The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations is disappointed that the Education and Workforce Select Committee’s Report on Student Accommodation released today does not address many of the concerns raised by students throughout the inquiry.
"While the Select Committee does support the new proposed Code of Learner Wellbeing and Safety, it does not challenge the status quo of students being treated as cash cows by accommodation providers." says National President Andrew Lessells.
“The Committee missed a huge opportunity to protect students in halls by giving them rights under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Students currently have differing rights depending on their institution and have no clarity on what they’re entitled to. Putting halls under the RTA would solve many of these challenges and we are disappointed that the Committee went against the recommendations of students.”
The Inquiry also had a requirement in its Terms of Reference to investigate whether student accommodation should be for-profit. Lessells says that “despite submitters overwhelmingly recommending that student accommodation should be not-for-profit, the Committee has chickened out of making a recommendation. While the Committee said it listened to students, it’s disappointing that this voice wasn’t heeded”.
The Select Committee’s recommendations on strengthening the new Code of Learner Wellbeing and Safety are welcomed, but Lessells cautions that the Code is not a panacea. “The new Code is a useful tool to protect students but isn’t the only one that should be used. The Committee’s failure to recommend other legislative changes will have a huge impact on the wellbeing of students and may lead to unsafe practices continuing.”