Record-breaking exchange rate and housing market mean New Zealand has Australia by short and curlies.

It is hard to know what I am more excited about this week, our dollar or our houses. Records all over the place. But both signs of just how well we are doing.

Barfoot & Thompson, who sell the bulk of Auckland's homes, saw an average price of 776 grand. And in one of those lines with an appropriate amount of flourish, they said that "never had there been a March to compare" to the month just past.

I, like so many, am obsessed with housing, but unlike so many I have loved every bit of it. With the possible exception that young people are being locked out.

My wife told me of yet another person she knows, a young person, who just can't afford to buy here. So she and her partner have worked out it's cheaper back in the home town of Palmerston North, so they're off.


They won't be alone.

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Buying your first home where the average price is over $700,000 is a sobering experience and one made worse by the control freaks at the Reserve Bank who saw LVRs as some sort of pricing solution.

What fools they are being shown to be as investor after investor steps into the young couples' place at the auction and snaps up the fresh pickings. Mind you, having said that, a family friend the other day secured their first home for $335,000.

No it's not in Remuera or Parnell, and no, it doesn't have a lot of indoor-outdoor flow leading to any pool. But then again nor did my first house. But they are proof you can still do it if you want to ... just.

What the house prices represent is not dissimilar to what the dollar represents: success.

Success is the outworking of demand.

People want what you've got, they want the houses because they have decided to live here, or they feel confident enough to borrow more money because their jobs are going well and they want a bigger or better place, or they want a second home.


They want our dollar because they see the fundamentals are sound. They see the growth and investment, they see the expansion. They look to the big country to the left and see all its problems. And they compare their lot with our lot, and they like the look of our lot, so they buy ... they buy the currency, they buy the housing.

This is all part and parcel of the big picture, the overall story.

The dollar is on a roll, housing is on a roll, we're on a roll. These are golden days.

It's why we're running job fairs in Australia, it's why we're looking to lure business start-ups over here, it's why when you pick up The Australian newspaper, there's old Steven Joyce espousing our virtues offering incentives to do business here.

In simple terms we are on a roll. This last column was about the port expansion. Why does the port need expanding? Because it's growing. Because there are bigger ships with more stuff coming in and there is more stuff going out to the world earning us income.

If the whole dollar parity story tells us anything, it's the story of a coming of age.

When I first went to Australia as a kid to see my Dad, it was a different world. It was the real world. It was big cities and bright lights and things in shops I had never seen before. It was metropolitan glamour.


That was 35 years ago and for most of my life it's stayed that way; especially of late we have suffered the dreadfully humiliating business of feeling secondary to them. We have left the country in record numbers, we have seen it as the land of opportunity and hope.

We have bagged Government after Government about how they're good and we're not and how jobs over there are plentiful and how when you get one you earn a fortune. It was a Disney-like argument, the houses were big and beautiful, the sun never stopped shining, the beer was cold and cheap ... and only idiots stayed at home.

But at last, and I take great pleasure in this given I am competitive, it's over. Pick any indicator you want and we have them by the short and curlies. Jobs, debt, outlook, we've got them over a barrel. And nothing encapsulates that more clearly than a currency.

This little nation of four and a half million produces a dollar that is at least as appealing as that monstrous land to our left. When the traders can invest in whatever they like ... they like us. And they like us for good reason.

Yes it makes a holiday cheaper, yes it makes imported TVs cheaper, and yes it makes selling our milk harder, but it is more than that, the dollar is our fiscal calling card. It is a huge number of policies, ideas, attitudes, outlooks and actions all encapsulated in a currency.

A freely floated currency can't hide, it can't trick, it can't be a charade. It is judged on all its frailties and merits. And the call being made this week, the reason the word parity is in the vocab, is because at last we've nailed it.


The dollar is on a roll, housing is on a roll, we're on a roll. These are golden days.

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