Across the Ditch: NZ Housing Minister Looking More & More Out of Touch + All Blacks V Wales Looms

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In this week’s Across the Ditch bulletin Australia radio FiveAA.com.au‘s Peter Godfrey and EveningReport.nz‘s Selwyn Manning discuss how the National-led Government is looking more out of touch with the real impacts of a hot ballooning housing market.

Also discussed is sport with the All Blacks set to take on Wales in a three test series in New Zealand.

First up: Weather comparison and a Headlines roundup.

ITEM ONE

Politics: The National-led Government looks increasingly out of touch, especially over housing with its Housing Minister Nick Smith stating Wednesday that homes in Auckland are more affordable than they were when his party became the government in 2008.

Smith, who two weeks ago was interviewed on television standing in front of a roaring warm open fire, had insisted homeless people sleeping rough had options, even as winter descended on New Zealand.

This week, the Minister who once had to resign from Cabinet over inappropriately expediting a friend’s challenge for Accident compensation (a portfolio he was responsible for), told reporters: “In the debate around housing affordability, I do challenge people to not just look at house prices, but also look at interest rates that are at the lowest level for 50 years.”

“In 2008 you had interest rates of about 11 per cent, and now they’re 4 per cent. And that has a really strong impact on the capacity for people to be able to service mortgages.”

As the New Zealand Herald reported: Smith was citing a report by Massey University that scored housing affordability by comparing the average weekly earnings, with the median dwelling price, and the mortgage interest rate.

Auckland’s index in February 2008 was 38.73, compared to 33.8 in February 2016.

Smith conceded that some home owners were paying up to 100% of their wages toward their mortgages and that the market was not affordable for first home buyers. But he insisted the Auckland housing market is more affordable than it was when Labour was Government in 2008.

What Smith clearly doesn’t realise is people are not stupid, they weigh up what is affordable based on their disposable income. Auckland voters are also intolerant of a small town politician trying to tell them how things are for them in a big city. And it seems almost everyone is tired of this career politician attempting to score political points against his opposition in a pathetic beltway scrape.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11653048.

ITEM TWO:

Sport: All Blacks take on the touring Wales side in the first of a three test series beginning on Saturday at Eden Park in Auckland.

There is a mix of experience and new talent lined up to take on Wales. There is anticipation on who will lead the Haka as the teams square off on the field. And an uneasy excitement over whether the All Blacks will roll out a new style of play to challenge their northern hemisphere rivals.

While Wales are competitive and respected here in New Zealand, they have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953. Can they break that spell?

Across the Ditch broadcasts live weekly on 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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