Caravan becomes full time living option for more people nowadays

A video show-and-tell and interview with Corwin Mandel popped up on Youtube a day ago. Worth watching in itself, also of interest are the, over 200 comments it garnered in little over the first 24 hours. The following text is taken from my response to one of those comments.

Aaron H above has made some good points. About 60% of people have security of housing tenure, through our current system of mortgages and freehold ownership.

But alas that leaves 40% of us as land-beggars aka peasants aka tenants, and although self-built “tiny houses” could indeed be part of the solution to high housing costs in New Zealand and elsewhere there are still problems like finding the land for your tiny house or caravan etc, (cheapest land in the Christchurch or commutable Canterbury province area will cost you $150,000 minimum, and banks won’t lend on bare land or insurance write-off houses if you intend to live there) (unless of course you’re independently wealthy anyway. Yes I’ve been to the banks and had this conversation before).

Another complication can be if a local authority or council demands $20,000 for “consents” or “building permits” etc. Some charities do great work, as best they can with the resources available. Like “Habitat for Humanity” (God Bless them) but like other similar groups, their assistance is aimed almost solely at “families” (ie people with children) so single people go to the bottom of the list, yet again. Our “housing market” is seriously broken.

In the last 35 years the minimum wage has gone up about 4-fold but Christchurch/Canterbury’s cheapest house prices have gone up about 25-fold. To put housing affordability back even close to where it was, we’d need at least the cheaper houses, to fall in price by over 80% (or the minimum wage to go up  nearly 6-fold ! ).

Our entire system of house and land ownership, and financing needs to change. Systems which artificially ration land availability and zonings, planning permissions and building permits, simply in order to drive up the prices need to change. In Auckland NZ, the situation is so bad, that often old houses are fully refurbished, just prior to demolition (because the seller wants the highest price, but the buyer only wants the land, for their new expensive house build).

We need to have entirely new systems which prevent property price speculators making  huge profits (often tax-free), we need a system where people (even those on the lowest wages) can affordably get the security of tenure that currently only comes by “owning” a place.

I’ve already suggested a new term be coined “Community Crofting” which could be that new system, a kind of lifetime lease, but with the security of tenure of freehold, without the ability to make a private profit. (Perhaps say, When someone leaves the community, or dies, their “croft” (land or house-on-land) simply goes back to the Community Crofting Association and is made available by ballot or some selection criteria to the next person on the list).

Here is a link to the item on Youtube

NZ’s “Working for families” benefits are entrenching low wages and poverty

A short article, from the Auckland Herald newspaper’s NZHerald website today, sums things up nicely (regarding the recently annouced, annual budget).

One point it FAILS to make though, is that as single, childless people DO NOT get any “Working for families tax credits” ever, it means that effectively it’s the single workers (including those on the lowest incomes) that are helping to subsidise those in society who choose to have a family larger than they can afford, on the wages that they earn.

The answer is to put a total stop to Working for families tax credits, but at the same time, greatly increase wages, especially for the lowest paid. This could be “revenue neutral” as the govt wouldn’t need to tax folks SO much, in order to be able to hand back out from the tax-take, to those families currently struggling with low wages. Indeed there’d be savings, because just think of all the tax and welfare workers checking and processing Working for families tax credit application forms and updating them etc.

It’s frustrating to think that, in New Zealand, many single people are left feeling that their lives are as good as over, because whatever they try to do, the government will ensure they work for minimum wages, yet get taxed up the wazoo because they have the misfortune of being single and child-less. (If you’re not in the building trade with your LBP papers) then there are precious few opportunities for getting better paid work or for getting security of tenure over a place to live (and NO I’m not necessarily talking about buying a house under the current system, so that owners can “add value to your investment” (ie to make a tax-free profit”. )

Options such as the idea previously promulgated by me, elsewhere on this ‘blog, known as “Community Crofting” are simply totally un-available to all Kiwis (with the possible exception of a percentage of Maori people who have some opportunities to access cheaper housing options on tribal owned land, through their local iwi.

Here is a link to the NZHerald article.

Community Crofting, a new form of lease with security of tenure, opportunity lost

It is my understanding, that in USA, a perfectly livable house on several acres (which I might call a “hobby farm, or a livestyle block, but which some people may call a homestead etc “room for a pony” as Hyacinth Bucket would say on the tv show comedy) I understand that within a short drive to a USA large town or reasonable city would cost about $50,000. In NZ you’d be looking at about $1 million.

Probably even more than that in Aussie and UK. Of course if people live in the USA they risk being shot dead by poolice, no questions asked, if found committing offences like “being black in a public place”. If you’re just being disresepctful to a poolice officer, you may get to survive being tasered multiple times and pepper-sprayed from a giant flyspray size can (none of those little wee lipstick sized pepper-sprays for US “law enforcement”.

It sickens me to my stomach that the NZ govt bulldozed 12,000 houses (in Chch’s ‘red zone”) just as fast as it could get the bulldozers around there, instead of saving say 4,000 of the completely un-damaged, and least damaged houses, and making them available at a ‘peppercorn rent’ for cheap housing under a special  new “community crofting” leasehold arrangement (that could have been devised). A new form of lifetime lease with security of tenure, but without the ability to make a profit from the house. These houses could have been released onto the market, some perhaps incorporating the surrounding empty sections where houses had been demolished, so as to give half-acre and acre lot sizes.

Currently in New Zealand, residential tenants can by evicted with  just 42 days notice. Especially during times of housing availability and affordability crisis, and with many thousands of people on government housing waiting lists, this does not give tenants long enough to secure alternative accommodation.

A golden opportunity was shit out the arxehole and flushed down the toilet, just to prop up and increase Christchurch’s house values. The flow-on effects from Christchurch having a large pool of affordable  rental housing and stable long term communities (that long term, security of tenure that “community crofting” leases  would give), would also have helped reign in Auckland’s rampaging house price inflation (and Christchurch’s not-quite-as-rampaging house price inflation).

Here’s yet another article on the housing un-affodability crisis in Auckland (and to a lesser extent, all of NZ) from the Auckland Herald Newspaper’s NZHerald website.