Landlord Government once again pushes renters into the cold

The Coalition is trying to axe yet another opportunity to improve rentals by dropping the Residential Property Managers Bill.

“This Government of landlords, by landlords, is trying to quietly shred nearly two decades of work towards basic regulations for property managers. They evidently don’t have the spine to stand up and tell nearly one and a half million renters that they don’t care about their living standards - but actions speak louder than words,” says Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick. 

“In the hope no one was watching, last night the Government sent out a press release telling the Social Services Committee to end its months-long consideration of regulations for property managers on the eve of reporting back to Parliament. 

“This is not only Ministerial overstep, not only a slap in the face to New Zealanders who organised themselves to engage in the democratic process by submitting, but yet another example of this Government’s disdain towards the most basic improvements in renters’ lives.

“I’ve written to the Social Services Committee to remind them that there is a constitutional separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. The power to end consideration of the Bill sits with them, not the Minister. The least they can do is their due diligence and report back to the House, making it clear precisely what the Minister is trying to quietly put in the bin.

“Everything about this Government is back to the future. Over 15 years ago, in 2007, National members in Opposition argued for the Real Estate Agents Act to extend regulation to property managers. Then they got into Government and canned it. Last year, the Nats voted for the Bill at First Reading, but now they’re trying to stop it even before finishing full consideration by the Select Committee.

“Only a few months ago, National and Labour were in a scrap about the number of landlords in this country. The honest truth is, neither really seem to want to know. The answer lies in progressing this Property Managers Bill and extending it to a landlord register, which even property managers have argued for in public hearings.

“What’s this Government so scared of? A bit of accountability and proper democratic process? Or, perhaps, the one and a half million renters in Aotearoa realising their collective power to turf them out?” says Chlöe Swarbrick. 

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