Working for better rental housing in New Zealand

This is a repost of a piece written for the magazine of the International Union of Tenants – a brief introduction to some of the problems of renting in New Zealand. For the third of New Zealand households that rent, it can be difficult to find a warm, dry, secure and affordable rental home. Housing…More

“Patronizing pieces of politics” – An interview with Paul Cheshire

Paul Cheshire, an economist, is Emeritus Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics. Alongside his academic work, he advises governments and international organisations; recently, he advised New Zealand’s Productivity Commission on its inquiry into using land for housing. I interviewed Professor Cheshire about his latest book, co-authored with Henry Overman and Max…More

Will this Bill improve our rental housing?

The government wants to make some changes to New Zealand’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the law that governs the relationship between tenant and landlord. Under the draft Bill, landlords will be required to insulate their homes and install smoke alarms. That’s good, right? Yes and no. Smoke alarms and insulation are a good thing. But…More

“Building is not a panacea” – An interview with Danny Dorling

This is an interview with Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, about his book, All that is Solid: How the Great Housing Disaster Defines Our Times and What We Can Do About It. The book describes problems – including homelessness, indebtedness, poor quality housing, high housing costs, housing insecurity, and evictions…More

Researchers help make some homes less damp

It’s awful to live in a damp home. We know it from experience, or from stories, like the one told by Kayla at the Wellington Renters United launch: of multi-coloured mould, of asthma, of a damp bed, of the loss of home as a sanctuary, of a dehumidifier covered in mould, of “a spacer prescribed…More

Single ladies and the housing market

In the important new book, No country for old maids? Talking about the ‘man drought‘, one of the issues author Hannah August puts her brilliant mind to is the disadvantages faced by single women in obtaining housing. She discusses “singlism”, a word coined by American social psychologist Bella DePaulo to describe discrimination against single people.…More

“You shouldn’t have to become an MP to get a house to live in”

Today, New Zealand’s newest MP, Green Marama Davidson, gave her maiden speech in Parliament. It’s a remarkable speech in many ways, but this is a blog about housing, so I wanted to draw attention to the bit where she talks about the search for a rental home prior to and after becoming an MP (MPs based…More

Would a statutory right to housing make a difference to homelessness?

Thirty-four thousand people in New Zealand are homeless, or severely housing deprived: they crowd in to friends’ homes, stay in campgrounds, boarding houses, garages or cars, and live on the street.1[i] The Child Poverty Action Group is currently calling for the government to address homeless through instituting “a statutory right to be housed”. This is…More