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

How to prevent a landlord from renting out a shoddy house

Much of New Zealand’s rental housing is in poor condition (44%, according to BRANZ). The intuitive associations between poor housing and poor health are backed up by research, some of which I’ve discussed previously. This state of affairs indicates that current law does not protect renters from harmful housing; it’s for this reason that a rental Warrant…More

The problem of “horror tenants” is dwarfed by that of horror houses

Reposted from Public Address Yesterday’s Herald piece, “Horror tenants frustrate landlord“, was its most popular throughout the day. The article is about “horror tenants”, or, as this landlord describes them, “pigs”. The “renters as pigs” genre is clearly a popular one, and includes TV shows such as Renters, which warns the viewer against even living…More

Framing displacement in Glen Innes

This is a repost from Public Address. Last night, TVNZ reported on two things: one state tenant’s vow to resist eviction from her Glen Innes home, and overcrowding in Auckland state houses. While both things are newsworthy, we should be wary of thinking that one causes the other. TVNZ’s framing – and, actually, the government’s…More

State tenants and the right to the city

This is reposted from Public Address.  Last week, the Social Services Committee criticised how Housing New Zealand has gone about the redevelopment of three areas of state housing. It’s about time. By the accounts of the communities of Maraenui, Pomare and Glen Innes, what’s happening looks very different from the glossy photos on the redevelopment websites. It looks like boarded-up…More