Across the Ditch: Headlines + Housing Crisis Deepens + Film About Richie McCaw

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Across the Ditch: Australian radio FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and EveningReport’s Selwyn Manning deliver this week’s Across the Ditch bulletin and discuss the following issues:

* Weather
* Headlines roundup

Item One:
HOUSING CRISIS CONTINUES – Kiwi Buyers Locked Out of Market

The National-led Government is trying to satisfy widespread public dissatisfaction over its handling of New Zealand’s housing crisis.

The crisis has multiple fronts, primarily an over blown residential housing market with median prices inching toward $1million in Auckland with prices rising around $10,000 each month, and record numbers of homeless people sleeping rough in cars, tents, shacks and in overcrowded homes.

On one front, the forever increasing cost of housing is locking first home Kiwi buyers out of owning a house or apartment. On the other front, homelessness and overcrowding has led to a worsening social decay and a deterioration in the country’s health status.

The public mood on this issue is dire and blame is being levelled at the Nationals for sitting on their collective political hands.

That considered, the Government remains preoccupied with increasing housing supply, while ignoring the compounding demand pressures caused by foreign buyers. Rather, the Government has announced a $1 billion fund to help councils pay for new infrastructure development so more new houses can be built. While this is a positive move, it is hardly the full solution.

Also announced this week is the Government’s intention to take Crown Land off Auckland District Health Board and turn the land into residential sections marked for new houses.

On the demand side, the Nationals are preparing to make it harder for Kiwis to get a mortgage, New measures being considered will exclude Kiwi home buyers with a new ‘debt-to-income’ limit for borrowers. This is on top of the loan-to-value-ratio which is already set at 30/70.

Investors and foreign buyers generally are in an appreciating free-for-all residential market, and New Zealand is experiencing record levels of immigration.

Meanwhile: Prime Minister John Key will visit the United Kingdom and Europe next week for a series of bilateral meetings and to attend Bastille Day commemorations, before leading a high level business delegation to Indonesia.
In his first visit to Italy, Mr Key will meet with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Rome before heading to Paris where he will meet with French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Item Two:
FEATURE FILM DOCO ON RICHIE MCCAW

Just when you thought you had heard everything about the All Blacks, a documentary film is being prepared for release about the Rugby World Cup winning All Black captain Richie McCaw.

The film will be released in cinemas in September and is titled: Chasing Great.

Apparently the film makers have followed the former Al Black for some time, and promises inside info and footage, including interviews with his family, his partner, and eye witness footage of his every day life.

Since leading the All Blacks to win two successive World Cups, Richie McCaw has been honoured with a title, and generally considered up there with the late Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first person to stand atop Mount Everest.

Across the Ditch broadcasts live on Australia’s FiveAA.com.au and webcasts on EveningReport.nz LiveNews.co.nz and ForeignAffairs.co.nz.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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