Media statement Auckland homeowners profiting from booming house prices are really benefitting at the expense of the rest of New Zealand, according to the New Economics Party. Spokesperson Deirdre Kent said “If all the private landowners and private banks had reimbursed the public for their windfall gains from rising Auckland land values over the last few years, the Auckland rail loop would have been paid for. “Or it could have paid for the railway be electrified from Waikanae to Levin or to fix the Gisborne to Napier railway.” She said rising house prices are always due to rising land values. Land values rise because of the action of the community in providing hospitals, transport, roads, schools, sewage, water, businesses, shops and parks. So landowners should pay the public back regularly for this privilege. “While we allow the private capture of rising land values, we can’t help but get a widening gap between those who own good real estate and the rest of us. The Auckland housing bubble where obscene profits are to be made from selling a house is affecting every New Zealander who pays tax to line the pockets of lucky private landowners and banks. Moreover the relentless rise in the supply of bank credit makes all of our money less valuable. A regular land fee should be paid to hold land while taxes on labour and sales should go. For further comment phone Deirdre Kent 06 364 7779 or 021 728 852
Rising Auckland House prices are really a tax issue Media Statement July 30, 2013 Rather than ban the buying of homes by people who pay tax in other countries it would be more sensible to impose on them a full ground rent on all urban and suburban properties, according to the New Economics Party. Spokesperson Deirdre Kent said that while it was heartening to see the Labour Party trying to control house prices, they should be focussing on the fact that homeowners who pay tax overseas are not paying enough tax in our country. “They are coming to our country and expecting huge untaxable capital gains on their house when they only pay rates here”. “It is New Zealanders who have helped increase the value of the land they have bought so the rise in value should be captured by the public. The best way to do this is not wait till they sell, but charge them a full ground rent every year. For urban sites it might be five percent or over of unimproved land value, depending on the zoning restrictions. (Ideally it should be by auction as this allows for the overvaluing of land at the moment.) This revenue should then be shared by national and local government and ground rent should replace rates.” She said it was the taxpayers of this country who paid for the schools, roads, parks, railways, street lights, community halls, businesses and organisations that gave the site its value. “It is the same when people paying tax in New Zealand go to Australia and buy a house or when John Key buys a house in Hawaii and expects to receive the capital gain without being a tax resident there. Imposing a charge on holding of land is an important way for countries to retain their integrity.” For further comment phone Deirdre Kent 06 364 7779 or 021 728 852
So we have just seen the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election win for Labour with Mana coming in second. The successful candidate Meka Whaitiri has repeatedly said "Our people are hurting. The issues are poor housing, jobs and poverty" Labour has said people are moving from National to Labour because of the rising cost of living. If the money system widens the gap between the rich and the poor then a party which ignores this or even understand this will do little to reduce wealth disparity. Explaining this: If money is created by banks as interest bearing debt, but the banks don't also create the interest, then there will never be enough money in the system for everyone to pay back debt. So the losers have to go further into debt. This widens the gap. If in addition the tax system causes wealth to concentrate with property owners and stops money going into investment in the productive sector then a party which ignores this will surely make little progress in alleviating poverty or bringing jobs for the rangatahi of Ikaroa Rawhiti electorate. Explaining this: If we tax labour, sales and enterprise with income taxes, GST and company tax, then the purchasing power of everyone declines. The cost of living rises relative to income. At the same time investment money goes into housing, because there is no tax on land and everyone is betting on rising land prices. A notable example was of an Auckland house which was recently sold by New Zealand Transport Agency for $220,000 above Rateable Value. The housing bubble in Auckland is a serious threat as the Reserve Bank constantly reminds us. Because our party has looked to the root of the issues, and have proposed a well designed domestic-only currency linked to a completely new tax and welfare system, (see http://neweconomics.net.nz/index.php/2013/06/how-to-build-a-life-supporting-economic-system/), only our party can offer serious solutions to the growing wealth disparity and bring real jobs to the Ikaroa Rawhiti electorate.
Change Tax Policy and Control Banks for Affordable Housing, says New Economics Party January 31, 2013 Change Tax Policy and Control Banks for Affordable Housing, says New Economics Party To get affordable housing we need a tax policy which favours investment in productive enterprises not housing, says the New Economics Party. “If we don’t control capital coming into New Zealand and then don’t stop it going into housing through our tax policy, it's no wonder we have a housing bubble in Auckland”, said Deirdre Kent, spokesperson for the New Economics Party. “And if we let the banks lend 100% on housing, we are asking for trouble.” Freeing up land and changing the Resource Management Act is not working, she said. “Banks are pushing money onto buyers and we effectively have a bubble which will eventually collapse. Wealthy Chinese are buying here to get their money out of China where they are clamping down on corruption. A lot goes into real estate. No progress will be made towards affordable housing until land tenure is separated from buildings, according to the New Economics Party. Spokesperson Deirdre Kent said “Until we (move from income tax to imposing a full ground rent) impose a full ground rent - which can replace income tax as a source of revenue for Government - we won’t get any progress. “ She said that when homeowners just have to pay the price of the building, the price of the home is halved. “In Auckland where land is on average 60% of the property price, the price would drop even further if a full ground rent was imposed.” “When property prices rise, it is almost solely because the price of land rises. Generally, the price of the house doesn’t rise. When the public captures the windfall from rising land prices instead of the banks and the private owners house prices will be finally contained,” she said. She said some Auckland leasehold land fetched a ground rent of 5% at auction and this money should really be public money because it is the public who has paid for the services to that land in roads, schools, sewers and businesses. “Others have recently been proposing solutions to affordable housing but they are just tinkering around the edges.” For further comment phone Deirdre Kent 06 364 7779 or 021 728 852.
George Monbiot argues for land tax It came as a bolt from the blue. Monbiot wrote an article for the Guardian in which he explains why land tax must be implemented. http://www.monbiot.com/2013/01/21/a-telling-silence/. But for those UK Georgists who have been trying to persuade Monbiot for years it is due reward, since high profile advocacy moves debate along. Monbiot says the loudest silence is about property taxes, that the Sultan of Brunei pays only £32 a month more for his pleasure dome in Kensington Palace Gardens than some of the poorest people in the same borough. He also quotes from Winston Churchill “Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains – and all the while the landlord sits still. Every one of those improvements is effected by the labor and cost of other people and the taxpayers. To not one of those improvements does the land monopolist, as a land monopolist, contribute, and yet by every one of them the value of his land is enhanced. He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare, he contributes nothing to the process from which his own enrichment is derived. … the unearned increment on the land is reaped by the land monopolist in exact proportion, not to the service, but to the disservice done.”
We are in a depression. Yes the first stages of one and of course politicians will not name it as that until we are well into it. Good thinking emerges from depressions. In the 1870s depression Henry George figured out that since we can't all occupy the same land, those who have monopoly use of the best land should compensate the rest of us for the privilege. The way to do that was not for government to own the title to the land, but for land occupiers to pay a tax or rental to government instead of income tax. He wrote Land and Poverty. In the 1880s depression Silvio Gesell, a German businessman working in Argentina, noticed that those with goods were at a disadvantage compared with those with money. Since money gained in value from being withheld, it stopped money circulating. He therefore advocated that money should decay like goods and be as disagreeable as goods. He wrote The Natural Economic Order and sparked a movement which lasted. In the 1930s John Maynard Keynes worked out that governments should spend money into existence to stimulate an economy, including on infrastructure. During the last two decades Bernard Lietaer has observed that situation where governments issue one monopoly currency can't help but lead to sovereign debt crises, monetary crises and inflation crises. Like the late Richard Douthwaite, he advocates an ecology of currencies for resilience. Search on youtube for his presentations. In the proposal presented in the following slide show, with inspiration from Adrian Wrigley of UK, I have put together all these ideas. http://www.slideshare.net/deirdrekent/starve-the-banks-and-pay-the-government-13876092. I recommend you take the time to look at it. This idea continues to develop as I run it past our supporters and others. I expect it will develop and clarify further yet. Please respond! And the actual paper is now at http://neweconomics.net.nz/index.php/2012/08/proposal-for-a-dual-currency-for-new-zealand-one-for-domestic-use-only/
Today there was a great programme on Q+A on TVOne. Murray Sherwin from the Productivity Commission spells out the facts. Median house price for the country is $372,000 and for Auckland it is $500,000. The big factor is the price of land in Auckland is 60% of the value of the section. Don Brash, a commentator quoted a 500 sq metre Pukekohe section as costing $230,000. Bernard Hickey says a young couple might have to borrow 7-8 times their income, but if they have a pregnancy, get sick or if interest rates rise from 5% to 8%, they are in big trouble. Moreoever they often have high student debts as well. A generation of New Zealanders won't be able to own their own homes and this is a cause of social strife. We are 10,000 to 15,000 homes short and the problems are mostly in Auckland and Christchurch. Bernard Hickey said between 2004 and 2007 when house prices rose so steeply, many had leveraged up their equity in homes, and the total increase in wealth of homeowners was in the region of $300b to $400 billion. All of which was private gain for homeowners and banks. My comment is that this was public money and should have been publicly gathered. The programme highlighted the fact that most of the homes which have been built have been top end houses from spec builders. We need better economies of scale and only Fletchers can do this. There are too few factory built modules. Dr Bryce Edwards, a political scientist commentator, said no political party has campaigned on affordable housing. Helen Kelly from the CTU said families are struggling and living in poor quality housing. There are 4000 on the Housing NZ waiting list. Wages are too low and the price of renting is rising. Whereas once 75% of households were owned their home this has now dropped to 65%. Hickey said that land taxes and capital gains tax must be discussed but the former is a political hot potato. We need land prices to come down. Brash said Capital Gains Tax was not working in Australia and they had the same problem. Annette King, spokesperson for Labour has apparently said that the Accommodation Supplement needs to be revisited. Sherwin said that all up it is a $3-4 billion subsidy to landlords. Building costs and consenting costs are too high. There is a monopoly supply of building materials, which add 20% to the building costs. The answer is not in extending city boundaries. That raises the burden on supply of infrastructure and make travel distances too far. Our challenge as a party is to find a politically acceptable method of imposing a land tax, while reducing the price of building and using the current housing stock efficiently. We must work towards a future where good, low cost houses are provided without increasing costs to local authority in infrastructure. Even Don Brash said the price of land was the core issue. Nobody on the programme raised the issue of currency reform. It is time to connect the creation of money with land, but do it at government level.