Housing Minister welcomes renters calls for more support

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Housing Minister Phil Twyford was presented an open letter signed by thousands of New Zealanders supporting moves to improve the lives of people who rent. The delivery came on the day that the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill was debated in Parliament.

ActionStation and Renters United delivered the open letter which contains recommendations from the People's Review of Renting. 

Action Station spokesperson Rick Zwaan says, "So there was just real heartbreaking stories of people on low incomes, Māori and Pasifika people, solo parents who can't afford to pay rent let alone put on the heater."

The People's Review of Renting showcased hundreds of stories from people who rent which demonstrated the social, economic and environmental impacts associated with both poor quality rental housing.

"So throughout this process, we've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories of the realities that people face day to day living in cold, damp, unhealthy homes making them sick."

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2), proposes changing the current law to ensure that every rental home in New Zealand meets minimum standards of heating and insulation. The groups are calling on the Government to enhance the Bill through proposed amendments.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says, "I welcome the signatures the letter the points you've made, and I wanted to say on behalf of the Government how excited I am this change will make a big difference to our country and it's long overdue we can not allow our rental to continue in such appalling condition."

"That's why it's so crucial that we get this bill as strong as possible ensuring that everyone can live in a warm and dry home should be a bare minimum," says Rick Zwaan.

Twyford says there will be a public consultation in 2018 to review the Residential Tenancy Act with the aim of modernising tenancy laws.