City Voice: Parties propose lower rents
By Emma Vere-Jones
NZ FIRST and the Greens have all joined Labour and the Alliance in advocating a reduction in state housing rents to 25% of the tenants' net incomes.
Candidates from all four parties, plus National, United and Act, outnumbered members of the public two to one at a meeting at Arlington Community Hall on Sat 16 Oct.
Labour's Wellington Central candidate, Marian Hobbs, said Labour would also stop selling state houses, build more state houses, and in the meantime it would look at placing needy tenants in private rental housing.
While she understood the problems this might cause, she saw no other option until current state houses were brought up to scratch.
However National's Rongotai candidate, Stuart Boag, said the current accommodation supplement available to all low-income people was the only way of ensuring fair access to good housing for everyone, not just those lucky enough to get state houses. It took account of varying accommodation costs in different areas.
He said Labour's policy would not be beneficial long term: "A scheme built on dependence will only create more dependence."
Phillida Bunkle (Alliance) said her party was committed to regrowing public owned housing stock, and to giving tenants more say in housing decisions.
NZ First MP Gilbert Myles said the Residential Tenancy Act must be thrown out. The party says local councils must be encouraged to keep their public housing, and that current tenants should get an incentive to keep state houses well maintained.
The Greens are calling for the Tenancy Act to be reviewed so that long term rental and lease accommodation could become an option. They also support research on environmentally friendly housing to conserve the use of energy and water.
United candidate Kent Clark said housing needs should be met through a combination of publicly and privately owned stock, and there should an extended rent-to-buy programme for state housing tenants.
- ATTEND THE City Voice/Scoop Employment election forum, St Andrew's on the Terrace, Thu 28 Oct, 7.30pm.
- first published City Voice Newspaper - republished with permission.