Humiliation for Heatley
Wednesday 23 January 2013
When it comes to losing your job, having it happen at short notice and in the public eye are probably not conditions anyone desires.
But Housing Minister Phil Heatley had the double whammy this week when the Prime Minister whipped away his ministerial portfolio and handed it to back-from-exile Nick Smith.
It was quite an unexpected move. While Heatley hasn’t been an inspiring Housing Minister, he hasn’t been involved in anything of the magnitude of the damning Pike River Royal Commission report, which tarred Kate Wilkinson’s reputation.
But during his tenure, calls for action on housing affordability have got ever stronger as prices soared. The Government has looked to be sitting on its hands while young people were priced out of the market.
The Opposition has been able to get some fairly easy hits in and Labour’s policy of a building scheme on a grand scale has seemed to capture public imagination in a way that made National’s plans to encourage councils to open up more land look a bit weak.
During Heatley’s time at the helm, waiting times for Tenancy Tribunal dates have grown and there has been mounting dissatisfaction from both landlords and tenants.
But you are forced to wonder – is it fair that a minister loses his job over the actions of a free market?
Yes, house prices have gone up in Auckland and Christchurch, but is that not mainly because of people wanting to live close to the city centre, and the earthquakes, respectively?
It remains to be seen what Smith will come up with as a solution. PM John Key says he has the type of energy needed to tackle the portfolio. Let's hope he has some solid ideas, too.
Comments from our readers
No comments yet
Sign In / Register to add your comment
Disagreement over terminology used in one of Olly Newland’s Facebook advertisements has led to an Advertising Standards Authority ruling against the veteran property commentator.
More evidence of the “Auckland effect” comes in the latest Real Estate Institute of NZ data which shows that, in July, Auckland’s median price fell by 2.6%, while the national median price rose by 3.3%.
New, more targeted regulations for earthquake-prone buildings are a win for commercial property owners and businesses.
The Reserve Bank has cut the OCR to 3.25% today. Here is what the governor Graeme Wheeler said.