Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Computerworld Interview

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to a Computerworld journalist on the phone. The resulting articles have now been published.

These articles are pretty faithful to what I said. Great!


Rob, on the issue you mention of attracting talent to NZ, I think another constraint is the cost of housing there relative to incomes. My 3 bed, 2.5 bath, double garage, split level home on roughly 1/5 acre in a nice Chicago suburb close to good schools is worth (guessing a little) about 250k and my mortgage rate is under 3%. Before the slump it was 330k. I'd love to move back, maybe will one day, but it's pretty hard to justify under current market conditions and zoning policies.
I think that's specifically an Auckland problem. The rest of the country doesn't suffer from inflated housing prices nearly as much.
The problem is certainly most acute in Auckland - and that's significant in the context of the article, since as you point out concentration of talent is important in order to attract talent. But I think it's a mistake to assume that this is just an Auckland issue. For NZ as a whole, the median house price in September was 350k (http://bit.ly/rr846S) - around US273k, while in the US, the Q3/2011 median single family house price was US170k (http://bit.ly/tSnJa1). That's a pretty big difference - and that's before you start thinking about relative incomes and interest rates, both of which also work against attracting people to NZ.