New data released by the Ministry of Business this week shows rents have risen $175 a week since Labour took office since 2017. Data released for January 2023 shows median rents nationwide have reached a staggering $575 per week.
And New Zealanders are still struggling to make ends meet.
A local Wellington pensioner told teaomāori.news, "I pay $700 a fortnight on my rent. I get $925 from Work and Income and that leaves me with $200 to live on for two weeks."
National's housing spokesman Chris Bishop says it’s really putting pressure on household budgets. "People are finding it incredibly hard to get ahead and rent increases are a big driver of the cost-of-living crisis that New Zealand is experiencing right now.
"The government was warned that after removing interest deductibility for landlords and extending the bright-line test, rental costs would rise."
“Ministers went and did this anyway. They're loading cost onto landlords, they've actually had essentially a war on landlords, and tenants are collateral damage in that war.”
In 2022 Housing Minister Megan Woods called for an immediate freeze on rent increases to give some reprieve during the cost of living crisis. So why has that not continued?
“We made a change back when we came into government, and we've only allowed landlords to put up rents once a year,” Woods says.
She says the government has a significant amount of work underway to increase the supply of new houses and remove incentives for speculators, to deliver a more sustainable housing market.
"One of the other things I'm most proud of about our government is the work that we've put into having a plan for addressing the issues around Māori housing, that we put the investment in place, and now we're seeing the results," Woods says.