New Zealand fact of the day

by on December 11, 2017 at 2:37 am in Current Affairs, Data Source, Economics, Law | Permalink

…a recent report by Yale University concluded the country is suffering the highest rate of homelessness in the developed world with 40,000 people, nearly 1 per cent of the population, living on the streets or in emergency housing or substandard shelters.

…“The big change in homelessness is the number of working families struggling to find homes and pay rent,” says Ms Rutledge, who adds the situation is the worst she has seen in her 13 years working in homeless services in Auckland. Nationwide, some 5,844 people were on the social housing waiting list in September, a 42 per cent increase on the same month two years ago.

This FT article indicates the country will respond by banning foreign purchases of Kiwi homes — I guess the country is too crowded to allow for an elastic supply response.

1 Matthew W December 11, 2017 at 2:53 am

Zoning, overregulation etc has afflicted NZ too.

2 Ben December 11, 2017 at 4:09 am

Because that’s what people actually want in their communities.

If you talk to any urban planner, they’ll eviscerate the lax planning rules in the American South because it has led to sprawling, ugly and car-dependent cities.

Planning rules force higher density building, they don’t allow people to build things like bars right next to your home, they create consistency in streets and cities, they cluster the same type of businesses together for increased competition, they give local people a say in the shape of their own communities and reduce fire hazards.

Economists may blast overregulation but it isn’t regulation that’s changed significantly in the past 20 or so years with the incredible rise of house prices, it’s QE and the ending of social housing in many countries.

3 Matthew W December 11, 2017 at 4:54 am

Actually regulation has very much changed over the last 20 years in Auckland. More than 20 years ago is when significant downzoning occured, but greenfield development was catered for. Then 20 years ago, the authority in charge of permitting greenfield development (the regional council) curtailed it, on the basis that the authorities in charge of zoning the existing urban area (the city councils) would upzone. Well the curtailing of greenfield expansion happened but the upzoning didn’t. Hence the train wreck of Auckland’s housing supply.

4 NPW December 11, 2017 at 6:13 am

That urban planners are opposed to a region where their services are in less demand isn’t much of an argument.
There isn’t a city in the US that isn’t car dependent and this includes NYC. Take away the roads and all the the US would starve.
Planning rules do not always give the local people a say in their community. I doubt you can produce evidence that this even crosses 50%.
Social housing has not ended in NZ.

5 Ben December 11, 2017 at 8:40 am

I don’t know the ins and outs of Kiwi housing policy but discrediting urban planners’ opinions about cities is like discrediting climate scientists’ opinions about climate change because they get paid to do it.

Just ask yourself this: how many people prefer New Orleans or Dallas to somewhere more meticulously designed like NY, SF or London? I’d say very few.

I know America is car dependent, but that doesn’t mean they should have a place in cities. Cars in cities are enormously inefficient, take up huge swathes of space in already dense areas and are bad for the environment and human health. They are a product of poorly designed cities.

6 MOFO. December 11, 2017 at 9:21 am

“Just ask yourself this: how many people prefer New Orleans or Dallas to somewhere more meticulously designed like NY, SF or London? I’d say very few”

You sure about that? Google says that the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is the fastest growing with quite a few people living there:

“For the second year in a row, the Houston metropolitan area added the most residents, according to estimates released Thursday. Dallas-Fort Worth gained 144,704 people from July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015, bringing its population to more than 7.1 million.”

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/news/2016/03/24/boom-dallas-fort-worth-population-growth-beaten-by-only-one-city

You will notice from the link at that list that Texas cities are growing faster than NY or SF.

Urban planners are (like so many self styled experts) fond of telling us that they and only they know how people should live, but revealed preferences says otherwise.

My theory, some people prefer planned cities, some do not.

7 Tanturn December 11, 2017 at 9:42 am

+1 to MOFO

8 NPW December 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

I doubt you will find the idea that cars are a result of poorly designed cities defensible.

9 We live in interesting times December 11, 2017 at 10:05 am

NYC is meticulously designed if you like or are used walking next to or through garbage. Chicago took the opportunity after the fire to redesign itself.

10 Slocum December 11, 2017 at 10:31 am

“…meticulously designed like NY, SF or London?”

What!? Those are older, organic growth cities. You’ve heard of Jane Jacobs, yes? She became famous by defending the existing organic nature of the city against the ‘meticulous designs’ of Robert Moses. When city planning was in its 20th century heyday, planners pushed urban renewal (e.g. ‘slum clearance’), high-rise public housing estates (that became hell-holes and have since been dynamited nearly everywhere) and urban expressways, like this potential debacle that Jacobs helped stop in Manhattan:

https://untappedcities.com/2013/09/11/nyc-that-never-was-robert-moses-lower-manhattan-expressway-lomex/

Of course, tastes have changed in urban planning over the last half century. Then, planners loved highways and automobiles whereas now they loathe them. But what hasn’t changed is the arrogance.

11 FG December 11, 2017 at 10:47 am

@MOFO: Is “people move to place X rather than place Y” a good proxy for “people prefer place X to place Y”? I’d argue no, since in this case it’s way cheaper to live in Houston than NY or SF. It’s certainly true that more people find it *easier* to live in Houston, but it may be that most people would prefer to live in NY/SF and pay Houston prices.

12 Harun December 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Are you joking?

Have you ever visited SF?

It has a grid pattern of streets that is INSANE to use in such a hillly city.

Modern urban planning wouldn’t do that.

It sure seems like you just choose three “cool” cities that have large finance sectors or other good jobs and assigned them as “planned.”

13 Noumenon72 December 16, 2017 at 7:45 pm

@Harun What kind of street pattern should a hilly city use?

14 NPW December 11, 2017 at 9:28 am

Urban planners are experts the way wedding planners are experts. They are technicians with experience with obtaining a specific result and neither is a scientist. If you want what they are selling, you should hire them.

Discrediting an appeal to authority is entirely fair.

Until a the culture war was declared won, the most common way to discredit scientific opposition to global warming/climate change was accusation of big oil/coal money. Claiming tainted science due to funding is entirely acceptable when the science is in opposition to political will.

However, in this case, there is no scientists or science involved.

It is routinely conflated that rejecting an appeal to authority is the same as rejecting experts.

Given that people continuously choose to not live in NY, SF, or London, I’d say quite a few. I’m also unconvinced that those cities are pertinent examples. Their success is in being commercial centers, not in urban planning.

15 NPW December 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

I should have said, “Claiming tainted science due to funding is entirely common when the science is in opposition to political will.” I didn’t intend to say that it is acceptable method, but rather that it is the accepted method. Two entirely different things.

16 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 11, 2017 at 10:59 am

Buy some self-awareness for a dollar.

The science on warming persevered and prevailed, and yes this includes against documented oil company misinformation.

If you could never accept that reality, and need some rationalized “culture war that was won” now – you are just a sore, and still wrong, loser.

17 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 11, 2017 at 11:02 am

And stepping up one level, to the meta problem:

We still have foolish people using social media to reinforce their own errors, and to find like minded fools, who will agree to share a false vision.

18 Harun December 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Urban planners are one set of people.

Consumers are another set of people.

Now, if we look at the South vs. the North…which cities have population growth?

Why, its the South.

Looks like urban planners are like designers who make products people want and then sniff about how no one has taste.

19 Harun December 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm

“make products people don’t want.”

My city for an edit button!

20 cthulhu December 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Urban planners are the current incarnation of the idealistic architects coming out of, say, Yale in the 1950s, convinced of the need to reshape the way in which the New Sovie^H^H^H^H^H Urban Man/Woman should live – in high-rise honest Worker Housing warrens. Unfortunately for said idealists, the proles aren’t interested in what their betters want for them, and instead want a plot of land and a gauche McMansion on it. Maybe it’s time the idealists went and got themselves a new people.

21 NewNewZealand December 11, 2017 at 3:16 am

The usual presumption in media accounts of homelessness, like this Al Jazeera article about New Zealand from last year (https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/08/zealand-homeless-living-cars-garages-160811062112936.html), is that the wicked government is “not doing enough” to help. But I think in reality this is a nearly impossible problem to solve. A large section of New Zealand’s population is completely unskilled, and is likely not up to the challenge of becoming skilled in a way that would be meaningful to the 21st century job market. Plus, unskilled people make many poor choices: “This is where we live – me and my six kids” — why six kids? Does the government have to make that right? What degree of compassion is reasonable? I expect to see more such news accounts going forward, as the world’s least-skilled will find it increasingly difficult to find gainful employment. Also from New Zealand last year: “Just one-fifth of the study population accounted for 81% of criminal convictions and 77% of fatherless childrearing. This fifth of the group also consumed three-quarters of drug prescriptions, two-thirds of welfare benefits and more than half of the hospital nights and cigarettes smoked” (https://today.duke.edu/2016/12/adults-most-costly-problems-could-be-spotted-preschool) — is “the government” going to fix that? How? A permanent basic income for 20 – 30% of the population?

22 chuck martel December 11, 2017 at 6:45 am

Like all organisms, from the lowliest worm to the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., reproduction is the imperative of existence, even for the “unskilled”. The idea that the unskilled, as determined by their would-be betters, should be denied the capacity to reproduce is beyond reprehensible.

23 A Truth Seeker December 11, 2017 at 6:56 am

So that is what America has become: a decadent Roman Empire-like system where the proletariat (“the one who produces offspring”) is unable to support its children and needing to be placated with bread and circus!

24 The Anti-Gnostic December 11, 2017 at 7:33 am

Millions of people limit family size based on the decision to optimize household resources. I’d even call it the normative decision-making in modern times. If you can’t afford six children without taking from strangers, you shouldn’t have six children.

Reproduction is a powerful instinct (I wouldn’t call it an imperative) but humans no longer have to rely on their environment to limit their offspring for them. Is there an a priori right to children? If a person abuses or neglects their children, we remove them from the dysfunctional household. There’s a moral calculation as well.

Resources are finite. It’s easy to foresee a UBI conditioned on limits to family size. The alternative is you house and feed your own children or they starve outdoors.

25 A Truth Seeker December 11, 2017 at 8:57 am

Such is life in Trump’s America…

26 dearieme December 11, 2017 at 12:41 pm

“should be denied the capacity to reproduce is beyond reprehensible”: an entirely reasonable view if the buggers intend to pay for their own gets.

27 Engineer December 11, 2017 at 8:29 am

Interesting to see yet another set of 80/20 data points.

28 Judah Benjamin Hur December 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Why six kids? Because each kid is a priceless treasure. I’m blessed to have three, but wish I had six (my wife has other ideas, though 🙂 ) A better question is why are so many “successful” people having 0 or 1 children. That’s a far more serious problem in the West and East Asia than the odd family that has six kids.

29 Jim Rose December 11, 2017 at 3:22 am

Of the 41,000 homeless, about 1200 are sleeping rough. 28000 are homeless because they are living temporarily in overcrowded houses.

30 william mcilhagga December 11, 2017 at 3:46 am

You really ought to have known that a housing market doesn’t have an “elastic supply response” at least in the short term. They need policies to increase house building, but these will take some time to kick in, because for one thing you’d need more builders; these people don’t instantly appear out of nowhere because of the wishes of the great god Demand. They won’t even fly across from Australia.

The other big issue here is Auckland. About 1/3 of the country live and work in a city build on the narrowest part of the North Island. You can see new housing estates being built up and down the Auckland-Hamilton expressway, but the resulting commute is appalling. The solution to Auckland is more high-density accommodation (European style) but that would involve buying up very expensive land *in* Auckland and convincing kiwis to do without their gardens.

In other words, far more complex than your trivial point-scoring about supply

31 Massimo December 11, 2017 at 4:21 am

If I have to choose between sleeping in the car or sleeping in a apartment at the 12th floor without a garden, I think I would choose the second option.

This article does not make sense. There is no way the market would not have found a solution to such a simple problem, you do not not need “policies” for housing. If house prices increase, the supply increases, in a couple of years at most. The increase in the value of the naked land is only a small fraction of the increase of the price of the housing. It’s not a problem of specialized skills, most workers in construction are no-skilled or very little skilled. Regarding the short term, the market usually finds short-term solutions. For example, is Airbnb legal in New Zealand? Is it possible that there are not empty-nest retired couples with large houses in Auckland that can rent out a room? Sure, not the lady with 6 kids, but she does not belong in Auckland: if the only family income is a zero-skilled husband that have to pay for 8 people, you cannot pretend to live in, say, Manhattan. The husband should find a job somewhere in the country-side. Is not New Zealand a huge exporter of milk and sheep products? Does not look exactly exactly Like Singapore.

What the State should do is getting out of the way ASAP: zoning, fiscal treatment of rents, limits to kicking out morose tenants and so forth.

Please, do not tell me I do not know anything about New Zealand housing market. It’s true, but the rules of economics as the same there as everywhere in the world, just as gravity.

32 chuck martel December 11, 2017 at 6:49 am

most workers in construction are no-skilled or very little skilled.

You have no idea what you’re talking about. Care to weld up some stainless steel pipe for me? How about laying out the foundation of a 200’x300′ building? Maybe install a couple of hundred feet of duct work? You’re an idiot.

33 NPW December 11, 2017 at 9:46 am

When I worked construction, unskilled labor was the smallest subset.

34 Massimo December 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm

NPW, there are a lot of variables, including the type of construction and the place. In Honduras, for example, residential housing is typically single family homes with reinforced still for columns and cement blocks as external walls. Ready-mix is available only for large, specialized constructions, like dams, or in the two main cities. So in residential construction you end up with an inordinate amount of people mixing concrete in small cement mixers, moving and posing blocks, preparing the wood cases for cement pouring, even building the cages of steel for column and horizontal slabs. Add to that the time for plastering, painting, roofing, tiles posing, etc. On top, electrical and hydraulic systems are pretty basic in constructions like those. I never worked with wood structures like in the US or I assume New Zealand, but I do not see much difference, unless there is something I am missing here.

35 NPW December 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm

I’ve worked on residential and commercial projects, the largest being subway tunnels. I’ve only worked in the US, and I’m assuming that NZ would have comparable expectations.

Small cement mixers are infrequently used as cement trucks are typically better options. Concrete work seldom is more than two days for a home. Prep work is done by a few people of which only one or two will be helpers. On the day of pouring, a larger crew will show up, who typically have their own crew boss. Plumbing and electrical needs to meet code and is not done be unskilled labor. Carpenters typically need to be able to read drawings and also meet code. Sprinkler installation is reviewed by the fire marshal and isn’t done by unskilled labor.

Those doing plastering, painting, roofing, and tiles are relatively unskilled, but even here people tend to specialize. Carpet, hardwood, cabinets and the like are all likely done by someone who focuses on it fulltime.

I suggest that the reason that your experience in Honduras is different is availability of labor and expectations of clients. Your projects use unskilled labor because that is what is available and the clients accept that quality of work.

On large commercial projects, there is even less room for unskilled labor. Welding, pipefitting, concrete (will be cored and breaks counted), fire suppression systems, EPA….the list goes on.

Again, I think that NZ resembles the US more than Honduras. However, I haven’t built anything there and may be wrong.

36 NPW December 11, 2017 at 1:31 pm

I actually ran an onsite cement mixing operation for about 8 months for a tunnel. Only three guys fell in the category as unskilled out of the 30ish who were working on it, one per shift.

37 Massimo December 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm

https://www.facebook.com/332723136817207/photos/pcb.1447870341969142/1447870278635815/?type=3&theater

Skilled Hondureñan construction workers at work, August 2017, 🙂

38 Massimo December 11, 2017 at 12:37 pm

One of my group business units is developing two residential projects (up to three story buildings, mostly single family homes) in Roatan (an island of Honduras in Caraibbeans) for a total value of about 80M$. Another business unit is building a small hydroelectric project of 4 MW: I think I know what I am talking about. And why you have to insult people anyway?

39 NPW December 11, 2017 at 1:34 pm

You are building a dam? Sounds interesting, is this in Honduras also?

40 Massimo December 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Yes, in the department of Comayagua, close to the capital. The dam is small, because the reservoir has only the objective to collect the water for the pipes, not to act as a real reservoir. Only the State can do big projects with massive reservoirs, because it can use eminent domain. Private developers projects seldom have a reservoir containing more than one day of water with turbines at full capacity.

41 chuck martel December 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm

It’s interesting that orthographic conceptualists, those that sit at a keyboard or desk and are attached to a telephone, accomplish zero unless their ideas are put into action by blue collar object manipulators. Geniuses like Einstein, Oppenheimer, Hawking,etc. can ruminate on things all they want but those ruminations are meaningless, invisible brain waves until some guy with dirt under his fingernails moves something from point A to point B. When the thinker fouls up, all that’s necessary to rectify the situation is a word change, an altered dimension or an incredible amount of work that has to be redone by the unskilled meatball that followed the thinker’s instructions. Of course, the orthographic conceptualist is the “skilled” worker, even though he hasn’t the dexterity to drive a nail or dig a ditch.

42 Massimo December 12, 2017 at 4:18 am

Yes, Chuck, in many case the enterpreneurs cannot “manipulate real things”, it is my case regarding building real estate. But it is because of us that you can type your drivel in this site, because we are those that make innovation reality.

We are those that have the insight and take the risk to put money, reputation, time and, actually, our life itself behind our insights. And for anyone like me, that had his share of luck and could build a fortune of a few hundreds of million dollars, a lot ended up with their life ruined and are called hopeless dreamers. You need balls to become an enterpreneur.

43 chuck martel December 12, 2017 at 7:01 am

So disagreeing with your description of construction workers as unskilled is “drivel”. No doubt the next time rain starts dripping through your ceiling you’ll scamper up on the roof and fix it yourself, since it requires no skill. When the AC in your home fails it will be a simple matter for you to change out the compressor and have it percolating away in short order. No particular skill required.

The idea of “skilled workers” is one conceived by a self-described pseudo-elite. It would be interesting to see if these skilled people could perform simple tasks that have been completed for many centuries by people with zero formal education. Maybe you could demonstrate how little skill it takes to make a simple stone arrowhead or the arrow or bow used to accurately drive it into the body of an animal. Or show us how quickly you could assemble a birch bark canoe.

44 chuck martel December 12, 2017 at 7:04 am

” we are those that make innovation reality. ”

The inventors of the airplane were lowly bicycle mechanics.

45 Marie Antoinette December 11, 2017 at 3:50 am

Well, if the people do not have homes, let them stay in hotels. That’s what Unlucky Louie and I did while our little place in Versailles was being renovated. It was tough, but you get used to it. Louie had a jolly good time with the hotel maids.

46 Judah Benjamin Hur December 11, 2017 at 2:35 pm

The kind of humor you only get on Marginal Revolution 😀 Wonderful.

47 rayward December 11, 2017 at 6:44 am

New Zealand is a beautiful place, and is far from the escalating tension around the world. So it’s not surprising that tech billionaires are buying estates there, including Cowen’s friend Peter Thiel. Indeed, New Zealand accommodated Mr. Thiel by making him a citizen. New Zealand has become a suburb of Silicon Valley; indeed, the tech billionaires have exported the housing problems in Silicon Valley to New Zealand. And they reflect a rising tide of inequality: New Zealand has the ignominious distinction of becoming first in inequality. Two Kiwi billionaires have a combined net worth greater than the bottom 30% of the adult population in New Zealand. I remember a B movie from many years ago the plot of which was the approaching end of the world. And where did the millionaires (there weren’t billionaires then) go for refuge? New Zealand. If the canary is the proverbial first sign of the approaching end, New Zealand is the swan song.

48 The Anti-Gnostic December 11, 2017 at 7:42 am

People who can afford it tend to buy lower population density for themselves, like Mark Zuckerberg buying his neighbors’ houses and a 1,000 acre plantation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

49 The Anti-Gnostic December 11, 2017 at 8:32 am

Tyler, regarding your last sentence, if the citizens own the country like you own your house or Google owns its campus, then they, like you and like Google, can decide who and how many people can reside there based on their own preferences.

If there is no way that citizens can “own” a country, then countries are uneconomic constructs. We can replace them with private fees.

50 Victoria Wilson December 11, 2017 at 9:24 am

In my view, you’ve hit on the philosophy behind a new definition of public goods: that citizens decide what it is they want to make public and what it is they wish to be held privately. https://aethelontis.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/our-problem-is-a-problem-of-design/
Understanding this building block is essential to further study, problem solving and analysis.

51 Sandia December 11, 2017 at 8:51 am

If people who don’t work or are mentally ill are too poor to afford certain items (housing, clothes, food) is that really a supply problem?

52 GW December 11, 2017 at 8:52 am

Populated areas on small islands, with delicate water lenses balancing salt and fresh waters, inevitably have problems with water and sewage and New Zealand is no exception. Even with massive infrastructure investments, at the current population density, Aucklanders are being asked to save 10% water simply so that the overburdened system can deal with silt. Any significant population increase will make this worse. This is a perfect example of a need for planning and contrasts strongly to spread-out inland continental settlements in the American South where individual houses can (or, at least, _could_, as falling water tables alter conditions) have their own wells and septic tanks.

53 ohwilleke December 12, 2017 at 2:24 am

NZ “water shortages” are simply a product of being profligate with their abundance. It rains about one day in three in the dry season and two in three in the wet season, often for days on end. And, Auckland is the only really decent sized city in the country.

54 Ali Choudhury December 11, 2017 at 8:54 am

I am a bit surprised by that. Per acquaintances who have lived there, it is a very pretty country but there is not much to do there besides look at nature. My gardener’s relatives from there came for a long visit to the UK. They were taken aback by how cheap goods were in the stores here and also the variety available, If I were a Silicon Valley tycoon, Hawaii would be my choice for an end of the world bolthole.

55 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 11, 2017 at 10:50 am

Chile. Self-sufficient and unlikely to be anyone’s target.

56 Harun December 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm

NZ needs more people. Bigger market = more supply of goods.

57 The Wobbly Guy December 11, 2017 at 9:09 pm

I agree. They should aim for a population target of 1 billion people for a large domestic market and huge supply of goods and services, plus all the various ethnic cuisines on offer.

58 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 11, 2017 at 9:14 am

If Tyler’s claim is that the unrestricted invisible hand of the free market will provide homes for everyone, including those with the least money .. maybe he should develop that a bit more.

I expect that would only work with zoning freed to the shanty town level. Cardboard houses rather than sleeping rough.

59 Borjigid December 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

With zero regulation, everybody would definitely have some sort of shelter. As you say, the result would be shanty towns.

With current regulation, there is the current level of homelessness.

Perhaps there is some space between those two outcomes, where there is less homelessness even if not everybody lives in a detached single family on a quarter acre lot in full compliance with the rules and regulations of the local HOA?

60 Potato December 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Homelessness is a word that encompasses wildly different groups of people.

A) mentally ill and drug addicted

B) families/people couch surfing while they find a place/job

C) runaway youth, the future population of group A. Panhandle for drug money, etc.

Utah has done great work in assisting group A. “Housing first” policies seem to do well in areas that strictly enforce norms via social pressure. They fail horrendously in areas that do not.

Group B could be assisted with an expanded EITC that pays out weekly instead of once a year. Make work pay, yadda yadda. Also deregulate the shit out of housing markets. The “prefer homeless to sprawl” people are abhorrent.

61 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm

I agree with weekly payments as well (or with smart cards, daily credit to a debit card).

62 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm

I agree Borjigid, I would lean toward looser regulations.

63 Mark December 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

“I guess the country is too crowded to allow for an elastic supply response.”
Is this a joke? Large parts of both the north and south islands are well-watered and almost uninhabited.

64 Harun December 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Yes, its a joke.

65 derek December 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

Is there an influx of chinese money buying up properties and driving prices through the roof?

66 Potato December 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Yes.

But, with massive deregulation the supply would respond to the price level.

As with most stupid outcomes in Western countries, you have an outside factor that cannot be compensated for with market forces, since those market forces are illegal.

67 gugu December 11, 2017 at 10:27 am

in one of the least densely populated countries in the world that’s absurd

68 B.B. December 11, 2017 at 11:13 am

I would like to see a correlation investigated between the rise in homelessness and the rise in immigration.

I also wonder how much of the new homelessness is concentrated in the native population.

69 spencer December 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I presume the homeless are homeless because they can not afford housing at prices the current supply demand balance creates. Unless you assume that supply will create homes the homeless can afford, increased supply will not do much to help the homeless. Yes, it is possible that increased supply could supply low cost units, but that is a very optimistic assumption. Is the recent surge in the homeless because of limited supply or because of limited or falling incomes. I do not know, but I suspect it is more falling incomes rather than limited supply If that is the case all the comments on zoning is irrelevant.

70 dearieme December 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Being homeless in Auckland would be a rather different experience from being homeless in Invercargill.

71 Ashby December 11, 2017 at 8:01 pm

How much of this is caused by hot foreign money fleeing bubbles e.g. China, the way the Japanese affected real estate in Los Angeles before their crash?

72 ohwilleke December 12, 2017 at 2:21 am

NZ has weather that someone from a place in the US that has four seasons would call “spring” almost all year around. Without either intense winters in the more populated parts of the country, or the deadly hot deserts of places like the American Southwest, it is feasible to be homeless without dying or nearly dying to a greater extent than most other countries in the world.

NZ also has lots of relatively potable fresh water in natural environments close to population centers.

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