Wednesday 24 July 2019

Youth Parliament and fixing the housing market

New Zealand's Youth Parliament called me in to provide testimony about policies that could improve economic growth without worsening disparities in wealth. 

I suggested that they take a close look at housing markets - as well as regulatory structures that work to stymie competition and entrench existing interests. The Committee of the Youth Parliament took up some of my recommendations in their report - along with some of the recommendations from the presenter from Living Wage Aotearoa.

The hearing was a lot of fun. Since the witness from Victoria University of Wellington failed to show up, the Committee prodded me and the other witness into arguing with each other - I had a blast.

I went through the case on housing in my inaugural fortnightly column over at the Dom Post; I expect it's running more broadly across the Fairfax/Stuff stable.
New Zealand's income inequality statistics, by the Ministry for Social Development's figures, have been roughly flat for 15 to 20 years, depending on the measure.

But concern about inequality, at least as measured by the number of newspaper headlines, followed the rise in Auckland house prices rather than the flat inequality statistics.

The real experience of inequality comes in household budgets strained by too-high housing costs and in worries about whether they or their kids will ever be able to afford a home. The latest report from the Ministry of Social Development tells us that almost 40 per centof our poorest renting households are now spending more than 50 per cent of their income on housing costs.

Fixing the housing mess will directly work to mitigate those inequities. Doing so will also improve, rather than hinder, economic growth. Here is why. 
Read the whole thing!

I should be showing up there fortnightly; Oliver or someone else on the team here may jump in in my place from time to time depending on other commitments.

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