Election 2017 – Where NZ’s political parties stand on housing/tenancy issues
In the tightest election in living memory, we layout where the parties stand on two of New Zealand’s most divisive issue.
The big question most voters will ask is – what have National done in the past nine years to stop the crippling house prices and the ever-growing rise of Generation Rent? Under their watch, the gap between the haves and the have nots has grown so wide that a large portion of the population will realistically never own a home.
But don’t worry… Bill has a plan. National, in a fourth term, will create special housing areas across New Zealand to fast-track the building of houses. They will do this with a $1 billion Housing Infrastructure fund and by speeding up the consent process.
National will also tighten rules to ensure people buying and selling property for profit pay their fair share of tax and remember the Residential Tenancies Act is currently being amended to clarify the situations around tenant liability, unlawful tenancies and meth.
As National say on their website: “There are no quick fixes – these issues are longstanding…“
So what exactly is the Jacinda effect? Will the new Labour leader’s headline grabbing charm conjure a centre-left Government? Only time will tell but once the honeymoon period has faded, we should be able to isolate Labour’s polices for what they really are.
And that’s the way Jacinda would want it. She is forever fending off the same dribbling questions from factions of the media but here, at tenancy.co.nz, we will provide her with some dignity by presenting Labour’s housing and rental policies without worrying if Jacinda is going to increase income tax. For the record – she’s not.
So here we go… Labour want to crack down on property speculators, build 100,000 more affordable homes over 10 years, grow the building workforce and remove barriers that are stopping Auckland growing up and out.
As far as Generation Rent is concerned, Jacinda has them covered. Letting fees will be scrapped, notice periods extended, rent increases limited to once a year and Labour will abolish “no-cause’ terminations.
Labour are also pushing forward with their Bill for all rental properties to meet proper standards in: insulation, heating, and ventilation.
Ironically, former leader Andrew Little was the inspiration for that Bill.
The Greens head into the election with their future in serious doubt and if they fail to hit the 5% threshold, it might just be the biggest capitulation in New Zealand political history.
Even if their demise is realised come September 23, the Green Party legacy could live on.
Labour’s rental policy owes a lot to the Greens’ vision. Their Safe and Secure Rental Bill, which has many similarities with Labour’s policy, failed to pass its First Reading in 2016 after the conservative block of National, United and Act voted against it.
Winston Peters first entered politics when the Government loaned home buyers’ money at a low interest rate. Ahh how times have changed! The only constant it seems is Winton himself.
So other than deciding the next Government, what does he want to do?
Mr Peters wants to encourage private investment in upgrading rental housing through the taxation system. Under his policy, owners of rental houses could invest in home improvements and be able to claim back part of the expense through income tax. Home insulation, solar heating and heat pumps could all be claimed as an expense. Could be a win-win for both tenants and landlords.
If New Zealand First is known as Winston’s party, then Act is most certainly David Seymour’s party. Barring a minor miracle, Mr Seymour will once again be a lone wolf in parliament come October.
Ironically, for a man who says he can’t afford to buy a house on his $190,000 salary, albeit in one of New Zealand’s most expensive electorates, his party has little to no policy affecting landlords or tenants.
Mr Seymour does have some good ideas around housing affordability though, with his objective to scrape the Resource Management Act a sure-fire way to reduce red tape in Auckland especially.
It’s no coincidence that the Maori Party will most probably look to form a coalition with the left leaning parties if the numbers stack up.
After giving National their vote of confidence in the most recent Governments, Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell have indicated those days could be numbered.
And it makes sense. The Maori Party want to eliminate homelessness, address the over representation of Maori and Pacific living in severe housing deprivation, improve the rights of renters, enforce a compulsory annual warrant of fitness for all rental homes and introduce options for ‘rent to buy’ for first time home buyers.
All left leaning polices indeed.
Not left. Not right. Just common sense – says Gareth Morgan.
And for a man who’s probably worth more than all the other political leaders combined, he could never be accused of making policy to serve his own self-interest.
Mr Morgan wants to tax asset rich home owners so he can drop income tax for hardworking tenants and he also wants to match the German approach to tenants’ rights.
Under this model, a landlord would only be able to evict a tenant if the property was damaged or rent was not paid. His overall goal is give families the security of tenure that homeowners enjoy.
He’s also keen for a rental WOF. However, there’s still no word on whether cats will be allowed in rental properties.
By Chris Matthews