Monday, 23 June 2014

Top 10

I provided today's Top 10 list over at A few highlights: has been on a roll lately. Friday's Top 10 had more on the continued housing shortage in Christchurch. Bernard Hickey had a nice piece reminding folks outside of Auckland why Auckland supply shortages are bad for the whole country.

Interest also pointed me to this piece by Phil Taylor over at the Herald; I'd missed it when it came out in April. It quotes Ngai Tahu Property's Tony Sewell on the cost of building materials in New Zealand; Sewell argues all of the material costs are far lower in the US and contribute to the high cost of NZ housing. 

I wonder why nobody's bringing in container loads of gib board and fittings. 
Industry feedback on an options paper was due last December. At the time Smith indicated removing or reducing high duties on some imported building products, and reviewing anti-dumping duties were being looked at. The Government believes the price of plasterboard would reduce if duties were removed. The impact of nominal tariffs of 5 per cent on most items used in housing construction would have less impact because our free trade partners are already exempt or the levy they pay is being progressively reduced.
An unclear certification process, liability issues and a risk-averse industry since the leaky homes debacle were cited in submissions as impeding innovation and adoption of new products and services.
I don't buy that a 5% tariff, dumb as it is, can explain the cost differences between here and the States. It doesn't seem plausible that a risk-averse building industry's driving things either: if it were possible, somebody else would be bringing in the container loads of American gib board, showing the builders that it's perfectly fine, and selling it at a fraction of the NZ price. Some other impediment must be there blocking it.


  1. Effective monopoly or duopoly etc?? E.g. Fletchers - Placemakers - Gib - Dempsey Morton etc. Carterholt Building - Laserframe etc etc.

  2. Hate it when those nasty sugar people burst into my home and force feed me sugar. All I see in the supermarket is sugar, sugar sugar, where have all the other foods gone, fruit and vegetables, water and milk, meat and bread etc.............

  3. The tariff is certainly nutty but as you note, its not the whole story. My understanding though is that the block is not "some other impediment" so much as a set of inter-related factors. In other words there are quite a few hurdles and they work as a team.

  4. Only if they're somehow setting up barriers to folks' parallel importing container loads of Gib and other materials.

  5. there has been comment in the media to that effect, will try and find the article.