Ten years on, there are plenty of housing solutions. The year is 2026 and New Zealand is still not in a housing crisis. Despite the fact that the average house price in Auckland has risen to $2 million and three healthy internal organs, everything is fine here, according to experts. BY JEREMY ELWOOD.
The mayor of Auckland spoke via the intercom in the newly-built gates to the city on State Highway One, just north of Huntly, saying that the dream of owning your own home in the city was still very much alive, although it was about time people reassessed what they really meant by “owning”, “your”, “own” and “home” to reflect our changing times.
He pointed to the three new multi-storeyed car stacker garage complexes recently completed in Epsom as a perfect example of the creation of spaces where families could live in the style they’ve become accustomed to, but this time with an elevated view.
The prime minister – speaking from Hawaii, where he has lived ever since the commute from there to Wellington became more affordable than a mortgage in the capital – maintained that although homelessness had crept over the 35 percent mark, there is still absolutely nothing to worry about.
“Look, the market goes through these times of boom and bust, and we’re just nearing the peak of what has been, admittedly, a very long boom.
“Also, if you constantly insist on defining homeless as ‘not having anywhere to live’ then obviously the statistics will be grossly inflated.”
The minister for housing pulled over the government limousine she has called home for the past four years long enough to agree, stating definitively there is no issue, and overseas investors were definitely not a problem.
This is despite the recent sale of the Beehive to a consortium from New York that is planning to knock it down to build a shopping centre.
In other major North Island centres, such as Ngaruawahia and Gisborne, the government-funded relocation incentive schemes continue to bear fruit.
The $5000 grant to move to these areas now covers almost an entire month’s rent, according to some sources, allowing a temporary relief from the stress of big city living.
Real estate agents agree. A spokesman for the Real Estate Agent Association, on the phone from Panama where he was checking in on their offshore holdings, said that whilst commissions had slipped from their 2020 highs, many of the agents he had spoken to had simply sold off a private island or two to cover the downturn.
The future looked brighter, though, with the opening up of several thousand new acres of previously uninhabited national parklands in the South Island to residential development.
Although the profits from these stood “a snowball’s chance in hell” of staying in New Zealand, he felt comfortable that at least a few of the owners would reside here, eventually.
More urban properties were coming online as well, as the aging population begins to die off, opening up plenty of opportunities for first-, or more realistically third-time, home buyers.
Plus, when Christchurch’s rebuild is finally completed, there’s still a chance that at least part of the city will be zoned for houses.
The overall message to New Zealanders is to stay calm and remember we live in the most beautiful country on earth – quite literally, as our rural campsites and freedom camping locations are now full to the brim with permanent residents.
The idea of a half-acre pavlova paradise may be long gone, but the fact that we can breathe fresh air whilst we sleep under the stars is still something of which we can be proud.
This article was first published in the July 2016 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.