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Newman speaks to property investors association

Newman speaks to property investors association

Speech to the North Otago Property Investors Association AGM, Oamaru, 17 February 2005.

I'm delighted to be here to address you at this important time. Not only is it the day before submissions to the review of the Residential Tenancy Act close, but it is also the start of election year! I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss both of these issues with you tonight.

Those of you who understand the parliamentary process will be aware that when political parties in government publish discussion documents they are testing the water. If their proposals create few ripples, then invariably, since these ideas have political support from the ruling party, they will find their way into law.

That is why the RTA review document is so insidious. Inside this benign-looking document are proposals to introduce British-style rent controls; to force landlords to take on tenants who may be considered undesirable; to pass costs associated with services - electricity, gas, phone and water - on to landlords; to lock in long tenancies; to introduce the compulsory registration of landlords; to create warrant of fitness "quality mark" ratings for rental properties; and to provide government advocacy services to tenants.

For those property investors who already feel that the present laws are tilted in favour of tenants, the proposals outlined in the discussion document will tip the balance even more in favour of tenants through the introduction of heavy-handed regulation against landlords.

If you oppose the spirit and thrust of the Labour's proposals, it is imperative that you put in a submission. Your submission doesn't have to be lengthy or complicated, but it must clearly state your views. You have until 5pm tomorrow to complete the task.

From my perspective, I believe there is no evidence to back up the need for an over-haul of the Residential Tenancies Act. The review is in fact a blatant political move by Labour to gather support ahead of the general election.

While there is merit in the argument that stable housing is good for families, the best way to achieve that is surely to lower taxes so more families can afford to buy their own home. Further, instead of contemplating a range of bureaucratic regulatory changes that will significantly increase compliance costs and drive up rents, Labour would be well advised to encourage Tenancy Services to educate both landlords and tenants regarding their responsibilities and obligations under the Act.

In other words, if the Government is genuine in its desire to improve the relationship between landlords and tenants, it is education rather than enforcement that is needed.

As a property investor, weighing up the pros and cons before committing to a particular rental property is an important part of your business. I would like to urge you to adopt that same analytical approach to deciding where you cast your vote in this year's general election.

If you would like to see a change in government - and I suspect that most of you will - then, since National cannot govern alone, you will need to carefully consider where you cast your party vote. Since New Zealand has already experienced the disaster of a National-New Zealand First coalition government, I would like to suggest that you seriously consider giving ACT your party vote.

ACT believes in economic policies that encourage financial freedom and prosperity, and social policies that create independence and wellbeing. With ACT alongside National to keep them on track, high taxes, excessive welfare, education failures and rampant political correctness could be a thing of the past.

ACT has always supported private property investors by fighting for your rights against opposing forces. I am asking for you to fight for us on election day by giving ACT your party vote.

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