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A tenant’s tale

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, March 12th, 2017 - 198 comments
Categories: class war, housing - Tags: , ,

We sometimes put comments up as guest posts. Here is another example, from WILD KATIPO in yesterday’s open mike:

Tenants pay $200-plus to share ‘slum’ with rats – Business – NZ Herald …

For sale: the $5m slum Steve Braunias wanders through the grim …

18 months ago I approached the head tenant of where I pay $250.00 per week for a run down shithole that has a lose tap, poor drainage /guttering issues , and a shower that does not drain properly.

It also has faulty wiring that has pooled at some stage and shorted( blown ) the ceiling light socket.

Several other wall sockets are faulty.

As a result of this weather bomb we are having – I found water pouring in from the wall in the bathroom/toilet area at about half way up the wall.

This pooled into the open plan area where the carpet now is .

I would estimate 1-2 cm’s or more in depth.

The place is a potential electrical deathtrap with water back- pooling in the walls.

I also note as a past painter and decorator the dilapidated paint job and the amateur attempts to fill all the punch holes in the walls and doors.

Two weeks ago I suffered my first heart attack and received a stent in a heart artery. I am still breathless and sometimes exhausted as a result. And I am furious.

It is obvious that the landlord has bought this property as a part of a cheap investment portfolio and intends to pay as little as possible ( nothing ) toward either its livability or its maintenance. It obviously has had NO money spent on bringing it up to standard . It would be around early 1980’s vintage.

Reading the above article in the NZ Herald today has made me feel almost vigilante towards this National govt that has enabled this type of criminal element to get away with this sort of blatant racketeering.

I will approach the head tenant and if he doesn’t grow some balls ASAP I will go to the Tenancy Tribunal on Monday , and force the issue. Another recourse is social media.

A message to both Bill English and Andrew Little.


To Andrew Little. I believe you and Jacinda Adern have it in your power to do something about this sort of state of affairs that has been legitimized by this National govt up and down this country to so many of their fellow countrymen and women.

Stop standing at the gateway umming and ahhing. Get bold and do something.

You have EVERY moral right to do so.

Do that ?… and the people will carry you through the next election and on into govt for the years to come . And you will have the peoples MANDATE to rectify this viscous govts avarice and self serving agenda.

Do nothing?

Then you amply deserve the wrath and the cursing of the voters for your timid inaction.

When asked if the above could be posted, WILD KATIPO replied:

Go for your life.

I’ve lived in millionaires homes when I was younger and I’ve lived a year up in the mountains in the middle of winter in a stone shack outside of Queenstown when I was goldmining in the rivers with a pump , floating dredge and wet- suit and another year in a mountain tent .

Been self employed and owned a half mil dollar property of my own – then lost it all during 2008.

And I reckon I’ve lived more of a life than half these far right wing wannabe pseudo intellectual neo liberal fanatics who comment on this blog site .

And when I saw that article in the NZ Herald this morning , in light of whats been happening to so many New Zealander family’s having to sleep in cars and the like over the past few years – I thought ”FUCK IT !!”… Im going to say something.

Because now this govt and their neo liberal perversions have just got personal.

I’m fortunate that I’ve only got me to worry about.

But at least when you live in the boon docks in a tent or an old abandoned stone shack its free. And you can accept a primitive lifestyle.

But to get shafted and ripped off each and every bloody week just for the privilege of living in a shitty run down dogbox so some blighted little parasitic scum bag can live in comfort and climb up on your shoulders galls me to the bone.

And the fact that pricks like this are being enabled to do so by this shitty, do nothing , hands off incumbent non govt should fill every decent and honest bastard full of rage.

There is plenty to discuss here, but comments that attack the writer personally will get a 1 day ban. Any one of us is a single stroke of bad luck away from crisis.

198 comments on “A tenant’s tale ”

  1. Sacha 1

    David Slack also wonders how long people are expected to silently put up with our housing crisis: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/90273714/david-slack-theres-no-place-like-home

  2. Once was Tim now no longer 2

    “There is plenty to discuss here, but comments that attack the writer personally will get a 1 day ban. Any one of us is a single stroke of bad luck away from crisis.”

    Anyone wanting to attack the writer says a lot more about them than it does WK.

    The Herald example is just that – a SINGLE example of the sort of thing that can now be found all around NZ.
    I notice Nick Smith is going into panic mode now (due to the publicity).
    It just astounds me at the lack of interest and enforcement (by local bodies and govt agencies). Next door, there is a slum being rented for $1000 per week that doesn’t even rest on its foundations properly, has weatherboards missing (so that the interior sarking is visible), and that has been brought to attention of council on a number of occasions.

  3. Johan 3

    Corrupt and immoral is a way to describe this present Tory gov’t. What is this government’s mandate for looking after its most vulnerable citizens, who have fallen on hard times, quite often due to the very own policies carried out by the Shonkey government?
    We have families living in cars, garages and sub-standard houses, in a resource-rich country like New Zealand. Shame, shame and shame on us all!!!

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      We have families living in cars, garages and sub-standard houses, in a resource-rich country like New Zealand. Shame, shame and shame on us all!!!

      Resource rich for now but we’re selling them off as fast as we can. I estimate that we’ll be out of iron sands in about 50 years and probably sooner.

      That’s just one example. Others include coal, fertile soils, and healthy rivers.

      • rocco siffred 3.1.1

        The Club of Rome was wrong in 1968 and it’s still wrong today.

        • mickysavage

          You reckon?

          Maybe at the margin but the main thrust of what they were talking about is regrettably bang on.

        • greywarshark

          Rock on rocco – you still coming up with the same old RW useless stuff. Do us a favour and if you come to TS with some statement give us your take on the basics,
          What, where , when, how., why ???
          Why waste your valuable time and ours putting up pointless one liners. It is just so ‘”I Comment, Therefore I Am”.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, history proves the Club of Rome was pretty much bang on:

          Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon

          Reality has never conformed to the greedy schmucks in society and it’s their ignoring of those very physical limits that has destroyed societies throughout history.

  4. AsleepWhileWalking 4

    Great post – Yip, it’s well and truly out of control.

    Landlords like the one mentioned in the post are not providing service so much as exploiting government subsidies.
    We need our own “Rent Is Too Damn High Party” (see link below).


    • rocco siffred 4.1

      “exploiting government subsidies.”

      Interesting, care to list them, I’d like to exploit this too.

      • Sacha 4.1.1

        The accommodation supplement keeps rents higher than the market would otherwise allow: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/accommodation-supplement.html

        It’s a subsidy to landlords like WFF is a subsidy to employers, distorting pay rates.

        • weka

          But how to do away with it is the problem.

          • Sacha

            Totally. Both are baked in now.

            • bwaghorn

              not really , if a heap of houses get built and all the incentives for people to own rental properties are taken away prices for owning and renting will level of or lower . it’s only baked in if our ”leaders” continue to think nothing can be done

          • Chris

            Labour’s abolition of the special benefit in 2004 was a huge contributor to housing unaffordability amongst beneficiaries and low income earners. The effects of that are still being felt today. It’s not the sole solution but it’s an essential part of the solution that it’s restored.

            • Antoine

              What was the Special Benefit and why did they get rid of it?

              • Chris

                It was a benefit paid to people with high or out of the ordinary costs. High accommodation costs were often what pushed people into the eligibility zone. It was discretionary but eligibility was generally assessed by way of a formula that compared costs and outgoings. Most people in Auckland on low incomes and renting privately were eligible, although by 2004 just under half of those who were eligible received it. National before that had a policy of denying as many eligible people as possible. Labour promised to fix this but by 2004, when the numbers got close to half of those eligible, decided it was too expensive so got rid of it altogether under urgency. Just one example of Labour’s disgraceful behaviour when it comes to looking after the poorest NZers.

                • Antoine

                  Was the removal related to the introduction of WFF?

                  • Chris

                    Both were introduced in the same budget legislation and Labour probably tried to say WWF would ameliorate any negative consequences for individuals. Temporary additional support payments were also introduced, but the reality is that neither these nor WFF address the hole left by getting rid of the special benefit, which used to provide a basic level of support and which was extremely flexible to deal with all kinds of need. The horrendous levels of poverty we’re now seeing are due significantly to the removal of this basic provision, and which WFF and TAS aren’t equipped to deal with.

                    • Antoine

                      Did the replacement of SB with WFF have the net effect of benefiting people with young families, at the expense of beneficiaries without family?

                      How does the Special Benefit relate to the ‘accommodation supplement’ that now exists?

                    • Chris

                      “Did the replacement of SB with WFF have the net effect of benefiting people with young families, at the expense of beneficiaries without family?”

                      One didn’t replace the other, and they both have different objectives. If you’re asking if people are better or worse off, then the answer is worse off. And yes, it’s people without children and those without employment who are disadvantaged the most. But people with children or in employment were also disadvantaged, just not by as much. If anything, the temporary additional support payment was meant to “replace” the special benefit, but its inflexibility and reduced maximum payments still mean people are worse off.

                      “How does the Special Benefit relate to the ‘accommodation supplement’ that now exists?”

                      It was regarded as income under the assessment, so any increase to the supplement meant a decrease to the special benefit (if the person was actually receiving a special benefit despite being entitled). The nats’ $25 increase to main benefits paid to people with children had the same effect, including to any temporary additional support payments, so was a crock in terms of helping the very poorest.

                      CPAG have done a lot of work on all of this, for example:


                      What’s so frustrating is that is was a Labour government that was responsible for so much of this. Heck, I and my sister left Thatcher’s Britain to escape the very same treatment and attitudes.

        • rocco siffred

          If you want to look at it that way, all benefits are a subsidy to some kind of supplier.

          • bwaghorn

            your probably right , the massive difference is that people on benefits need them , wealthy rental owners don’t

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Of course they are.

            Market failure either leads to government intervention or blood being spilt.

            I know which one I prefer: if you really wanted smaller government you’d stop voting for policies that treat people like dirt.

        • patricia

          And the owners of these boarding houses arrange to have WINZ direct credit the rent straight to them. So after rent is paid out tenant might be lucky to receive $80 net in hand for food / doctor / chemist / fares and anything else that might be needed. Many tenants have mental health / addiction issues so have costs there.

      • Siobhan 4.1.2

        “insulation subsidy “.

        What other business can hold the tax payer to ransom that way. Yeah, my business is making people sick, but the Government is going to have to pay for insulation if it wants to cut back on the medical crisis I’m nurturing.
        Oh, and hey, I can now charge tenants more, because its now to the standard that it should have been for the last 25 years.

  5. rocco siffred 5

    “18 months ago I approached the head tenant of where I pay $250.00 per week for a run down shithole that has a lose tap, poor drainage /guttering issues , and a shower that does not drain properly.”

    This is somewhat confusing. You live in a run down shithole, why exactly did you move in? Why has it take you so long to deal with it? The comment about ‘head tenant’ seems to indicate a flateshare, $250.week for a flatshare seems more than enough for you to have plenty of choice for a place that isn’t a shit hole.

    Why have you put up with this for so long?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Why have you put up with this for so long? It isn’t a new phenomenon. Averting your eyes and crossing the road and voting for the policies that caused the problem in the first place.

      • rocco siffred 5.1.1

        “Why have you put up with this for so long? ”

        Have I? He’s not one of my tenants. I’ve just let a one bedroom flat that is in excellent condition, modern and well equipped, it’s $240/week including the power and water.

        “Averting your eyes and crossing the road and voting for the policies that caused the problem in the first place.”

        So this gent is just a victim of policy then is he? No control over his own destiny? Please explain why he is spending so much to live in a deathtrap shithole, when I know for a fact there are perfectly good alternatives?

        [You are displaying very trollish behaviour. First warning – MS]

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          We have market conditions (aka governmental incompetence and malice) creating homelessness and slum housing, and when called to account for it, the people who voted for it blame the victims.

          So much for personal responsibility.

          • rocco siffred

            “We have market conditions (aka governmental incompetence and malice) creating homelessness and slum housing, and when called to account for it, the people who voted for it blame the victims.’

            Like I have said, I am renting out a nice 1 bed place for less than this person was paying for a ‘deathtrap’. Don’t you think that makes me wonder why?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I can’t be bothered repeating Lprent’s comment at 5.2.2 for your benefit. Or even linking to it.

              I’ll speculate that having a grossly distended amygdala affects your capacity for independent thought instead.

              • rocco siffred

                “I can’t be bothered repeating Lprent’s comment at 5.2.2 for your benefit. Or even linking to it.”

                I did read it. I’ll be raising my Auckland rents 25%, I only increased them 3% last year, and am clearly under the market rate. Thanks for the heads up!

            • mickysavage

              You are doing a Bill English, relying on one example to disprove a thousand counter examples. I take it you have no understanding of the current state of Auckland’s housing market.

              • rocco siffred

                “You are doing a Bill English, relying on one example to disprove a thousand counter examples.”

                One example has been presented. I have counted with my own example, with a question as to why the difference. The only answer has been Auckland, blah blah, Auckland.

                The one bed flat I rent in Auckland is currently tenanted at $300/week and again, it is nothing like something that is described above. $250/week is a reasonable amount to flatshare a place in Auckland and does not require living in a deathtrap.

                • mickysavage

                  $240 or $300? Which is it?

                  • rocco siffred

                    Both, I have two. One in Auckland. One in Hamilton.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      And this excuses your abject total failure to understand the housing shortage how?

                      Do you think being a selfish shithead means you get a free pass?

                    • rocco siffred

                      “And this excuses your abject total failure to understand the housing shortage how?

                      Do you think being a selfish shithead means you get a free pass?”

                      Would you prefer it if I didn’t rent them out? Given I built both of them, perhaps I should not have bothered? That does seem to be your preference.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Nah, my preference is that the government builds good solid rental housing designed to undercut the market, and you lose 100% of your investment.

                    • rocco siffred

                      “Nah, my preference is that the government builds good solid rental housing designed to undercut the market, and you lose 100% of your investment.”

                      In order for this to occur, the value of land and housing would need to be driven to $0. So, short of a full on communist revolution, I kind of doubt this will be something I need to worry about.

                    • RedLogix

                      As a landlord my strong preference is for the state to be the “provider of last resort” for social housing. Note carefully there is nothing prerogative in this term; it essentially means the state provides an acceptable floor to the market below which no private operator could drop and remain in business.

                      Personally I’m appalled at the OP story. Heartbreaking. Please consider moving to a smaller provincial town where much better value housing is to be had.

                      Right now I rent four units in Masteron, a pair of three bedrooms for about $240pw and a pair of four beds for about $280 and $320 pw. None of them are new or flash, but are all safe, re-wired, insulated, heated and in sound condition. We lived in one of them ourselves quite happily for five years.

                    • weka

                      They’ve just had a heart attack, live near family, and have a job. I really wish people would stop seeing moving somewhere else a solution to the housing crisis. Family and community matter.

                    • RedLogix


                      Family and community matter alright, but a decent standard of housing does too. There must be plenty of people who are in a position to consider whether or not a move to a smaller, more liveable regional town is a good idea or not in terms of that trade-off.

                      For some people it might work, for others not,

            • Antoine

              On behalf of all the ungracious left wingers here, Rocco, thank you for being a good landlord and letting out a nice place at a reasonable price


              • weka

                Pretty sure Rocco is trolling.

                • rocco siffred

                  Usually this would be correct. However, I am a landlord and those are real examples.

                • Sacha

                  Given that the current rent for the flat he owns has changed from 240 to 300 in the space of a few comments, you might be onto something there. 🙂

                  • rocco siffred

                    The rents are for different flats. The focus seems to now be on Auckland, so I have a more applicable reference.

                    • Sacha

                      Ah, noted. I encourage good landlords even though I believe the overall housing system is broken.

              • Antoine

                OK in all fairness I did write this _before_ he said “I’ll be raising my Auckland rents 25%”

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yeah, you’re pretty shit at spotting selfishness. Probably the company you keep. Definitely the company you vote for. Cry some crocodile tears.

        • Antoine

          > So this gent is just a victim of policy then is he? No control over his own destiny? Please explain why he is spending so much to live in a deathtrap shithole

          This is the problem with personalising the debate (by publishing one person’s story): it inevitably… gets personal.


          • One Anonymous Bloke

            If we discuss statistics, lying right wingers (a tautology) personalise the debate with personal anecdotes which they claim refute the stats.

            The problem is lying right wingers.

        • MikeS

          Find me a one bedroom flat in Auckland for $240 a week including power and water please. I’ll move in tomorrow. Ive just moved into a double garage with no flooring or insulation etc and am paying $250 a week pus power and water.

          You’re either bullshitting or not in Auckland.

      • AB 5.2.1

        Oh look – BM believes in the perfection of markets. Paying heaps for a shitty flat? So find one that isn’t shitty, and when enough owners of shitty flats haven’t got any tenants, then the quality of all flats will rise above shittiness.
        It’s a perfect god-like equilibrium accompanied by choirs of angels.
        Except it’s a totally broken market where demand has been ramped up and up by high immigration, tax rules that favour speculation (euphemistically called investment) and banks that can create endless credit ex nihilo and pump it into the market.
        And of course people suffer, but BM couldn’t care less – it must be their fault coz markets are always perfect.
        Time to ask – “why is housing a market at all?”

        • rocco siffred

          “Except it’s a totally broken market where demand has been ramped up and up by high immigration, tax rules that favour speculation (euphemistically called investment) and banks that can create endless credit ex nihilo and pump it into the market”

          So your policy response to this would be;

          Reduce immigration?
          Change tax laws to ‘reduce speculation’?
          Scrap the factional reserve system of banking?

          Then the market would be less broken, in your view.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The market is broken. It’s pretty much how it’s always been and always will be.

            The economists have an hypothesis that doesn’t match reality and no one pulls them up on it.

        • Draco T Bastard


          Markets are fine for things that people don’t need. Everything else needs to be guaranteed and provided by society but not through private business as that costs more.

          • rocco siffred

            Yeah right. That always works out so well.

          • rocco siffred

            Just out of interest, people need food, so your belief is that this should not be a market, it should just be provided by ‘society’.

            Care to show where this has ever work, or even how it would work?

            • Draco T Bastard

              It’s worked throughout history in many places. It stops working when capitalism takes over and we end up with poverty and starvation.


              • rocco siffred

                Didn’t Pol Pot manage to kill a couple of million people attempting this agrarian socialism thing?

                Get the Labour part to adopt this stuff and you’ll get at least 30 votes, I’m sure, but I can’t see too many takers for a return to the peasant lifestyle.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Didn’t Pol Pot manage to kill a couple of million people attempting this agrarian socialism thing?

                  And capitalism managed to kill about 20+ million in WWII.

                  And I didn’t say anything about agrarian which means that you’re trying to put words in my mouth.

                  Which means that your lying.

                  And I really can’t be bothered with lying scum such as you.

      • lprent 5.2.2

        You aren’t an Aucklander obviously. But looking at stuff on trademe gives a very false picture.

        The biggest issue is the one that you simply haven’t dealt with. At the time I looked at it, there were 1942 flatmate positions on your link. Auckland’s population is about 1,400,000 people.

        Of that (super rough figures because I’m doing it my head) something like 35% rent and half of those flat. So you are talking about somewhere in the order of 250,000 people who flat.

        Flats and their occupants are typically on fixed short term leases these days. The rate rises are at the end of the lease. Most people I run across who are flatting get turfed out at least one every two years either because the place gets sold underneath them at the end of the lease period or because the rent rise is in the order of 10-25% annually at present and they can’t afford it.

        So at any point in time on average about 5% of the flatter population are hunting for places. In other words what shows up on trademe is covers about 0.8% of the possible population. Nowhere near the demand. From what I understand from the people who do flat at present, EVERY room has at least 10 people and usually more often 50 people vying for it. Especially about now, now the universities have started back.

        Then there are the transport factors… Rent is just one part of the cost. The Auckland urban area is about 100km in length these days and about 50km wide. Where you live is terribly important because it can take you hours to get too and from places at the wrong times of the day.

        Where you live is as affected by what kind of transport you need as it is for anything else. What is the commute travel time?

        Are they on a bus/rail route to where ever you have to go? For a young relative coming to a kids birthday, to get from Ellerslie to Grey Lynn near rush hour took him 115 minutes by public transport and 3 changes. It is less than 10kms. And that was a fast trip.

        Are there separated cycle ways to where you want to go? Basically in my view road cycling in Auckland without removing on-road parking are simply a death sentence.

        If you have a car, do they have any parking and what are the jam areas to where you want to go.

        I live less than 5 km from work. I have had days when to drive that has taken me more than an hour when the motorways back up and block the feeder roads. Most of the time it takes less than 10 in the rush hours. I drive it because it normally takes at least 50 minutes by public transport. I live on the other side of Newton Gully and the buses don’t cross over, so the best way involves the bus going out to Newmarket and then back into town. I don’t walk it because while it would be good for me, it also takes quite some time and it could kill me. Eventually I’ll around to buying an electric bike (about 2.5k) so I can use the cycleway. But I’m being cautious about spending after having a legal idiot doing a private prosecution on me because of this site last year (and him losing badly). I may need more spare cash to drag him to court over my legal costs.

        Then of course there is the situation of what the accommodation was like and what it costs.

        It is usually the least of the problem. After spending weeks desperately hunting for a place, you take what you can get if it is close in time to where you need to be.

        • BM

          You’re correct, I’m not an Aucklander and haven’t rented for around 20 years so my knowledge is probably a bit out of date.

          Very interesting summation of the issues currently facing Auckland renters, explains the issues very well.

          Looks like to me unless there’s a drop off in a number of people coming into Auckland the city will never be able to catch up and get the situation under control.

          Had a look on trade me for electric bikes, you should get this one here.


          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Looks to me like you haven’t a clue what competent governance can do.

            • BM

              Competent governance !== Labour/Greens/NZF

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Here’s the relative competence equation for the possible results of the next election, from highest to lowest level of competence.

                Labour/Greens > Labour/Greens/NZ1st > a piece of dogshit in a suit > The National Party.

                • weka

                  rofl, I really want to make a post out of that.

                  • Antoine

                    Might be counting your chickens

                    I suggest waiting to see what the next Labour-led govt looks like first

                    • weka

                      Nah, OAB’s comment will always be true, NACT have made sure of that.

                    • Antoine []

                      Time will tell

                    • weka

                      L/G would have to both have major personality and membership transplants to become as corrupt as National. I just can’t see that happening again to Labour or at all to the Greens. Certainly not in the foreseeable future. Even if Labour were taken over by the Pagani set, Labour would still sit to the better end of the spectrum than the dogshit in suits crowd.

        • RedLogix

          Yes, Auckland is a complete mess and getting worse. Total market failure driven by a number of factors:

          1. The leaky building fiasco caused by National in the 90’s

          2. National’s legislative changes in the 90’s that cut local councils out of subdivision development and handed the entire business over to private developers

          3. National’s changes to the building industry which slashed sound apprenticeships, de-skilled and reduced everything to contract riddled financialism. Killed off vision and innovation.

          4. Consistent failure from the political establishment, both left and right, to correctly tax asset wealth, pushing investment and speculation into unproductive housing.

          5. Consistent failure of right-wing councils to push for progressive town-planning increasing density and liveability. Protecting property values became the underlying driver.

          6. Total failure all round to look at the experience in Australia and Canada to see what happens when you allow unrestricted overseas money to launder itself in your domestic housing market.

          7. And even blind Freddy could see that Australia was not going to act as the population/employment safety valve forever. Or that a country with a tiny population of less than 4m people cannot sustain unconstrained immigration from nations where that is the size of a medium sized town.

          8. And then finally deliberately letting the state pull back from it’s important role in being a provider of last resort in social housing.

          Combine all these, and probably one or two others that slip my mind at the moment, and you get the shameful slummery the OP so graphically describes.

      • greg 5.2.3

        its totally unacceptable national has been a total failure and honestly there should be a general uprising because this government has totally screwed us over from housing to super

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I hope not: social unrest is one of the predicted consequences of the Greenhouse Effect (see Pentagon, IPCC, Syria, etc. etc.).

          That doesn’t mean we just have to go there.

          At a personal level, strengthen your networks and resilience, and vote accordingly.

    • JanM 5.3

      Do you not comprehend that for many people it’s a TINA?
      We all have our stories to tell – I could write a book on how I went from owning a house in Hernia Bay to living in a campervan in a family backyard (and I’m lucky compared to many). There but for the grace of god go all of us!

    • Foreign waka 5.4

      Rocco, I belief you are looking at this from an advantaged point assuming (yes, this word..) that everybody has the same capacity, capability, financial resources and access. Unfortunately, this is not so. In fact the number of people left behind by smug hand wavers left over from the last century has grown quite substantially. This is mostly due to a en vogue credo that creates a philosophy expressing that, if a person is an extremely stressful situation they also get extremely resourceful and thus can help themselves… how wrong this is should be quite clear.
      Perhaps the question should not be: why have you put up so long as rather what is the hurdle is getting another flat. There maybe many reasons, we don’t know.
      The right question might lead to an answer, a statement with a question mark just condemns.

    • Siobhan 5.5

      Its called desperation.
      Moving into a flat, at the medium low end of the market, is not like buying a house, you don’t get to shop around too much.
      You usually have a 2 week window to move in, especially you need to avoid paying rent on two places as you move.
      Its one of the reasons tenancies are so short in NZ.
      You end up moving into a place that is entirely unsuitable, you convince yourself you can make it work…but in the end it becomes too much of a strain…so you move, and the cycle continues…not to mention landlords who make promises about improvements that just never happen.
      And sure, you can complain, but you risk having no roof over your head, or you move in such a panic that you never get to legally follow up on the issue…and some other poor tennant ends up in the same bind.

      Incidentally, the issues he mentions, light sockets, plumbing, drainage, are not things the average flatter would notice or check when moving in. As a home owner I’m sure you’ve realised certain issues only after moving in.

      Though, and in a depressing way I am agreeing with you, as someone who rented for 30 years, I personally would count myself extremely lucky if these were the only problems with the property.

      • WILD KATIPO 5.5.1

        ”Though, and in a depressing way I am agreeing with you, as someone who rented for 30 years, I personally would count myself extremely lucky if these were the only problems with the property.”

        Its not just light sockets – you can see the brown water stain on the ceiling … and the light socket literally ‘ exploded’ when my sister and mother ( 90 yrs old ) came round to spruce things up when I was in hospital – Half the plastic socket is cracked wide open and the water from this recent weather bomb has pooled in parts of the ceiling and could potentially hydraulic its way down to further interior wall wiring. It was running down in riverlets from the shower/toilet scotia area so fast it filled over a bucket in 10 minutes.

        Thats dangerous.

        That’s what is the main concern. Safety standards.

        But … there are people far worse off than I am after this weather bomb with all sorts of difficulty’s. As I said… its just me I got to worry about, not a young family or someone a lot older with chronic health problems. For that much I am extremely grateful.

  6. Ad 6

    Well done WK. Gutsy and brave.

  7. jcuknz 7

    While I once lived first in the firms darkroom, sleeping on a wire ‘thing’ sitting on top of a developing roomette [ obviously there for one night stands ] and the moved to the luxury of a converted stable with just water and power [ electric jug to make morning coffee other meals I ate out] I do not understand why folk [single in this case] do not move out and buy an old van and live in it … $250 A week would pay for quite a good one fast.

    I have my own house fully paid for, but if it ‘disappeared’ that is what I would do.
    I did it once and am sure I could do it again if needs-be.

    As my first step to home ownership I bought an old school bus and adapted it into a comfortable if simple small caravan… even married and shared it with my wife until a child’s arrival made a proper house desirable.

    Ranting on about the government does little to improve matters for the individual.

    You can call me a Tory bastard troll but everybody has choices and I have heart problems ,first a quad by-pass then later two stents, and I have made the most of my good fortune without screwing others.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      my good fortune

      Whereas if you’d had more bad luck instead, you’d be in a different position. Essentially your argument boils down to “everyone should be just like me”. And then you woke up.

      Changing the government involves criticising their incompetence, no matter how much you like to smear about it.

      As for helping the individual, legislation can do that. Or in the case of this government, kill them.

      • jcuknz 7.1.1

        Well vote and not moan … we know things are bad but housing shortages have been since people moved into the towns from the countryside …1700 /1800 ?
        People should stop concentrating in Auckland etc. What was Bennett offering $5000 to move away? Then business would follow them out of their need for workers.
        NOT “just like me” but an alternative to sitting on their hands and doing nothing, heart problem or not…. I had spent quite some time paying up to 50% of what I earnt in rent, sharing a flat and living off sales commission … mugs game if you don’t do something about it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          vote and not moan

          Fuck off. I’m sick of your weasel smears and gobshite.

          • Antoine

            It’s not _that_ hard to get down the polling booth once every 3 years

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              If I abstained, assholes like you would tell me I’d given up my right to criticise. Whereas I vote, and assholes like you tell me not to criticise.

              Please accept my undying contempt.

        • Siobhan

          Looking at my own area..
          There are currently 27 properties available to rent in Hastings district, on TM. (a district of 73,245 people)
          Homeless families are living in Motels.
          If you think this is an Auckland problem you are ill informed.


          Some people will always be ‘poor’ and will be lifetime renters; the people who will be helping you shower and toilet when you’re old and decrepit for a start.

          Maybe you should stop calling them mugs.

  8. saveNZ 8

    The most obvious thing to ask is, why move into a shit hole in the first place, and if you are flatting there and pay $250, the easiest thing to change your situation is to move out ASAP!

    I agree with the guy that said buy a caravan. Empower yourself out of renting.

    Because most of the housing stock in NZ is pre 1940’s housing that never met new standards – and there is a massive shortage of accommodation because the new housing is snapped up by the governments immigration and visa policies… the state houses are empty and soon all the pre 1940’s houses will be empty too while they are waiting to be renovated or sold..

    And many houses built between 1980 – 2002 are leaky and empty too…

    Those between 1945 – 1980 are probably full of Asbestos and lead.

    Neoliberalism has not been kind to NZ – we can’t even get functioning houses built.

    • KJT 8.1

      $40 to $60 a night for a caravan site in Auckland!

      • JanM 8.1.1

        ouch! Hopefully that includes power, water and cooking and shower facilities. Still if you were on a minimum income you couldn’t afford that

      • jcuknz 8.1.2

        Auckland isn’t the only place in NZ to live … if you are hard up then move out …. but if you have no energy stay and moan and expect taxpayers to look after you … more than they are already doing i suspect.
        Must admit when it was me it was $4 week for the site which I organised next to the showers… I had my own ‘kitchenette’ .elec kettle elec frypan and power. But I didn’t earn that much too.

        • weka

          oh fuck off. People have lives, with jobs, kids in schools, elderly parents to visit. You might be a stock unit that can be shifted to another paddock, but most people aren’t.

          • rocco siffred

            So you make a choice to live in Auckland and pay the price because it is worth it to you.

          • jcuknz

            Of course people have ‘lives’ and Life is a matter of balancing out one’s priorities.

            • weka

              Right, and I’d prefer as a country we support people to prioritise family, friends and community if that’s what they want to do.

        • JanM

          Isn’t there a rule at WINZ that if you move away from your job to somewhere where there is no job you won’t get the unemployment benefit? How are the people moving meant to survive for the few years it will take businesses to wake up and follow them? People living from hand to mouth have limited options.
          Aren’t you living in cloud cuckoo land just a bit?

          • patricia

            You are correct JanM. “Deliberately impoverish yourself” and your benefit is cancelled. They don’t want people in small towns with no chance of jobs.

        • Foreign waka

          jcuknz -If you are single you most likely are happy in a tent under the motorway bridge. You know, this is not so wide fetched… but in a civilized country where good health and prosperity is based on nutrition, hygiene, warmth, education, health care and social interaction it is astounding how often that never wavering how di do da 18th century pioneer “spirit” is being applied.
          The world has changed and is doing so in increasing tempo. The next test is just around the corner, automation – the new “industrial revolution”.
          There will be many more people “under the bridge” and we better start rethinking this pioneering thing.

      • weka 8.1.3

        “$40 to $60 a night for a caravan site in Auckland!”

        I think we can blame tourism for that one.

        • jcuknz

          I doubt it Weka 🙂 because Milford Motor Camp where I lived was a million dollar playground when I ‘checked old places’ a few years back. Only thing I recognised was the bus shelter outside I used from time to time when I wasn’t using my scooter.

          • weka

            I don’t know what you are trying to convey with your anecdote.

            There’s been an obvious shift in NZ from some campgrounds having long term residents on a weekly rate, to prioritising those sites for overnighters. Why get $200/week when you can get $60/night for a couple in a campervan? That change has happened alongside the tourism boom.

        • KJT

          Probably privatisation of council camping grounds and rating policies as much as anything.
          When motor camps are charged the same land value rates as the 100 or so houses which the space could occupy, it is hard to keep to the $4 a night, we paid for a tent site years ago.. Or even to keep it as a motorcamp.

    • MikeS 8.2

      ” …the easiest thing to change your situation is to move out ASAP!…”

      You really have no clue do you.

      Moving out is usually the hardest and most costly thing to do.

      “I agree with the guy that said buy a caravan.’

      10ft old caravan on trademe = $5,500 plus work and money required to make it road legal plus registration. Then of course you have to find somewhere you’re allowed to park it and live in it; that’s assuming of course you already own a vehicle capable of towing it.

      Most low income earners don’t have any savings or money left over each week after paying rent, food and bills. You’re saying just go out and buy a caravan?? They may as well eat cake too huh.

      • jcuknz 8.2.1

        It is not my problem so it took me a few days to check TradeMe … not for a caravan which requires a towing vehicle to be mobile but rather a van to live in and most seemed to be around the $3000 mark except for a ‘complete’ mobile camper for $3200 ono over on the North Shore.
        This figure puts it in th range of most with a credit card not spent to its limits and being a engined van capable of moving around town for six days and on the seventh staying a night at camp to have a shower and do one’s laundry.
        Rough living for sure but as an alternative to what WK has at the moment I’d say better. But each to their own and without connection to internet one would need to use a computer at a public library if you have such things in Auckland. Then an address could be a friend if he has any to accept his mail from WINZ etc. as I do for my family living in the States but owning a property here in NZ.
        Ways and means for those with some initiative to solve their problems.

        • MikeS

          You seem to have blinkers on. $3000 is simply not an option for most low income earners and certainly not for the unemployed. people live week to week or day to day even and don’t have savings or spare thousands of dollars lying around! Can you please get that into your thick head?

          Credit cards???? At least by mentioning credit cards you validate the ‘thick head’ part of my first paragraph.

          Getting WINZ to approve someone elses address for your mail? good luck with that and good luck explaining to WINZ that you live in a van. For example a form may have to be filled out. A box on that form might be for your home address. I’d just leave it blank you would say because I am living in a van. Hehehe when was the last time you had to deal with WINZ?

          Because I can tell you from prior experience that unless that form is fully filled in with a valid home address then your benefit application simply goes no further. Trying to explain that you don’t have a home address is all well and good, the WINZ employee might even understand the situation. (I wouldn’t put money on that being the case). But even if they do understand, a form’s a form and it has to be filled out correctly including a valid home address, them’s the rules. They will say If you don’t have a valid home address then we cant fill out the form correctly so no benefit. I’m serious.

          Ways and means for those with money is what you really meant yes?

  9. Steve Alfreds 10

    The market will not provide low cost housing, end of story. But if the government is willing to do it in partnership with a private sector partner, like we did here in the past it would work and reduce demand for these shocking rentals we keep hearing about. But there’s Tory Bill will admit market failure, so either change the government or the problem will just keep getting worse. Another winter coming up with more families living in cars and just remember we’re building a brighter future with National.

  10. Smilin 11

    National are so low on the morality of the aims of the welfare state as it was first envisaged that they treat the responsibility for decent housing and obligations of thoses who let private slums as something they have no responsibility for or intend to do anything about
    Its not recent its a mark of their tenure as the govt
    This article above highlights the attitude of national to human rights and its appalling

    • jcuknz 11.1

      Has it not struck you that is incipient capitalists who rent out these places and left AND right wing polys who own multiple auckland properties , and elsewhere too. it is a major problem with the country, I was able to work my solution but for many it is impossible. As I wrote earlier it has been going on for centuries now and the first Labour Govt effectively just tinkered with the problem.

      The problem is part of our culture, the polys are just figureheads which cop the flack, I doubt changing them will help much, they largely do as their advisors tell them.

      • weka 11.1.1

        There are marked differences between National’s housing policy and the Greens’.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          You have to love the way this dishonest trash switches from “there is no alternative” to “there’s nothing we can do”.

          I assume this bullshit fools right wingers because it stands out like the proverbial among normal human beings.

          • greg

            well hes right those who need change just wont vote the home owning baby boomers do and they have captured power until the young vote on mass and brake the boomer grip on power we will continue to be screwed over alternative is an uprising and we all lose if that happens

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Nope: he’s wrong; pimping the tired old right wing line that government is the enemy, and they’re all the same so why bother voting, they’re all puppets.

              The relationship between the National Party and its owners is not the same as the relationships between the Green and Labour parties and their members.

              The National Party actively pursues policies that cause electoral disengagement. They will howl and whine and deny this, and yet who hired Cameron Slater? Who selects people associated with Simon Lusk?

    • Red Hand 11.2

      Leader of the National Party, Adam Hamilton spells it out 10th May 1938.


      It boils down to what sector provides best for the people. The State or Private Enterprise. The answer is obvious to me.

      • jcuknz 11.2.1

        It is obvious that a meld of both to get the common sense of the right along with government control of private sector excesses. Something Labour might do on its own but tied to the Greens I doubt it.

  11. saveNZ 12

    There are big problems facing Kiwis in NZ, with all the disasters that effect housing, much of which is related to climate, short term town planning by imbeciles, profit driven development as the expense of all else, and the destruction of the environment like trees and green belts in cities.

    Even with the environmental destruction in the name of housing, there seems to be less and less housing available… National are going to make everything thousands times worse if they get in again… saying that I think Labour and Greens also need to be more realistic about housing expectations – you can’t change the climate, 100 years of housing to be upgraded and the third highest artificial immigration levels that have been pouring fuel on the fire for nearly a decade now, as well as non existent infrastructure, over night.

    This is today’s scenes after heavy rains…
    Downpours bring heavy flooding to North Island, rain moves south

    Less and less housing available with poor and profit driven town planning, poor RMA based on fake economic outcomes and not long term stability and inability to plan for climate change in a fair and realistic way.

    As has already been happening, not only are kiwis becoming tenants in their own country, they are also not even enough houses to become tenants in our own country, and as fast as government change all the laws to make profit on all these new houses that are snapped up as slowly and as expensively as they appear, their poor planning and neoliberal beliefs make it impossible to keep up with demand.

    And maybe that’s the plan.

  12. Bill 13

    Not intended as a Pythonesque “you don’t know how good you have it” type comment.

    I just want to point out that this shit has been happening for years in NZ and has deteriorated under both Labour led and National led governments.

    Go back to the late 90s. Single mother with nappies aged child living in rental accommodation in Dunedin that had no floor – carpets laid directly on the ground. It shouldn’t have been happening then and nothing like it should be happening now.

    Apart from state house rents being fixed at a percentage of income (is that still in effect?), it seems that all that has changed is rent levels (up) against a backdrop of stagnating wages/benefit entitlements.

    The constant (or so it seems from a casual observation) is that the rental environment is weighted heavily in favour of the landlord, both in terms of legislation and in terms of market conditions (housing over-priced and in short supply).

    It’s absolutely the case that some tenants are complete arse-holes – but unlike landlords who are complete arse-holes, tenants aren’t empowered in any way, shape or form by current legislation and law.

    NZ could fix the housing bullshit ‘overnight’ with the introduction of squatters rights, security of tenure for renters, rent caps etc. (Posts have been done on this)

    Until then, the kind of shit outlined in the post will keep piling on.

    • Antoine 13.1

      Good comment

      I think this is an exaggeration though:
      > tenants aren’t empowered in any way, shape or form by current legislation and law

      And I’m not sure if your solution ” squatters rights, security of tenure for renters, rent caps etc” actually fits the problem you outline. Which of these would help WK? He doesn’t want to squat, he isn’t being thrown out (happily!) and his current rent would be below any plausible cap.

      It seems to me that in cases like his, what is needed is a pro-actively enforced minimum standard for rental accommodation. (I emphasise pro-active because not everyone is in a position to kick off a reactive process.)


      • weka 13.1.1

        Rent caps should be related to income. How do you figure WK’s rent is ok?

        • Antoine

          I assumed the rent cap would be some absolute dollar figure per person per month or similar. Presumably a figure well above $200.

          How could a rent cap based on income work? I don’t understand the concept. I have this mental image of being a landlord, and my tenant is paying $X per week, and then they contact me and say, “well sorry I have no income at the moment so my rent is capped at 20% of zero which is zero, you get nothing” and they have security of tenure so I can’t do anything, and it’s all a very unsatisfactory mental image. But I may have the wrong idea.


          • Bill

            Antoine, my comment had an ‘etc’ in it, yes? So throw in minimum standards too…plus whatever other sensible measures come to mind. That, and I was addressing the broader picture, not WK’s secific circumstances.

            Rent cap.

            I’d suggest some formula worked from a houses’ government evaluation that resulted in a rent level that acted as a disincentive to landlords seeking to have mortgages serviced through rents gathered.

            Income related rents won’t work insofar as poorer people will wind up in the cheaper and (probably) lower quality houses and will (possibly) still be getting rorted.

            • weka

              I was thinking of the idea that housing should be no more than a certain % of income, was it 30%?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Whatever the solutions are they need to be simple and with immediate effect.

                Not complicated equations, more like “substandard rental accommodation will be forfeit. Forfeit houses will be repaired or rebuilt by locally employed apprentices as part of their education and immediately let to needy citizens.

                Corporate entities will forfeit their entire local portfolio.”

                Plus squatter’s rights, and a small team of squatters employed by the police to investigate further options to pass on to the homeless 😈

                This is a humanitarian emergency and requires appropriate emergency powers. Get the speculation out of property and into innovation and education. There is no alternative 😉

              • Antoine

                No that doesnt work, it incentivises landlords not to let their places to low income people, who might trigger the cap.


                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Which is where state housing comes in. So it does work, and once again your weasel objections are revealed to be lies.

                  • Antoine

                    So in your scenario, private landlords would exit the ‘affordable’ end of the market entirely, this part of the sector would be for State housing only. I don’t think that’s what Weka or Bill had in mind (feel free to correct me, Weka or Bill). Rather I think they envisaged that there would still be room for private landlords to cater to lower income folk. My point being that the ‘X% of income’ cap would largely prevent this.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Oh noes! Respecting the human right of people to be safely housed might affect your precious economy!

                      Will the poor landlords be ok?

                    • Antoine

                      Not to be rude but I really was talking to Weka and Bill, not to you.


                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      in your scenario, private landlords would exit the ‘affordable’ end of the market entirely

                      That’s what usually happens in market failures. The private sector can’t carry the losses and that’s why we have governments.

                      However, in “my scenario”, the government maintains enough low-income housing, the losses associated with My Precious (aka the rental housing market) don’t destroy society, and everyone is wealthier as a result.

                    • Bill

                      Fine any landlord who charges above the cap their property attracts.

                      edit – just to be clear, I’m not proposing that rents are tied to incomes. I think that idea’s deeply flawed.

                    • Antoine

                      Bill – yes, you said above that you don’t support income related rents for private rentals because “poorer people will wind up in the cheaper and (probably) lower quality houses and will (possibly) still be getting rorted”. Sounds right.

                      McFlock came up below with an alternate solution, “another option is to simply have an arbitration of market rent caps and then have dept of social welfare subsidise lower income earners for the gap between their 20%-of-income accommodation cost and the rent cap”. Does that work for you?


                • Draco T Bastard

                  You’re working on the assumption that we should actually have private landlords when they’re just more rentier capitalists that will destroy society and should thus be banned.

                  • Antoine

                    Yes I’m trying to talk to people who believe private landlording should continue

                    If you don’t believe that then Good for you but I don’t think we can usefully converse, there is no common ground.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I believe private landlording can continue just fine without human rights abuses. As usual, the government will have to provide some guidance first.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The point is that we can’t go on belief but must use reality. And reality tells us that we can’t have private landlords.

                      The other option is that the private landlords are so ringed by regulation and state supply of housing that they can’t make a profit. This way is actually hard whereas my way is actually the easy way.

                    • jcuknz

                      I believe that income related rent is a good thing for the private sector. That as a person’s income increases there is an encouragement for them to free up the state dwelling and move into the private to justify the rent they pay.
                      But also my position is that state housing should be basic and not a comfortable home for life. That state tenants should be prepared to move from one unit to another to match their needs, and all within the same social area so they can maintain their social contacts.
                      Idealistic I admit and unlikely to happen under either kind of government [ lab/Nat.] short of communism which has other, undesirable, features in practice.

                • Siobhan

                  They wouldn’t have any option.
                  Why would someone on a good wage want to rent a dismal house in a dismal area?
                  Of course the ideal outcome is landlords wouldn’t want to rent to low income people. and so would not bother investing in the low end of the housing market…leaving those houses available and affordable to low income first house folk.

                  • Antoine

                    Is the low end of the housing market suitable for first home buyers? I would have thought 1st home buyers would want like 2-3 bedroom houses with a bit of yard (typically having kids), While the ‘low end of the housing market’ is like 1 bedroom units. (Guessing here though.)

                    Also this still doesn’t provide a housing solution for low income low wealth people who are not in a position to buy an ex rental.


                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Why are you so selfish and lazy that you can’t be bothered doing even a Google search to see whether anything you write is of value to anyone?

                      Unless of course, your purpose here is to waste everyone’s time and energy by authoring vague drivel questions. That’s what it looks like: malicious trolling.

          • jcuknz

            If the stand down aspect of benefits was not so harsh you would get the % of the benefit rather than % of wage previously paid.
            Tough for landlord and tenant I agree but a solution .

            • Antoine

              What if it’s a rich person who has lots of assets, so gets no benefit, but also has no income?

              Then the landlord gets nil rent.

              That can’t be right.


              • McFlock

                I’m sure if that person actually existed, the problem would be crossed somehow.

                • Antoine

                  It’s quite common for rich people to use various methods of reducing their _taxable_ income to a low level, right? So as to reduce the amount of tax they pay? I’m not suggesting something outlandish here.

                  • McFlock

                    well, not outlandish. Stupid and ill-considered, maybe.

                    Firstly, you’ve just introduced the term “taxable”.

                    Secondly, you’ve proposed someone who is asset-rich but with no cash income – how would they buy food? Oh, they’d need cash assets.

                    Thirdly, you missed the point that income-related rents already exist.

                    Fourthly, if you’d bothered to actually do some digging yourself rather than expecting others to spoon-feed it to you, you’d have found out that your little dodge of having a million bucks in the bank but generating no income is already accounted for by the system that exists, which includes a requirement of “have little or no cash assets “.

                    All your little problems sorted out? You now know where to go to find out if your invented problems have been addressed by the system that already exists? Done.

                    • Antoine

                      OK. So, you’re saying that income related rents, if introduced for private rentals, would not apply to people with cash assets. If their income dried up for some reason, they would still have to pay full rent until almost all their savings were gone.

                      Weka, Bill and WK, does that sound satisfactory to you?


                    • McFlock

                      No, I’m saying that all of your contrived objections to people paying income-related rents have already been addressed by a system that works in the real world.

                      I’m not prescribing the intricacies of a hypothetical system, just pointing out that the thing you have difficulty understanding is operational in the real world.

                      Hell, another option is to simply have an arbitration of market rent caps and then have dept of social welfare subsidise lower income earners for the gap between their 20%-of-income accommodation cost and the rent cap.

                      Any permutation would reasonably work. The point of discussion is not to plan out the system, but to first determine the normative “should”. Details need to be adaptable, they are not in themselves an objection to the general principle.

                    • Antoine

                      > I’m not prescribing the intricacies of a hypothetical system, just pointing out that the thing you have difficulty understanding is operational in the real world.

                      It is operational in the real world, but only for poor people (is it OK to say that people living in State houses are generally poor? No offense intended).

                      When you apply the same system to middle class and even wealthy people, you may get some unintended consequences.

                      (I think pretty much everyone on here would agree that middle class and wealthy people can be quite adept at ripping off the system from time to time)

                      > Hell, another option is to simply have an arbitration of market rent caps and then have dept of social welfare subsidise lower income earners for the gap between their 20%-of-income accommodation cost and the rent cap.

                      That’s sounding better, providing:
                      (a) the rent cap is not set too low – or many private landlords would exit (I know many readers think this would actually be great, I’ll have to agree to disagree on that one)
                      (b) the subsidy only applies to people who are genuinely in hardship, rather than rich people with low on-paper income.

                      Personally I’d be more inclined to:
                      (a) fix the supply side to create substantially more nice and affordable accommodation
                      (b) leave the market to set prices, and
                      (c) give people in hardship cash, which they can either use for accommodation, or something else, as they see fit.

                      But I know I can hardly expect support for this proposal here.

                      > The point of discussion is not to plan out the system, but to first determine the normative “should”. Details need to be adaptable, they are not in themselves an objection to the general principle.

                      Well somewhere along the line, someone needs to figure out the details – in order to turn an aspiration into an actual policy.

                      And if this discussion has served any purpose, it is to show that the policy can’t just be “cap rents at X% of income”; it’s gotta be more complicated than that.


                    • Antoine

                      Oh, under your “arbitration of market rent caps”, would a landlord be permitted to increase rent above the cap, in exchange for some concession to the tenant or improvement to the property?

                      If not then there would be little incentive to make such concessions or improvements…


                    • McFlock

                      Well somewhere along the line, someone needs to figure out the details – in order to turn an aspiration into an actual policy.

                      Yes, at some point.

                      Perhaps a point closer to when it’s formally proposed as policy for a party that might actually get into office, rather than being barely two levels deep into a blog discussion about shitty fucking slums and their bastard owners.

                      Because when you’re inventing low-occurrence objections that have already been overcome in the real world, it tends to make you look more like a passive-aggressive opponent of the idea of affordable rents, rather than someone genuinely interested in productive discussion.

                      edit: Now we’re inventing an arbitration system on the fly? How about you take a look at other regions where rent controls have been implemented, write a post and get back to us as to why unrestricted market warfare is the only solution to the housing problems unrestricted market warfare has caused?

                • Antoine

                  Ooh, here’s another one. A person owns a small business and doesn’t pay themselves one month, instead putting the money back into the business. “Sorry, my income is nil, your cheque for 20% of nil is in the mail”

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Which would have the IRD questioning how they managed to live for the month.

                    Then there was the case of the doctors a couple of years ago whose tax dodge was their business charging the going rate but not paying them the going rate. The courts decided that they had to be paid the going rate by their business and that the structure that they were using was a tax dodge and therefore illegal.

                  • McFlock

                    oooo well then they have a full month’s expenses in the bank already, so probably wouldn’t even qualify for income related rent. And if they did, big deal – the point is that if they did want to take money out of their asset-which-somehow-isn’t-factored-into-the-system in order to, like, buy food, then 20% of that goes on rent.

              • Chris

                You can’t have lots of assets and no income. Main benefits aren’t asset tested just income tested. So either you get (1) income from your assets that doesn’t affect the benefit and a benefit, or (2) a higher level of income from the assets that reduces the benefit, or (3) such a high level of income from the assets that means you don’t get a benefit. In every scenario you still have income.

    • weka 13.2

      I read something yesterday about Niki Rauti’s situation in the Glen Innes HNZ house and not wanting to move and one of the reasons is that the new tenancy she is being offered by the private organisation running those houses is only for 1 year at a time. I’d like to see that confirmed, but it wouldn’t surprise me because it is the ethos of housing in NZ. It’s an investment and tenants are stock units. People are now expected to be shunted around irrespective of any concepts of home or community. And once you have stock units you can treat them as less then human.

      According to some here, the woman with the baby should have just moved 😉

  13. Talk about being late for my own funeral… !

    I mentioned the things that needed fixing… 18 months ago.

    Multiple times.

    To the head tenant. Now whether he was fearful of rocking the boat and jeopardizing his own tenancy , I’m not sure.

    Before I moved into that place, when I looked around on Trade Me, – I visited a few. Some I wouldn’t have put a dog in. I was appalled . They were grubby , cramped, filthy. This had a yard, was a sleep out so I could have my own privacy , was close to family and had a small room that at a pinch if needs be – I could put my son up in as he was doing some study at that time.

    There is only one qualifier to all this and that is the recent weather bomb that has exacerbated the already existing faulty conditions. I have arranged for the appropriate party’s to ‘ GET OFF THEIR BACKSIDES’ ( take note , BM ) and take responsibility.

    The action starts tomorrow.

    As I stated in an earlier post, – NONE of this was my responsibility. That rests firmly on the shoulders of the Landlord.

    And don’t worry – I have been self employed and employed a small gang and I have also done up a house and made a fair amount of cash way back in the day.

    I know the score about who carry’s the can.

    I’ve been a dutiful tenant- the head tenant hardly heard a peep all the time I’ve been there. He has two young boys , in his mid thirties and is self employed – and has the kids on weekends. I was in exactly the same position years ago. We get on fairly well. But I am blunt and to the point at times but also jovial .

    Its important to understand … that many of these landlords are not builders and live in an age of deregulated housing markets. And that is a direct result of the lack of regulations under the neo liberal ideology under which we live.

    It enables people to act like this.

    And it causes untold misery’s in the form of health issues and insecurity’s for young family’s for those on the wrong end of it to which there are thousands. Thousands who can least afford health problems and general upheaval. This has all been covered before.

    I have spoken to the Landlord and the head tenant when he came back from a holiday.I would prefer to keep a positive relationship if possible rather than go in guns blazing , so… the action starts tomorrow.

    And it had better…

    The foolish thing about all this – and any folk familiar with the building trade will tell you this – the longer things are left to deteriorate – the more expensive the repairs are going to be. And any astute business person knows the rule 101 – that a small part of your profits should ALWAYS be put back towards the business… that is … if you intend to keep running a business…

    And this is going to cost.

    And if they try to do things in a DIY backyard sort of way with things like electricity ?

    All I can say is… it would be very unwise . Its only a phone call away to the correct authority’s. And I’m not in the mood to play Mr Nice Guy anymore. If its good enough to hold your hand out for excessive rent then its good enough to be on the ball and maintain a safe and hygienic rental establishment.

    I feel in large part this whole sorry episode ( and there are far worse atm with this weather bomb ) has been brought about over the years and enabled by govt policy that has been lax towards a proper standardized WOF for rental accommodation and by a philosophy that favour’s instead profit margins over health and safety of the tenant , – and with the motive of knowing full well that the policy’s they pursue have more to do with maintaining the votes of the speculators and landlords than they do with concern over the health and safety of the tenant / rental population.

    • mauī 14.1

      How did it go with the landlord? Do you feel they are listening and taking it seriously?

      • greywarshark 14.1.1

        Wild Katipo
        Katipos don’t bite usually until they are disturbed. Or so I have heard. You are right to be disturbed, judicious bites may have an electrifying effect. If the owner has a round-to-it template then get him to change to round-do-it – now.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2

      You’re absolutely right.

      …many of these landlords are not builders and live in an age of deregulated housing markets. And that is a direct result of the lack of regulations under the neo liberal ideology under which we live.

      It enables people to act like this.

      …and victimises the powerless.

      Housing is a human right. Human rights abusers belong behind bars. In this case, we know the names of the legislators in question, and the names of the parties whose whip they obey.

  14. D'Esterre 15

    We’ve recently bought an apartment in the Auckland CBD. A family member will live there while a student.
    This took a big chunk out of my superannuation nest egg (such as it is), but still cheaper than paying rent: $380.00/week for a shoebox. And student living allowance nowhere near enough to cover rental etc. No, said relative couldn’t get a place in a larger flat: they were like hens’ teeth, sadly.

    The apartment is 42sqm: not a shoebox, but not much larger. We managed to get it for a good price by Auckland standards, but still an eye-watering amount of money, in my view.

    It took us a considerable time to find something suitable within our price range. I looked at many apartments: some were absolute slums, having had zip money spent on them in years, and with many young people crammed into what should have been a flat only large enough for two at most.
    I recall one: 37sqm, 2 bedrooms, not even a balcony, in dreadful condition, especially the bathroom, and with 4 tenants. The vendor wanted much more than we eventually paid for a larger flat. The agent saw the look on my face and allowed that it’d have been better as a 1-bedroom place. But of course that was by no means the worst aspect of it. He had another one the same in that building: I didn’t bother looking at that… I sent a 1-word message to the family: Gah!

    Of course there have been housing difficulties in NZ, going back to well before WW2. That is why the then Labour government instituted the state house building programme. I’m a boomer: I well remember the crappy digs in which we and many people we knew were obliged to live when we were children.

    But things have got much worse in the past 20 years or so. Auckland in particular is under extreme pressure from immigration. Did I mention that pretty much every tenanted apartment we looked at had immigrants in it? Especially the overcrowded ones… So sad.

    I have enormous sympathy for the desperate homeless in Auckland, no matter the path that got them to where they are. There but for fortune go the rest of us….

    • greywarshark 15.1

      Talking about fortune and the rest of us – here is O Fortuna from Carl Orff. The conductor and musicians convey the emotion of desperation that these housing victims suffer from the dereliction of duty of the various governments following the callous, irresponsible neo lib economic cult.

      (Incidentally the first O Fortuna is followed by another by the Russian Army Choir, sung beautifully and with precision. I wonder if this is part of the Alexandrov Choir which was recently wiped out by disastrous aircraft crash.)

  15. jcuknz 16

    >>People are now expected to be shunted around irrespective of any concepts of home or community. And once you have stock units you can treat them as less then human.<<

    It is a case of responsibility to society in return for being looked after by Society.

    Society would if it were truly responsible have a range of properties in any and every area which would encourage people to appreciate that one person doesn't need three bedrooms provided by the state and they would be able to move into a single bedroom /bedsitter dwelling within their circle.
    This doesn't happen and Nikki is a victim of the policy which simply provides multi-bedroom houses ….. actually I think I am wrong in stating that but it is the exception rather than the rule and is not helped by current 'sell-off' policy …. however much sense that makes in improving state housing stock. We need more state stock to root out the bad renters illustrated by this thread

    The difference between needs and desires is another stumbling block for a solution.

    State renteers have always been a privileged group from what I have seen over the years compared to those of us in the private renting sector and led to believe they should have modern luxury housing like they see on TV or Netflix. But I am sure, though I don't really wish to troll, that many, particularly the Greens, will disagree since they have completely unrealistic views on what is possible for any government to provide its people.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      It is a case of responsibility to society in return for being looked after by Society.

      I solemnly swear that I will never have difficult circumstances or bad luck, and that even if I do, I will never need any help. I will never notice that wingnuts are full of shit, nor hold them responsible for the deaths their policies cause.

      What a callous low life you are, jcuknz.

      • greywarshark 16.1.1

        That bit about state renters believing they should have modern luxury housing could sometimes be true. Many of them are people who are not as hardened and savvy as you and I jcuknz. They are a bit needy, a bit fragile and we have to remember that and not be so bloody judgmental about their hopes and wishes!

        And those words ‘modern luxury’ are just hyperbole aren’t they. You are talking through a hole in your head, that isn’t connected with your rational, analytical brain. And that cheap shot at the Greens. They have been wanting simple stuff like insulation to bring the houses up to a reasonable standard for a country that is often cold and wet and no longer expecting to put up with the colonial standards when people had to make do.

        That was early 1900s, we can’t believe that we reached the high point in our country’s development in the 1970’s and are sliding back again to the ‘sweating’ conditions of home and work of colonial times.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.2

      Yeah, human rights are a nice-to-have because speculation!

    • Red Hand 16.3

      “It is a case of responsibility to society in return for being looked after by Society”

      For MPs, not so much your idea of Society but their oath of allegiance, including “I will obey the laws of New Zealand and fulfill my duties as a New Zealand citizen”


      Among their duties as New Zealand citizens, I believe, is their duty to legislate for the wellbeing of their fellow citizens. National government MPs have, in my opinion, broken their oath and failed to legislate for the well being of all of their fellow citizens.

      They favour the aspirational, money making, entrepreneurial private sector people at the expense of the rest of us and have done so since their foundation in the 1930s.

    • mpledger 16.4

      “State renteers have always been a privileged group from what I have seen over the years compared to those of us in the private renting sector and led to believe they should have modern luxury housing like they see on TV or Netflix.”

      What a load of hoo-ey. Go and look at state housing and the conditions it’s in. It is not luxurious, it is bare bones functional. And so many state tenants are so poor and/or sick/chronically ill that they have no expectations of anything better, it’s beyond their ability to imagine.

    • Pfft neither group seems to have bare basic rights, let alone privilege.

      Modern, luxury housing? What a joke – that’s not even in most people’s wildest dreams. Just something warm, safe and clean that doesn’t leak please. With space for a washing line if its not too much trouble.

      But I guess providing those basics are just beyond the capability of this country. I thought NZers could build anything.

      • greywarshark 16.5.1

        Yes The New Student
        NZ could build anything – till the government decided that NZs were no good and NZ regulations and laws weren’t either.

        And in the New Wonderland the Queen of Heartless, or her proxy, said ‘Off with their heads’. and the government decided instead of good regulations they would start each day believing six impossible things before breakfast, and also ‘What I tell you three times is true’.
        (The Hunting of the Snark.)

        And that all new students should learn ‘The different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’
        Alice in Wonderland.

        That could answer many of your questions before you have thought to ask them.
        I hope I have been helpful.

  16. Skeptic 17

    There’s a lot of passion around this subject – and rightly so! As someone who worked for the HCNZ when it was fully functional in the 1970s and early 1980s, I know the problem inside out and outside in. It’s perfectly clear that the “market” and state subsidies have obscenely failed – dismally failed!
    Listen people – Housing – affordable housing is a right – not a privilege – a right guaranteed under the UDHR. Every country that signs up as a member of the UN agrees to abide by the UDHR – and thereby so do all the citizens of that country. NZ was a founder member of the UN, so the current and previous governments who failed with their housing policies are culpable for the neglect and failure and every consequence of them – no ifs – no buts – they are culpable.
    Right now it’s a mess and the only way out is a threefold approach:
    a) Legislation – tough entrenched legislation for housing WOF with confiscation without compensation as a penalty for every house not up to WOF standards within 30 days.
    b) Capital Gains Tax – hefty CGT of around 75% for every house bar the family home.
    c) Fully independent HCNZ restored to it’s pre-1988 status with automatic enforcement provisions to ensure ALL rents throughout NZ are income related, limited to 25% of gross weekly wage of tenant. Automatic confiscation without compensation for any landlord that breaks the rules – no appeals.
    These measures would in a very short time (100 days) restore the housing market in NZ to something fair for everyone.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      That’s more-or-less how I feel about it: this is a human rights emergency and should be dealt with using emergency powers.

      • Skeptic 17.1.1

        Dead right mate – now if only our left wing leaders can grow some balls and state a policy that helps people instead of pandering to the “trendy-lefty” centre-left. Their antecedents must be rolling in their graves at the antics and watered down “policies” that have come out lately. If Labour are ever going to win an election it’s will only be on the plank of “fairness for all New Zealanders” and “we as a Party guarantee that all New Zealanders will enjoy all the benefits of UDHR” That statement alone will put the rip-off landlords and greedy bastards and ratbag employers on notice that their time is at an end.
        The three big one they have to tackle are 1. Wages, 2. Housing & 3. Health The answers are simple 1. Universal Livable wage and transparent income scales 2. Housing WOF and CGT and 3. Nationalised Free Health and Dental Service.
        Those three should set the tone for all other policy from Labour – it bloody well would have in 1935, 1951, 1972 when there were Labour Politicians with backbone and balls.

    • Chris 17.2

      How about 25% of net income?

      • Skeptic 17.2.1

        We tried that in 1978 at HCNZ – where do you draw the line – after kiwisaver + Paye? Just net after paye? What about other “retirement ” savings schemes? What about those put retirement savings into shares? the list goes on…… It’s gotta be gross, BUT everyone’s income – all income from everywhere – including trusts and other hideouts – MUST be declared and made public for all to see. The major problem with today’s NZ income structure is lack of transparency. So-called “commercial sensitivity” is total bullshit and has to go.

    • Antoine 17.3

      Not gonna happen

      You cannot get elected in NZ on a platform like this

      • One Anonymous Bloke 17.3.1

        Good thing we’re not trying: that’s a job for politicians. Our job as citizens is to encourage them to respond effectively to this humanitarian emergency.

        The precious will be angry, and so what.

      • Skeptic 17.3.2

        Says who? Go look at the Dept of Stats figure for the number of families (voters) who earn less than the Livable Income level, then the numbers living in rented accom with rents that attract the Accom Suppl. There’s your core vote. Now add to that all their friends and relatives.
        Listen A, if you combined a fair housing platform like outlined, along with a legislated livable wage, Labour would piss in a General Election. The reason they won’t put up policies like this is because they don’t have the backbone – they’re scared – they have a broad yellow streak down their spines.
        I ask, why can’t Labour return to its roots and stand up for the working person, the underprivileged, the downtrodden, the marginalised, the vulnerable. I think it’s because they’ve been captured by the centrists. We need a grass-roots movement, so that our grandchildren have a Party that might stand up for them – it’s too bloody late for our children – they’re already suffering – so pass the candle – keep the revolution going – it’s the only thing we’ve got going for us.

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    Thanks to more than $10-million in new services from the Government, more rangatahi will be able to access mental health and addiction support in their community. Minister of Health Andrew Little made the announcement today while visiting Odyssey House Christchurch and acknowledged that significant events like the devastating earthquakes ten ...
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  • Government eases visa restrictions for visitors in New Zealand
    Two month automatic visitor visa extension for most visitor visa holders Temporary waiver of time spent in New Zealand rule for visitor stays Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration ...
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    The Tourism and Conservation Ministers say today’s report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) adds to calls to overhaul the tourism model that existed prior to COVID19. “The PCE tourism report joins a chorus of analysis which has established that previous settings, which prioritised volume over value, are ...
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  • Government extends dietary supplements regulations
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  • New Zealand to join the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime
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