Thursday news in brief

Thursday 1 June 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…

Watchdog to investigate “super investor”

The Commerce Commission has confirmed that it has launched a formal investigation into property coach Ron Hoy Fong following controversy over questionable buying advice offered in one of his videos.

The video showed Hoy Fong coaching investors to give vendors false names, work in packs to drive down prices and target desperate families or "dummies" who don't know the value of their home.

The Commission's investigation, which will look into “possible bid rigging under the Commerce Act”, comes in response to a complaint from Labour Party consumer affairs spokesman Michael Wood.

Wood said Hoy Fong’s actions show the property market is out of control. He is now calling for the Commerce Select Committee to take a “broader look into abusive speculative practices” in the property sector.

Read more: APIA loses major sponsor 

Meth testing industry should be regulated

Landlords might be eagerly awaiting the release of the new meth testing and remediation standard in June, but some commentators believe it will be pointless if the testing industry itself is not regulated.

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell told media the testing industry played on people's fear and on hysteria around meth.

"This industry should have to meet certain standards and those standards should be set by government. There needs to be much better training around how the tests are done, what tests are used, what lab does the analysis and how those results are read.”

But Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said he was confident the new standard would be robust and based on the “very best science”.

Read more: Draft meth standard released 

Better urban planning for future growth

Calls for better urban planning in New Zealand’s cities have been gathering momentum this year and now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a new set of tools to assist.

Developed with the Ministry for the Environment, the tools provide high and medium growth councils with guidance and help determine a housing development’s commercial feasibility using local market information.

MBIE manager of construction and housing policy Di Anorpong said the tools will help councils to better understand their local markets and planners to meet the requirements of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity.

“High and medium growth councils have to monitor market fluctuations every quarter and prepare good housing and business development assessments at least every three years. Councils will need to use this information in their planning decisions.”

Read more: New urban development policy ready to go 

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