60 Secs: Will the Kiwis show the way?



60 Seconds: Will the Kiwis show the way?


We have to be thankful to New Zealand for so much…There’s Anchor butter, copious amounts of lamb and of course, lessons in rugby. But now there may be something new: housing policy.

Legislation is being drafted to stop foreigners buying property by the new Labour (centre left) minority administration which was elected in October last year, replacing the National Party (centre right) who had been in power for the previous nine years.

Like the UK, NZ has a housing crisis. Some 40,000 people or 1% of the population, are living on the streets or in emergency accommodation.

Property prices have increased by more than 50% per cent over the past decade, almost mirroring the situation in London, although the rest of the UK – outside the South East – has seem much more moderate rises of around 10%.

f7ab61b5-cbb0-472f-8f92-c3251b9376f3So the big question: will it work?

Only 3.8% of NZ property is owned by foreigners. But the impending legislation has led to a massive spike of almost 20% in house prices in November as non-nationals piled in.

So would this ban work in the UK?

Anecdotally, foreign buyers tend to hit on London. Your Russian Oligarch, Chinese Mandarin or Indian Maharishi is probably more interested in Mayfair than Macclesfield (not there is anything wrong with that fine town).

As the New Zealanders have found, any form of legislation will lead to a short-term spike which can undo much of the long-term gain. (Those of you of a certain age will remember Nigel’s Lawson abolition of double MIRAS (Mortgage Interest Relief At Source, since you ask) in 1988, which led to a massive housing crash).

And New Zealand has something else in common with the UK. A revolving door of housing ministers and a continuous re-branding of the department. Here we have had 17 Housing Ministers in 18 years. And they also have a minority government.

Let’s wish Dominic Raab, the new Housing Minister, the very best for a long and successful tenure in his new post.

After all, if the government is serious about solving the ‘housing crisis’, continuity is vital.

Have a good weekend.


This week at Curtin&Co

This week our consultant Jack Austin, played a charitable football match against the UK Parliamentary Football Club on behalf of the Holocaust Educational Trust to raise awareness for the International Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January 2018. Despite his 2-1 victory, Austin later told us his “heart still lies with the politics of planning”. Phew!

The week ahead

House that for pointless re-branding
“New” housing agency to boost housebuilding

Britain Thinks housing is big issue
The Year Ahead: The nation’s mood in 2018

Take a hike
Corbyn Ally Chris Williamson Quits Labour Frontbench Days After Calling For Council Tax Hike

Manmade Nature 
Wildlife Trusts calls for new housing ‘to restore nature’

Theresa’s to-and-fro
Contradictions between Gov’s environmental and housing strategy

And Finally…

Gone in 27 Seconds

Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288