The Green Party’s Pledge to Renters

Written By: - Date published: 6:10 am, July 3rd, 2023 - 66 comments
Categories: election 2023, greens, housing, tenants' rights - Tags: ,

It’s such a delight watching the Greens roll out progressive, left wing, green policy in election year. A fortnight ago they released their Ending Poverty Together plan, a suite of interconnected social security and tax policies with the bold-as-fuck goal of lifting all New Zealanders out of poverty: a Guaranteed Minimum Income, a tax free threshold, welfare reform, and taxing high wealth assets and income.

Last week they published fifty stories from people who have lived in substandard rentals. Yesterday they announced Our Pledge to Renters, the second suite of policies designed to lift everyone out of poverty.

Pledge to Renters:
Fair, affordable rent
Warm, dry, healthy homes
Thousands of new homes


Far too many of the 1.4 million people who rent in Aotearoa are forced to live with the constant stress of not knowing whether or not they will be able to pay the rent. Thousands are forced to pay through the roof to live in cold, damp, and unhealthy homes that are making them sick and lock them in poverty.

Right now, the rental market more closely resembles a game of monopoly than a public good – and it’s landlords who hold all the cards. This didn’t happen by accident. For decades, governments have made rules to prioritise those who own property and failed to protect people who rent.

The time is now for a Government that will show the political leadership necessary to make renting a home better for everyone.

The Green Party will put the interests of people before those of investment landlords, and build the high-quality, warm, affordable homes we need.

The gist of the policy,

  • Rent controls
  • Tenant rights
  • A Warrant of Fitness on rental properties
  • An affordable, environmentally intelligent, community focused home building programme
  • A national register of all landlords and property managers

There are summaries for the Pledge to Renters, and the House Build programme. The full policy document is here.

Some of this is a no brainer that won’t come as much of a surprise eg the rental WOF and the landlord register. The rent controls and the building programme are more likely to meet resistance.

Rent Controls

The policy sets rent increases at a maximum of 3% per year (details of how in the full document). The premise is that everyone should be able to rent a home knowing what the costs will be.

The Greens point out that 1/4 of renters pay more than 40% of their income on rent, whereas 30% is a commonly used measure of affordability. There has been an increase in rents beyond inflation and wage growth.

Increases above 3% would be allowed where major renovations are done excluding Healthy Homes requirements, and where there is an agreement beforehand between tenant and landlord eg a major kitchen or bathroom renovation.

The limits would also apply to new tenants, so landlords wouldn’t be able to hike rents between tenancies. This protects renters when moving homes.

House Building

The key components are the commitment to build 35,000 new warm, affordable homes, in the places people want to live, and that everyone on housing waiting lists will have a home within 5 years. How they will do it,

There is a lot of detail in this, so again, please refer to the full policy document for details. A few things stand out for me. One is the emphasis on building long term, sustainable social housing building systems. For instance long term government contracts to maintain building supplies, and requiring Kāinga Ora to run a building programme that anticipates need eg housing for the numbers of older people who will be retiring without owning their own home.

I’m also very pleased to see the emphasis on community housing with extends the number of houses being built outside of the private market beyond Kāinga Ora. One of the key ways to break the housing crisis is to increase housing that is not to be bought and sold for capital gains purposes. This subverts the current problem we have whereby new house builds push property prices, and thus rents, up.


An increase in community housing is crucial for meeting the immediate need of the public housing waiting list. In many countries, non-profit housing providers deliver a much higher share of housing.

Over time, once the immediate need for more social housing is met, this sector can also provide rentals for people on moderate incomes as an alternative to the private rental market.

Community housing is part of the solution to shifting renting from an extractive investment done primarily for capital gains, to a community asset where tenants have a sense of belonging in the place they live

The government would underwrite Community Housing Projects, targeting this particularly towards communities with unmet needs eg Māori/Pasifika, elderly and disabled people., and that priorities long term rental tenure and community focus. This is expected to provide an additional 1,500 – 2,000 houses.

There is also provision in the package to increase support for Māori housing developed in culturally specific ways eg Papakāinga.

For those that see this a race-based funding and therefore unfair, consider that Māori are being supported to have housing according to their cultural values and needs, and that in doing so via partnership with the Crown they will provide additional models of how New Zealand can organise our communities generally. Many non-Māori will welcome these models and benefit from them. The solution to any perceived fairness issues is rather than blocking the initiatives, instead eventually offer such concepts and practices of communal ownership, intergenerational living, and connection to land, to the rest of the country as well.

Most of what we are seeing from the Greens now is building on and refining the policy work they have been doing for many years. These policies go beyond conventional notions of what housing solutions are, and they bring in creative and responsive ideas of not rentals as stock units but how homes and communities can be regenerated and regenerative. This is what happens when we put people at the centre of our solutions.

66 comments on “The Green Party’s Pledge to Renters ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    The problem for the Greens is that it is unlikely they will be in a position to implement much of that.

    The 35000 house promise sounds very similar to Labour's disastrous 100000 houses promise. But, no matter. The Greens might as well promise a free house to everyone plus a Tesla up the drive. I highly doubt Labour will want to tie itself to another extravagant promise given their own recent experience.

    Until the Greens put themselves in a credible position where they could go with Labour or National they will have limited bargaining strength, and will continue to have the humiliation of having Labour throw them a few token lollies, and not giving them substantial policy gains other than where it suits Labour to do so.

    To be fair, ACT is likely in a similar boat. Though I haven’t heard them explicitly ruling out working with Labour.

    [good to see you don’t have any critique of the policy. Because this isn’t the first time you’ve derailed a post like this, I’m taking the unusual action of addressing your comment fully in bold. This is in part to stop further derail via right wing talking points and to encourage you to lift your game.

    1. The numbers between Lab and GP are obviously quite different. The kaupapa and the policy plan details are also very different. Your incredibly superficial comparison doesn’t serve debate here.
    2. Elections are an opportunity for parties to put their best foot forward and show the electorate both their vision and how it might be achieved. The Greens are on of the best parties in parliament for presenting full form, costed policies and should be commended on leading on this.
    3. Strategically strong policy both increases the party vote and shifts the Overton Window in the short, medium and long term. The Greens here are normalising things like rent control and doing it when it’s time has come for the electorate. If you want to see commentary about the pragmatics of post-election coalition arrangements see Ad’s comment below about what he thinks will survive. Whether the Greens get more than that depends on their party vote.
    4. ‘The Greens should work with National’ is a piece of triennial sophistry. They can’t work with National because the party decided against it on the grounds of National Policy being so far removed from anything the GP consider ok. Much of National Party positions and policy anathema to green politics. This has been a consistent position since 2014.
    5. Changing that position to working with National would destroy the party as members and voters alike abandon them.
    6. The Greens aren’t the right’s eco conscience, being thrown a few baubles of environmental policy so that Nact can greenwash their position. The Greens aren’t responsible for rearranging Nact deck chairs on the Titanic. They achieve more out of government by sticking to their own values and positions.
    7. What Labour do and don’t do depends on many things including the vote both parties get on the night. There is an argument that the Greens get to bring policy that Labour can’t but that many Labour people suppport. But if the Greens get enough votes and Labour needs them to form government then that’s quite a lot of leverage. – weka]

    • Phillip ure 1.1

      Claiming the greens can only be effective if they agree to be tory lapdogs..is frankly…a load of unmitigated rubbish..

      I get the feeling the greens are becoming what they have always promised..a green alternative to the two mainstream parties..

      And these solid/practical policies from the greens leave both the tories and labour open to the 'what would you do to fix this problem..? question..

      And this is a very good thing…

      Ms davidson was very effective in her explaining/defence of this policy on morning report this morning..

      • Phillip ure 1.1.1

        Note to moderator…

        Um..!..why has smithfield's reply to me..and my reply to him.. vanished into the ether..?

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Tsmithfield’s comment was moved to OM because it was off topic. Your comment was attached to it and went with it.

          • Phillip ure 1.1.1.1.1

            No…I found smithfield's…mine not there…

            • Incognito 1.1.1.1.1.1

              It probably got lost during the move of the comment to which you were replying to OM, sorry about this, but we can’t do anything about it. It is not in the Trash folder.

    • tsmithfield 1.2

      Fair enough. I will limit my comments going forward to discussing the policy.

      Although, I wasn't intentionally trying to derail the thread. I thought I was keeping within the realms of discussion. But, point taken.

    • Corey 1.3

      The Greens actually have lots of power in negotiating, If labour only gives them scraps, they can go sit in the crossbenches and demand insane amounts of concessions from a labour minority govt on an issue by issue basis and especially in the budget.

      While in the crossbenches, they can brutally attack labour from the left (which is something labour really freaks out about) and grow their support, because they'll be seen to be working with the government, but holding them to account.

      It's in labour's best interest to have the Greens inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside pissing in.

  2. Sabine 2

    It must be election time.

    Can you let us know what Marama Davidson do with the budget that they was given as Associate Minister for the Homeless?

    https://www.1news.co.nz/2023/04/28/minister-defends-lack-of-spending-to-tackle-homelessness/

    I know its not even a drop on a hot stone, but they could have at least spend that money and generated some 'good' news for the Green Party. Instead the Green Party is known for pole dancing, re-writing of violent counter protests that they went too, and a lost referendum.

    • Phillip ure 2.1

      I am on the record voicing criticism of the non-delivery by ms.davidson…in her homeless ministry…(and I still haven't seen any rational excuses for that..)

      So I have no issue with you referencing that..

      But surely your pole-dancing jibe is grasping at (historical) straws…?..and funny..it made me laugh out loud..

      Your demonstration jibe is just part of your side on the transphobia issue..

      And if you are talking about the failed referendum…that lost by a very narrow margin…and I would contend that was because of the failure by j.ardern to endorse a policy she had long claimed to support..

      So trying to blame the greens for that referendum fail..really is a bit of a groin-stretch..eh..?

      Why don't you tell us what you think about this rent-policy from the greens..?

      Instead of that attack-piece..?

      • Tiger Mountain 2.1.1

        Greens are well on track now with the two recent policy announcements, and they have had great working class friendly policy for years in fact. What they don’t constantly have is control of the narrative.

        The Cannabis Referendum was a lost opportunity for health, recreation, start up businesses and removing the plods influence and some unnecessary convictions from our lives.

        My take was…
        –a lack of focus and united messaging among the Yes Lobby organisations
        –a strong finish from the Nope Lobby, due in part to $350,000 overspending from SAM (Sensible Approaches to Marijuana) a US prohibitionist group that teamed up with Family First–same IP and offices but claimed to be independent.
        –COVID drift, where Yes momentum was lost
        –not even minimal endorsement from PM Ardern, timidity instead
        –antagonism from Andrew Little, a Cannabis wowser for some reason, Labour met the technical requirement for holding the Referendum and then it was all passive aggressive hands off, in fact I wondered if it had passed by 51% if Little might not have found a way to scupper it.

  3. Ad 3

    Two good things at least will survive a coalition agreement out of this:

    1. A Warrant of Fitness for rental properties.

    Councils are already required to regulate buildings in a number of areas, and of course they would need central government funding to hire more staff.No good landlord has anything to fear out of that.

    2. A national register of landlords and property managers.

    This would of course be a mighty political grouping – forming an urban version of Federated Farmers. But if teachers and electricians and truck drivers can survive national naming and accreditation, so can landlords.

    Get those two things through in a first term and you are doing all right.

  4. Tony Veitch 4

    The Greens come up with a progressive policy which will do much to help the 'bottom-feeders' – so naturally the Natz oppose it!

    https://twitter.com/rugbyintel/status/1675582130301333504

  5. tsmithfield 5

    Brad Olsen from Infometrics has pointed out the obvious flaw in the Greens plan:

    Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen said while well-intentioned, introducing rent controls could bring unwanted consequences to the rental market.

    "The risk with rent controls is that it disincentivises people from becoming landlords or maintaining their houses to an even greater standard.

    "They'll do the absolute bare minimum because changes in the market can't be reflected in price."

    I think the Greens would need every one of their 35000 new houses plus some in order to make up for the private landlords exiting the market.

    • James Simpson 5.1

      I also expect we will need to be nudging 20% of the vote on election night to get this part of the policy through.

      With the amount of renters increasing this is not an impossible ambition.

    • Ad 5.2

      Brad just needs to inhale into the paper bag for a bit.

      What will happen, like all the other, is that there will be an industry study that will test the effects of different kinds of controls and their consequences.

      It's been done for airports, supermarkets, banks, petrol stations, and building supplies.

      Simply a building block, to prepare the right kind of regulation.

      And don't forget, state house beneficiaries already have their rents controlled already, and there's already a calculator for it. That's about 20% of the rental market there.

      https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/housing/live-in-home/live-in-public-housing/calculating-rent-payments.html

      • mikesh 5.2.1

        I think that rent controls should be based on outgoings, excluding mortgage principal and interest, plus a predetermined percentage to allow the landlord some profit; controls need not last forever, but only until various changes such as nondeductibility of interest, and other provisions play themselves out.

    • Muttonbird 5.3

      This commentary makes me nauseous. Rental property owners do the bare minimum now, it is hardwired into New Zealand's amateur landlord class. It's hard to see them doing any less, buying up aging stock and letting it rot and fall apart around young families, hence the need for further regulation.

      Perhaps if New Zealand landlords had behaved a little better up to this point there would be no need for ongoing scrutiny.

      • Shanreagh 5.3.1

        Thanks for smearing all landlords with the same brush.

        Must be an election coming up with all the florid statements. wink

        We are supportive of the Warrant of Fitness and Renters charter.

        • Muttonbird 5.3.1.1

          I also don't like the 3% rent cap because you can be sure all NZ's amateur landlords and their agents will conspire to raising rent 3% a year, every year. It will become a target for residential property owning scumbags.

          Problem for you guys is when you raise the rent something is expected by the tenant in return. God forbid, fix a roof leak, or seal the mouldy windows!

          • Shanreagh 5.3.1.1.1

            Problem for you guys is when you raise the rent something is expected by the tenant in return. God forbid, fix a roof leak, or seal the mouldy windows!

            Have you heard of the word proactive? That is us. Our rental home is Healthy Homes compliant. (It is in Southland)

            Our agent, actually drops clients/landlords who are not proactive as she says they are more work than the fee is worth to her.

            Having worked at a curtain bank our curtains are fully lined and have also got separate detachable linings made from bumf and three pass lining.

            A three pass lining means that a layer of white foam is applied to the back of the curtain fabric, then a black one, followed by another layer of white. The white layers mean that the black colour doesn't disrupt the decorative finish of the fabric while the black layer blocks light and retains heat.

            https://www.theinside.co.nz/products/bumf-top-quality

            But you believe your generalisations.

            • Phillip ure 5.3.1.1.1.1

              Good landlords have nothing to fear from this legislation…do they..?

              It is only the scumbag slum landlords who will be squealing…

              Good landlords should support this policy..

              • Shanreagh

                As I have said we support the policy and are work hard to make the property warm, dry and easy to rent and easy to manage.

                Also as I have said some ppty managers are careful as to who they act for.

                Being a good landlord is not enough though you have to be eternally vigilant to make sure that what seem to be good or well meaning policies do not penalise us because of a lack of knowledge about how the world works.

                That is why I am reserving judgement on rent controls, aspects of the wealth tax (the family home and Kiwisaver balances should be excluded) and ability to build up to 6 storeys in some suburbs (eg a 6 storey block built next door to our rental would afftect sun, light and location and therefore our ability to rent in the future.

                My mother lived through the controls on rents/mortgages during the 1920/30s. Because of the wide focus it tossed in to hard times people who had left modest amounts of cash in a property to aid the sale so that the rent could help with living costs of the family who had moved off the property and into town. She was the youngest in the family and she & her elderly parents faced hard times when this small income was stopped. So blunt instruments don't always work and there are often unintended consequences if the policy work is not carefully done.

                Some of the wide ranging Greens policies remind me of the maxim treating unequal people equally is inequitable.

                'According to Aristotle, “equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally”. This principle of equality states that individuals should be treated the same, unless they differ in ways that are relevant to the situation in which they are involved'.

                We support the Healthy Homes aspects.

    • Tricledrown 5.4

      Brad Olsen is a Former Bank Economist .Taking his point one step further that these warrant of fitness and rent controls would force down the price of house's making easier for home ownership rather than renting.Banks don't like house prices falling that means less profits from smaller mortgages.Banks have gouged NZ continuall massive increases in profit.Which they don't pay any tax in NZ $2 billion a year in lost tax going to Australia,that amount of money would solve the housing crisis and reduce the massive profits from the big 4 aussie banking Cartel/ monopoly.

    • Phillip ure 5.5

      I heard olsen on rnz…

      He failed any test of objective commentary…and came across as a panicked neoliberal…smelling change in the wind…

      A textbook-quality example of the genre..

    • mikesh 5.6

      "The risk with rent controls is that it disincentivises people from becoming landlords or maintaining their houses to an even greater standard."

      "I think the Greens would need every one of their 35000 new houses plus some in order to make up for the private landlords exiting the market."

      With fewer landlords would there not be more houses available for "family homes".

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 5.7

      "I think the Greens would need every one of their 35000 new houses plus some in order to make up for the private landlords exiting the market."

      So private landlords exiting the market would make their houses evaporate and vanish from the national housing stock?

      • The Chairman 5.7.1

        So private landlords exiting the market would make their houses evaporate and vanish from the national housing stock?

        Not from the overall national stock. From the rental stock if it becomes owner occupied.

        For example, say there are 500 occupied rentals in a region. One of them goes up for sale and becomes an owner occupied home. Leaving 499 rentals.

        Then, as a result of the sale (and a tenant becoming an owner) a vacancy now opens up amongst the 499 rentals left on the market.

        That still leaves 499 net rentals, one less than the initial (500) supply.

        When that equation is multiplied on a wider scale, it could have a devastating impact on rental supply.

        • Muttonbird 5.7.1.1

          It would have an impact.

          That being more people in a home they own, putting down roots, creating more stable communities where families aren't in fear of being moved on the whim of someone else. Children thrive at school and crime reduces because more people are invested in the area they feel a sense of belonging in.

          It's not the fault of renters that the current anti-community situation exists, it's the fault of the amateur landlord culture we are saddled with in this country.

          • The Chairman 5.7.1.1.1

            Agree re the benefits of homeownership.

            And yes, on the flipside we may see more of that. However, landlords exiting the market is not the only variable required to increase homeownership.

        • Phillip ure 5.7.1.2

          @ chairman..

          Of course large scale social housing/rent to own building must be part of any solution to the mess we are currently in..

          Which would more than surpass any exiting current rentals…

          You are peddling panic…when/where there need be none…

          • The Chairman 5.7.1.2.1

            Of course large scale social housing/rent to own building must be part of any solution to the mess we are currently in.. Which would more than surpass any exiting current rentals…

            It would also have to match or surpass housing demand to have sufficient impact on the mess we are currently in.

            As for your unbacked assertion re peddling panic. I was merely answering UncookedSelachimorpha question.

            • Incognito 5.7.1.2.1.1

              As for your unbacked assertion re peddling panic. I was merely answering UncookedSelachimorpha question.

              Utter BS!

              @ 5.7.1 you pulled another one of your absurd hypothetical examples out of an orifice and then went on exclaiming this:

              When that equation is multiplied on a wider scale, it could have a devastating impact on rental supply. [my italics]

              Your hypothetical figured 0.2% of the market! Arguably, this is peddling panic or more like concern trolling, which is your MO.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 5.7.1.3

          This logic doesn't add up to me. The mix between owners and renters can change – but still 500 houses, 500 occupants. The difference between renters and owner-occupiers is who owns the capital value.

          There are three ways you could end up with less housing it seems to me:

          1) existing houses get left unoccupied (this might need legislation / tax incentives to address)

          2) existing houses get repurposed / demolished (can't see that happening)

          3) the rate of new builds goes down due to first sale value dropping due to reduced rental returns. In fact we need house prices to fall and to cease to be primarily a capital investment rather than accommodation. This could result in housing becoming a 2-5% p.a. return, rather than 10%+, with private investment capital redistributed elsewhere accordingly (not a bad thing IMO). Might then need state investment to ensure housing gets built, with reduced private capital involved. Fortunately the state can access capital very cheaply (and this reduces exploitation of tenants by owners motivated primarily by capital returns).

          • The Chairman 5.7.1.3.1

            The mix between owners and renters can change – but still 500 houses, 500 occupants.

            Yes, the mix can change. However, what you've seemed to overlooked is we currently have a housing shortfall with rental demand trending up (resulting in rents reaching a record national average high in February) and a downward trend in home ownership.

            So any further reduction in rentals will have a negative impact on the market.

    • Phillip ure 5.8

      How does that neoliberal pimp olsen explain away those countries who have similar protections (and more) for renters…?

      Did/do their market's suffer..?

      Probably not..eh..?

      Olsen: putting the bull in neoliberal bullshit..

  6. Peter 6

    What does the announced Green policy mean?

    According to Act spokesperson Brooke van Velden on TV news Sunday 2nd it means the Green Party is dividing New Zealand. I guess that means she reckons Act is the party to unite New Zealand. Eh?

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.1

      Didn't Brooke also mention Twil be a Plague of Locusts O'er the Land?

  7. Peter Bradley 7

    Over 50% of voters are property owners who will vote to protect their own interests at the expense of renters – every single time they get the chance. This policy announcement by the Greens is strategic gold for National and Act and the type of policy that will lose the election for Labour.

    That's democracy – you don't get nice things unless you have asset ownership clout – either a voting majority or greater economic leverage. Home owners have both.

    • weka 7.1

      Landlords aside, how would this policy negatively impact on homeowners?

      • Shanreagh 7.1.1

        The ability for housing units up to 6 storeys tall to be erected next door to home owners with a single storey home. And potentially not just one but several 6 unit buildings depending on the size of the section next door.

        I mentioned this in a post earlier and in Wgtn this pepper potting and loss of amenity like sunlight will occur even though there are areas in the 15min transport window that could be used as the previous light indistry use or low rise commercial use has faded away.

        There is a particular area from the area of the Loafers Lodge building north to the Basin Reserve that would be ideally suited for multi storey buildings. The land could be acquired and resubdivided…..using the Public Works Act?

        But as well I am not convinced that apartments, unless they are well built ie not cheap are anyone's favourite renting dwelling of choice. Some of the KO latest ones are fantastic but to build them we need economies of scale.

        While overseas we can see low-ish rise apartments above shops/retail centres and these are often in good locations and have proper separation between the units so noise is lessened. In NZ because of traffic noise we might need triple glazing or hush glass units.

        But unless we start, we won't get anywhere. I suggest starting in less controversial places such as I have mentioned as a case of urban renewal, Choose one in each centre, set out a plan that includes parks, traffic hubs, shops and a mix of high & low density rather than sacrificing some poor home owner who quite likes where they live but does not want to live next door to 6 storey units.

        • Phillip ure 7.1.1.1

          I agree with your idea to redevelop light industrial/faded commercial areas…

          Every city has those..

          Multi story social housing can be catered for in a planned way..

          And a blank canvas…can only help achieve that well planned outcome..

          • Shanreagh 7.1.1.1.1

            Thanks by looking at these areas, that are often close to town we can work with a big picture in mind.

            I am sure that with a multiple of different types of houses and proper planning we can achieve more and with greater support than forcing developments into areas where they don't belong/would be an intrusion on aesthetic and planning grounds. We also need to keep out the 'wide boys', (in for a buck and fade out if anything goes wrong) hence the use of the Public Works Act and then carefully selected contractors working to a head contractor that should have majority Govt ownership. The developments would provide economies of scale if there were areas all over NZ.

            From my knowledge of the ownership pattern of the area I mentioned there are a number of 'holding' (for big bucks or planning moves including reirement areas, a supermarket and an expansion of the Chinese Embassy.) This holding pattern does nothing for anyone who is seriously concerned to house NZers.

      • Peter Bradley 7.1.2

        High rents means higher returns on capital which means happy banks and easier access to credit – which means the ability invest more in property which means higher property values which means happy home owners.

        This is also the reason that the Labour government has built the effective equivalent of zero social housing stock – constrained supply means high demand which means higher rent, now go back to the above – round and round.

        The only way renters get treated well is if they get angry and violent enough to scare the shit out of property owners, the banks and the government. The French are the only people who do this historically.

  8. The fruit shop around the corner from me is shutting its doors this week because the landlord is demanding a 5 year lease. For a crappy premises that is basically a corrugated iron shed

  9. Corey 9

    I like it a lot. It's awesome policy.

    I hope the Greens play hardball during negotiations because Labour are torys who have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do anything even mildly progressive.

    Thank God the Greens are giving leftys some policies to actually vote for, rather than voting against something.

    I'm going to party vote Green and electorate vote TOP because I'm currently in Ilam.

    The balls in labour's court now…. every party is releasing policy, except the red torys

  10. tsmithfield 10

    I have some questions about the Green's policy.

    It seems to me in many respects to be similar to what Labour has been doing to date. So, I would be interested to know how the Green's policy will overcome some of the issues Labour has had to date.

    Firstly, Labour has been building new public housing. They have recently announced building more than 12000 houses since coming into office since 2017.

    They have also been focusing on the quality of housing in terms of livability along with other changes.

    But the addition of new public housing seems to have been far outstripped by demand for public housing. Despite the increase in public housing, the waiting list has increased from under 10000 to nearly 25000 over that period.

    It appears that immigration can be ruled out as a factor in this counter-intuitive trend as net migration has been very low, or even negative over that period, and is only just picking up over recent months. So, there seems to be some other issues at play that account for the increase in demand for public housing.

    So, given that data, I would be interested to know how the Green's policy will reverse this trend and translate new public housing into a reduction in the public house waiting list.

    If the target of 35000 new houses can be met, that may well achieve a reduction in this figure. But, then the question is how the plan to build 35000 houses will be met, given that Labour has been able to achieve 12000 over a similar time frame.

    • weka 10.1

      Might be useful to look at Labour's initial social housing plan to see what they intended.

      I haven't read the whole of the GP plan, but based on the bits I read the other day and a general understanding of NZ since 2017, here are my initial thoughts.

      Several times the Greens mention that they are building on existing processes/policies. I think it's reasonable to assume they've used Labour's policy and outcomes to see what is working and what isn't and to develop solutions to what hasn't worked so well as well as new ideas around community, environment and social/ecological sustainability.

      We lost at least 2 years of building to the pandemic. That's across the board, from staffing in government departments to build managers to building supplies to tradies. So I don't think the timeframes are that similar.

      Afaik there is still a shortage of tradies in NZ, and supply lines are still affected.

      Those are really significant things.

      The Greens are taking a systems thinking approach. For instance, part of the plan is to secure building supplies for the government (you can look up the detail) over the long term. I would guess a flow on effect to the industry eg builders will want to work on social housing because there's less stress around supplies.

      And that's key in the plan too, they're looking at long term as well as short/medium term outcomes. eg KO will be required to always plan around future needs for housing like the expected increase in housing for retirees who don't own their own home and have a lower income than working.

      The plan includes processes for upscaling home building (contracting, preassembly plants).

      I'll come back to the issues of population and need.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        I actually am in favour of increasing our public housing stock. I am probably sceptical about being able to do 35000 houses. On the other hand though, I think one reason Labour got so badly derailed with their 100000 promise is that they were trying to do this while the building industry was running hot.

        But, the next couple of years might not be a bad time to get cracking on building more public housing because I think a lot of builders are finding it quite tough at the moment with high interest rates affecting new builds. So, public housing might help keep the building industry afloat during difficult times.

        My biggest concern with the Green's policy is that it is not good if other parts of the plan cause private sector providers to leave the rental market because that will just water down the impact of building the new houses. I think both need to be strong if the homelessness issue is to be resolved.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          The 100,000 houses wasn't social housing, it was Kiwibuild and the houses were to be sold into the open market to first home buyers to get them onto the property ladder. A ladder which is now the main driver of poverty in NZ.

          It originates with neolib David Shearer. Even at the time it looked bonkers, because even then it was obvious that if you mass build into the commercial housing market you would increase prices. Which is exactly what happened (your Chch quake example not withstanding).

          And it wasn't social housing.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KiwiBuild

          But, the next couple of years might not be a bad time to get cracking on building more public housing because I think a lot of builders are finding it quite tough at the moment with high interest rates affecting new builds. So, public housing might help keep the building industry afloat during difficult times.

          Did you read the bits in the GP policy about securing supplies, supporting industry, planning for the long term? The plan won't work if it's based around builders not having enough work this year. It's taking a whole systems view.

        • weka 10.1.1.2

          My biggest concern with the Green's policy is that it is not good if other parts of the plan cause private sector providers to leave the rental market because that will just water down the impact of building the new houses. I think both need to be strong if the homelessness issue is to be resolved.

          Why does it matter if current landlords sell up?

          • tsmithfield 10.1.1.2.1

            And it wasn't social housing.

            I realise that. But I was looking at it more from the point of view of strain on available resources. From that perspective, it doesn't really matter if it is public housing or Kiwibuild housing.

            Did you read the bits in the GP policy about securing supplies, supporting industry, planning for the long term? The plan won't work if it's based around builders not having enough work this year. It's taking a whole systems view.

            I will have a look at that. But, all I am saying is, why not make use of excess capacity when it is available? That will make building cheaper, and keep people in jobs.

            Why does it matter if current landlords sell up?

            I am glad you asked that question.

            Firstly, landlords may choose not to sell up for various reasons. They may decide it is better for them to be in AirBnB for example.

            Secondly, landlords selling up inevitably will lead to there being less people per house and hence more of a problem. For example, say a young couple currently flatting with friends or living with parents decides to purchase an ex-rental as a first home:

            a) they probably come from a position of being housed already, hence not part of the problem.

            b) the home they purchase may have housed a family who are now displaced, and seeking a rental. So, two may be replacing a family of say four or five.

            Thirdly, when landlords decide to sell rentals these days, they often give tenants notice and have them leave the property before putting it on the market. This makes it much easier to update the property if required, and to arrange open homes etc. So, this increases the lag in the system so far as accommodation is concerned.

            So, I think it is better for private landlords to keep renting, and to increase public housing. This will maximise the housing stock available for rental, so should be best for solving the housing problem.

            • weka 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Can you please read the GP policy before you comment on this again? Seriously, I can't believe you are doing this again, raising issues without understanding what the policy actually says. It does matter if it's social or market housing, and some of the issues you raise are addressed in the policy.

              I haven't read the whole thing, but I scan the whole thing and then keyword search to get up to speed with more detail.

              • tsmithfield

                The Greens are taking a systems thinking approach.

                Hi Weka,

                I have had a read of the documentation around the Green's general plan, and the housing plan. TBH, I am struggling to see a system in that as a system would normally be specified and explained. So, it is a bit hard to comment in detail. To be fair, that may have been done at some level already. But, it doesn't appear obvious from what has been made available.

                Probably my criticism of system based approaches to complex issues from a general perspective (not just the Greens approach) is that systems can seem great in theory. But the main issue is the implimentation and control of the system.

                So, for example, systems tend to involve many interdependent components working together in a co-ordinated way. So, often, if one part of a system isn't functioning as intended, then the rest of the system may not work.

                Having been involved in implimenting a few systems at a business level, there are often lots of unintended consequences that are thrown up that need to be worked through, and getting the required degree of co-ordination may be difficult to achieve.

                So, trying to impliment systems at a national level will likely involve a much higher degree of complexity with all sorts of uncontrollable factors. For example, the recent weather events up north.

                Probably we are discussing at cross-purpose to a degree. I understand that you are favouring a systems approach. However, I would tend to favour a contingency approach, which I think is more adaptive to a changing and uncertain environment. So, for me, that would mean having an over-arching plan that is highly adaptive to changing circumstances as they arise.

                Here is a comparison between the systems and contingency approaches.

            • weka 10.1.1.2.1.2

              Firstly, landlords may choose not to sell up for various reasons. They may decide it is better for them to be in AirBnB for example.

              That already happens, and is already a problem. What do you think the solution to that is?

              Secondly, landlords selling up inevitably will lead to there being less people per house and hence more of a problem. For example, say a young couple currently flatting with friends or living with parents decides to purchase an ex-rental as a first home:

              Why inevitably? Some rentals will be sold to landlords.

              The theory of BUILD MOAR HOUSES is exactly what you say: people will shift out of flatting and into their first home. That frees up the flat. If the flat is substandard and the landlord decides to sell it, it can stay as a rental, become a first home, become an AirBNB, or be sold and left empty. The last two are an obvious problem, the first two aren't. People flatting in their 20s get partnered and have kids and want their own home. This happens already and is a normal part of housing.

              You appear to be arguing that people should stay flatting rather than own their own home or have raise a family in a rental.

              The part of this that is actually a dilemma is solved in the GP policy by increasing the number of homes in social housing. This means more rentals and it takes the pressure off the market for the first home buyer issue. The more social housing we have the better.

              This is what I mean when I say the GP used whole system thinking. They don't take a single issue and try and solve it, they look at the whole system and how all the things interrelate.

              The issues of empty houses and AirBnBs is a different issue that def needs to be solved as well.

              So, I think it is better for private landlords to keep renting, and to increase public housing. This will maximise the housing stock available for rental, so should be best for solving the housing problem.

              No-one is saying there should be a decrease in private landlords and you've still not said why many houses from bad landlords or those who can no longer afford to be landlords would not continue to be rentals.

              • arkie

                You appear to be arguing that people should stay flatting rather than own their own home or have raise a family in a rental.

                This may not even be a possibility. There is conflicting information online about this:

                Can a landlord ask you to leave, if you are going to have a baby?

                If a tenancy agreement specifies a number of tenants, adding another person to the household can only be done with the landlord's permission, otherwise the tenant is technically breaching the tenancy agreement.

                A breach of the tenancy agreement entitles the landlord to issue a tenant with a notice of the breach, requiring them to remedy it.

                If the tenant does not do that, the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy.

                Of course, landlords have a choice about how to behave when one of their tenants falls pregnant.

                https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/105303067/what-can-you-get-kicked-out-your-rental-for

                If I’m planning to stay in the same house when the baby arrives, do I need to tell my landlord?

                You don’t have to tell your landlord. However, you should see a lawyer at a Community Law Centre for advice.

                Some tenancy agreements might say how many people are allowed to live in the house. If your landlord brings this up, you should see a lawyer as soon as you can.

                https://communitylaw.org.nz/community-law-manual/pregnancy-rights/housing/if-youre-renting/

                If you’re renting

                If you want to stay in your rental home once your baby is born, let your landlord know you’re pregnant.

                Make sure your rental agreement lets you have another person living there. If it does not you can talk to your landlord about changing the agreement to include another person.

                You cannot be discriminated against because of your family status, such as if you’re caring for children or are a single parent.

                https://www.govt.nz/browse/family-and-whanau/having-a-baby/while-youre-pregnant/

  11. tsmithfield 11

    people will shift out of flatting and into their first home. That frees up the flat.

    Not necessarily the case if people are sharing a flat as often is the case. And, often a couple sharing a flat with others will just be using one room, while sharing cooking facilities etc. Compare that to them displacing a family needing say three or four bedrooms when a landlord sells the rental.

    And, in the case of parents housing their own children until they move out, (as from my own experience) parents often don't seek new tenants, but rather enjoy having the house to themselves.

    You appear to be arguing that people should stay flatting rather than own their own home or have raise a family in a rental.

    Not at all. But, I guess I really had in mind Labour's policy that deliberately incentivises first home buyers to purchase their own homes. So, probably not a direct criticism of Green's policies to be fair. I think this deliberate incentivising can skew the market so far as rentals are concerned by amplifying the effect I was referring to.

    • tsmithfield 11.1

      The other thing about first home buyers over recent years, is that I suspect some of them may have got themselves into a financial pickle due to purchasing houses at inflated values when interest rates were artificially low. And, now with house prices declining and interest rates rising, many may find themselves under water.

      One of my sons has a friend who is in the BNZ. His friend was just telling him that they have had more mortgagee sales in the first quarter of this year than they have had inthe previous two years.

      Apparently 60% of their lenders are due to refix later this year. So he expects the problem to get a lot worse around September/October.

      • Belladonna 11.1.1

        My understanding is that banks have been 'stress testing' new mortgages at 8-9% over the last few years. That means, while you might have been getting a mortgage at 4% – the banks were testing your ability to repay at 9%, before granting the loan.

        So, routine re-fixing at the current rates shouldn't drive mortgagee sales.

        However, any change in circumstances which affects the ability to repay the mortgage (job loss, marriage break up, unplanned children, etc.) – would be more likely to trigger a sale.

        • tsmithfield 11.1.1.1

          Yes. And, the way human nature works. If they had decided to by a new car on the tick after taking out the house loan or whatever as well.

          Likely those sorts of things have a much bigger effect when the mortgage goes from 2.9 to 7 or similar.

  12. Shanreagh 12

    ‘This is what I mean when I say the GP used whole system thinking. They don’t take a single issue and try and solve it, they look at the whole system and how all the things interrelate.’

    While they may have used some whole system thinking they have not done whole housing investigations that factor in the first home owners as a vital cog to keep things moving.

    I am interested in the idea that housing first home owners is not a social good/goal and should not be factored into the social housing ethos. I don't support this. The traditional way for first home owners to get their first home is by first renting, though more are staying with parents.

    In the olden days first home buyers had access to Govt loans through State Advances and many cashed in their family benefit to help raise the deposit. To have them explicitly catered for at the margins or as part of the wider social housing policies was to acknowledge the benefits of home ownership and to recognise that the movement was a vital part of NZ's renting/home ownership pattern.

    The benefits

    1 on communities, that are more stable

    2 on planning for schools, libraries, recreation etc etc because of the population being more stable

    3 the benefits to the psyche of home ownership

    In some of the areas where there were shortages of homes suitable for first home owners there were schemes to build these or for Govt to sell the land at long term lease, convertible to fee simple on payment. This enable more to get off the renting ladder.

    NZ in the past did not have a renting culture. This was a hark back to first settlers who often came to NZ to avoid landlords. I think the days I am talking about renting was seen as a not very desirable step along the way……so ideas of keeping landlords renting was a bit out of left field.

    As part of the neo-lib rubbish the myth came about that the only good provider was a private provider. We moved away from having Govt agencies with an ability to loan to first home buyers and Govt deps with the capability to develop and lease/sell large scale subdivisions.

    So all this is saying is that social aims in housing have traditionally catered for first home owners. It makes sense to look at them now.

    I feel some of the information about movement between rental housing, or from rental housing to first home ownership and what happens to the formerly rented home is a bit flaky. If you in bring in first home owners and encourage them to buy then we get an expanded focus than just catering for or looking at 'social' housing.

    By getting as many on the property ladder as we can we can concentrate on developing better rental housing to cater for long term renters who want to keep renting, those who have been in tied accomodation and need to move on retirement etc.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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