Meet 29 Richest countries in the world

Twice a year the IMF releases a huge dump of data about the economic power of the world’s nations, with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita a key statistic. The IMF ranks the world’s countries according to their GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita.

The PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries to compare living standards among the different nations.

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The small countries that dominate the top ten all have small populations compared to countries that lead the world purely in terms of GDP – such as the United States, China, or Germany.

Most of these small nations heavily depend on immigrant workers who often do not reside in the country they are working in or are not granted resident status, and are therefore not counted in the GDP per capita calculations.

We’ve included all the countries with a GDP per capita higher than $45,000 per year. Check them out below.

29. France — $45,473

Pexels /

28. United Kingdom — $45,565

Ian Wilson/Flickr

27. Oman — $45,723

26. Finland — $46,342

The Northern Lights over Kuopio, Finland.
Unsplash/Niilo Isotalo

25. Belgium — $48,258

Brussels, Belgium
Pixabay / Walkerssk – CC0

24. Canada — $49,775

Jeff Vinnick/Getty Image

23. Bahrain — $50,102


22. Denmark — $51,643

People biking along the lakes in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kristoffer Trolle/Flickr

21. Austria — $51,936


20. Australia — $52,190

Wikimedia Commons – CC2

19. Taiwan — $52,304

Sean Pavone / iStock

18. Germany — $52,801

Getty Images

17. Sweden — $53,077

Fans of Sweden ahead of the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Sweden and France at Friends Arena on June 9, 2017 in Solna, Sweden.
Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

16. Iceland — $54,121

Wow Air

15. Saudi Arabia — $55,859


14. Netherlands — $56,435

Pixabay / kirkandmimi – CC0

13. San Marino — $61,169

12. United States of America — $62,152

Flickr / Zach Dischner

11. Switzerland — $63,379

Getty Images

10. Hong Kong — $64,533

A cityscape of Hong Kong is see from the Peak on August 8, 2000, moments after sunset.
Bobby Yip/Reuters

9. Kuwait — $66,673


8. United Arab Emirates — $68,662

An aerial view taken from a sea plane shows Swiss pilot and original Jetman Yves Rossy and Vince Reffett flying over Dubai’s Palm Island, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Lara Sukhtian

7. Norway — $74,065

Norway’s team supporters hold a giant national flag during their 2012 IIHF men’s ice hockey World Championship game with Latvia in Stockholm May 12, 2012.

6. Brunei — $79,726

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Brunei.

5. Ireland — $79,924

Pixabay / mailgres- CC0

4. Singapore — $98,014

Singapore’s port.
Wikimedia Commons

3. Luxembourg — $110,870

Will Martin/Business Insider

2. Macau — $122,489

Unsplash/Healthycliff Syndor

1. Qatar — $128,702

A traditional dhow floats at the Corniche Bay area as tall buildings of the financial district provide a back drop, a day ahead of the start of AFC Asian Cup soccer tournament in Doha, Qatar, Thursday Jan. 6, 2011.
source: AP Photo/Saurabh Das

Election: Corp members get N35,000 each as election duty allowances says NYSC

The National Youth Service Corps on Wednesday revealed that each corps member deployed as ad hoc staff for the 2019 general elections will be paid N35,000.

It also said that no fewer than 17,000 corps members had been confirmed as ad hoc staff for the elections in Ogun State.

The Ogun NYSC State Coordinator, Mrs. Josephine Bakare, disclosed this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abeokuta at a sensitisation programme for corps members.

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Bakare also confirmed that each corps member participating in the election would receive a total of N35,000 as duty allowances for the February 16 and March 2 elections.

She also assured corps members that adequate provision for welfare and accommodation had been made with the NYSC Local Government Inspectors, which they could access.

Bakare, however, appealed to pregnant corps members to refrain from participating in the exercise for their safety and those of their unborn babies.

Also speaking, Mrs. Franca Olaleye, the NYSC Assistant Director of Human Resource Management, who represented the Director-General, Maj.-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, urged corps members to be diligent.

“You must give your best representation and fly the NYSC flag aloft.

“Patriotism, discipline and commitment must be your watch word as you engrave your names in gold in the history of the elections, making it not only peaceful but also successful.

“This assignment is very sensitive and as such no one of you must be caught displaying partisanship or collecting graft or inducement from anyone.

“If you are caught in any incriminating or irresponsible act, you will be apprehended and prosecuted accordingly,” Kazaure said.

Kazaure further urged corps members to be on the lookout for miscreants who disguise as corps members to perpetrate mischief.

“You must be vigilant and report anyone who is seen in very newly sown uniform. If the person is authentic, they must be able to identify themselves appropriately.

“Ogun State is fully prepared to secure your lives,” he said.

Security representatives from the army, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, who sensitised corps members on safety awareness measures, also provided them with distress call centre numbers.

Some given numbers are 08139880080, 09092989929 and 07052374757.

Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors, Valuers, call for robust housing agenda for incoming administration

Following the escalating housing challenges faced in Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, has called on the political class to set up a robust agenda for housing delivery in the country for the new administration.

Addressing a press conference Saturday in Asaba, President and Chairman, National Council, Sir Rowland Enyinna Abonta, said there should be needs assessment derived from an organized housing survey across the nation with a view to determining the exact housing needs of the people in the country in various states and regions, “this is a key requirement for addressing the current challenges and planning for future housing delivery”, warning that the politics of housing must stop in view of the vital role of housing to healthy living.

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According to him, “let the nation stop the ad hoc and arbitrary approaches to solving housing problems as this have not helped us as a nation. Housing management should be re-organized with proper institutional framework that cuts across all levels of government, local and federal”.

He advocated for a total overhaul of the Nigerian mortgage system which should be driven by the private sector with full government support in terms of policy and regulatory functions, “accelerated land titling program for all states of the federation that will release plots with value for the housing sector. Deliberate program of government at all levels for provision of infrastructure and layout for housing development.

While calling for special attention to be paid to the provision of social housing for the less privileged and vulnerable people in all states of the nation, he lamented that the wisdom in the requirement of all public officers, including civil servants to declare their assets on resumption and exit from office is being compromised and defeated by the implementation of that policy.

He tasked present and future governments to allow estate surveyors and valuers play their roles in declaration of assets by public officer to stop corruption and the embarrassment the nation is facing today in this area, “I am also calling for immediate creation of the Directorate of Valuation in the Code of Conduct Bureau where professional estate surveyors and valuers will be engaged to provide the needed services”, he added.

Source: The Nigerian Voice

Is it time to allow foreign lenders into the UAE mortgage market?

Foreign mortgage lenders are not currently allowed to do business in the UAE. Well not if they are not fully established as a lender or a bank with the central bank.

But what if they were allowed to lend if they registered as a representative office or branch and the UAE Central Bank accepted their home country regulation, policies, paperwork, and standardisations?

There have been so many innovative moves to boost the local housing market recently that this question surely deserves serious consideration. We are down 30-40 per cent in some sectors since mid-2015, and we may drop another 5-10 per cent in some sectors before we hit bottom over the coming two quarters.

If the UAE mortgage market were to be opened up to foreign lenders it would certainly have an impact, offering more options for investors and thus bringing more investors into the market.

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A declining market is when investors normally see increased demand for equity release and liquidity.

In Dubai, you cannot attach a loan on the title deed as a bank if you are not a Central Bank-regulated entity, meaning foreign lenders cannot achieve their security and cannot enforce on it in the event of default. This means that foreign lenders either cannot lend or do not lend under normal circumstances.

The UAE is ripe for property investment, with thriving industries and large expat communities. But high deposit rates and restrictions on lending are holding it back. Opening the door to foreign lending could be the catalyst to a major boost for the UAE property market and for the Emirates as a whole.

If so what would happen?

1. A boost for buy-to-let or equity release

With lenders requiring deposits of 30 per cent to 50 per cent for investment properties and equity release, it’s no surprise that the buy-to-let market hasn’t been as buoyant in recent years as we would have liked. In a country with a high demand for rental properties, and solid returns of 6-8 per cent on buy-to-let mortgages, this represents a big opportunity that is being missed.

Lenders from countries with more mature buy-to-let property markets will be quick to capitalise on this opportunity, introducing products and processes that make property investment viable for a larger proportion of the UAE population.

Moreover, they will attract new investors from outside the UAE, who will be aware of the potential of the market, and that will bring more capital into the country and keep the market competitive. And this will fit with the 10X programme too.

If it happens, it will boost buy-to-let and equity release markets

You are likely to find that the approval process is quicker so the factors that may have been holding you back will no longer stand in your way. But I am dreaming at this stage. It would release a lot of equity back into the economy and drive up demand for studios and one-bedrooms in prime areas, like Dubai Marina, JLT, Discovery Gardens, Downtown, and JVC.

2. Potentially more competitive interest rates

Opening up any sort of market makes it more competitive and forces lenders to review their charges. UAE interest rates for loans that the end user pays are normally around 4-8 per cent depending on what bank you deal with and the terms and risk associated with it.

Expanding the market to include international mortgage lenders on buy-to-let and equity release would heighten the competition in the region, which will not bring down fees for the cheaper loans, but would impact other costs. And the mid-rate loans of 5-8 per cent will become quicker, and most cost effective with more competition, and items like exit and early repayment penalties will become a thing of the past.

What could competitive interest rates do for you?

The presence of foreign lenders in the market will have a stabilising effect on interest rates, making your investment more reliable and attractive. Lower interest rates will encourage more foreign investment, which will boost the economy and in turn drive the property market, giving you an even better return on your investment.

3. Foreign lenders means foreign investors

Investing in property involves big financial decisions and, therefore, trust in your lender is essential. The introduction of foreign lenders in the UAE will be welcomed by expats wanting to invest in the local property market, for whom the assurance of being able to borrow from a bank they already use could be the spark they’ve wanted, plus many of these banks will look at tie-ups with local banks bringing and spreading the business.

Research by UK price comparison website has shown that 25 per cent of adults under 35 still use the bank they’ve been using since childhood, and 27 per cent of them say they haven’t switched because they think it will be a hassle.

Meanwhile, a report in the USA suggests that loyalty to banks is at an all-time high, with around 80 per cent of customers confirming that they trust their bank to act ethically, to do the right thing, and to act in the customers’ best interests. A more flexible approach to foreign lenders and foreign lenders tying up in a way that does not increase the cost of the loans with local banks will be beneficial for all.

Expecting British, American and other expats to buck this trend and invest in property in a foreign country with a lender they have never used before is asking a lot. Giving them the option to borrow from their regular lender, however, could make all the difference, instilling confidence in place of the fear of the unknown. The same principle will also stimulate further foreign investment into the UAE property market and again fit with the UAE’s 10X programme.

Why is working with a familiar bank so attractive?

The option to take out a mortgage with ‘the bank you bank with back home’ will make the whole process seem a lot more straightforward and should give you the assurance you need. After all, investing in property is a major transaction, which nobody enters into lightly. Familiarity and trust will help you to find the confidence required to invest in what is a very attractive proposition.

Good for you and the UAE

More investors will mean more capital for more property development, which will mean more opportunities for more investors. Especially with the market starting to bottom out in some areas, the released equity will definitely be welcome in the country.

All the UAE needs to kick-start this virtuous circle is a catalyst. We’ve seen some groundbreaking moves by the government to boost the property market after a difficult slump in recent years, from the introduction of an extended 10-year residency visa to the Dubai Land Department’s new ‘Real Estate Self Transaction’ (REST) online system.

The sector is evolving in exciting ways and the future is looking brighter than ever for investment. But we need more.

Allowing foreign lenders into the UAE mortgage market could be that catalyst. It would certainly be a bold move but there are plenty of case studies elsewhere in the world to show that opening up your mortgage market to foreign lenders can work very well indeed. What’s more, including the new peer-to-peer lenders in this bracket would be even bolder.

Companies like Lending Tree and Landbay, for example, would bring a lot of liquid into the UAE property market if this were to happen. I believe it would benefit both the UAE property market and the UAE as a whole. And for anyone looking to invest, it’s certainly a development to keep an eye on.


Building smart cities needs more than just technology

There are questions to be answered on building smart cities: how should people be housed?How should they travel? How should waste product be managed?

Answering these questions is no easy matter, as the sustainable future of the planet relies on establishing good solutions to them all. The modern city faces a number of incredible challenges, such as experiencing population growth at a remarkable rate.

Cities are symbols of empowerment, bringing people together to work, socialise, learn and live. For some time, many have talked about the potential for cities to further galvanise their inhabitants by becoming smarter, more efficient and more sustainable.

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Across the world, we’re seeing this discussion start to materialise; with projects that are beginning to realise the true promise of what a smart city is and how it can improve our lives as citizens.

Aside from technology, what else is necessary for a smart city?

Such projects go far beyond simply providing connectivity for all or offering access to information on public services, such as transport. Smart city initiatives are digitally transforming public services, completely altering the way in which the built environment is constructed and managed and the way in which we interact and live within these environments.

However, the smart city as a holistic vision is about more than just technology. Smart cities are about thinking smarter too, with the objective that they need to solve human problems. Smart cities need to solve problems like how to improve roads networks and transport infrastructure, or how we design and use our public spaces to make them more liveable and contemporary whilst integrating technology as opposed to laying it on top.

Whilst large technology companies typically grab the headlines when it comes to smart cities, the fact is that it requires much more than technological know-how to successfully design and execute a smart city initiative.

For example, one of the biggest issues smart city design must tackle is the heat island effect that is warming our cities. A result of the Sun’s radiation being trapped by urbanised environments, the heat island effect can have a significant impact not only on temperature but also pollution levels, unusual weather patterns and human health.

In combatting this effect, the built environment is implementing new approaches such as the adoption of new materials – such as heat reflective roofs and road surfaces – or the increase of green spaces and particularly the number of trees.

The Smart London Plan, which was announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan at the beginning of London Tech Week 2018, is a great example of a proposal that recognises the need for engineering expertise. The plan references the need for collaboration between the worlds of technology and engineering, calling for a new generation of smart infrastructure through major combined procurements.

What are the challenges in constructing smart cities?

One of the most important challenges faced when it comes to constructing smart cities is doing so in a sustainable way. Non-governmental organisation Circle Economy recently launched The Circularity Gap Report 2019, that pointed to the fact that we only re-use nine per cent of global resources. Closing this gap would have a serious and lasting effect on our impact on the environment but doing so requires much more than cutting edge technology.

It requires a wholesale change in the way we think about designing and building new infrastructure, challenges that those in the built environment are accustomed to tackling.

There are roadblocks when it comes to coordinating smart city projects too. Consultancy Bloomberg Associates advocates for cities to follow the lead of London, New York and others to instate Chief Digital Officers that can manage and direct smart city projects. Whilst undoubtedly a great asset to those that have the resources, given the current public finance environment for local authorities it’s an asset that few can afford.

Here, city planners and local authorities should look to those in the built environment to provide guidance. Seeking out those that understand the marriage of engineering and technology can help local authorities fill the Chief Digital Officer skills gap, allowing them to take advantage of the benefits of logistical, planning, design and build expertise, without having to add it to their payroll.

Building cities that can cope with the rapid urbanisation that they are experiencing requires ambitious planning and innovative action. Problems such as waste management, urban heat islands, air quality and adopting a cyclical economy approach to resource management are not technology problems, they’re engineering problems. Whilst not all local authorities may be able to afford the luxury of a Chief Digital Officer, that needn’t hold back their planning or ambition.

By employing the experience of those who understand the marriage of technology and engineering skills, they can be well placed to turn precious public finances ineffective smart city initiatives that benefit local citizens and empower businesses to become more successful and sustainable.

Only when more smart city initiatives recognise these demands will we begin to create urban environments that will be resilient – to both current and future environmental and social change.


Construction workers back Wike’s re-election

Construction workers on Sunday declared their unflinching support for  the re-election of Rivers state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

This was as Wike assured them at the Fruit Garden Market that his administration will deliver the market next month.

Addressing the traders after inspecting the ongoing construction of the burnt Fruit Garden Market on Saturday, Governor Wike said work will be sustained because he wanted the traders to operate in a conducive environment

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According to a statement issued by the special assistant to the Rivers state governor, [Electronic Media], Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor thanked the traders for their support, saying that he would always live up to their expectations.

He said that he ran a promise-keeping administration that caters for all sections of the state.

Governor Wike charged the traders to use their permanent voters’ cards to re-elect him and vote for other PDP candidates in order for his administration to deliver more dividends of democracy.

The traders who trooped out in their numbers to welcome him sang his praises and assured him of their votes.

He took out time to make purchases at the Fruit Garden Market.

Also, on Saturday, the governor inspected the concluding construction works at the Judges Quarters in Port Harcourt. The construction workers, on sighting the governor, broke into singing and dancing, declaring their support for his re-election.

FG to expand N-Power by 500,000 – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday disclosed that the Federal Government would expand and strengthen the N-Power by increasing its beneficiaries from 500,000 to one million.

Osinbajo disclosed this at a town hall meeting organised by the sons and daughters of Remoland at Akarigbo Palace in Sagamu, Ogun State.

The VP added that the FG has been  able to stem the tide of employment with the provision of “Tradermoni” and “Marketmoni” through the “N-Power” scheme.

He also said that all traders from Remoland, in Ogun East district, have been enumerated and captured electronically through the “Marketmoni”.

“Let us key into federal government programmes when they are available”, he said.

While responding to the questions from the audience, Osinbajo noted that though the federal government has played its own part in bringing development to Remoland through the provision of an enabling environment.

He said the responsibility of establishing a cargo airport rests squarely on the state government.

Osinbajo said: “We have federal government’s presence here in Remoland and we can still do more.

“We are already constructing the Ikorodu/Sagamu road. It is an important road and the contract for it was awarded six months ago.

“And when it is completed, it would help to ease traffic from Ikorodu to Sagamu and also from Sagamu to Ikorodu.

“Also, I have good news for you, that you will have a passport office in Remoland and there would not be any need to go to either Lagos or Abeokuta (Ogun state) or Abuja to get international passports.

“We are already paying attention to ecological funds and one of the projects is ongoing in Ikenne.”

Property Developer Sue Namibian Govt Over Empty Houses

A dispute over 360 unoccupied houses and apartments completed under the government’s mass housing programme in Windhoek is now before the High Court. The units were primarily completed in 2016, but not handed over because of a stand-off over who should install services such as water and electricity.

Windhoek’s N$350 million mass housing project was awarded to a company called CalgroKuumba, which is owned by businessman Titus Nakuumba and his South African partners, Calgro.

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The joint venture was initially awarded the contract to build over 1 000 houses in the Otjomuise suburb in Windhoek, but the number was cut to 360 after president Hage Geingob halted the housing project. On the face of it, the mixed housing development – apartments and stand-alone houses – appears complete, with houses ready for occupation.

But behind the closed doors are homes that lack services such as water and electricity, which has since 2016 delayed the handing over of the houses in a city where many need decent accommodation.

Naakumba’s company, CalgroKuumba, is now dragging the government to court over a dispute on who should install these services. CalgroKuumba is suing the government and the urban development ministry as the first and second respondents, respectively.

Court documents filed at the High Court on 23 October 2018 show that CalgroKuumba is demanding around N$12 million from the government.

CalgroKuumba explained in the court papers about a meeting on 8 February 2016 attended by Nakuumba, former urban development minister Sophia Shaningwa and her permanent secretary (now executive director), Nghidinua Daniel.

An agreement signed at that meeting stated that the construction of the houses was supposed to have been done within a year.”Essential sewerage, electricity and water services and service connections do not form part of the building contract or scope of work,” CalgroKuumba’s particulars of claim said.

According to the company, the contract had to be reviewed to include services such as sewerage, electricity and water connections.This was supposed to be done through a variation order, a process of amending a construction agreement.

CalgroKuumba accused the government of failing to issue the variation order, and made it difficult for them to complete the project.The lack of action from the government and its representative resulted in CalgroKuumba suffering financial losses, the company said in its court papers.

The company is asking the court to compel the government to pay it around N$12 million, including 20% interest per year.A report compiled by the Office of the Attorney General explains why the government was playing hard to get in paying Naakumba’s company.

The report details a meeting held in April 2017 between former attorney general Sacky Shanghala, Shaningwa, Daniel and other officials.Minutes of that meeting showed that one of the main bones of contention between Naakumba’s firm and the government is the payment of professional fees.


Canada’s vast pension fund is sticking with China even as political tensions mount

Investment strategies involving China are coming under scrutiny amid political and security-related conflicts between Beijing and major Western economies, as well as a predicted growth slowdown for the world’s second-largest economy.

But Canada’s massive pension fund, among the world’s top 10 in terms of size, is sticking to plans to expand its holdings there.

Mark Machin, president and chief executive of Canada’s Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), sees the country’s potential to diversify his portfolio as outweighing any shorter-term economic setbacks.

“China is today the second-largest economy in the world, the second-largest equity market in the world, the third-largest bond market in world, and we have the ability to diversify into it,” he told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“So it’s more of a diversification call than a market call for the next few weeks or months … It’s much longer-term and it’s about diversification.”

China’s growth outlook has been dampened by weakened domestic demand and the trade war with Washington that’s hit exports. A recent Reuters poll found that the country’s growth is expected to slow to 6.3 percent this year from an expected 6.6 percent in 2018, which would be the lowest in 29 years. That figure was 6.9 percent in 2017.

The CPPIB, with $280 billion in assets under management as of last summer, plans to more than double its assets allocated to China by 2025 from a current 7.6 percent of its portfolio to up to 20 percent, it announced last August.

Huawei controversies

Machin admitted to the rising difficulties brought about by tensions between the U.S. and China that have spilled over to Canada. In December, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of the U.S., as Washington pursues the executive’s extradition on charges of fraud and sanctions evasion. Since then, 13 Canadian nationals have been detained in China, authorities in Ottawa said at the start of January.

Canada is also weighing banning Huawei equipment from use in the rollout of Canada’s 5G next-generation wireless network on the basis of national security concerns, which Huawei denies. For Machin, these disputes — but in particular the U.S.-China trade spat — are not helpful.

“One of the things we’re seeing is not just the first-order impact of that tension but the second, third, fourth order and it’s rippling through the world and everything is slowing down now,” Machin lamented.

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its global growth forecast to the slowest pace in three years, citing slowdowns in Europe but highlighting the trade war and uncertainty over Brexit. The IMF’s World Economic Outlook lowered growth estimates for 2019 by 0.2 percent to 3.5 percent, the second downward revision in three months.

“It’s not helpful to have these tensions going on and I hope they are quickly resolved and we go on with normal trade relations, normal investment relations,” Machin said.

Source: Natasha Turak

NEW Zealand Government needs to act quickly to fix housing market

The housing market in New Zealand is becoming less affordable across the whole country.

A housing affordability study by Demographia International shows unaffordable housing is spreading to smaller centres in New Zealand.

It is the second most unaffordable housing market in the world.

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Co-author Hugh Pavletich told Mike Yardley housing needs to cost about three-times the household income.

However, more New Zealand centres are reaching median prices more than six times the household income.

Pavletich says unaffordable housing creates all sorts of problems, and access to it is a human right.

“It’s been just progressively getting worse.”

He says that it will likely come as a shock to the Labour Government to see the extent of the crisis.

Pavletich says that Australia prices are becoming more affordable, which he expects will force the Ardern Government to do more on the issue.

“I was very disappointed with their performance in 2018 when we were expecting them to be very active in dealing with these structural issues.”

He says that KiwiBuild needs to be revamped rather than scrapped, but that the Government can’t carry on down the current path.

Pavletich says that the smaller centres are becoming “absolutely overwhelmed”.

“For a place like Dunedin to be sitting at six times the household income is just absurd”.

He says both Tauranga and Auckland need to get on with fixing their land supply issues and infrastructure financing, both problems they’ve known about for years.

“Local council is where it should be solved, because these are all local issues, so it’s about time all the playtime planning stopped and they got on and actually sorted the problem.”

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