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Labour Treats Landlords With Contempt

Thursday 4 Jul 2002

ACT's housing spokesman Dr Muriel Newman has called on private property investors to vote for a change in government on July 27^th.

Speaking at a property investors' meeting in Tïmaru today, Dr Newman accused the Labour government of running a campaign against private landlords.

"The Minister of Housing has run a crusade against landlords. Last year he hit the headlines with landlord stories such as `Bad landlords should be penalised', `Government to toughen up on landlords', `Crackdown on landlords likely'. He promised to bring in harsher penalties against landlords.

"Then in December the Minister tabled in Parliament the draconian Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill which introduces exemplary damages of up to $3,000 against landlords. That is top of prison sentences, up to $12,000 in fines that can be ordered by the Tenancy Tribunal, and up to $40,000 in fines from local authorities.

"The reality is that severe penalties already exist against landlords. Treating them like criminals by introducing exemplary damages has all the hallmarks of a crusade. It is driven by a government ideologically opposed to the private sector, which is trying to win the votes of tenant groups.

"Yet the private sector is by far the biggest provider of housing for New Zealanders who don't own their own home. Of the 315,000 rental housing units in the country, 240,000 are owned by the private sector, 15,000 by local authorities with the rest owned by Housing New Zealand.

"The snap election has created a new window of opportunity for private landlords to help defeat the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. If Labour fails to win another term in office, ACT will use its influence to ensure that the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill never sees the light of day.

"I'm calling on private property investors up and down the country to join ACT in our campaign to change the government.

"A party vote for ACT will be a vote against a government that treats the private sector landlords with such contempt," Dr Newman said.


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