• Labour’s Healthy Homes Bill ‘a backward step’ National claims

    The Government’s new Bill aimed at imposing stricter regulations on landlords does nothing to further improve the quality of New Zealand’s rentals, National’s Housing Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

    Labour’s Healthy Home Guarantees Bill will be passed into law before the end of the year, with Housing Minister Phil Twyford opening the Committee of the Whole debate for the final stages of the Bill.

    But National’s Housing Minister, Michael Woodhouse, argues that the Bill is simply a duplication of previous legislation.

    “National strongly supports efforts to make homes warmer, drier and safer but Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill does nothing to further those aims and in fact takes a number of backward steps,” Woodhouse said.

    “The previous National-led Government took a range of practical measures which improved rental accommodation for tens of thousands of New Zealanders, without imposing unreasonable costs on landlords and driving up rents.

    “We invested heavily in insulation and made it compulsory in all rental properties along with smoke alarms, and we changed the law to ensure bad landlords were more accountable.

    “Under Labour’s bill, the date for homes to be insulated could actually be delayed and the responsibilities placed on landlords will remain the same, as will the penalties they face when they fail to comply.

    “The requirements for homes to be heated, ventilated, properly drained and free of draughts are also already required under existing housing regulations – so what is the point of this needless legislation?”

    Consequently, Woodhouse said National would be voting against the Bill.

     The new Government has the numbers to pass the Bill into law, with the Greens and NZ First supporting the legislation in the first two readings.  

    The minimum standards for heating and insulation will be implemented through supplementary regulations that will be developed after the Bill has been passed, and after public consultation.

    · The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) will commence on 1 July 2019
    · All residential tenancies must comply with the regulations within five years of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) commencing; and
    · Earlier compliance dates may be prescribed by the regulations in some circumstances.