Inter-generational warfare seems to have broken out over the past week.
BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander got into hot water when he put out a column saying that young people could get into the housing market if they were willing to do some of the things baby boomers did - renovate "dungers", spend less money on frappes and muffins and cut out feng shui experts and gardeners.
He said baby boomers had had a hard time of it, too, with 20 per cent interest rates for a time.
This sparked an outcry from young people faced with at least a half-a-million-dollar mortgage to get into a property in many parts of the country.
It seems to me that this sort of us versus them conversation is not helpful.
The world has moved on significantly from the time when the baby boomers bought.
The price of some things has plummeted in real terms - think all the consumer items you have in your house - so talking about how "we always had second-hand furniture" is not a great comparison.
Young people now might not be paying double-digit interest rates but they are saving while trying to pay off student debt and manage large rent bills.
Instead of young people pointing their fingers at their parents, or the boomers shaking their heads at the profligate youngsters, we should look for solutions.
Our cities need to be able to grow to provide adequate housing for everyone who wants to live in them.
There needs to be a lot less red tape to enable that to happen. We need to encourage more skilled tradespeople into the industry to help cater for the demand for houses - with a long term view on how to utilise those skills.
We should enable rather than put up hurdles when people come up with safe, cheap building alternatives.
The world is changing and our rules must change to keep pace with it.
- Jeremy Tauri is an associate at Plus Chartered Accountants
By Jeremy Tauri
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