Dawn chorus: Collins wants rezoning
National leader amplifies Nicola Willis' call for emergency re-zoning of land for housing, but doesn't address root cause of ratepayers refusing to pay for infrastructure to cope with mass migration
TLDR: National Leader Judith Collins gave her ‘State of the Nation’ address to begin her political year yesterday and used it to amplify Nicola Willis’ pre-Christmas call for emergency legislation or regulation to rezone land for housing. Here’s my analysis from Jan 17 on that call and the prospects for bipartisanship.
Essentially, National and Labour have yet to spell out how the central Government should help fund the Councils’ (at least half) share of the infrastructure needed for all the extra (mostly) greenfields houses this would entail. That’s because Councils and their ratepayers in growth cities (Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Queenstown and Christchurch) are refusing to pay for the infrastructure needed to cope with the mass migration unleashed by both parties over the last 20 years.
Councils and the property owners who vote in local elections didn’t sign up for the extra 1m people and don’t believe ‘growth pays for growth’. They see infrastructure investing just as front-loaded costs that just force up debt and rates. They see the benefits of this growth going straight to the Beehive in the form of higher GST and income taxes. Without either big central Government capital grants or a share of GST or income tax, Councils will quietly block such new housing supply. They have been doing it for decades via the RMA, consenting costs and development contributions. They will find other ways to stop it.
Simply removing the RMA or the Beehive wagging its big finger at Councils won’t work. It didn’t for the Key/English Government (Special Housing Areas) and it didn’t in Labour’s first term (eg Kiwibuild). The Government must front with capital or a regular new revenue stream to enable new Council debt without rates increases. Collins did not address this.
Elsewhere, New Zealand finally signed an upgraded Free Trade Agreement with China that deals with services, some IP, investing and competition policy. There weren’t new big wins for our commodity exporters. New Zealand also formally started its third round of talks with the European Union about a trade deal, but the Europeans remain staunchly opposed to letting in more of our dairy and meat exports.
Also, Jacinda Ardern cautioned hopeful travellers that our borders are likely to remain mostly closed to all but Australia and the Pacific for the rest of the year. (NZ Herald) She also announced New Zealand was likely to approve its first vaccine next week.
Overseas overnight, the IMF slightly upgraded its global growth outlook because it hopes vaccine rollouts will boost growth, the Peoples Bank of China warned about asset bubbles and tightened monetary conditions, Italy’s PM resigned (it’s rarer than it used to be) and the world’s largest fund manager, Blackrock (US$7t), warned investors it would only invest in firms targeting net zero emissions by 2030.
In our political economy
In the global political economy
Signs o’ the times news
Have a great day
Kia Kite Ano
PS Thanks to Josh for today’s picture.