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Greens to focus on supporting New Zealanders who rent

The Green Party has committed to prioritising support for New Zealanders who rent at their Annual Conference in Dunedin today.

Co-leader Marama Davidson announced that the Green Party is ready to negotiate its rent-to-own policy as part of the Government’s Kiwibuild reset, reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act, and a mandatory Warrant of Fitness to enforce proper standards for rental homes.

“Everyone deserves a warm, safe and healthy home to live in, and the Government has a role to provide this”, said Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.

“When people are safely and securely housed they are happier, healthier, and better able to deal with the adversities of life.

“Being in secure housing allows you to put down roots, join a community and give back.

“New Zealand has been relying on a market approach to provide things a market cannot and never will provide. We care about social and environmental needs, and the market approach has totally failed to protect these values. 

“The Kiwibuild reset is an opportunity to make changes that tackle the causes of the housing crises, and not just manage the problems. We are working to include our rent-to-own policy in the Kiwibuild reset.

“Our rent-to-own policy will offer a pathway to people locked out of home ownership by student debt, high rents, low wages, high housing costs, and high costs of raising a family. We’ll be offering a pathway to home ownership for people who rent and cannot afford to save for a deposit.

“We have a plan to shift New Zealand’s approach to private rentals as well. We’ll be reforming the Residential Tenancies Act this term, and we believe that no-cause terminations must end.

“It’s also vital that we introduce a Warrant of Fitness scheme for all rental properties as an enforcement mechanism for the Healthy Homes Standards. We wouldn’t allow people to lease a dodgy rental car, why do we allow dodgy rental homes? Poor quality, damp housing causes sickness. It needs to stop and a housing Warrant of Fitness will do just that.

“These will be the first genuine steps toward reversing the trend in substandard housing and wealth inequality that has ballooned over the past three decades. It is not merely a short term patch. It is a long term transformation.”