Nick Smith misleads the House and the public over rentals Bill

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith should apologise for producing bogus numbers that do nothing to show that the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill will save the number of lives he’s claimed, the Green Party said today.

Yesterday, while being questioned in the House by Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei, the Minister asserted that he had received advice which showed the insulation provisions of his Bill would save 18 lives a year. In fact, the advice shows that those lives would only be saved if the insulation provisions were increased to the 2008 standard and in conjunction with a range of other measures to improve homes – none of which are in the current RTA Bill.

“Nick Smith is making up numbers to make his Bill look better, when he should be improving the Bill so it actually saves the lives of older people and children living in cold, damp and mouldy houses,” said Mrs Turei.

“The Minister’s own advice says that 18 lives will be saved if their homes were insulated to the 2008 insulation standards, not the much lower 1978 standards that are in the Bill.

“The Government’s Bill is designed to do as little as possible, for as cheap as possible.

“This is a major Bill that could have made a real difference to the lives of Kiwi renters who are paying good money to live in mouldy, cold, damp houses that are making them sick.

“Instead, the Minister has ignored the advice he received which recommended that modern, more effective insulation, along with other minimum safety standards, could save lives.

“We also know he ignored advice which showed that living in a house with 2008 insulation standards and a heating device could add four years to the lives of older New Zealanders with respiratory illnesses.

“The Minister should explain why he chose to disregard advice which showed the way to save renters’ lives and improve their health is through better insulation standards, a heating device and other minimum standards.

“Nick Smith needs to go back to the drawing board with the RTA Bill and, at the very least, include modern insulation standards and a heat source as part of what’s required before renting out a house,” said Mrs Turei.

Links to advice used by Nick Smith in the House:


(relevant pages: 16, 40)

(relevant page: 8)

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