BREAKING, today #NZGreens have published an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for an immediate rent freeze, to remain in place until rent controls are made meaningful and permanent.https://t.co/aLevYBS636 pic.twitter.com/viRXeOBEFw
— Green Party NZ (@NZGreens) April 6, 2022
Tēna koe Prime Minister,
Our homes are where we share kai with whānau, where we teach our children to walk and talk, where we shelter, and where we recover our health.
Over the past year, landlords have hiked up rental prices like never before, making it harder for people to afford other essentials such as healthy food and heating in winter.
Despite having so much power over the lives of their fellow New Zealanders, landlords are operating in an almost entirely unregulated system. Successive governments have stood by and done little to change this, instead watching as rents became less and less affordable.
We should not, and must not, do the same.
Working together we can rebalance the rental market in favour of the people who just want to put down roots and make a home for themselves and their families.
We urge you to immediately freeze rents as an interim measure while we work together on a permanent plan to strengthen rent controls – including limits on annual rent increases and linking rents to what previous tenants paid.
Right now, nearly half of all people in Aotearoa rent their home from a landlord. We urge you to make their lives more affordable by backing our plan to ensure renters and their families can put an affordable roof over their heads, make ends meet, and stay in their communities.
A decent, affordable home is a human right. Let’s make it a reality.
Ngā mihi nui,
Marama Davidson and James Shaw
Green Party Co-leaders
Before anyone starts in with rent-control-horror-story rhetoric, how about we look at where rent controls actually work? And then see if the Green Party’s proposition is likely to work well here in New Zealand. I’d like to see some in depth debate about it rather than knee jerk reaction. Full policy document is here.
I'm starting to believe there's wilful ingnorance regarding good examples of rent controls and how they work in a comprehensive plan for a liveable city. Lots of focus on how controls & other tenancy rights might create problems for 'returns' and financial incentives instead.
— miravox (@miravox) April 7, 2022
Looking at rent control in the context of overall liveable city design is brilliant. What if we start with people needing homes and communities and then figure out how to make that happen and how to pay for it?
From the Guardian article,
What I’m seeing from the Greens,
While Labour are making headway in aspects of housing reform, I’m not seeing anything from them that will make meaningful difference for many low income people who rent. Building more houses for the private market will increase housing prices. Building more state housing will help take pressure off the waiting list and I guess eventually we will catch up, but many people will still need to rent privately. There’s nothing that will bridge the chasm between low income and high rents – if rents aren’t controlled, landlords will keep increasing them as wages and benefits increase.
I’m wondering if the implication from the Greens is a cross-party plan for the rent control strategy. It would be very awesome to see Labour, the Greens and the Māori Party work together on this. Here’s what the Greens are proposing,
Details in the full policy document (PDF) – this is worth reading to see how rentrols could work.
That’s pretty reasonable for the New Zealand context, nothing even close to being a radical communist fest of anti-capitalism (sorry hard lefties). This is something quite palatable for the electorate and it’s smartly done. I fully expect a lot of bleating from the right and parts of the centre left, but it’s a solid proposal we should be looking at with interest to see what can be done.
Not sure why we need a rent freeze? From the policy doc,
Further reading on Green Party housing policy