Grant Robertson announced a policy to introduce a rent freeze in Christchurch when he was down early in the week. So who do the Press go to to get an opinion? Those even handed, unbiased bank economists, of course.

Christchurch economist Robin Clements of UBS bank said Robertson’s plan was “not a wise idea”, saying it did not work when tried last time. “How is reducing investors’ returns and driving them out going to help the market?

Investors returns? Ah, of course. Silly me. I forgot that these needed to be prioritised over and above the health and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens. Robertson wasn’t actually proposing to cut people’s rents, just to freeze them at the levels they’re at. Investors will still be able to take out the returns that they’ve been able to gouge from the market, with increases of at least 10% a year in rent in the three years since the quakes.

No, this proposal won’t help the market. It’s designed to do the opposite of helping the market. Because in Christchurch, the hands-of, free-market has failed the people who are most in need. This isn’t the perfect solution – but it’s a complex situation, and there probably isn’t a perfect solution. But don’t be surprised that it’s not going to help the market, because it’s far more important than that. It’s designed to help the people

Advertisements