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Little’s Healthy Homes Bill passes first reading

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, May 5th, 2016 - 22 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, health, housing, housing insulation, labour, quality of life - Tags: ,

Last night Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed it’s first reading. Bravo to Andrew Little, Labour, The Greens, NZF, The Maori Party, and Peter Dunne, who voted in support. Below is some of the reaction, and speeches from Little and Turei.


22 comments on “Little’s Healthy Homes Bill passes first reading ”

  1. Observer (Tokoroa) 1

    . Congratulations

    . The parties of decency and honesty, including United, will earn the thanks of New Zealanders.

    They will of course get abuse from the wealthy Nationals. Key and English will abuse and abuse and abuse. Is the only thing they are good at .

    They govern for their wealthy, dishonest and gross scum friends.

    Shame on National. Praise on the Opposition.

  2. The Chairman 2

    Introducing another factor that will result in driving up rents. Leaving tenants with less to cover their heating costs.

    • Andre 2.1

      Do you really think there’s many landlords charging less than what they think the market will bear? Their costs probably have very very little to do with the rent they ask for. Particularly in this capital gains driven property market, where negative gearing is allegedly already fairly common.

      • The Chairman 2.1.1

        “Do you really think there’s many landlords charging less than what they think the market will bear?”

        Indeed. And there are a number of reasons for that. One example is ensuring good tenants remain.

        Additionally, there are currently areas of high rental demand that are witnessing tenants further bidding rents up in an effort to secure accommodation.

        As properties improve, so to does their market value.

        Labour have conceded this will result in higher rents.

        • Heather.Grimwood

          To The Chairman ………I thought the aim of he exercise was to IMPROVE THE LOT OF THE CHILDREN INVOLVED and of course their immediate families, this latter fact also important to the children’s welfare.

        • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal

          Chairman do you think we should get rid of vehicle safety standards so that cars should be cheaper too? Would you be ok with that?

          What about food -should we get rid poisonous food standards so that can be cheaper too?

          • The Chairman

            I understand the need for regulation. The problem is, in this instance regulation (as proposed) will result in compounding the problem it’s attempting to resolve.

    • greywarshark 2.2

      I thought you had interest in good policy and improving standards in NZ The Chairman.
      I am surprised that you could dismiss a good move with a negative one liner. Each policy won’t fix every problem confronting us, but we need to ratchet-up conditions with practical measures. Sometimes they will cost, there is always the need for maintenance and renewal in every aspect of society, and if no effort is put into that, decrepitude follows.

      Why don’t you think it has any value?

      • The Chairman 2.2.1

        This so called good move overlooks the downside, which in turn compromises the effectiveness of the bill.

        Little said there was no point in having an insulated house if it was not heated properly.

        A main factor that stuck out in the recently reported deaths was people couldn’t afford to run their heating. Therefore, this so called good policy will further compound the problem it is trying to resolve.

    • Sabine 2.3

      actually that is ok with the National Government, as Winz (the Taxpayer) will have no issue according the needy the much acclaimed Accommodation Supplement, which is already costing the country something like 2 billions and that is for houses that are not insulated and shit.

      So if we, the Taxpayer, have to pay the rent for our needy citizens via the Accomodation Supplement than we may as well pay it towards rentals that are ‘healthy” and in the long run save some money on emergency care in hospitals.

      As for the “landlords” that are renting these shacks, they are better called Slumlords.

      • The Chairman 2.3.1

        If taxpayers are largely going to end up covering the cost through accommodation benefits, it would be more feasible to subsidize the cost of the improvements directly (opposed to driving up rents). Saving taxpayers money while averting rent increases.

        After all, it’s taxpayers that will see the health saving. And those savings will help offset the cost. Win-win.

  3. millsy 3

    …and cue the landlords complaining about how hard done by they are, that they have to provide a decent place to live in to their tenants, and that they cannot kick their tenants out on a whim, and how they are ‘feral animals’ and how they just want to provide for their retirement, etc and so on and so forth…

    Yep, it sure is hard to only be able to go to Fiji every second year now and not every year because you have to insulate your rental properties.

    Most landlords seem to take the ‘lord’ part in their title a bit too seriously methinks.

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    So what else needs to happen for this bill to be passed or can National veto it at any time?

    • srylands 4.1

      The Government can only use a financial veto if a proposal would have “more than a minor impact” on the Crown’s fiscal aggregates. The judgement of what is “more than minor” is one for the Government alone.

      In this case the impact on the Crown’s fiscal aggregates could come from two sources. (1) Higher accommodation supplement payments if market rents rise (although this could be avoided by simply not increasing AS and making tenants pay. (2) Any capital requirements of Housing New Zealand if it needs to comply with any higher standards and it can’t recover these costs from tenants.

      At the end of the day there will always be a low quality housing segment because there are people too poor to pay for higher standard housing (or who simply choose not to – I know owner-occupiers who live in uninsulated cold houses who simply spend their money on other priorities.)

      I have a rental in Brooklyn, Wellington. It is well insulated, but does not have a heat pump. It relies on portable heaters, but because of the high level of insulation, it stays warm. I pitch the rental at the low end of market rents because I want to attract high quality long term tenants. Last year the tenant asked for a heat pump. I said that’s OK but your rent goes up $15 per week. He quickly changed his mind.

      The market will provide accommodation standards that meet very diverse demands from tenants. If folk want double glazed town houses with heat pumps there are lots out there now. But you pay a premium for them. All the proposed law change will do is force all tenants to pay that premium whether they like it or not.

      Then there are the inevitable unintended consequences. If the law simply says “supply a heat pump” many landlords will supply the cheapest, smallest heat pump they can buy. And it won’t work. All it will do is run flat out and chew up electricity.

      Many people in New Zealand either can’t (or in many cases won’t) pay for decent heating in winter. I visit freezing houses every winter and often these are owned by people who could afford to pay for heating. You can’t just use regulation to dial up higher standards of housing, or cars, or anything else people consume. Those standards are a result of a combination of culture and incomes.

      • Puckish Rogue 4.1.1

        Thanks for that. I guess my issue is that this proposed bill seems to be quite vague.

        I’m not actually against some type of minimum standard for rental accommodation as I well recall growing up in an uninsulated brick house that was mostly in the shade in Dunedin (I don’t recall any mold though)

        But who decides the minimum and what exactly is the minimum in the first place?

        I see a lot of fishhooks in this bill so I’m hoping the government will veto it and instead work with all parties to come up with a better bill

        • Andre

          Isn’t the select committee process where all parties are supposed to work together to come up with a better version?

      • reason 4.1.2

        Did your tenants have kids ?, no relevance to you I’m sure, …. but I’m interested .

        And did your tenant know he was helping you donate money to whale-oil?? —- like you tried bragging about when Slater and the MSM were portraying the putrid arsehole as a ‘likable rouge’.

        Slater needs your money more than ever now ……….. better put your shitty brooklyn rentals rent up………….scab

  5. Observer (Tokoroa) 5

    . People who own rentals by and large charge what the market will bear. Their Income is significant. It will remain so until a capable Government begins to build healthy, non leaky, warm housing.

    The problem with heating is, that although NZ Zealand is sustainable in Hydro and Thermal Power, bad Governments have sold off lots of the income to massively wealthy share holders – here and abroad. “Money for their mates”.

    A new Government will need to divest the Share Holders. For warmth, like air and rain and dry shelter is a human right.

    It is a shame that greedy aggressive trolls of the National Government who frequently write and bleat on here, keep trying to hold onto every cent they can squeeze into their own pockets. Even though they have no right to aggressively steal from the common man.

    • Sabine 5.1

      @ Observer (Tokoroa)

      For warmth, like air and rain and dry shelter is a human right.

      Like food and water, shelter is a human need. Without any one of these three or a combination of any of these we die. It is fairly simple.
      We have made them human rights because at some stage we realized that in order to have a stable, relatively crime free, prosperous nation it is better for all, if we house and feed our needy, elders, sick and the likes. And/or provide supplements for those that can’t afford to cover all these costs.

      However, it seems that we now have a society that really don’t care if some of us die in a ditch, as long as we don’t do it on Queen Street or Ponsonby or central Wellington for that matter.

      But again the Cow needs to be milked, and if the cow dies, fuck it. We can still eat the carcass.

  6. save NZ 6

    I’m on the fence on this one. Totally agree everyone should have warm dry houses, but doing so will probably cause a lot of landlords to sell their houses if they can’t afford to upgrade them, and in Auckland they will be done up and sold on and cease being rentals and if they are, they will be a lot more expensive. You only need to look at the ‘my first home’ shows to see that it costs serious time and money to upgrade houses.

    In poor areas where it is not worth doing them up, what will happen? I am sure some enterprising person probably in the 10m investor category will snap them all up. You then get a situation like in England where sole individuals own massive amounts of real estate in an area.

    There is already a situation where some cultures do not rent at all. The leave the house they buy, empty even if it is expensive.

    I still remember after 2002, being a student in Auckland, all the houses were being sold and done up and you literally had 100 people applying for a flatmate position. We have more houses now, but they are more expensive and of course we have more people. WOF will decrease supply and my guess is they will be snapped up but not by Kiwis. Politicians don’t care if Kiwis are tenants in their own country anymore, they have downgraded the dream to “warm dry housing”. I lived in plenty of old damp villas when I rented and was more consumed by doing my degree than worrying about the state of the house and I am generation X.

    In those days, I had 3 jobs in-between my studies, but not sure that casual jobs are even available now. I just feel that politicians do not understand housing at all and think you can fix everything with a change that helps in one area but fails in another. If we have better housing but more homelessness, is that winning? If you drive poorer people out of certain areas and cities?

    I would prefer to see more focus on State houses for the poor and in all areas. Making developers have 50% affordable houses in the developments they build (based on average Kiwi wages) and not being sold to investors. large houses get a tax on them if they are over 250m2. Just a bit more creativity in it. Also a massive enquiry into the cost of infrastructure costs when you build and why our building materials are 50% higher than OZ. If you put on solar you get a rebate.

    In addition Auckland council planners need to be put under the spotlight. Planning officials grant every application (with a massive amount of fees), the chaos being created by this is huge. If you are in Auckland you wake up and find your duplex is about to be demolished and you were never notified, the ports of Auckland have stolen your harbour, Bunnings have put in a warehouse in a residential area next to a childcare centre. Monstrous spec houses are going up, not to be affordable that block out the neighbours sun, making it damp and cold. Entire apartment blocks are covered in plastic doing repairs from previous council, developer and government mistakes in consents. Far from improving housing, it makes it a risky business to build, when from a council point of view, anything goes you just have to pay.
    The discourse of “more intensification and council control” on housing in Auckland is like throwing votes away for politicians.

    Housing and poverty go together and need to be addressed together.

    • Sabine 6.1

      Considering that in AKL most houses are currently bought as objects of monetary speculation rather then an income producing rental if an owner of properties can’t afford to maintain these properties than maybe the owner should a. not have bought that many properties in the first place, or b. should expect the government to eventually regulate the upkeep of ‘houses’ that are for human consumption. If we regulate the standards in Hotels and the like we should also regulate ‘housing’. We have rules for how we keep animals, and sadly we need rules as for how we keep humans.

      Leaky, moldy, drafty, cold, should not be the best standard.
      Fix housing and then with healthy affordable homes start fixing poverty. Clean, tidy, warm houses, should not be something special in the 21st century. Especially not if someone spends up to 500$ + a week, or 2000$ + a month, or $24.000 a year on rent. It is not as if people don’t actually spend a lot of money on rent.

  7. Booker 7

    Wait, why are there so few MPs in session for this? Looks like a 10% turnout!

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