Greens to push Nick Smith to improve RTA Bill

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei will use Question Time today to call on Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith to improve the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill so that Kiwi renters won’t get sick from living in cold, damp, mouldy homes.

The Social Services Select Committee has been hearing submissions on the Bill, many of which have called for the Bill to be drastically improved and for a rental housing warrant of fitness to be included.

“It’s time for Nick Smith to admit that this Bill, in its current state, won’t save lives and won’t stop renters from falling ill because they live in cold, damp, mouldy, houses,” said Mrs Turei.

“We heard from many, many organisations during the submissions process who said that what the Government’s offering up just isn’t going to cut it.

“Kiwi renters need more than just a working smoke alarm and bit of insulation. Rental houses should have to meet more rigorous minimum standards before they’re allowed to be rented out – it’s as simple as that.

“I have a Member’s Bill in the ballot that sets out how we can have proper minimum standards for rental housing and allow Kiwi renters to feel safe and healthy in their own homes.

“The death of Emma-Lita Bourne should have been a wake-up call to the Government – Kiwi renters need a housing warrant of fitness and they need it now, or else people will continue to fall ill and, in some cases, even die.

“We can’t let this opportunity to improve the state of our housing slide by.

“I hope Nick Smith has been listening to the submissions, and that he takes steps towards improving the Bill and improving the lives of the million-plus New Zealanders who rent,” said Mrs Turei.

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