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

End of a (state housing) era

Housing Minister Nick Smith has just announced a new “entity” within Treasury to transfer some of our 69,000 state houses to private organisations (coincidentally, on the same day as retrospective legislation on how housing trusts are taxed has had to be introduced). This is something we knew was coming since the Government eagerly greeted the Housing…More

Some thoughts on housing in New Zealand’s 2014 Budget

Housing didn’t get too much attention in this year’s Budget. The government had already signaled the increase of funds to community housing organisations. The actual amount given to them, compared to what they need to build to fill demand, is something I’ve yet to untangle. It’s also no surprise to see money allotted to MSD…More