You gotta love politics.
Think of the care, the anguish, the endless calculations, the budgeting, the fear, the heartache that the average household endures before determining to build a house.
Politics dodges that.
You just announce it. No care. No anguish. No calculations. No budgeting.
And not one house. One hundred thousand houses.
Why limit yourself? The people are wanting something bold.
So make it big. Leadership demands big. A thousand houses wouldn’t cut it.
Where else can you pull that off? And be lauded for finally “doing something” about “housing affordability”.
In business you would be dismissed as a quack and jailed for fraud. That’s why politics is so wonderful. It turns the world upside down.
Newspaper editorials have enthused over the policy.
These same editorials condemned finance companies for their recklessness.
The 100,000 house policy makes the finance companies appear paragons of transparency, analysis and proper budgeting.
The 100,000 houses policy hasn’t even heeded the precepts of Policy 101.
There is no “what’s the problem we’re trying to fix?” “What are the options?” “What are the costs?”
Nope. It was politics.
“The boss needs a big one. His political life is hanging the balance. So, too, are our jobs. Needs a vision. Big picture. Something that gets the grumpies on their feet clapping. And puts Cunliffe in his place.”
“I know – houses. Lots of them. A big, round number. 100,000!"
It needs branding. It needs a name.
“I know. Call it Kiwibuild. Like Kiwibank, KiwiSaver, Kiwi Rail. Get it?”
It was done.
And they rose to their feet. And they clapped. And David Cunliffe was banished.
That’s how politicians get to spend $30 billion. And house 100,000 families whether they want it or not.
Where else do you get to do that? It’s a truly wonderful, heady thing.
Critics may try to pull you down by asking how it is you could build 200 cheap houses a week and quickly sell them to recoup the money to build another 200.
But such critics fail to appreciate the advantage politics confers. Politics makes the rules; politics doesn’t have to follow them.
The backers of the 100,000 houses policy don’t have to trouble themselves with a carefully worded prospectus that could land them in jail should the plan go pear-shaped. Nope.
They just have to announce it.
Politics has no need to attract investors. Inland Revenue works day in and day out fleecing citizens of their hard-earned cash precisely to fuel such grand projects, the very stuff and substance of politics.
There’s no problem with finance. There’s no awkward prospectus that has to be put together. Politics cuts through the financing problem that everyone else must confront.
There’s no need to cover costs. The government can give the houses away. And ballot them off.
Planning laws aren’t a problem. I have known developers who have seen governments rise and fall while they are still awaiting council consent for their modest subdivision.
Councils won’t detain politics. They can’t. Otherwise, the 100,000 houses are decades away.
So politics will legislate away the procedures and policies of the Resource Management Act. The justification is easy enough. The 100,000 house policy is an important development. It’s backed by the will of the people. It has to be done.
Again, where else but in politics could such a result be achieved? And who wouldn’t want to legislate the difficulties of our planning laws away?
As I say, you gotta love politics.
Of course, just because politics can do something, and can make it sound good, doesn’t make the policy a good idea.
Politics can make war sound a good idea, too. That doesn’t necessarily make it so.