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Green Party And TOP Commit To Introducing Rent Caps

Press Release – Renters United

The Green Party and The Opportunities Party (TOP) made commitments to introduce rent caps, speaking at an election forum in Central Wellington last night. At the Enough For All election forum , organised by ActionStation, Child Poverty Action …

The Green Party and The Opportunities Party (TOP) made commitments to introduce rent caps, speaking at an election forum in Central Wellington last night.

At the Enough For All election forum, organised by ActionStation, Child Poverty Action Group and others, renter Zoe shared her experiences of struggling to afford to live in an 8-bedroom rental property in Central Wellington. While Zoe’s flat was leaking and mouldy, their rent continued to climb.

“While these problems went on, the property manager hiked our rent year after year… In February of this year, we were told our rent would be put up by $200 per week again to $2000 a week. This would have been a 25% increase in 2 and a half years… Over that same period my income, and that of my flat mates, had barely gone up.”

Zoe and her flat mates took a number of measures to make their rental payments every week. “We ended up having 11 flat mates to make the rent affordable… I remember we sometimes needed to cover for other flat mates, but we always paid the landlord on time.”

Zoe questioned how renters would survive if rents continued to rise rising faster than incomes. “Renters will fall into poverty… The idea of renters thriving or saving for home ownership feels like an impossible dream.”

Zoe asked politicians whether they would introduce rent caps. “It’s widely known that New Zealand needs to build more houses, but that will take time… Until rental housing supply catches up with demand, does your party support introducing rent caps to limit the amount by which landlords can raise rent?

The Green Party and TOP answered yes. Ricardo Menendez March of the Green Party said, “Yes, the Green Party supports to legislate to ensure secure and affordable longer term rental accommodation… We need to make sure landlords are not ripping us off in the middle of a housing crisis.”

Geoff Simmons from TOP said, “Yes. … to solve this problem we need to hold house prices and rents stable for another generation to allow our incomes to catch up… It is going to take lots of different actions to do that.”

Nicola Willis of the National Party, Andrew Little from the Labour Party and Taylor Arneil from NZ First all answered ‘no’ to rent caps.

Nicola Willis said, “We have to increase the supply of housing, that’s why we’re committing to repealing and replacing the Resource Management Act… We believe that that kind of systemic reform gets to the nub of our housing issue, which comes down to ‘not enough houses to keep up with demand’.”

Renters United spokesperson Anna Mooney reflected, “It’s unfortunate that National, Labour and NZ First are offering no solutions to runaway rents other than increasing supply. That will take decades, while renters fall deeper into hardship.

“We are glad to see the Greens and TOP committing to this action that renters need.

“Renters United wants to see rent caps in which landlords cannot raise rent by more than inflation. This is the only way to stop rents from becoming more unaffordable,” said Mooney.

Renters United have launched a Fair Rent Now! campaign, calling on current and future Members of Parliament to act on runaway rents. More details here: www.rentersunited.org.nz/fair-rent.

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