The Green Party has published an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for an immediate rent freeze and for that to remain in place until rent controls are made meaningful and permanent.
“An immediate rent freeze followed by permanent and meaningful rent controls is essential for recognising the human right everyone has to a warm, affordable home,” says Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.
“Aotearoa should be a place where all people have a healthy, safe, and affordable place to call home, no matter if they rent or own.
“But 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.
“Over the last year landlords have hiked up rents like never before – by 5.6% on average, compared to a 2.8% increase in wages.
“For the nearly half of all New Zealanders who rent their home, that means less of their income can go towards other essentials, such as healthy food and heating in winter.
“Unaffordable rent is a major cause of the inequality crisis in Aotearoa. Tens of thousands of people face the constant stress of handing over most of their income to a millionaire landlord, just to keep a roof over their heads.
“Today we are urging the Prime Minister to put that right. And we are asking anyone who rents, or knows someone who rents and is struggling to pay the bills, to join us,” Marama Davidson says.
James Shaw, Green Party Co-Leader added:
“Families who should be saving to buy a home or using their income for essentials like healthy food and heating in winter are instead funding their landlord’s retirement through sky-high rents. That is unjustified and unfair.
“For decades, successive governments have allowed huge parts of our housing market to become a vehicle for wealth and investment for a small group of people, rather than a social good.
“Rent is now the biggest expense for a huge number of New Zealanders, some of whom have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
“When the cost of renting a home can rise much faster than incomes - and hundreds of thousands of renters lack basic security or rights - we can see just how out of balance our society has become.
“Setting a limit on annual rent increases, linking rents to what previous tenants paid, and temporarily freezing rents until annual limits are in place will help rebalance the rental market in favour of people.
“It will ensure renters and families can stay in their communities and afford their rent, with more money in their pockets to cover other essentials like food and heating.
“Rent controls are just one part of the work that needs to be done to realise people’s right to a warm, affordable home.
“Other changes such as a warrant of fitness for rental properties, a landlord register, and increasing housing supply are also essential,” James Shaw said.