NZ Government's fingers in the wrong pie | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

NZ Government's fingers in the wrong pie

This week the big news has been an inescapable revelation that a hands-off approach to foreign investment in our residential property market has had the predictable result of amplifying inequality.

In this case, the wealthy of Auckland are able to sell their properties to the wealthy of other countries - a cycle that has inevitably locked people in the largely low-wage New Zealand economy right out of the picture.

For those of us who believe one of the Government's primary roles is to ensure its citizens are able to access reasonably priced, warm and safe housing, this has been a monumental fail. But the evidence has been there all along, although rather less visible. State housing is now the focal point of a brand new experimental process that may or may not manage to house the most needy in the city. Meanwhile, some live in garages and mobile lockers with little to no heating.

Eventually an approach that sees Government try to exit core services is bound to start to affect the "middle class" as well; in doing so, it might finally prompt this Government to change tack.

But as the housing furore has continued to unfold, an example of problematic state intervention of the opposite sort is taking place in Wellington, where journalist Nicky Hager is seeking to have an unprecedented, 10-hour police raid on his home in Wellington made the subject of a judicial review.

He's committed no offence, and yet, because police determined he knew the identity of someone who had, his home was extensively searched and his highly sensitive work tools removed - something that should require precise justification, but didn't. To quote Hager's legal counsel, "this is as clear and unambiguous a case of an illegal search as is ever likely to come before the courts".

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