Green Party Bill to improve the rights of renters

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 pm, August 11th, 2016 - 92 comments
Categories: greens, housing, tenants' rights - Tags:

A press release from the Greens today outlines a Bill that will increase the rights of renters.

Green Party Bill puts renters’ rights on the agenda

A Green Party Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot today will put renters’ rights firmly on the political agenda, where it belongs.

Metiria Turei’s Residential Tenancies (Safe and Secure Rentals) Amendment Bill strengthens tenants’ rights, and will lead to stable, long-term tenancies that are good for both renters and landlords. The 2013 Census records 453,135 households as renters, an increase from 388,275 in the 2006 Census.

“My Bill will help people who rent get the stability they need to put down roots in their community,” Mrs Turei said.

“The home ownership rate is reducing and more families are renting – those families’ rights need be protected so they too can have a stable and secure home life.

“Families who rent often find themselves pushed around from house to house, and their kids moved from school to school, unable to settle down.

“The rental market is the other side of the housing crisis that affects hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.

“In many other countries, particularly in Europe, long-term tenancies in quality, warm homes are the norm.

“Landlords benefit too when tenancies are stable and long term, because the property gets looked after and there are no time gaps when tenants aren’t paying rent.

“Home ownership is at the lowest level since 1951 and everyone deserves a home to call their own – whether they rent or buy,” said Mrs Turei.

The Bill makes six changes to the Residential Tenancies Act:

  • Allowing tenants a right of first refusal when their lease expires.
  • Requiring landlords to be transparent about how they calculate rent rises.
  • Removing obligations on tenants to pay leasing fees.
  • Creating a default lease term of three years, with the ability to choose a shorter term.
  • Preventing rent increases more often than once every 12 months for periodic and fixed-term tenancies.
  • Restoring the 90-day notice period when landlords wish to sell the property.

 

92 comments on “Green Party Bill to improve the rights of renters”

  1. adam 1

    A good first step.

    In conjunction with an overhaul of state housing, this will improve many people’s lives.

    Can I suggest the Green revisit the law around lodging houses as well.

  2. Bill 2

    Would still like to see a provision whereby the lease and all conditions transfer to the new property owners, as well as some other stuff.

    But hey. Glad that someone is finally talking about rental properties as something central to peoples’ lives, rather than as an aberration or short term situation that people transit on the road to ownership.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      “Would still like to see a provision whereby the lease and all conditions transfer to the new property owners, as well as some other stuff.”

      That is already the case, if the house is sold with the lease intact.

      If it is sold un-occupied, then the landlord can use the current 42 days to kick the tenants out – but only if they’re on a periodic tenancy. If you’re on a fixed-term, the tenancy can only be ended by mutual agreement, or by order of the TT if one or other party is in a situation where the lease needs to be ended due to extreme circumstances outside their control.

      • weka 2.2.1

        I think Bill means that you can’t sell a house untenanted if it already has tenants in it. At the moment you can.

        • Infused 2.2.1.1

          You can’t if you have a lease in place. You can sell it to another investor which has to honor the lease

          • weka 2.2.1.1.1

            Lots of people don’t have fixed term leases and don’t have the option of one.

            • Lanthanide 2.2.1.1.1.1

              I know this is true but I find it kind of odd. All the places I’ve ever rented (4), have always been lease. Periodic was never offered – although I also didn’t enquire.

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    WOF – Warrant of Fitness for rental properties.

    You can’t put a car on the road without a WOF. Why can landlords rent uninhabitable dumps without a WOF?

    The issues are the same. Just as unsafe cars are a hazard to their occupants and everyone else on the road, cold, leaky, mold infested dumps cause diseases which are harmful to the tenants AND for all those they come into contact with. Add the lost work days and absences from school.

    I’d like to see someone do a study on the cost to society of bad housing. Be sure to include the tax money wasted on avoidable medical care. The costs would be a shocker.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      I support a WOF – but – how is it going to be administered?

      Who is going to do the work? How they are going to be trained / accredited? How often does it need to be done? Who is going to pay for each WOF? How are landlords going to be made to improve their properties, and not pass these costs on to their tenants?

      • weka 3.1.1

        Tenancy Services (or HNZ) could administer.

        “Who is going to do the work?”

        Do you mean the repairs/upgrades? The Landlord would arrange that.

        Or do you mean the inspection? TS or HNZ, they can train and then retain those workers.

        Landlords can pay.

        The passing the cost on thing is the real sticking point. Rent freeze for properties that fail? Turei appears to be saying that rent increase rules have to be stipulated in the rental agreement, so I guess it could be dealt with there. Ultimately the bigger situation of housing needs to be solved. Putting up the rent is an option when there is a housing shortage.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          GP policy,

          Assessors employed by local councils will check rental properties to ensure they are safe, warm and weather-tight. This will include: surfaces being clear of mould, decent ventilation, a functional toilet, properly connected drains, safe electrical wiring, floor and ceiling insulation, proper heaters, and no cracks or holes in the building fabric.

          Houses that meet these conditions will receive the basic Warrant of Fitness. A pilot project carried out last year with local councils indicates that over a third of rental houses will already meet these conditions.10 Landlords who fail to meet these conditions will be given three months to get their properties up to standard. If they are still unable to do so, they will not be allowed to charge their tenants rent until they can meet the Warrant of Fitness standard.

          https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/fairer-society/housing

          and,

          The Green Party does not expect the Warrant of Fitness to result in significant rent increases, given that few landlords in the pilot programme indicated they would hike rents following alterations to meet the conditions.12

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2

          ““Who is going to do the work?”

          Do you mean the repairs/upgrades? The Landlord would arrange that.

          Or do you mean the inspection? TS or HNZ, they can train and then retain those workers.”

          Yes, and how many people are we going to need to do this?

          According to the 2013 census, there were 66,000 rented houses in Canterbury. Most of those will be in Christchurch and Timaru, but also in other areas like Rangiora, Kaikoura, Kaiapoi etc.

          Say we need to get all of these houses inspected in a single year. Given 240 working days a year, if one person can inspect 2 houses a day, that’ll require 138 people to do full-time WOF appraisals of houses, in Canterbury. This is assuming that there’s perfect distribution of workers, no one is sick, no-one cancels WOF appointments, etc.

          Lets give them a salary of $55,000 a year. That’s $7.5M in salaries to do this.

          Where is that money going to come from?

          Also we need to train these people as well. Then add in all the re-assessments that will need to be done for houses that didn’t initially pass (apparently 2/3rds according to the Greens).

          The numbers really are quite prohibitive.

          • weka 3.1.1.2.1

            Why would all 66,000 houses need to be done in one year?

            Initial estimates suggest a Warrant of Fitness check would cost around $200-300. To encourage early compliance, the Green Party will set aside $24 million over three years. This will partly subsidise the costs of having checks done, as well as funding the cost of employing extra inspectors. This is on top of over $300 million in subsidies for home owners (including landlords) to insulate their homes.

            A recheck (on the 2/3) will be much less time than a full check.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2.1.1

              “Why would all 66,000 houses need to be done in one year?”

              So how long do you think it should take to get through the whole stock a single time?

              How often will re-assessments be done? Houses deteriorate over time if not maintained.

              • weka

                Have a read of the policy Lanth, it’s not very long and addresses a number of your questions.

                2 year lead in time is voluntary.

                Most rentals assessed 3 yearly, those that fail repeatedly assessed more often.

                So when the scheme starts there will be a lot to do, but after that the workload should lessen.

          • mauī 3.1.1.2.2

            I don’t think it would be too difficult to train up assessors. That’s what they did after the earthquakes, I’m sure I remember EQC training up lots of newbies to assess houses for damage.

            A lot of the checks would be pretty basic too I guess, and don’t involve much skill:
            – Are there curtains?
            – Is there ceiling insulation? underfloor?
            – Basic water tests, functioning taps, hot water.
            – Check for mould? potential for mould?

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2.2.1

              EQC assessors were sometimes doing up to 8 houses a day.

              EQC assessments have been a big debacle.

              • EQC assessments required a much higher skill level than what’s being proposed here, as ideally an assessor needed to know a fair amount about building, physics, and what type of motion occured from the EQ in a particular area to accurately judge damage. A lot of inspections should have been sent back as being under- or over- valued, but the approach was taken that unless you were signed up to CHRP, it was easier to just cash settle the property and wait for those who were under-valued to complain. (because EQC was run like an insurance program, not like a repair program, and there was a fair amount of emphasis on not costing too much to the taxpayer) You’ll note that said approach has resulted in some people getting generous cash settlements, which surprisingly hasn’t been covered at all in the media. A few people probably got a sweet bonus of a couple thousand bucks because they had an old assessment that highballed the damage.

                The only specialist items to check here are the plumbing and wiring, and that could reasonably be achieved through training assessors to do the basics and calling in a tradie for marginal cases.

          • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.1.2.3

            Assuming an inspection rate of 2 houses per day is really low. Even if it takes nearly two hours to inspect a house, (which it won’t, it usually takes no more than 30 minutes to an hour to inspect a property very thoroughly, especially if you have qualified tradies present. The only two difficult things on the list are ensuring the wiring is safe and the pipes are properly connected, everything else can be done within 15 minutes at the property) you could still easily make sure to group rental property inspections that are nearby and easily achieve 3-4 a day.

            Assuming 250 working days a year and an 80% attendance for employees at your stipulated $55k annual salary, (which is probably a bit on the high side for the job being proposed compared to market rates) and a cancellation rate of two and a half percent, I make it just under 85 days of inspections to get the whole of canterbury if we assume four inspections per day, or 113 if we assume three. (I think four is appropriately conservative tbh)

            That’s $4.65mil to $6.2mil in wage costs for inspections in Canterbury to go through every property once. That’s a blip in the budget and completely manageable even if the taxpayer bears the complete cost and there are no fines levied for noncompliance.

            If we use the census numbers for national level figures, (just under 455,000 households actively renting) we can expect salaries to be $32mil to $42.7mil in order for the taxpayer to bear the cost of such inspections. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, especially as it’s likely that actual costs would be lower, especially if legislation normalises longer lease terms and after the initial inspections, the average number of times a year we have to inspect a rental property drops to say, .5 or .6, which would then more than halve the cost of inspections annually over the long term. (and hell, you might be able to get by with spot inspections unless the tenant requests one if landlords get their act together)

            • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.1.2.3.1

              Oh, and you’d need about 800 people (778 frontline staff) to do those inspections in one year. If you have a three-year timeline, you could do it with about 260 people nationally. I don’t know the number of assessors that EQC used during the 2011-2012 push to assess properties unfortunately, but I do know they were back down to less than 30 frontline assessors by the time I left. I imagine they probably had hundreds of assessors during that push as a lot of their equipment was handed over as the claims administration team expanded to deal with all the assessment data.

              Finding 260 people nationally to do a three-year assessment push and making sure they’re qualified isn’t unreasonable, especially given that unlike the situation with EQC, we’d know in advance when they would be needed rather than having pressure on an agency to expand their overall staffing levels by a factor of 50 within a year.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.2.4

            Where is that money going to come from?

            The numbers really are quite prohibitive.

            How about, off the top of my head:

            1. Not bribing Saudi royalty.

            2. Not spending taxpayers’ money to do Jason Ede type jobs.

            3. Not stunting the economy and thereby bringing in more revenue, as history demonstrates.

            4. Raising the top tax rate.

            5. Financial transaction tax, CGT.

        • Psycho Milt 3.1.1.3

          Landlords can pay.

          The passing the cost on thing is the real sticking point.

          Well, yes. The landlord isn’t running a charity – costs like rates, insurance and maintenance are covered by the rent. If the government imposes an additional cost, that cost will be included in the costs covered by the rent. That’s pretty much what rent is. Demanding that landlords not include WoF costs in their rents is like demanding car manufacturers not include the cost of airbags in their vehicle prices – both difficult and pointless to enforce.

          • weka 3.1.1.3.1

            the Greens said that the Dunedin study suggested that most landlords didn’t see a need to increase rents.

            The fee is $200-$300 per inspection. That’s $100/yr. I can’t see landlords putting up rents on the basis of that and the tenancy protection legislation should offer more protection too.

            Outgoings fluctuate but don’t automatically require and increase in income.

            • Psycho Milt 3.1.1.3.1.1

              Sure, no-one’s going to increase the rent to cover a $100 annual cost. However, the next time the rent is increased, you bet it will be increased sufficiently to cover WoF costs, including any higher maintenance costs that arise from having to meet the WoF requirements. There is no “landlords can pay” with this, any more than there is for rates or any other costs involved with the property. The tenant always pays in the long run.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.3.1.2

              Except it’s only $100/year assuming no maintenance is needed as a result of the WOF.

              The whole point of the WOF is to find and identify the houses that need significant maintenance.

              Rent for those houses will go up when the maintenance is done, to cover the costs.

              I’m sure there are a lot of houses that will come off the rental market because the landlords can’t be bothered or can’t afford to make the changes. A fair number of them will be sold to owner-occupiers, but others will be sold to more wealthy investors who will take the time and effort to meet the requirements – and increase their rent to cover the costs.

              • maninthemiddle

                I am a landlord, with three rental properties. I have no problem with a WoF, because in my view I am offering a product/service to the market where I should take repsonsibility for the quality of the product/service I supply. Not only that, it makes good business sense. If I insulate my homes, make them warm, ensure maintenance is kept up to date, I protect the value of my investment, (hopefully) attract a better quality tenant, and ultimately earn a higher return on my investment. I currently voluntarily have my properties inspected every 3 months by a property manager, who advises on any work that needs doing.

                • Lanthanide

                  I am also a landlord and like I said above, I support the policy, I just have concerns over who will do the work. Matthew Whitehead gave a pretty comprehensive answer to this above that has largely allayed my concerns.

                  Other concerns about rent hikes remain, though.

                  • maninthemiddle

                    I agree with Matthew, the costs would be negligible. However it all adds up. My view is the market sets most of the rental anyway. Owning rental properties has never been a ‘cost +’ exercise, in my experience anyway.

                • b waghorn

                  Most of what you say is cool , but every three months? i’m not sure if that’s stalking or bullying your tenants or a bit of both.

                  • Lanthanide

                    It’s the industry standard.

                    Landlord insurance policies all *require* 3 monthly inspections if you want to be covered by them.

                    Legally you can do them much more frequently than that.

                  • maninthemiddle

                    Most landlords who have their property managed have an inspection every 3 months. It’s quite normal. And frankly with some tenants, essential. I have had tenants trash a house in a week, let alone three months. Most are great, a minority are not. For example, I recently had a tenant (who had been renting my property for 3 years) suddenly, an without warning, break the tenancy agreement and adopted 2 dogs, who proceeded to take a considerable amount of the surface off a polished wooden floor, and defacate throughout the house. Needless to say the tenant was informed by the property manager that the dogs went or he went.

                • Andre

                  Out of curiosity, how would you describe how you set your rents? Cost plus? What the market will bear? Other?

                  • maninthemiddle

                    Market. If I have a long term tenant of good quality, I generally set them around 10-15% below market.

              • weka

                What’s ‘a lot’ in that context?

                • Lanthanide

                  Enough to materially constrain supply of rental properties. Certainly it’ll reduce the supply of cheap rentals (they won’t cease to exist, they’ll become owner-occupied, or will be repaired, driving rent up).

      • b waghorn 3.1.2

        How do you have a standardised test for houses that range in age from 120 years old to brand new.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.2.1

          Yip, you’ll have to have some way of allowing re-assessment.

        • Brigid 3.1.2.2

          Why shouldn’t there be a standardised test. WOF tests are standardised independant of the age of the car. I’m assuming you believe a 120 year old house shouldn’t have to meet the same criteria as a 20 year old house. If a house is not fit to live in it’s not fit to live in. End.

          • Andre 3.1.2.2.1

            Ahh, no. There’s all kinds of things that are acceptable in older cars that would instantly fail in a newer car. No seatbelts in back seats, no turn signals, door latch mechanisms, no wing mirrors… Older cars pretty much just have to meet the standards of the time they were built, not modern standards.

            • weka 3.1.2.2.1.1

              “by local councils will check rental properties to ensure they are safe, warm and weather-tight. This will include: surfaces being clear of mould, decent ventilation, a functional toilet, properly connected drains, safe electrical wiring, floor and ceiling insulation, proper heaters, and no cracks or holes in the building fabric.”

              I guess it will come down to how they define those, but on the face of it is there anything there that most old houses can’t meet? I reckon it’ll be the cheapo houses built in more recent decades that will struggle, or any house that is seriously substandard, but that’s the point, those houses shouldn’t be rentals.

              • Andre

                There’s all kinds of reasons why WOFs for cars isn’t a good analogy for WOFs for rental houses.

                The requirement that looks the hardest to me for old houses to meet is “warm”. An old weatherboard house with poorly fitting floorboards will be a big job to upgrade to modern standards. Trying to stop winter draughts is a mission, and if you successfully insulate the walls you could create moisture traps leading to mould and rot.

                Personally, I mostly fall on the side of substandard houses should be brought up to standard before being rented out, but I reckon there is some merit to the argument that will lead to some houses simply being taken out of the rental market leading to more rent increases and difficulty finding rentals.

                • weka

                  I don’t think wall insulation will be part of the wof. Floor and ceiling insulation, a decent wood burner, and an intact exterior is a reasonable standard even in a place like Dunedin.

                  It’s part of a broader range of policies that include increasing the number of houses in NZ (HNZ and private) so theoretical a few landlords having to sell shouldn’t have to affect the rental market badly.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Putting in roof and floor insulation and doing nothing about air infiltration (on average the worst/oldest houses completely change their air 6 times every hour – every 10 minutes!) will do little to keep the house warm, other than tick some boxes on a WOF chart that they have been done, but will still add lots of cost, which will be borne by the tenant.

                  • The Chairman

                    As it’s part of a broader range of policies that include increasing the number of houses in NZ, implementation (of a housing WOF) should be deferred until that goal is achieved.

                    This will help mitigate the scope of passing costs on.

              • b waghorn

                ”or any house that is seriously substandard, but that’s the point, those houses shouldn’t be rentals.”

                And if the slum landlords decide to sell their substandard houses , they are a great rung on the property ladder for young people who are willing to crawl around putting in pink bats and scrimping and saving to fix dodgy bathrooms etc.

                • Lanthanide

                  And other landlords looking for a bargain to do up, and pass the increased rent on to the tenants.

      • save nz 3.1.3

        They lost me when they mentioned the councils doing it…

        But one thing to remember about WOF was that 70% of houses actually failed it in the trial. So there is going to be a big problem, it went beyond being warm and dry into some sort of nightmare bureaucracy of railings and steps and so forth. Many NZ homes date from the 1900’s to 1950’s (then we seemed to have stopped building houses until the 1980’s and 1990’s when they leaked).. so the building criteria was completely different then, it seems that most Kiwi housing stock do not seem to be habitable houses under the WOF criteria..

        Just pointing out an obvious issue here, if it’s going to take 50,000 to bring a rental up to standard, the landlord will probably decide to sell it once it is renovated…

        Like the war on P, in state houses, there are now less state houses… and now people are not so convinced the P in there is even real.

        • weka 3.1.3.1

          I’ll chase up the study details later but given it was done in Dunedin I’d guess a large number of fails were on insulation.

          And heating.

          I seem to remember some if the wof criteria were things like being able to secure the property.

          Just because a large number failed it doesn’t mean that they failed on expensive or difficult things.

          If a landlord needs to sell a property to get the maintenance money back then they shouldn’t be investing in rentals. They would have 2 years to sort it out at the start. It looks to me like part of this is to push the investment culture in a different direction.

          • Lanthanide 3.1.3.1.1

            The biggest incidence of failures were actually handrails, as save nz says, and windows lacking security stays.

            IMO the security stays was a silly thing to include, as most owner occupied houses wouldn’t have it either.

            Should they? Yes.

            “If a landlord needs to sell a property to get the maintenance money back then they shouldn’t be investing in rentals.”

            The point is, they buy a cheap house, and get a positive cashflow return from it, and also some capital gain.

            If they’re then required to put in $50k of capital outlay, that’s a pretty large hit. Sure, they could hold the house for another 10 years and recoup that with higher rents over the period (and they’d have to be higher – hence the core problem of the Green’s bill for tenants), or they can sell the house now, recoup the $50k in maintenance and cash out on the capital gain. A lot of people would go for that option, and I don’t think it’s fair to say those people “shouldn’t be investing in rentals”.

            The bank might be happy to loan the $50k required for maintenance (maintenance is explicitly excluded from the 60% LVR rule), but the owner may not like having a mortgage like that.

            If they’d received a failed WOF and in 3 months time can no longer collect rent, then their choice is really to do it up themselves, or to sell it in a distressed position, as any investor buying it would be forced to do the maintenance themselves. So doing the upgrade and then selling it is a reasonable alternative, if “selling” is the other likely outcome anyway.

        • Yeah as Weka said, it’s worth also noting the mean and median cost for rectifying a failure. If it’s just installing a heat source or patching the occassional hole, that’s just a couple hundred bucks and your property is back in the game, no big deal.

          Insulation is probably more expensive sure, but there are programs that make it a lot cheaper already, it’s just landlords don’t want to bother with the capital expenditure even if it increases the rent they get, so requiring wall insulation would definitely make compliance expensive for houses that fail, but requiring ceiling and underfloor insulation is very reasonable as mostly it can be done so long as those areas are accessible.

          If houses were failing due to no railings on internal stair cases, perhaps that’s a failure of how the particular WOF is written. If we want inspections against a rental WOF I think it is important that we stick to general bottom lines that are reasonable for the first draft, and raise the bar if those reasonable minimums don’t lift housing quality enough for the rental market.

          • weka 3.1.3.2.1

            Good point about lifting the bar. I think the Greens’ policy sets minimum standards and utilises a star rating system beyond that (that is already being used in Dunedin). It looks like it’s about enouraging change in the culture as well as getting immediate benefits for tenants.

            • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.3.2.1.1

              Yeah, plus also starting with a modest list of minimum standards to rent means that good landlords are more likely to be able to stay in the business if they would struggle to meet a larger capital expense to continue renting the property, wheras bad landlords are more likely to spit the dummy and just flip their investment property immediately at any obstacle, meaning the people who want out of the rental market can pick up the properties of the bad landlords, wheras the ones who want or need to stay renting can continue on with those who were already good or the ones willing to up their game.

              If there’s less urgent things that need to make a WOF, they can be amended in near the end of Term 1 or the beginning of Term 2 of a new government, so that people have had time to get some more rent income and be ready for the less urgent improvements. (Or better yet, allow things to be added to the list without changing the legislation by the relevant ministry, but still list the minimums in the legislation so that it can’t be undermined by a future government without a law change)

              The five-star system (where presumably your minimum standards are star 1) is a good idea, too if you’re aiming to change culture, as it gives a marketing reward to landlords and agents who already do a good job, and an incentive for people to take easy steps that would bump them up the scale, especially if the criteria for gaining and losing stars are publicly available. It’s got to be a lot easier to advertise a property with an independent five-star rating than it is to advertise a good property in the rest of the country.

              • RedLogix

                As a landlord I’d love a reliable rating system like this. At the moment the about only things that determine market rents are, in order of importance:

                1. Location

                2. Number of bedrooms

                3. Off street parking

                There is very little commercial incentive for a landlord to install heating, insulation and other upgrades because all of these things … while they are a real and valuable benefit to the tenant … return little or nothing to the landlord who has to fund them.

                For instance when we were building 12 years ago we installed good double-glazing and extra insulation even though at the time it was a significant expense. Various people said we were mad, and from a strict commercial logic we probably were at the time. It’s taken a good deal longer than I’d hoped for the business to start breaking even.

                A warm, comfortable unit that is clean, attractive and well maintained will likely have a better occupancy rate, but not necessarily a better rent compared to others in the area.

                A reliable WoF or Star system that actually made a difference to rents based on quality could well make a real difference to these incentives.

    • DH 3.2

      The WOF is just more middle class madness. We’ve got people living on the streets, in garages and cars, and these people want WOFs for rental properties?

      There’s already far too much regulation by control freaks, this is yet another badly thought out scheme that will lead to unintended consequences.

      • AmaKiwi 3.2.1

        I kicked off this WOF conversation Thursday evening. I’m grateful so many of you are as concerned as I am. Yes, there are many details to work out.

        But please keep your eye on the prize. Every child needs a safe home.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Squatters’ rights. It’s obvious Parliament isn’t going to do the right thing. Personally I think squatters should invoke article 25 of the UDoHR, and appeal to the Supreme Court to end this country’s ongoing human rights abuses.

    Then perhaps some gentle rioting in Remmers just to burn the point home.

  5. NZJester 5

    While there are a lot of shonky tenants out there, you will find even more shonky landlords.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      A numeric comparison is pretty fraught. A bad tenant can only wreck one unit at a time; but over time can cause havoc to multiple landlords. Equally one bad landlord with multiple units can cause harm to a lot of tenants at the same time.

      From our experience running 8 units (built at various stages over the past 14 years) we’ve accommodated about 40 tenants, of whom 4 have caused major problems. I’d be curious as to what portion of landlords fall short of the mark in your experience.

      • Keep in mind also that some landlords go through an agency to rent the property. Those agencies are a lot more aggressive about things like letting fees etc… and will often have dozens or hundreds of rental properties in their portfolio, so it doesn’t even have to be 10% of landlords being bad to even up the odds, you just need a few agencies to be bad and the landlords not to notice, and suddenly a large amount of renters are having a bad experience.

  6. Neil 6

    Under Key, the national party & their supporters, the less fortunate in life do not have the right to warm dry housing or anything else

  7. Muttonbird 7

    Families who rent often find themselves pushed around from house to house, and their kids moved from school to school, unable to settle down.

    The rental market is the other side of the housing crisis that affects hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.

    In many other countries, particularly in Europe, long-term tenancies in quality, warm homes are the norm.

    Although it is good that someone at least recognises the issues facing renting families, the security of tenure issue will not be addressed by this bill.

    High numbers of amateur landlords, untaxed speculation, and the high rates of turnover encouraged by rapid price rises are doing untold damage to communities and will affect generations to come.

    Until housing is managed properly in this country an increasing number of ordinary kiwi families will continue to live in fear of the 90 day letter.

    • Sabine 7.1

      the fear is the 14 day letter,m 90 days is a pure luxury.

    • weka 7.2

      What would you suggest is done?

      • miravox 7.2.1

        “What would you suggest is done?”

        I think even The Greens have stepped away from this one, possibly due to the outrage it would generate from [potential] investors in housing. I definitely can’t see all those property investing MPs in other parties supporting restrictions to termination of tenancies by landlords.

        Euro example – Tenant-friendly legislation is a given in Austria and in case of termination of tenancy, the Landlord can only terminate by extraordinary notice – the place becomes uninhabitable, non-payment of rent or the misuse of property (criminal activity, damage). The tenant can challenge the notice and mediation services are available.

        • RedLogix 7.2.1.1

          Real property investors rarely evict tenants who are not causing problems. The reason is simple … far better to keep an existing tenant who is absolutely known to pay the rent reliably and look after the unit, than run the risk of a new unknown tenant, who comes with a 10% chance of costing a great deal more than you might gain.

          The losses from just one bad tenant can easily run into many thousands of dollars. Any experienced landlord wants to minimise this risk.

          Of course there is a downside to fixed term leases. Here in Australia it is normal to have to sign up to a 12 month term. If you have to leave the unit for any reason, you are still liable for the balance of the rent for that 12 months.

          If you want tenants to have security of tenure (and I’m all for this), this has to be balanced by giving the landlord security of income. You really can’t have it both ways.

          • weka 7.2.1.1.1

            Allow subletting or transfer of tenancy.

            • Chuck 7.2.1.1.1.1

              “Allow subletting or transfer of tenancy.”

              Is a option…but would need to include sign off by the landlord on the new tenant. And possibly the original tenant would also need to underwrite the remaining rental payments re – original term.

              Fixed terms are a great idea, and are becoming more common in NZ (12 month terms).

          • miravox 7.2.1.1.2

            “Real property investors rarely evict tenants who are not causing problems”

            Real property investors shouldn’t have a problem with restrictions on giving notice. It’s the others out to make a quick $$ that this would mainly affect – and there are far too many of them in NZ. That 12 month tenure liability you mention is in NZ too, but I don’t really see how that is relevant to whether a landlord can terminate a tenancy with a few weeks notice, or not. Austria also has short-term leases these days, although they are not common (when you have no plans to buy a home why would you want to have a 6-month lease?) so the longer leases, i’d suggest, generally suit the tenant and the property owner.

            Without a doubt, Austrian rental laws are pro-tenant and yes, they really do have it both ways. The historical context of housing is a major influence in the way housing is provided, especially in Vienna. I do realise that this is not the NZ experience and a paradigm shift in the concept of housing would have to occur for this system to be take hold in NZ. The Green Party bill is only a good start. As they note, there are things that can be learned from the European experience and, if there is the will, incorporated into NZ regulatory environment.

            Notice of termination is one of these things. It is important that NZ makes changes to current practice. As Muttonbird stated above

            High numbers of amateur landlords, untaxed speculation, and the high rates of turnover encouraged by rapid price rises are doing untold damage to communities and will affect generations to come.

            Until housing is managed properly in this country an increasing number of ordinary kiwi families will continue to live in fear of the 90 day letter

            I understand your point about property damage – as do the Austrians, hence the extraordinary notice provision. Undoubtedly there are fewer investors in property, but the ones that are are ‘real’. Given exceptions for such things as property damage, misuse of property and unpaid rent, and maybe with a clause for early end of lease by the tenant, I can’t really see legitimate reasons for responsible, professional landlords to have major (irritations – yes) concerns about restricting the grounds for termination of leases. It is certainly something that needs to be improved for people to be able to envisage their rental as a home.

            • RedLogix 7.2.1.1.2.1

              Largely agree. We’ve always tried to encourage tenants to see the house as their home. And while the average tenancy is about 18 months, some have stayed with us for years and we hope they’ll stay as long as they wish.

              Austria also has short-term leases these days, although they are not common (when you have no plans to buy a home why would you want to have a 6-month lease?)

              There are all sorts of reasons why someone does not want, or cannot buy a house. For many people their life is not stable enough to warrant it. They don’t have a partner they want to settle down with, they plan to travel, they’re still on probation at work, or it’s a short-term contract/course that will come to an end.

              One tenant we have at present is a retired couple who sold their house to provide the deposit for their children to buy a suitable home. Another owned property in the USA and lost it all in the 2009 GFC.

              My point is that renting comes with a flexibility that owning does not have, and this is actually quite valuable to many tenants.

              The really big problem in this area is not professional landlords running a genuine rental business, but the speculators or amateurs who are only in it to flick the property for capital gain or some other personal reason.

              • miravox

                “There are all sorts of reasons why someone does not want, or cannot buy a house… My point is that renting comes with a flexibility that owning does not have, and this is actually quite valuable to many tenant”

                Agree. Housing tenure is integral to how a society operates. This is part of what I was getting at when I wrote there would need to be a paradigm shift for the full-on Viennese version of housing tenure to work in NZ, and I’m not seeing that happen anytime soon.

                People here are stunned when the find out how NZers move around – the flexibility we are talking about is insecurity here (generalising, of course). That is why longer rentals are preferred. Note as well that there is massive, ongoing state investment in housing, which changes the framework for managing the needs of people who are at risk on insecure housing quite dramatically.

                “The really big problem in this area is not professional landlords running a genuine rental business, but the speculators or amateurs who are only in it to flick the property for capital gain or some other personal reason.”

                Yeah, it’s not a business to be taken on without commitment. Part of the reason I’m for a capital gains tax – get those with money but no commitment to look elsewhere for their profit, or else start taking the whole venture seriously.

        • weka 7.2.1.2

          Miravox, how does that work fit families that rent out their home for a few years and then need to move back?

          • miravox 7.2.1.2.1

            The length of lease is usually three or five years. but there are also 6-month leases (holiday lets and contract workers, usually).

            The tenants can have a 12-month roll-over clause after the first year and I imagine there could be some negotiation around that. Otherwise, if the family renting out their home came back early, I guess they would have to take a 6-month rollover lease until the agreement on their own property ends. Interestingly, if it was the tenant who was away for a few years, they could sublet the property for that period. Security of tenure is a pretty basic right. Ownership seems to be a privilege by comparison and land-lording is not setup for the hobbyists (just my observation).

  8. millsy 8

    Should be automatic first right of refusal to a tenant if the landlord wishes to sell IMO. Obviously you cannot do that for every rental property, such as flats, etc, but it would give a tenant a fighting chance.

    Also limiting the amount a rent a landlord can increase would be an idea as well. Perhaps inflation plus 2%, with exemptions available for special circumstances.

  9. miravox 9

    What will MPs accept in terms of increased rights for tenants? I wonder if the Green Party bill has been written in consideration of MP property ownership

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/78875326/Our-121-MPs-have-interests-in-295-properties-between-them

    National’s 60 MPs have a stake in about three properties each on average, Labour about 2 properties per MP, the Greens 1.7 and NZ First 2.3.

    Of the remaining four MPs, Peter Dunne has two, David Seymour none and the two Maori party MPs one apiece.

    …Of the 121 MPs, only 11 declared no interests in property. They were: Darroch Ball, David Cunliffe, David Seymour, Louise Upston, James Shaw, Kris Faafoi, Marama Davidson, Paul Foster-Bell, Peeni Henare, Ria Bond, Todd Barclay.

    Obviously not of of these owners are landlords (the PM, for example keeps his three homes for himself), however this bill may have implications for quite a few MPs. I’m keen to see how they vote.

  10. What about the land lords rights?
    We rent out a couple of bedsits at about $30.00 per week less than the going rate, The current tenants are great, but over the years we have had some real scumbags, because we give a mug an even break we have been ripped off many times, not only thousands in rent, but even food from our kitchen, money from our egg sales/honesty box, one guy even ripped off some stuff, couldn’t sell it so bought it back and said if we didn’t forgive him, we would feel the wrath of god …. (and I had just given that guy a months free accommodation, cause he was sleeping in his car)
    One guy not only owed 6 weeks rent, but he stole all the lightbulbs, (his mother was a victims support officer) another moved in with his welfare check, then stole petrol, smashed holes in the wall, and left maybe 2 months later without paying any more rent. We have had several people move in with backing from the govt, only to not pay anything else. If you let them get a week or so behind in rent, that’s it, they stop answering their phones and just fuck you around.
    So yeah if you want to get a feeling of how scummy people are, and why I see zero hope for the future, become a ‘nice’ landlord, and get crapped on.
    Lets face it people are arsholes.
    But I’m not surprised
    The Spirit in the Gene: Humanity’s Proud Illusion and the Laws of Nature

    «As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behaviour is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.»

    – Reg Morrison

    • weka 10.1

      I’m pretty sure there are laws in place around all those things already. As the GP press release states, NZ is one of the countries whose tenancy laws support tenants the least Tenants. Landlords already have pretty decent redress as far as I can see.

      I do think that if someone can’t manage the landlord/tenant relationship without being an arsehole or without being ripped off then one probably isn’t suited to being a landlord. We have this idea in NZ that there are free and easy ways of making money, but being a landlord takes skill. Red has told similar stories of being a decent landlord and getting ripped off as well, but I still think this is about the choices one makes at the income/investment level and it’s not on the same scale as the Human Right to have decent housing (which is what this thread is about).

      I’m also noting the attitude about welfare in your comment. I don’t see what the source of the renter’s income has to do with anything unless you are trying to equate being on welfare with being ‘scum’.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        We’ve had pretty much the same issues with some of our tenants that Robert describes.

        Landlords already have pretty decent redress as far as I can see.

        Maybe on paper. In practise you cut your losses and walk away.

        But yes I absolutely agree, in the end we’ve made our investment/income choices and we do our best to make it work without shitting on our clients. While some have indeed been scumbags (and one in particular caused us a LOT of heartache) the huge majority are a pleasure to know and look after their units better than even we would. That’s what keeps us going and makes it worthwhile.

        I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that too many people think being a landlord is easy money. In fact if you read any of the industry association magazines they emphasise the exact opposite. Every issue will have an article telling to either get skilled up to do a proper job of it, or hand it over to a competent agency who can do it for a price.

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.2

        Landlords already have pretty decent redress as far as I can see.

        Maybe on paper, as RL says. So far we’ve only had one that just wouldn’t pay rent, but we’ve given up on ever seeing that money. The legal system could help us recover it, but the expense, time and effort required isn’t worth it – which is what such people rely on, I presume. Same with friends of ours who found the nice young woman who rented from them with her parents as referees was a front for local petty crims – cost them a hell of a lot in lost rent and repairs to the house for that one, but none of the costs were ever recovered from the tenants.

        • weka 10.1.2.1

          How much rent are you talking about, and why is there such a big amount? If someone stops paying rent why do you not begin proceedings immediately?

          • Lanthanide 10.1.2.1.1

            “If someone stops paying rent why do you not begin proceedings immediately?”

            Because the law requires rent to be 21 days in arrears before you can begin eviction proceedings.

            If someone is 20 days in arrears, and they pay even a small amount of their rent, then the 21 days starts again.

          • Psycho Milt 10.1.2.1.2

            I’m not a professional landlord (didn’t want to be one at all, but relationships always involve compromises). Didn’t notice the non-payments for weeks, then allowed the tenant to bullshit us for weeks, then the eviction notice period on top. I think we were out about a thousand, plus the lost rent while we found a replacement who was actually willing to pay for accommodation. Of course, if we had given her an eviction notice the moment she was three weeks behind, we would have lost a much smaller amount, but it would then be even less worth the hassle of trying to recover the loss. As RL says, you cut your losses and walk away.

      • Lanthanide 10.1.3

        I had a tenant evicted after his marriage broke up and he left. He was behind 6 weeks rent. Bond was 4 weeks, so I got to keep all of that.

        Apparently he was referred to debt collection. I was surprised to receive something like $13 in the middle of last year, apparently he had made a payment. From a tenancy that ended 3 years ago.

        Rest of the money is gone, and there’s no hope of me seeing it. I’ve written it off. The worst this tenant did was leave behind a flea infestation in the carpet from his dog (that the next tenants discovered and I had to pay for – and this is why lots of landlords don’t allow animals) and a bunch of rubbish that had to be disposed of. Far from the horror stories of Robert and Red, but this idea that “landlords already have recourse” just doesn’t reflect reality.

        You can’t get blood out of a stone. In many cases even if the tenant could eventually pay, the stress and hassle simply costs more than the return. So you take your loss on the chin and don’t take a risk on your next tenant.

  11. Brian 11

    About bloody time. Unless you own ( or the bank does) there is nothing in the way of security.

  12. roy cartland 12

    Basic decency made law.

    I’m a ‘landlord’ – that is, I have to rent out a floor in my house to enable me to pay my crippling mortgage. The property exceeds all the proposed housing WOF requirements, a 90-day notice period for the tenant, 3 weeks notice to me, free wifi and I regularly make sure everything is up to scratch and fix it if not.

    I repeat: this is basic decency – these aren’t the standards of a ‘good’ landlord, this is the bare minimum. If property owners don’t meet these, they should be forced to.

  13. Leftie 13

    Another great initiative from the Greens. Add it to the growing arsenal of polices from the opposition that’s showing itself as being a good, solid alternative to the corrupt, uncaring, and amoral National government.

  14. illuminatedtiger 14

    Preventing rent increases more often than once every 12 months for periodic and fixed-term tenancies.

    Perhaps NZ should be emulating the Japanese model, the rent cannot change for the duration of the tenancy which is typically 24 months (and at the same time is periodical – the tenant can choose to leave at anytime for a months rent). Even better is that you don’t have to open your place up for landlord inspections, something that throughout my renting in NZ occurred on a fairly regular basis.

    • RedLogix 14.1

      Yes but a quick google suggests a far more mature market that strictly vets tenants character and ability to pay:

      https://blog.gaijinpot.com/rent-an-apartment-in-japan/

      And virtually all tenancies are managed via an agency and up to six months rent may be payable in advance via a number of different fees:

      Not at last, entering a rental contract with a conventional real estate company is very expensive. A number of refundable and non refundable fees have to be paid, often totaling three to ten months’ rent, depending on the company and apartment:

      Reservation fee (tetsukekin)
      The tetsukekin is paid when you apply for an apartment, and before the actual rental contract is signed. It serves as a guarantee for you that the apartment is not given to somebody else, and for the agent that you do not change your mind. It is refunded after the actual contract is signed and is usually equivalent to about one month’s rent.

      Deposit (shikikin)
      The deposit is used to cover eventual future damage to the apartment. The deposit minus the cost for repairs is refunded when you move out. The deposit is usually equivalent to several months’ rent.

      Key money (reikin)
      This is a non refundable payment to the landlord in the amount of up to several months’ rent.

      Service fee (chukai tesuryo)
      This is a non refundable payment to the real estate agent in the amount of at most one month’s rent.

      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2200.html
      http://www.wikihow.com/Find-an-Apartment-in-Japan

      Your guarantor will be liable if you fall behind in rent:

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/04/23/issues/renter-guarantor-system-a-headache-for-foreigners/#.V68Pzph96Uk

      And from what I can read it seems the usual arrangement only allows you to terminate the usual 24 month contract with no penalty after 12 months.

      All in all a VERY different system and culture to NZ’s very lightly regulated and immature one. Even moving to Australia it was obvious how almost all tenancies are handled by a professional agent, and any deviation from the rules, rent payment, problematic behaviour or the like is very quickly dealt with.

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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    7 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    7 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago