What Dunedin students and Buenos Aires tenement dwellers have in common

Life was hard for renters in Buenos Aires in the early twentieth century. Tenants lived in poorly ventilated, crowded, noisy rooms, with few facilities and high rents. The poor conditions prompted 120,000 renters in 740 tenements to go on rent strike in 1907. There’s a nice detail in Baer and Wood’s article about the rent…More

The (lack of) evidence to support stock transfer

The government’s policy on the transfer or sale of state housing to community housing organisations is getting a lot of attention lately (I wrote about the end-of-this-era here back in May). I voiced some of my own concern in a submission to select committee [pdf] when the legislation that set up this system was passed- the…More

Life in severe housing deprivation in New Zealand

There’s a lot in the news about housing this week. But the story that I read this week that I keep thinking about is the one on a coroner’s report. The tragic event of a baby’s death provides a shocking insight into the conditions a family can live in in New Zealand. At the time…More

The fantasy where the landlord leaves you the house

The fantasy where the landlord leaves you the house is not so different from any inheritance or lottery-winning fantasy, except it is that much more tangible. You can see it all around you. You sit around after dinner and think about what could be: “If the landlord left us the house, we would put in…More

Vote for renters tomorrow

Housing affordability is a big concern for many voters this election. Many people worry about the young not being able to buy a house. Most political parties respond to that concern, offering policies aimed at making it easier to buy a home.* But the focus on home-ownership means that more urgent issues of housing affordability…More

“It should be bowled”

The Southland Times published an article recently that tells the story of three sets of renters in the same terrible house in Invercargill. It’s an interesting piece because it sums up a lot of the issues with our private rental market. Each tenant was made sick by their home, but was unable to address the…More

Plans for Glen Innes

I’m excited that Briar March’s new documentary is coming out soon. She’s a fantastic director – probably best known for There Once Was An Island, which won a heap of prizes – and this time, she’s looking at a topic dear to my heart: the redevelopment of Glen Innes. The documentary is called Whare Tapu Wha. It’s showing…More

Realising the right to housing

Last night I spoke at the Wellington launch of CPAG‘s paper on housing, written by Alan Johnson. I focused on the right to housing, especially as it applies to the private rental market, which is where most children in poverty live: CPAG’s paper on child poverty and housing brings together all the facts on child poverty…More

Doctors of the future call for better housing

It’s great to see New Zealand medical students call on political leaders to make implementation of a warrant of fitness for private rental housing a post-election priority. The medical students make the excellent point that unhealthy homes, along with all the other problems they cause, create a massive burden on the health system – today…More

Why a renter died from turning on a light, and what we could do

A repost from Public Address, where there’s some interesting discussion in the comments. After four days living in her new rental home in Ruakaka, Lesley Wehi-Jack returned home from work. She smelt gas, unlocked the door, and switched on a light. The house burst into flames: a gas cooker installed by the landlord had been…More