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More than One Way to Address Housing Prices

Stephen Berry

More than One Way to Address Housing Prices

“I commend Don Brash for the raising the issue of the Resource Management Act‘s effect on housing prices and the disgraceful violation of private property rights it perpetrates,” says Stephen Berry, Independent candidate for Tamaki. “However there are plenty of other ways to deal with inflated housing prices in this country.”

Stephen Berry’s passionate advocacy of free market capitalism does extend to de-regulating the housing market. “The Resource Management Act certainly should be abolished, with property rights being protected by common law and the courts. If the actions of a property owner do not violate the property rights of another owner, then they are the business of nobody. The myriad of rules and council regulations on buildings should also be abolished. The criminalisers of common sense do not protect us. They simply add a layer of bureaucracy and frustration to the home buying process without, as the leaky homes issue demonstrates, affording any effective protection. Home buyers are completely free to seek the advice of private companies who will do a far better job than some council clipboard nazi.”

Berry also believes the Labour party’s support for a capital gains tax demonstrated that one of the causes for New Zealand’s love affair with property investment, which did increase prices, is the distortion affected by the lack of taxation on one area of investment. “I am not suggesting that a capital gains tax should be used to correct this distortion however. I am actually suggesting quite the opposite. Once cuts in income and company tax have been made, and spending cuts and privatisation have dealt with the problem of the Government deficit, taxation on areas of investment other than housing should also be eliminated. Making areas of investment outside of property more attractive will have a deflationary effect on house prices.”

“Once a young couple have managed to purchase their own home, life is made even more difficult by the predators of local Government who treat property owners as tenants and ATM machines with exorbitant rates charges,“ Mr. Berry argues. “Local government is a monster, with its fingers in plenty of areas it doesn’t belong. Legislation which clearly defines and limits the activities of our councils will reduce their cost and the burden on home owners, making paying off the mortgage easier. Councils should not be subsidising symphony orchestras and bloated layers of local committees, especially when it results in theft from those who have taken the responsibility of owning property.”

Stephen Berry also has one more answer to housing costs and it is based on simple supply and demand. “If more houses were on the market, prices would also drop and this is one area where the Government can be of assistance. Make no mistake, I am not saying the state should build more houses. I’m saying the Government should sell all the ones it currently owns. Figures I have obtained from Housing New Zealand reveal that the value of state housing assets stands at $15.1 billion. It is a network routinely used and abused by its tenants and a drain on the productive. I think Government should instead turn this liability into a goldmine by privatising the entire state housing system. This would create a huge surplus on the housing market which will reduce prices. Possibly even current state house tenants will be able to realise the dream of having their own home. In addition the proceeds of the sale will have an enormous impact on the record Government deficit.”

“Ultimately, all of the causes of house price inflation can be traced back to big Government. All of the solutions will come from shrinking Government. When you head to the polls ask yourself whether your candidate is serious about creating solutions by minimising Government. Voters in Tamaki should be under no illusion; I am serious.”


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