Monday 28 June 2021

Supply and demand denialism on the right

Normally, it's the left that makes a hash of basic supply-and-demand thinking - at least in New Zealand. 

That wasn't the case in last week's Wellington Council debates on the proposed spatial plan. 

Councilors broadly of the left voted in favour of reducing or eliminating heritage restrictions on development, and in favour of allowing building to greater heights downtown. 

Councilors broadly of the right voted against all of those, but did support allowing new subdivisions - unfortunately, without support from the pro-housing councilors on the left.

And Iona Pannett ... well, she's on her own anti-housing axis that isn't quite left-right but that seems to view building housing as neoliberal and consequently bad. 

But this from Nicola Young was disappointing.

“The character suburbs are literally what gives us our character. Bowling them is not going to help affordable housing, as it’s the most expensive land in the city,” Young said.

Wellington housing is musical chairs with a lot more people than chairs. If you allow people to subdivide the larger nicer chairs so that a lot more people can find a seat, fewer people are left scrambling when the music stops. That means more room for everyone, and less bidding-up of prices. 

I'd expect townhouses or apartments in Mt Vic to be high-end, given the land prices. There I'd agree with Young. But the people moving into them are then putting less pressure on other existing properties. They're freeing up other chairs in Wellington's horrible game of musical chairs, where we currently wind up with too many people crowded onto cracked, broken, moldy seats. 

Anything that enables adding chairs helps. 

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