My Creed

When I left real estate in 2000, I got into reading a whole bunch of books.  I was exhausted, burned out from doing something I didn’t like for too long.

The one that had the biggest effect on my life was a biography of Cecil Rhodes aka Mr Rhodesia. He landed in Africa when he was 16 and by the time of his death at 48, he had brought 1/3 of Africa under British control. Here’s a little quote from his will via Wikipedia:

“To and for the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour and enterprise”

What he and others did was prospect for gold and diamonds.  To do that they needed labour.  But the black Africans had little interest in digging in a deep hole all day long for shiny rocks.  They had a nice life lolling about their huts, tending a few cattle, hunting when needed and basically having the whole day to themselves to do what they want.

So what they did was impose a hut tax on the locals.  You had to pay 1 shilling a month to the British or they’d come and burn your hut down, take your land.  And of course the only way to get your shilling was to go to work for the British digging for shiny rocks.

But even this proved too unreliable and too much hassle, so they actually just imprisoned them all!  Yep they worked during the day and were locked up in barracks at night.  Basically forced labour camps. This is how westernised civilisation was built!

And so it hit me like a bolt out of the blue: You cannot live in a westernised country without earning money!  Why? Because all the land is owned, there’s nowhere you can live without incurring cost.  Either you’re renting or owning, and in either case there are costs.  So you have to work.  You have to work to pay the rent/mortgage and other bills.

And so you cannot rest.  And being as exhausted as I was, that was really what I wanted to do.  Just sit under a tree all day and look at the ocean or whatever.  Just rest. Rest rest rest is what I craved.  I had been so busy for so long that I just wanted to leave it all behind.  Not an uncommon refrain today.  So many books/movies/tv programs on escaping the city/rat race for the country idyll. (Mostly they get it all wrong by mortgaging themselves to the hilt to build a huge great thing full of the flashest things imaginable – so that they can escape…)

I had never questioned this before, the fact that you have to earn money just to be able to rest. To be able to lie down somewhere without someone coming along and saying “Oi you move along, this is my property!”  I had just taken it for granted.  Bought into the whole dream of earn, buy, have.  Not ‘be’.

This is one of the reasons why Britain et al took over the world.  Every single one of their citizens is working and competing.  Which builds an economy which can be taxed and used to fund an army/navy which can then go and ‘extend’ the Empire.  And of course other countries have followed suit (notably China in recent years) and so now the whole world has bought into the idea of money money money, growth, growth, growth.

So then comes the question “Well if I have to earn money, to live in this society, how will I do so?”  And I didn’t have an answer really.  I tried doing some contract software again, but found being cloistered up in rooms with no windows with very little social interaction quite depressing, even if the work content could be quite interesting at times.

And then I started putting the money into buildings.  Buying old commercial buildings and doing them up.  Which is what I’m still doing today.  Mostly just to have money so that I don’t have to run around like a chicken with it’s head chopped off.

I vividly remember, as a child, seeing ants on concrete on a hot sunny day.  They’d run around and around outside their burrow in a crack in the pavement and if I followed any one individual ant, it was clear they were just running around in some convoluted pattern, going nowhere.  And as an adult I think we do this a lot.  We’re constantly running, achieving, earning.  The treadmill that is modern day life.

Materialism, the desire for status and things.  It’s the new religion.

Government to the Rescue?

OMG I jumped out of my chair and clapped my hands at this!

Bolding is mine.

Govt piles on pressure for housing land

By Bernard Orsman

5:30 AM Thursday Mar 14, 2013
Photo / Thinkstock

Photo / Thinkstock

The Government is becoming increasingly heavy-handed over Auckland’s housing shortage, with talk of a new Crown agency to free up more land.

Environment Minister Amy Adams has suggested stripping the Auckland Council of some planning powers for three years to allow a Crown agency to play a role increasing the city’s residential land supply.

New Housing Minister Nick Smith has also released a Government report which, he says, shows a worrying trend of reduced land availability and soaring section prices.

Last week, Dr Smith vowed to break the “stranglehold” of Auckland Council’s policy of containing urban sprawl – a policy he said was “killing the dreams of Aucklanders” by driving up house prices.

The Government broadsides come as the council prepares to release its draft unitary plan tomorrow, which will determine where and how the city expands in rural and coastal areas and intensifies existing town centres and suburbs. Ms Adams refused the council’s request to give legal effect to the unitary plan once it is formally released in September and suggested the Crown agency as an interim measure in the three years it will take to finalise it.

The unitary plan contains a new “rural urban boundary” (RUB) to gradually zone land outside the current “metropolitan urban boundary” for a further 160,000 dwellings over the next 30 years. The existing urban boundaries will be intensified for 280,000 new houses.

RUB.  Going to be so many jokes around this.  Therein lies the RUB etc.

Dr Smith said it was essential that more land was made available for housing to improve supply and availability, quoting a report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, “Residential Land in Auckland”. He said it showed Auckland needed about 13,000 new homes a year over the next 30 years.

However, the city had just 1900 sections ready to build on today, 14,500 sections ready to be subdivided and 54,500 sections in the pipeline – half the supply of land to meet the council’s targets. Dr Smith said the Government was also worried about figures in the report showing the council wanted 4000 high-density dwellings a year for 10 years and 10,000 a year after that.

“This compares to 830 higher density dwellings consented last year and an average of 2674 per year over the past decade,” he said.

 

Rest of Article

 

 

 

And the Deputy Mayor is Just as Clueless

Scrap GST if you want to help, council tells Govt

By Wayne Thompson

5:30 AM Thursday Mar 14, 2013
Photo / Thinkstock

Photo / Thinkstock

Auckland Council says the Government should scrap GST on affordable housing instead of looking to trim council growth levies on developers.

The suggestion is part of the council’s response to a Department of Internal Affairs review of development contributions which considers options of capping or abolishing them.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said yesterday the council wanted to keep development charges in order to recover the cost of servicing roads, stormwater drains, parks, community facilities and public transport.

“The charge is only 4 per cent of the costs of development of an average home.

“Let’s put it in the Government’s court, saying if you want to make a difference, that 15 per cent GST would really help.

“Taking the development charges cost off the developers will only make the ratepayers pay and we say that’s not right.”

Bullshit, the fees paid by developers don’t go into roads etc.  They go straight into the pockets of council employees.

The council planned to recover $2 billion of growth investment from development contributions over the next 10 years, she said.

Growth investment.  Sounds lovely doesn’t it? But what is it?  What it really is, is more council staff on the public’s teat that’s what it is.

This would come from the 100,000 residential homes and 5 million square metres of non-residential development expected to come to Auckland in that time.

Without the charges, ratepayers would pick up the $850 million of interest on what the council would otherwise have to borrow.

Again, totally misleading BS.  Why doesn’t the council trim it’s budget a bit?  The CEO is getting paid $850,000 for crying out loud!  The wastefullness is at every level.  I know of a single traffic light pole that cost $145,000 to put in!

Mrs Hulse said that over the past eight years, development contribution charges in Auckland had fallen by 10 per cent against increases in the median house price of 50 per cent.

OMG, how dishonest can you get.  Prior to 2005 they didn’t even exist in Auckland, then they were introduced at $2500 for a single house.  Now they’re around $25,000 plus say $8000 for water and more for other services.    So that’s way more than a 1000% increase in 8 years. But the facts are never stated.

House materials were up 30 per cent and land costs had risen up to 36 per cent. Developer profit would be well above 16 per cent when a modest subdivision cost was added.

And how on earth does Penny Hulse know what a development margin will be on any given subdivision?  Has she done a few has she?  Or she’s ‘consulted’ with a few developers has she?  I doubt it.

The council also fears proposed changes to the Resource Management Act will free a greater proportion of developers from the need to get resource consents and therefore skip the levy.

Oh we can only wish.  Being able to do what we want with our own land? Wow.  That would be a dream come true.  For the council it would be a nightmare because they wouldn’t be able to introduce all sorts of controls and hoops (with associated fees) for developers to jump through.

Mrs Hulse said the council had worked through a development contributions plan with developers and she was comfortable that a fair and equitable level had been struck.

Oh this really made me see red.  I bet this is a total lie.  Penny Hulse please name the developers you have worked with on a development contributions plan.  And then also get them to publcily say they agreed to the level which has been struck.  I bet not one will.  Either none will have been consulted at all (the most likely scenario) or if they were, they would have agreed with very little the council had to say.

Source

And Another Sensible Column

Bryan Leyland: Expensive plan restricts land and ignores transport innovations

By Bryan Leyland

5:30 AM Wednesday Mar 13, 2013
Their plans for transport are based on the assumption that personal transport technology will not change substantially over the next 30 years. Photo / Michael Craig

Their plans for transport are based on the assumption that personal transport technology will not change substantially over the next 30 years. Photo / Michael Craig

The Auckland plan ignores the potential for modern technology to solve our transport and other problems and, instead, pushes expensive and inappropriate 19th and 20th century solutions.

They plan to spend about $3 billion on a rail tunnel that, like all tunnelling projects will cost much more and will demand huge subsidies for every passenger. The tunnel is needed only because the plan decrees that people and employment must be crowded into the city centre.

The planners seem to be ignorant of advances in personal transport and telecommuting that, even now, make their plans obsolete. Their plan will make Auckland one of the most expensive cities in the world because they are deliberately restricting the availability of land and jacking up the price of housing to achieve their dream of high density living and their obsession with rail transport.

Rest of Article

His summary is very good:

The Auckland Plan is hugely expensive, will force up the price of housing even further, and turn Auckland into a city with suburbs that only the rich can afford to live in. Poor people will be forced to live in high rise tenements deprived of personal transport. We should reject it.

This is what you have on the outskirts of fancy cities like Paris.  In the middle you have the apartment dwelling latte drinking rich types.  This is the kind the planners see when they go on holidays there.  But then in the suburbs you have these huge crappy, crime-ridden tower blocks containing all the poor people.

Dick Speaks Sense

Well at least not all the councillors in Auckland City Council have been captured by the smart growth idiots:

Dick Quax: High density urban housing never been embraced

By Dick Quax

5:30 AM Wednesday Mar 13, 2013
Part 10 of the Auckland Plan “directs” that “280,000 new dwellings will be constructed within the Metropolitan Urban Limits”. Photo / Doug Sherring

The Auckland Council Unitary Plan will propose the Auckland urban region is transformed into what the mayor describes as a “quality compact city”.

The plan gives effect to the Auckland Plan which points the way forward for the entire region. Part 10 of the Auckland Plan “directs” that “280,000 new dwellings will be constructed within the Metropolitan Urban Limits”. It has been claimed the intensification directive has as much science behind it as the annual directives for Stalin’s tractor factories.

Aucklanders have never embraced the kind of concentrated living arrangements envisioned in the Unitary Plan. At the end of the 19th century Aucklanders, tired of overcrowding and the associated pollution in the downtown area moved further out for a better lifestyle on a small plot of land, usually less than 500sq m in size rather than the mythical quarter acre of urban legend.

 

Rest of Article

 

Yep bang on I reckon.  What a load of crap this new plan will be.  Full of untestable wishy-washy statements and lovely pictures of well off people looking happy. Blah Blah Blah.

What a Total Fuckwit

So Len Brown claims there are 18000 sections ready to be built on “right now”.  He makes this claim over and over again.

many people raise an eyebrow at this at the time, thinking to themselves “Really? 18,000? Where?”  Over a couple of months, it somehow comes down to 15,000.

And then 2,000…  What a totally incompetent imbecile we have for a mayor.  He’s been totally captured by the planners in his department and has bought into the whole smart growth agenda 110%.

Mayor does u-turn on available housing land

By Bernard Orsman

5:30 AM Tuesday Mar 12, 2013
Brown claimed space for 15,000 homes but now concedes just 2000 sites ready.

Mayor Len Brown hit back, saying Dr Smith was advocating a flawed Los Angeles model of
Mayor Len Brown hit back, saying Dr Smith was advocating a flawed Los Angeles model of “suburban sprawl”. Photo / Doug Sherring

Auckland has 2000 new sections ready to build houses on, says Mayor Len Brown, who last month claimed there was enough land for 15,000 homes.

As debate grows about housing and land supply in Auckland, Mr Brown is no longer claiming the city has enough new land to build 15,000 houses “right now”.

Instead, he is saying there is capacity for 15,000 homes on ready-to-go greenfield land in areas such as Flat Bush, Takanini and Hobsonville, but only 2000 sections have reached the building stage.

“The remainder require subdivision and internal servicing by private sector developers to create sections,” Mr Brown said.

The revised figures follow a testy exchange last week between Mr Brown and new Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith over the best way to provide about 13,000 new homes a year in Auckland.

Dr Smith vowed to break the “stranglehold” of the council’s policy of containing urban sprawl – a policy he says is “killing the dreams of Aucklanders” by driving up house prices.

 

The minister wants to open up more land outside the existing metropolitan urban limit to peg back land prices which, he said, were the biggest factor putting home ownership out of reach of many.

Mr Brown hit back, saying Dr Smith was advocating a flawed Los Angeles model of “suburban sprawl” going back to the 1940s and 1950s.

The mayor said the new unitary plan – a draft is being released on Friday – provided for a balanced approach of intensification of existing land and releasing new land to house a further million people in Auckland over the next 30 years.

Councillor Dick Quax said Mr Brown had proclaimed to all who would listen that Auckland had 15,000 sections ready for houses to be built on “right now”.

“The mayor is now having a big helping of humble pie as he acknowledges that there are just 2000 sections ready for construction to begin.

“What this means is Auckland runs out of land to build on in May,” Mr Quax said.

The latest admission, he said, showed just how dire the land supply was and an acknowledgement the council had got it seriously wrong.

“We need to be told the truth. I don’t blame the mayor for this.

“I blame the officials for not doing a rigorous enough job of telling us what the supply of land is,” Mr Quax said.

Building adjustment

Last month
Question to Mayor Len Brown: You say there is available land, infrastructure, roads, services all ready and 15,000 houses can be built on them straight away? Answer: “Right now.”

Yesterday
“Around 2000 sections available now in greenfield areas. The remainder requires subdivision and internal servicing.”

Source

 

Step Away from the Property Porn!

A very good article by Deborah Hill Cone:

Wise up and step away from the property porn

By Deborah Hill Cone

5:30 AM Monday Mar 11, 2013

No wonder real estate agents were miffed that they were not presented in a flattering light in Robyn Malcolm's new television show Agent Anna, Says Hill Cone. Photo / APN

No wonder real estate agents were miffed that they were not presented in a flattering light in Robyn Malcolm’s new television show Agent Anna, Says Hill Cone. Photo / APN

T.S. Eliot said “Humankind cannot bear very much reality”.

But I’m not sure that he read a real estate advertising section. You are pretty safe from reality there. It is full of the unreal. “But as much as they are enjoying the house the time has come to move on to another project.”

That is real estate-speak to fudge why someone who has apparently only just bought their dream house is now flicking it on. The more likely reason is they’re a hustler and want to make a big fat profit. Although they are pictured making an espresso in their lab-like kitchen as if they live there, it seems all staged.

Could we just occasionally say this? It is empowering to know the truth.

“They have loved the last five years of all sleeping in the same room while they built their six-bedroom dream home but now they feel like they are ready to do it all again and have a new do-up 500m away in Remuera.”

Real estate marketing can be an elaborate construct.

Rest of Article.

 

 

Another Rodney Gem

Rodney Hide: Bravo the real business class

By Rodney Hide

5:30 AM Sunday Mar 10, 2013
Who thanked Mainzeal for the jobs they provided? Photo / Michael Craig

Who thanked Mainzeal for the jobs they provided? Photo / Michael Craig

The left’s latest cause is for businesses to cough up a “living wage”. They really have no idea. They think running a business is easy.

That’s because they have never done it. The left think you just turn up each day and the profits are deposited each week.

But many businesspeople don’t make the minimum wage, let alone the “living wage”. They work all hours. They sweat about making the wage bill each week. And they must suffer the depredations of petty and contradictory government rules.

Rest of Article

I agree with just about everything Rodney has to say in this article.  I can’t add much to it really.