A tale of two WOFs

The poor quality of New Zealand’s rental housing is finally getting the attention it deserves. People seem to agree that our housing is having terrible effects on health, and that it’s not right. It never rains but it pours trials for regulating rental housing quality. Local and central government are presently conducting quite separate trials…More

Is it time for a New Zealand tenants’ union?

Recently, Adam McKibben in the UK newspaper The Independent made the following claim: When we look back through history, we see that all the major changes in British housing have taken place due to mass movements – tenants’ unions. He goes on to credit collective action by renters for forcing successive governments to improve housing quality,…More

A use for unclaimed tenants’ bonds

Note: This is a repost of an article I wrote with Philippa Howden-Chapman and Sarah Bierre in response to an article in the Dominion Post’s print edition about unclaimed bonds. It was published on 29 October 2013.  In Wellington alone, there is $1.18 million of unclaimed tenants’ bonds. Under the provisions of the Tenants Protection Act 1986,…More

Putting state housing subsidies in context

An article in the Herald last week claimed that “the cost to taxpayers of housing subsidies alone has reached almost $2 billion a year.” Given that the surrounding lines are about state tenants, it sounds like the author’s talking about the state housing system. If so, it’s simply not true.  Actually, just $662 million was…More

Every state tenant and his dog

State tenants should have the right to have dogs. This is because all New Zealanders have the right to have dogs. It was revealed yesterday that Housing NZ has tightened its policy on state tenants and dogs. Tenants will only be able to have dogs in “exceptional circumstances”. The new policy won’t affect people who…More

One Two Three Home

In a game I don’t get to play as much as I’d like, called Go home stay home, Home is the place that everybody wants to get to. The problem is, Home is guarded by the person who is “in”. You prowl the hiding places of the known world, peering at Home through gaps in…More