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What’s happened to Heatley’s rental law urgency?

16 December 2009
Media Statement

What’s happened to Heatley’s rental law urgency?

Phil Heatley needs to explain to tenants, landlords and vulnerable boarding house tenants what’s happened to much-need improvements to tenancy laws which he promised in May was a priority, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Moana Mackey.

“The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill was developed and introduced by the Labour-led Government, and adopted by the current Government.

“While Labour disagrees with some of the changes to the legislation subsequently made by Mr Heatley, we voted for the first reading because it makes a number of important changes which are urgently needed,” Moana Mackey says.

“While it may be a watered down version of Labour’s legislation, it is still an improvement on the status quo.

“Mr Heatley appeared to agree, saying in May that the reform had been keenly awaited by both tenants and landlords for some time, was ‘a priority’ for him and that he intended ‘to ensure it becomes law as soon as possible’.

“Yet despite the Bill being reported back from select committee some months ago, it hasn’t been seen since and appears to have vanished into a dark hole, while other less important legislation has been passed.

“Phil Heatley needs to explain why this legislation is no longer a priority for the Government. Parliament has been in urgency for much of the parliamentary time since the Bill was reported back from select committee and yet the Government hasn’t seen fit to progress this important piece of legislation.

“The Bill gives much-needed protection to vulnerable boarding house tenants, who shouldn’t have to wait until after the Government comes back from its Christmas break to finally enjoy the protection of tenancy legislation.

“It will clarify responsibilities for costs – such as water or rates – and will introduce clearer and fairer processes around tenancy agreements,” Moana Mackey says.

“Growing numbers of New Zealanders are living in rental accommodation and they need the security and stability that this legislation aims to provide.”

ENDS

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