TL;DR: You couldn’t make this stuff up.
A mayor determined to cut council debt by selling shares in a monopoly business because of the apparent financial stress of the public debt, has decided to borrow $11 million to buy one residential section in Manurewa for $12 million, just to stop houses being built on it. It will now sit in the Auckland Council land bank undeveloped for a decade.
The section is next to Manurewa’s Botanic Gardens and may eventually be publicly accessible as part of the park, but the acquisition by a land-banking Mayor (Wayne Brown) shows the double standard for borrowing and investing in Aotearoa: it’s ok to borrow for land to bank, but not to invest in a business or public infrastructure or house (without land).
It’s as if the investing practices of our land-owning gerontocracy based on leveraged and tax-free gains on residential land value inflation has become hardwired in as a conventional financial strategy for government. It's not just Wayne Brown. The Labour Government was comfortable with Kāinga Ora borrowing $2 billion in 2021 to buy land.
Paying subscribers can see more detail below the paywall fold and more of my analysis in the podcast above.