exploring solutions... www.PerformanceUrbanPlanning.org
Performance Urban Planning Return to Homepage


Fellow Urban Development Institute of Australia (FDIA)

Former President –
Southern Division – Property Council of New Zealand

Co author – Annual
Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey


+64 3 343 9944
Christchurch, New Zealand




UPDATE…February 2019

<< Back to home


The KiwiBuild failure should galvanise urgent action on NZ's housing disaster – EDITORIAL - The Listener

When a nation’s flagship housing policy is such a spectacular failure that it makes the New York Times, the minister in charge cannot avoid the international embarrassment. …

 … Many of the obstacles New Zealanders have faced in trying to build their own homes – in particular, the cost of land, labour and materials – are largely outside the control of developers, regardless of ownership, and even of scale….

 … concluding …

… The recent Demographia International Report, which compares median house prices in seven wealthy countries plus Hong Kong, reports that in Australia housing has become more affordable over the past year as prices fell due to tightening credit. Yet, alarmingly, New Zealand housing has simply become more unaffordable since this Government took office. Property here is now further out of reach than in the US, Australia and the UK. This is beyond embarrassment. This is a national disaster.

New Zealand Vowed 100,000 New Homes to Ease Crunch. So Far It Has Built 47. - The New York Times

New Zealand housing crisis: just 47 'affordable' homes built in six months ... Eleanor Ainge Roy ... The Guardian

... with nothing learned from history …

Inquiry. The Great British Housing Disaster (Adam Curtis, 1984) BBC - YouTube

Hugh Pavletich
New Zealand


UPDATE…November 2018

<< Back to home

Following a lull through the first part of the year (as explained below within the June 2018 Update), thankfully, New Zealand is back on track as the global leader, in dealing with the structural issues (land supply and infrastructure financing) impeding the supply of new affordable housing.

Let the updated '2018' and '2018 - Articles Of Significance' sections speak for themselves !

Hugh Pavletich
New Zealand



<< Back to home

Generally, I endeavour to update this archival website twice a year. First, around a month or two following the release of the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey late January. Second, around October / November.

Readers will note I spoke in glowing terms about the change of government September / October last year, within the Introduction section of this year's Demographia Survey. And too, highlighting the major housing policies within the Ardern / Twyford section near the top of the front page of this website.

Following the Christmas break and the release of the Demographia Survey Monday 22 January, things 'went to custard' somewhat, as Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford went seriously 'off message', inflicting us with constant doses of density drivel (with light rail for bad measure), as he unwisely capitulated to elements to the left of Labour.

The Auckland Council planners (and their ilk elsewhere, such as the Christchurch City Council) are still controlling housing policy to suit themselves. Much like Britains Great Inertia Sector of Local Government.

Sadly, Housing & Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford appears to be doing as he is told by them.

As initial details came to light, Labours flagship housing policy KiwiBuild became a growing political embarrassment, as it was trashed left, right and centre.

To suggest it has been 'heavily criticised' would be a major understatement.

Check the highlighted 2018 articles posted on this website, to get a sense of the political heat.

The New Zealand public (note the inaugural IPSOS poll information posted as well) and heavily engaged media across the spectrum, have extremely high expectations the housing issue will be solved, through what is now the Implementation Phase (as I made clear within the Introduction section of this year's Demographia Survey ).

To date there has been no progress on the abolition of urban limits and the appropriate bond financing of infrastructure.

As illustrated within the GONE GONE GOING section of this website, the former National - led government lost the election, mainly due to its failures with housing issues.

Labour did not win it.

The Labour - led government is only in place, because, following the September 2017 MMP General Election, and the coalition talks that followed, minor centrist party New Zealand First with its veteran political leader Winston Peters made the decision to go in to coalition with Labour, supported by the minor The Greens Party.

In making this public announcement late October, Winston Peters made it extremely clear his Party had two options. Either go in to coalition with the centre - right National Party (the 'modified status quo' as he termed it) or opt for meaningful change by going in to coalition with Labour, which polled below National in the election.

It became a Labour - led government, thanks to the critically important support of New Zealand First with its leader Winston Peters.

This new Labour - led governments survival will depend on whether or not it meets the publics expectations in solving the housing crisis.

To survive, this coalition government must ALLOW affordable new housing to be built - now.

Hugh Pavletich
New Zealand



<< Back to home

Readers will note there has been a significant revamp to this archival website on restoring housing affordability…

The major reasons are…first…the massive time that has elapsed since Wendell Cox and I teamed up late 2004, to get the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Surveys underway…and second…the huge political progress that is being made in my home country of New Zealand and now increasingly in Australia, as the latest IPSOS issues poll illustrates…reported recently by Matt Wade of the Sydney Morning Herald.

The new New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Housing Minister Phil Twyford section at the top of this revamped website, speaks for itself.

Following intense public discussion on these issues since early 2005, there is now a broad consensus in New Zealand to deal politically effectively with the issues.

Appropriately…public opinion is the driver.

Again appropriately…politicians in a properly functioning democracy are simply 'poll parrots…who are judged periodically by their masters, the public, on whether they meet the latter's expectations.

As the GONE GONE GOING (now GONE as well) section of this website illustrates, the last (supposedly) centre - right National (Conservative) led government failed to.

It was replaced October this year by a centre - left coalition Labour - led Government.

While revamping this website, I was rather astonished by the sheer volume of important / significant articles through 2017.

For a while I considered culling them…but on reflection decided to place them on the website…to illustrate to readers the sheer intensity and scope of the broad media engagement with these issues…particularly in the Antipodes (i.e. New Zealand and Australia).

Those placed on this website are just a sample of them…by no means all.

It has been truly amazing. Long may it continue…here and elsewhere.

An active, engaged and impartial broad media is of critical importance.

Let's hope we see the same intense media engagement emerge throughout other parts of the world experiencing dysfunctional housing markets.

After all . we are just restoring housing affordability…not inventing it !

Hugh Pavletich
New Zealand



<< Back to home

The Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Surveys were conceived late 2004 by Wendell Cox and myself, with the first one released early 2005.

In advocacy terms, the 'tipping point' here in New Zealand was the major Government announcement in October 2012 (some 6 years later) where the focus was to be on land supply, infrastructure financing, process and construction cost.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the central government agencies became increasingly involved with the housing issue. The then Prime Minister, John Key, replaced Housing Minister Phil Heatley with Dr Nick Smith.

Increasingly through those early advocacy years, more and more New Zealanders came on board, as credible public polling illustrates.

Come late 2012 we moved…in broad terms…from the advocacy to the implementation phase.

Unlike the (essential at the time) top down crash change process through the early 1980's, this has been a long-winded bottom-up evolutionary change process with…appropriately…public opinion in the driver's seat.

In other words…a properly functioning democracy in action.

Those outside New Zealand are often amazed how 'vigorous' public discussions are on political issues.

Increasingly since late 2012, PERFORMANCE URBAN PLANNING has evolved into an archival website that is updated around twice a year.

The purpose of this website now, is as an 'information store' for those with an interest in learning about these issues and for those involved in dealing with the political impediments providing affordable housing.

Hugh Pavletich
New Zealand