Smith’s housing standards on right track
20 November 2015
Media Release: New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations
Student leaders are welcoming progress towards national standards for rental properties.
National student president Rory McCourt and Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association president Rick Zwaan met with Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith last Thursday for an update on where the Government’s proposed standards are at.
The standards, first mooted in July, will require most rental properties to have insulation and smoke alarms by 2020.
Minister Smith told the leaders that legislation was due to be tabled before the end of the year, with parts of the new law in place by 1 July 2016. Students will be able to submit on the Bill in the select committee process.
Mr McCourt says students’ associations will be pushing for the standards to also include ventilation and an efficient form of heating, such as a heat pump.
There was agreement at the meeting that associations would need to step up to ensure the law was being implemented by landlords, and that tenants knew their rights.
Mr McCourt says "Rental standards are well over-due in this country. We're glad the Government found the courage to tackle this issue for the health of millions of New Zealanders. Now we're eager to see these standards become law."
The leaders also raised with the Minister their concerns about rising student rents in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and declining home ownership rates amongst young New Zealanders.
Mr McCourt was positive about the meeting, saying that Minister Smith seemed genuinely interested in housing affordability for renters and buyers alike, but more action was needed.
Mr McCourt says the adoption of NZUSA’s ideas shows that progress for students can take place under a National government when students and the community work together and Ministers listen. The student movement has been pushing for rental standards for over twenty years.