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The Right To Housing: An Essential Step In Solving New Zealand’s Housing Crisis

Next month’s Shift Aotearoa conference is a timely opportunity for delegates to hear from a wide range of speakers about the role and status of the right to housing in New Zealand, says Community Housing Aotearoa, Manager of Systems Shift, Brennan Rigby.

The Conference will be delivered online on 15 & 17 June and has been designed to be an entry point to the right to housing [also known as the ‘right to a decent home’ and bring new voices to the call for the #right2housing to be implemented. It will also draw on the Human Rights Commission’s Guidelines on the Right to a Decent Home, which is currently in final draft form.

“Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are experiencing serious housing need. New Zealand fought for and agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over 70 years ago but those international obligations are largely ignored as a finely tuned mechanism for improving housing outcomes. The right to a decent home, implemented well, would mean that today, the number of whanau experiencing housing stress, homelessness and poverty would be drastically reduced.”

“Our speakers will cover a range of issues from what the right to a decent home means to them, to the way we think and speak about housing. The right to a decent home creates a new conversation about our housing market: about who is included and excluded, how capital operates in the system, and how these things are linked. The rights lens forces us to confront financialisation in the housing system and consider how it could be modified.”

The conference features an exclusive conversation with Ms Leilani Farha, Global Director of The Shift, an international movement to implement the right to housing and address the dominance of financialisation in housing systems globally. As UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Ms Farha visited New Zealand last year. Her End of Mission Statement offers an insight into the failings of our housing system and garnered no explicit response from government. The full report from Ms Farha’s visit is expected to be released shortly.

Conference registration is available at shiftaotearoa.co.nz. The online conference sessions on 15 and 17 June mark the launch of our Regional Events Series. These will offer in-person opportunities for the community housing sector and associates to meet together on various
topics, following a long period of reliance on virtual meetings due to COVID-19.

The Shift Aotearoa creates a platform to discuss and understand what a well-functioning housing system means in Aotearoa. Our intervention logic is based on implementing the right to a decent home. This underutilised framework offers developed definitions of what the right means, as well as normative human rights implementation measures. Those include constructive accountability, participatory policy development, and access to justice. These are each highly relevant in Aotearoa and they operate as interventions in themselves by highlighting obvious failures, and offering tested solutions.

We invite you to get on board with the human right to adequate housing. Community Housing Aotearoa is positioned as a leading New Zealand voice and commentator on the implementation of the right to adequate housing through our relationships with Ms Farha and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, and our direct link to communities and housing providers. Our recent Briefing to Incoming Ministers illustrates our thinking about how this can be progressed

Escalating the #right2housing conversation in Aotearoa. Over the next six weeks we are expecting a significant range of contributions to the #right2housing movement in Aotearoa including the release of global and local resources and events, new inputs and strategies for changing the narrative, along with our conference. We are interested in discussing exclusive rights to a number of exciting and innovative projects coming up shortly, and where appropriate, our insights and commentary.

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