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Rapid rent increases a product of bipartisan inaction

Rapid rent increases a product of bipartisan inaction

The median nationwide rent has gone up $20 a week over the past two month, a rapid increase that is part of an upward trend overseen by both Labour and National Governments. Auckland Action Against Poverty condemns successive National and Labour Governments for failing to protect tenants from ongoing rent price increases.

“While National and Labour blame each other for the increase in rents, neither party has proposed solutions to bring rent prices down. Meanwhile, our most vulnerable continue to be the most disproportionately affected by successive Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.

“The Stats NZ report produced in July 2018 show that people on the benefit have been the hardest hit by rent increases, which is contributing to an already growing number of homelessness.

“The most recent price increase of $20 a week over the past two months is a spike in what has been an upward trend in rent prices for over a decade, overseen by both Labour and National Governments. While the demand for housing grows, the state housing stock continues to stagnate, and the private market has been unable to provide housing for those who need it.

“While National was complicit in exacerbating the housing crisis by allowing landlords to put prices at unaffordable levels, it is up to the current Labour-led Government to propose solutions. We are calling on the Government to introduce legislation to cap rent prices and build far more state homes than it is planning to.

“The Government has an opportunity to introduce legislation that would bring an end to these rapid rent increases through its review of the Residential Tenancies Act. It could cap the amount by which rents can be increased by and force landlords to set rent levels within reach of ordinary people.

“The people on the benefit who we advocate for are currently spending up to 70% of their income in rent, leaving them with little to cover other basic expenses. The rapid rent increases is pushing a record number of people into Work and Income for hardship assistance.

“Instead of blaming each other for something that has been brewing for over a decade, both Labour and National should look at the needs of the people most affected by the housing crisis.

ENDS

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