National only wants to help tenants *

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, April 12th, 2024 - 48 comments
Categories: chris bishop, employment, national, same old national, tenants' rights, workers' rights - Tags:

National is changing yet another law by taking us back to the past when thing were swell.

They have announced changes to tenancy laws and the reintroduction of 90 day no cause terminations and an even shorter period of time if they wish to move back into the property themselves.

Apparently the motivation is an altruistic desire to make things easier for tenants.

By doing this landlords will rush back into the market, new rental properties will magically appear out of thin air, the housing crisis will be solved and rents will tumble as market forces take over and drive prices down.

As if …

Chris Bishop was on National Radio and gave this rationale:

We’ve heard from many landlords that, without the backstop of 90-day ‘no cause’ terminations, they were unwilling to take a chance on a tenant who may, for example, not have perfect references or a steady 9-5 job.”

The rhetoric reminds me strongly of what they say about 90 day fire at will provisions about how the employer needs to have this power because otherwise they were unwilling to give employees who do not have a stellar background. Similar analysis free reckons.

And it is incredible how often the justification they give is that their supporters and funders have told them so. Whether it is anything to do with employment law or criminal justice or tenants rights the reckons of their supporters and funders carries a lot of weight.

And not proper analysis reliant on real world data.

48 comments on “National only wants to help tenants * ”

  1. cathyo 1

    We really need to get rid of this lot. Hope their coalition falls apart mid-term

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    It is profoundly negative that in a sparsely occupied long narrow country (apart from the Tauranga, Hamilton, Auckland triangle) of barely 5 mill population that this type of crap can go down in 2024. Renters are approaching 50% of households now, so this is not tinkering. It is Natzo intent to allow landlords to let overpriced mouldy dumps without accountability and create more precarious, compliant tenants.

    People are going to need practical assistance and organisation more than ever during the time this CoC lot are in office. Will Winston pull the pin when he has to hand over the Deputy PM possie to Atlas Dave?

    who knows, but in the meantime…
    • Revive Peoples Centres
    • Increase Beneficiary Advocacy
    • Pātaka Kai open pantry movement
    • Join your union if in work
    • Get politically active

    • Michael P 2.1

      "Renters are approaching 50% of households now…"

      I'm pretty sure I read somewhere can't remember where that home ownership rate is projected to fall below 50% in 2046.

      That's when meaningful change will happen, when there are more voters who are renters than owners.

  3. Ed1 3

    It would be interesting to see the response to an OIA request for the Regulatory Impact Statement, or any other advice given to Government on this proposal – even if it confirms that the Government have carefully avoided receiving advice they do not want to see.

  4. Corey 4

    As much as I hate this government I admire their ruthlessness.

    I hope the Left grows a spine and is just as ruthless in delivering for our supporters and voters when in office next rather than trying to please everyone and in the process pleasing noone.

    It has not been good for democracy to have both major parties virtually indistinguishable from each other.

    When people vote out a government they expect change, for the past 40 years we've voted govts out and the new ones just emulate the old ones, everytime this happens denocracy has less buy in.

    As much as I am disgusted by this government, I'm glad it's not emulating the previous govt, I think it's healthy to have huge ideological gulfs between incoming and outgoing governments.

    If Labour has any spine it will not triangulate or emulate the New National party, instead it will offer a bold alternative social democratic vision that is radically different from the incumbent govt.

    And lastly thanks to this government a new precedent has been set, where previous govts were told they didn't have a mandate because they didn't have a majority Luxon, Peters and Seymour insists that the three parties have "a mandate between them"

    So when Labour, Greens and or TPM or another left wing party are elected I don't wanna hear anything other than "we have a combined mandate"

  5. Mike the Lefty 5

    So people who work 9 to 5 make good tenants seems to be what Bishop is saying.

    He must be stuck in the 60s when most people worked such hours.

    Not many do now, but National apparently hasn't noticed.

    • Kay 5.1

      9 to 5 is code for employed, ie not a beneficiary. Because apparently the latter is the worst possible tenant based on anecdotes.

      Active discrimination by landlords/property managers towards this group has been around for years, and as long as it's a landlords market, bringing back no cause eviction will NOT suddenly have landlords giving this group a 'chance.'

      • Michael P 5.1.1

        There's a whole bunch of landlords who love renting to beneficiaries. Guaranteed rent payments from the Government, including subsidy for charging higher rents by way of accommodation supplement

        • Kay

          Is the the landlords or property managers? Because the latter are nearly always the gateway, and when there's scores of applicants for the one place, guess who won't be shortlisted. Glowing references and credit records better than many workers mean bugger all, when the general assumption (via the media) is we will be drug dealing, trashing the place, and being terrible neighbours.

    • mac1 5.2

      I heard Minister Bishop say in the House that landlords don't get rid of good tenants.

      It is a fallacy to put that argument up if we are then supposed to conclude that tenants who get moved out are not good tenants, necessarily. There are landlords who move tenants on for many reasons, including bad ones.

      What Bishop says could then also be used to say that any tenant who has moved on is a poor tenant.

      Here are five reasons why tenants move on. One of them is that there are also poor landlords.

      • Traveller 5.2.1

        Why would a landlord move on a 'good' tenant? I understand if they are wanting to occupy or renovate the property, but other than that why would they want to move them on?

        • mac1

          Sell, occupy, renovate, 'ghost', increase rents beyond what current tenant can pay, convert to air B&B. What is a 'good' tenant btw?

          Have you read the 5 reasons? Could the landlord be 'less than good'? Could the 'good' tenant be a nuisance by standing up for their rights?

          • Traveller

            Your '5 reasons' are why tenants choose to move on, not why a landlord would move on a good tenant. Good tenants look after a property and pay their rent.

        • Mikey

          Because they don't want to carry out repairs and maintenance? Because they want to hike the rent? Because their sexual advances were rebuffed?

          • Traveller

            Landlords carry out R&M to keep good tenants. Landlords know that keeping a long term tenant produces a better yield than frequent changes interspersed by periods without rent. I'm not sure about the last one.

      • Michael P 5.2.2

        The reason I've had to move the most times in the last decade (and I've had to move a lot) has been to make way for children to move back in while they save for a house or attend university.

        Of course that doesn't necessarily mean that that is the real reason all of the time. I know for certain with one move that they moved me out so that they could increase the rent by a large amount.

        • Traveller

          Re-occupation is a legitimate reason, as I noted above. As for "so that they could increase the rent by a large amount." why wouldn't they simply negotiate an increase with you as part of a rent review?

  6. ianmac 6

    Will Landlords choose a less desirable potential risk as a tenant, or one who looks promising/reliable/tidy/well/off?

    Mr Landlord will look at the 50 would-be tenants and take a chance on the least promising. Yeah! Right!

  7. Around the corner from my place are some state houses. They sit next to some that were flogged off in the early 1990's and became private property. A couple of months ago one was boarded up and fenced off. A few days ago its neighbour joined it.

    Just down the road from me is a two story housing development that will be ready in a few months. It came about when two houses occupying relatively large sections were pulled down. One had caught fire and its roof had fallen in. Someone decided it was not inhabitable and the structure was condemned. A few months later, its neighbour (attached with a fence denoting the properties) was vacated and both were fenced off.

    Although it would be nice to see them get done up – both often had rubbish clearly visible and poorly maintained yards – I wonder what will become of the tenants. It is a street that occasionally has cop cars stopped outside houses.

    Simply banishing the tenants to somewhere else will not help. We need to get realistic about the fact that they, like everyone else have a right to housing. People without housing cannot have certainty about their lives because a whole bunch of services that are essential, like registering a bank account all need a certified street address.

    Some politicians seem to be deliberately incapable of understanding that.

  8. AB 8

    Making the ownership of rental properties more attractive for Mum & Dad investors theoretically increases the demand for these properties. This will tend to place upward pressure on house prices in a situation of constrained supply. Our lovely Mum & Dad may need to take on more debt to acquire these rental properties. Which in turn makes them somewhat more likely to increase rent in order to pay down their debt more quickly.

    Though there's not an exact correlation between house prices and rents – there are many influencing factors. For example, if tenants are getting pay rises or benefit increases, rents may rise as existing landlords are aware that tenants have an increased ability to pay higher rents, even though house prices are stable or even declining.

    The only scenario in which I can see these changes exerting downward pressure on rents, is if Mum & Dad have ghost houses that they are leaving empty. Once they know they can evict bothersome tenants easily, they will heroically do their deeply-felt moral duty and add their former ghost houses to the rental stock. Thus increasing the supply of properties and giving renters more options. A couple of times I have thought Bishop was saying or implying just this, but he doesn't say it explicitly. Bishop is immensely smarter than Luxon*, which may not always be a good thing politically. Because he seems unable to prevent a faint smirk flitting across his face when he knows he's telling a porkie.

    *And it’s fascinating to me that that Curia/Taxpayers Union chose to compare Bishop’s popularity with Luxon’s in their recent poll. Why Bishop? Or did they cite Bishop in the results because he was the only Nat to be more popular than Luxon? Are National-Party aligned third parties like the TU getting restive with the babbling bozo?

  9. georgecom 9

    meanwhile Nicola Willis has confirmed she will be borriwing to pay for her tax cuts. Obviously not that bothered about getting the budget back into surplus.

  10. Michael 10

    Labour's only crying (a few) crocodile tears: many of its MPs and remaining supporters are landlords. It lost empathy with the proletariat many years ago and doesn't even try to connect with them anymore. Nobody suffering from explotative landlords will see Labour as the solution.

    • Incognito 10.1

      Obviously, you’re entitled to your opinion and from your history on this site it’s crystal clear that you won’t change your biased views of the Labour Party no matter what anybody would try to provide as counter argument.

      Even before Labour got in Government in 2017 you had already been dishing them. For example, [6 March 2017]

      I assume you wear Croc™ clogs and see yourself as a proud and badge-wearing member of the Proletariat given that you over-use the metaphor “crocodile tears” (11×).

      Here’s a link to Labour’s self-selected and pro-claimed Achievements:

      When one clicks on the Housing tab one can decide for themselves if Labour has done nothing for the Proletariat. I would like to draw particular attention to this Achievement, given that it’s directly relevant to the OP:

      Made renting fairer by reforming the Residential Tenancies Act

      If the answer is negative then logically, the Coalition of Charlatans is not doing anything against the Proletariat either, as it is simply undoing what the previous Labour government had implemented.

    • Louis 10.2

      "Labour's only crying (a few) crocodile tears: many of its MPs and remaining supporters are landlords."

      Proof? Do you have links to support that claim?

      "Five of Christopher Luxon’s seven properties can have more townhouses or apartments built next door under the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) –a law which was passed with bipartisan support, but which National has now said it will repeal if elected in October."

      "Renters United president Geordie Rogers said Luxon’s property portfolio, which is currently valued at over $16m, should be considered a conflict of interest."

      • Traveller 10.2.1

        The most recent register of pecuniary interests for MP's I can find is at register-of-pecuniary-and-other-specified-interests-of-members-of-parliament-2023.pdf ( There's a lot of Labour MP's who own (or have interests in) multiple properties – rental properties are identified specifically in the list. Good on them; rentals can be good investments if you get the right tenant and look after them and the property.

        • Michael

          Thank you. Saved me a job. Labour is hopelessly compromised by its caucus members' pecunary interests. Same too with the number of supporters who are also landlords.

          • Louis

            Traveller didn't do your job for you.

            "Labour's only crying (a few) crocodile tears: many of its MPs and remaining supporters are landlords."

            "Labour is hopelessly compromised by its caucus members' pecunary interests. Same too with the number of supporters who are also landlords."

            Proof? Do you have links to support those claims?

          • Traveller

            To be clear, the point of my comment was that MP's owning property is commonplace, and that I don't see anything wrong with that.

            You made a comment above that Labour "lost empathy with the proletariat many years ago." According to How Many Landlords in Nz? Rental Awareness:

            1. There are 290,000 landlords in nz, and 600,000 rental properties.
            2. 70% of landlords own just one rental property.
            3. 70% of landlords earn below $70,000 per year.

            Based on that data, the 'proletariat' have become the landlords!

            • Patricia Bremner

              The failure of markets has led to people trusting bricks and mortar for their retirement investment. The failure to build sufficient social housing has distorted house values and rents. (though Labour tried)
              Michael Cullen had one house, so does Andrew Little and many Labour people. However, many now own a small flat, or holiday home. Times change, but belief in fairness should not.

            • Michael P

              "…600,000 rental properties."

              With 170,000 immigrants arriving last year the maths doesn't look good.

        • Louis

          The Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament also shows National MPs have significant property portfolios.

          • Traveller

            Absolutely. It's widespread across both major parties.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              It's absolutely widespread across both major parties, and (imho) absolutely more prevalent among the MPs of one of those two parties than the other, if the 31 January 2023 ‘Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament’ is anything to go by.

              Not much detail in category 6 (Real property) either, but anyone can add up the number of line items for MPs in each political party, correcting for multipliers, e.g.

              Residential properties (x2) – Auckland
              Residential property – Wellington
              Investment properties (x4) – Auckland

              and calculate a ratio of property line items to MPs – Nats win!

              Nats…. 3.3
              Lab…… 1.9
              ACT…… 1.9
              Green.. 1.2
              TPM….. 1.0


              Apologies for errors. It would be interesting to see how much this ratio changes with the fortunes of the major parties.

              • adam

                labour have the same numbers as act.


                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Yes, best not party vote Labour or ACT – there are better options, imho.

              • Traveller

                I doubt it changes much. This was from 2012.

                MPs own an average 2.4 properties each |

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  You're right – that wouldn't change much – National party MPs would still typically own more properties than the average MP, and MPs from the other parties would typically own less than the average.

                  Just speculating, but when a party substantially increases their number of MPs, as Labour did in the 2020 election, perhaps that would tend to lower the average number of properties per MP for that party, because new (younger) MPs might own fewer properties (on average.)

            • Michael P

              Of course it is. MP's are amongst the highest paid people in the country and the way the whole tax and financial system works encourages investment in residential property.

              • mikesh

                MP's are amongst the highest paid people in the country

                There would presumably be a fair chance a lot of their property ownership would be freehold, which would be a good thing.

  11. mac1 11

    How many of the MPs who own two properties live outside of the Wellington area and one they own is for them to live in while in Wellington as an MP and be their own landlord?

    How secure is a rental in Wellington for a tenant over three/six/nine years? How many landlords would allow politics to influence their choice of tenants?

    If an MP I can't actively run a business so can't really invest my money there. What do I do? Invest in a Fund? I've actually lost money there. Invest in shares? In a farm? Or go for capital gains in a property? Are my better choices limited?

    • Traveller 11.1

      "How many of the MPs who own two properties live outside of the Wellington area and one they own is for them to live in while in Wellington as an MP and be their own landlord?"

      The pecuniary interests register does help answer that. Under 'Real Property' property is listed in different categories, and the location is included. So, if there is a family home in eg Auckland, and then an apartment in Wellington it's a reasonable assumption that's used while on parliamentary business. There is also a category called 'Rental properties', which I assume are properties rented out to third parties.

      • mac1 11.1.1

        As you said you have no problem with MPs owning properties at Commentators here are arguing that a property owning MP is liable to be self-serving when it comes to making laws and changing existing settings, and are also compromised politically.

        My point is that there might be very good reasons why an MP becomes the owner of a second property and a Labour (or ACT) MP at 1.9 properties is statistically not owning more than that.

        A National MP at 3.3 properties on average is owning more than the Wellington apartment and is possibly more open to such criticism.

        Somehow, though, MPs don't go into that job to make money. They'd stay in business or on the farm or get a high paid job as a lawyer, academic or public servant. I note that Grant Robertson, after 15 years as an MP, got a job way above his parliamentary salary. Some few even take a drop in salary.

        MPs can also suffer when they lose an election. A local MP had his barn burnt down on election night and was blacklisted by local employers after losing. MPs do also suffer social distress from the public as recent resignations have shown.

        All this to put some context into broad allegations here of self-serving practice by MPs.

        I'm sure some do. They are a supposed cross section of our community, after all.

        It is just so easy to get into false generalisations such as we can read above.

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