The Green Party backs the Human Rights Commission’s call for an immediate rent freeze followed by reform of the rental system to guarantee that everyone has a warm, dry, affordable place to live.
“The Human Rights Commission is absolutely right. An immediate rent freeze followed by permanent and meaningful changes to the way we rent is essential for recognising the human right to a warm, affordable home,” says Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.
“A home is a home, whether someone rents or owns it. But for one in three people who rent, the cost of staying in their home is rising, much faster than incomes.
“Despite having so much power over the lives of people who rent, landlords are currently operating in a light touch regulatory system, particularly when it comes to setting rents. Successive governments have stood by and done little to change this, instead watching as rents became less and less affordable.
“A home is considered unaffordable for someone to rent if they need to spend more than 30 percent of their income to keep the roof over their heads. Every dollar over this limit that is spent on rent means less for other essentials, such as healthy food and heating in winter.
“The shocking fact that this is the reality for nearly one in every two people who rent. These people are struggling to pay the bills as rents continue to rise. It should be enough of a reason for any Government to act.
“The Green Party has always prioritised people who are left behind by unfair settings and have always called politicians to account for action to fix these problems. For more than three decades we have cared and stood up for what is right.
“Earlier this year we published a policy document on rent controls. This followed work last year when we published a discussion document setting out a range of ideas for how the Government could make rents more reasonable. This included an immediate rent freeze, an increase in the support available to people on low incomes to help them cover housing costs, and a requirement that landlords tell new tenants how much rent they charged their previous tenants.
“The fact that the Human Rights Commission is making the same recommendations shows that the Green Party is the only party with a plan to deliver the human right everyone has to a decent, affordable home.
“Anyone wanting to help can start by signing our open letter to the Prime Minister calling on the Government to immediately freeze rents as an interim measure while we work together on a permanent plan to strengthen rent controls,” says Marama Davidson.