Thursday news in brief

Thursday 20 April 2017

Life is busy and it’s easy to miss some of the stories that hit the news. So here’s a brief rundown of some of the stories that might have slipped by you this week…

Politicians need to cut red tape – really

Adopting a renewed political focus on dealing to the costs associated with consenting – rather than just talking about cutting red tape - could help housing affordability, a real estate agency boss is urging.

Century 21 New Zealand national manager Geoff Barnett said the costs associated with consenting new houses remain too high and involve unacceptable time delays. “It’s not uncommon for one new house to accumulate more than $30,000 in consenting costs, inspection fees, and then there’s development contributions.”

This election politicians should move beyond the predictable red-tape rhetoric and campaign on actual percentage or dollar value gains their policies would deliver for new home buyers, he said.

“Consenting costs are not everything, but reducing them significantly would help housing affordability and boost total supply. Adopting a whole new consenting regime or expectation at a national level could come in a number of forms, but let’s debate on how this is best achieved.”

Read more: Slower consent process for Aucklanders 

Axing insulation funding dangerous

Lives are being put at risk because the government has cut its funding of the national home insulation scheme and the Prime Minister needs to explain why, according to fiery New Zealand first leader Winston Peters.

“New Zealand has some of the coldest houses in the Western world. Studies have revealed that by investing in insulation there are massive health benefits and millions of dollars are saved by keeping people out of the health system.”

Peter said that when the government cut funding to the scheme last year they gave a higher rate of subsidy for landlords to insulate their properties. But he claims the response to this from landlords has been lacklustre and that between 600,000 and 900,000 homes still don’t have adequate insulation.

“If Mr English is serious about social investment, then instead of favouring landlords, he must resume funding for the home insulation scheme immediately to ensure poorer families’ homes are dryer and warmer.”

Read more: Too cool for comfort 

Kiwis’ should think about financial future

Increased financial pressures and their physical and family impact – particularly in the 40-59 age group - mean that New Zealand has dropped to a slightly lower than average 61.0 ranking in Cigna’s annual 360 Wellbeing Survey.

Cigna spokesperson Suzanne de Geus said the survey reveals that New Zealanders’ feel they have to stay focused on their current financial commitments and that very little time is spent preparing for their future.

“But most concerning is the fact that is now a much wider group that are dissatisfied with their current financial situation, with concerns about paying their mortgage, paying for their family’s education, and their financial security should they be unable to work.”

Just under half of those surveyed have some type of plan for the future, but 28% have no plan in place, de Geus said. “The survey shows us that, across all ages, Kiwis think they will have time to think about the future later. However, that future is fast approaching for a growing number of them.”

Read more: More than half of Kiwis saving for retirement 

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House Prices

56% of Akld house costs due to land regulation

Land use regulation is responsible for up to 56% of the cost of an average house in Auckland, a new Government commissioned report reveals.

Commercial

Upping the earthquake ante

Take note investors – new earthquake upgrade laws have come into force this week and they put a new set of compliance deadlines in place.

Mortgages

OCR held, but for how long?

Watchful caution is guiding the Reserve Bank’s policy so it will need strong evidence before it makes any change to the OCR, economists say in response to this morning’s OCR call.

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