Social Development Ministry takes over allocating social housing from Housing NZ on April 14, and the first affected tenants will be notified before the end of next month.
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Cabinet paper on state house tenancies

### ODT Online Tue, 18 Mar 2014
Fewer Kiwis own their own homes
The number of homeowners in New Zealand continues to fall, with less than half of all Kiwis owning their own property, new Census figures show. In 2013, 49.8 per cent of people aged 15 years and over owned or partly owned the home they lived in, compared with 53.2 per cent in 2006, according to census results released by Statistics New Zealand today. 2013 Census Quickstats about housing, which contains detailed information about New Zealand’s housing stock, also reveals trends in the number, type, and size of the dwellings we are living in. APNZ
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2013 Census QuickStats about national highlights

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: APN – State Housing

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Dunedin, ‘small government’ —Calvert

Hilary Calvert with Rodney Hide, ACT [stuff.co.nz] 1Previous exploits, Hilary Calvert with ACT’s Rodney Hide [Photo: Stuff]

### ODT Online Wed, 17 Jul 2013
City where the real world meets the hypothetical
By Hilary Calvert
OPINION We heard through the Otago Daily Times that Dunedin must prepare for life in a changing world through an energy plan. Apparently, according to the Dunedin City Council, we need a plan to boost our ability to adapt to future change and to take advantage of economic opportunities in a changing energy context. We also must save costs and enhance quality of life resulting from energy-efficient improvements and reduce our climate change and environmental effects.
Currently, our debt is unsustainable, and it is likely, with the good job Paul Orders has been doing, we have reduced spending as much as we usefully can without making some hard decisions. We have high debt, rates running at much more than the CPI increase, which funds many households, and little understanding, it would appear, of the economic reality within which we are operating.

The council does not have capital sitting around looking for inspirational or aspirational projects to back.

Throughout New Zealand, a new group has been formed called Affordablecity. The basic idea of Affordablecity is that each candidate, or each local party with these ideas, agrees to support five core principles:

1. Lower rates.
2. Balanced budgets.
3. Making housing affordable.
4. Spending only on the basics.
5. Restoring private property rights.

They are also focused on core activities of councils, as described in section 11A of the Local Government Act; namely infrastructure, public transport, sewage, avoidance or mitigation of natural hazards, and libraries, museums reserves etc.
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● Hilary Calvert is a Dunedin resident with an interest in small government.

[Does she mean ‘local government’? But hey! there’s nothing small about Dunedin, right? We’re “punching above our weight”, say the Old Boys.]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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