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Partial means testing of NZ Super and restrictions on the ability of landlords to evict tenants are cornerstones of The Opportunities Party's housing and income policies

Partial means testing of NZ Super and restrictions on the ability of landlords to evict tenants are cornerstones of The Opportunities Party's housing and income policies
The Opportunities Party founder Gareth Morgan

Landlords would only be able to evict tenants if they damaged a property or did not pay their rent if The Opportunities Party (TOP) has its way.

A cornerstone of the party's Housing Policy, released Tuesday evening, aims to give tenants greater security of tenure.

"We intend to change the regulations around residential tenancy law so leases make it far easier for a tenant to remain in the premises long term," the policy says.

"This will be achieved by restricting the conditions under which a landlord can evict a tenant to those of non-payment of rent, or property damage.

"Sale of a property is not necessarily a legitimate reason for eviction."

However tenants would be able to quit a tenancy by giving 90 days notice.

TOP would also require all residential rental properties to have a Warrant of Fitness, a move it says would ensure properties were sanitary, warm and energy efficient.

And it aims to "expand provision of social housing by gifting Housing NZ houses to the voluntary sector."

TOP also announced how its Unconditional, or universal, Basic Income (UBI) Policy would be applied to families with very young children and senior citizens.

All families with very young children (aged under three, or under six if adopted or fostered, would receive $200 a week, which would replace paid parental leave.

Additionally, low income families with children under 17 would be eligible for an additional $72 a week ($3744 a year) instead of the in-work tax credit, and would remain eligible for current welfare payments such as unemployment, disability, sole parent and sickness benefits.

Free full time childcare would be available for low income families with children aged between one and three, if the parents were in paid work, and the work test that would apply would have no minimum hours.

TOP also announced how the UBI would be applied to senior citizens.

All senior citizens aged 65 or more would receive $200 each per week.

But a means test would be applied for those who needed additional top ups of up to $7500 a year, taking payments to the current level of the existing NZ Superannuation scheme.

The policy says top ups would be indexed to actual living costs faced by retired people rather than average incomes.

"We are aligning the benefits received by the elderly with those available to families," the policy said. 

.Here is the policy announcement.


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Some policies. If only National and Labour could go beyond do nothing policies.

I agree with the means testing for Super. We all know that is a non-starter for any Government but it may get TOP 5%.

Looks like a strong platform for not getting elected then...

It's kind of obvious that they're not targeting National supporters. I'd prefer UBI but means testing of bludgers will have to do in the mean time.

I disagree. He's doing a good job of shaking up the status quoism that pervades the other parties. Sadly however I agree with the implication in your comment that people seldom look past their own self interest when voting. For that reason he is unlikely to succeed.

Funny thing is I suspect a lot of people really don't understand what is in their own self-interest. That's the whole point about ideological power - it is the least visible of all types of power but the most effective according to the Lukes typology of power.

And the whole point of exercising ideological power is to influence people such that they also support 'the way it is' even when 'the way it is' is opposed to their own self-interest. That's what the neoliberal ideology is: the ability to define reality for others so that they either internalise the existing order as ‘divinely ordained and beneficial’ or simply acquiesce to it because they can ‘imagine no alternative’

NZs got a bad case of status quoism. So many people just trying to hang in there because they can imagine no alternative.

I think most people DO understand about self interest.... The big problem is short term self interest... They vote for the quick fix.... they dont bother with the longer term....
So... from Politics to share prices... we pander to the short term self interest...
Politician wants to get elected ...Now.
You and I want a solution.... Now.
Managers bonus needs profit increases... Now

The longer term view is for people who are wise, mature and have understanding...
( Thats why,in days gone by, the "kamatua" were respected and listened to..???? ie.. wise elders )

I reckon most New Zealanders would like to think they could own a rental or perhaps rent out their own home if they live overseas or in another city for while without all the hassle such draconian tenancy rules would entail. It's good to see the TOP part are laying their cards on the table. You will be wasting your vote if you vote for them.
I have an idea. If a landlord is selling a house or wanting to do major renovations and needs it empty he has to contribute $2000 toward relocation costs.

A property investor not voting for a party proposing an increase in tenancy rights. Colour me unsuprised.

I won't vote for TOP. I am saving my vote for National and Bling..ish ;-)

I reckon a sizeable minority of New Zealanders don't own a house to rent out or renovate, and if they vote en masse for TOP, we might see some positive change in tenants' rights and tax policy.

If tenancy law does not create the same reasons for a tenant to pay rent, look after the property and the landlord provide security of tenure and a well maintained building problems will inevitably arise as they continue to do. Tipping the balance one way or the other will exacerbate the current problems.

TOP use the settings for rental accommodation in Germany as the recommended comparison. It's got the balance you are looking for.

Id love to see how Germany would cope if it had a 38% increase in population in 25 yr....????
Maybe Germanys' stable housing mkt has more to do with population growth and levels of Monetary inflation ( pre Eu )..??

Germany 1990 79.4 million people
2015 81.4 million ............. this is a 2.5% change

NZ 1990 3.33 million
2015 4.6 mill. .........this is a 38.1 % change

I suppose the proper balance is that NZ can have a growing supply of rental stock and at the same time be able to impose things like WOF and tenacy agreements that give tenants security..etc...

Point I'm that emulating germany ( in a narrow myopic, cherry picking sense) does not , at all, mean we get the same outcome as Germany...

Quite simply, a wasted vote.

How so? I haven't seen National do much for eight years despite being voted in for three terms, and Labour is only now starting to put some sort of coherent policies together. At least Morgan is shaking up the status quo and introducing something somewhat fresh; as misguided as his ideals may be. Personally, I think his tax on non-productive assets makes a fair bit of sense.

Wasted vote you hope!

You so miss the point. Morgan does'nt care about getting elected..he cares about changing policy. Morgan is raising ideas and other parties will be watching closely to see which resonate.

It's a pretty safe bet that renter protection will be one of those that is adopted (labour might already have similiar..not sure).....and there will be others. Morgan and his policys will have an impact this early to say how much, but wasted vote not.

The 'basket of deplorables' pooled their votes together, and rightly or wrongly elected Trump and chose Brexit.

The social mood is changing, and it may be that a nom de guerre like "Property king" might become a giant bulls-eye on the dartboard of life at some point in the future.

Another reason just to hold on to empty property rather than have to deal with those pesky tenants

Another reason to vote TOP as you will be paying tax on the 'hold' my friend. Brilliant TOP policys!

Exactly. They plan to tax assets on assessed income. So whether you rent it out or keep it empty, you'll be taxed!

Property prices will drop so much that Gareth will be able to buy the entire NZ rental stock,and benefit from the monopoly; either that or rents will go so high( to pay the tax, as there will be no capital gain) that our immigration will turn into an emigration flood.
With the massive resultant property price drop all the poor current mortgaged FHBs and the leveraged DGZs will be forced to sell to the cashed up.

I can see it from both points of view. Decent, law abiding, renters need some protection of tenure. But I like Zach's idea too; a contribution to relocation costs is a no brainer as I see it..

I have like all but one of the TOP's policies (their democracy one was a solution looking for a problem). The question will be whether they get 5% or at least close - so far the polls don't have their on the board.

Excellent thinking in behind these policies - really beneficial to read the FAQs at the bottom of the page;

As a collective set of policies - these folks are pretty impressive - radical, yes - but necessary, an even bigger yes,

They put out a survey recently on cannabis policy as well, so keen to see that output - hope it comes before the election. Very interesting discussion on results of recent wastewater testing in NZ for illicit drug use;

With this kind of meth problem (from wastewater concentrations the meth market is estimated at $146 million pa in Auckland alone) any amount of money spent on cannabis enforcement is seriously missing the point.

So much so I left the Greens joined the party.

Time will tell whether I have cocked up or not......but the vitriol from the "far" left is interesting....

It's amusing to see people trying to claim TOP as a wasted vote.

A true wasted vote is for a loser like Bill English or supporting National's paint stripper drinking fiend Nick Smith. Nationals only interest is in keeping their pay and benefits because they have no vision to offer and no policies that they will be around to implement (in 2040).

Interesting comment and I agree. What I am getting from the Greens is how voting TOP would be a waste, yet they seem to forget only a few years ago they were below 5% themselves. However one point they loony left is right on, TOP could prop up National. Anyway something has to change, if you dont put your foot forward nothing will that is for sure IMHO.

The important thing is to vote. Parties with something to lose, being seats in Parliament, will knock the competition. The Greens must be feeling threatened by TOP because they have actual policies and will have some appeal to younger voters. Whereas the Greens offer very little that makes any sense.

What they also won't report is that in the recent by election they got somewhere around 4.8% of the votes. The figure is high and surprising given the short time that they have existed. If TOP hits the 5% threshold both left and right parties will likely lose seats.

That is one of my worries too. Same worry folks thinking about NZ First worry about too. I desperately want a change of government - and the best (probably the only) way to get that is to vote Party Vote Labour. TOP (a bit like ACT) need an electorate. Reaching the 5% threshold on a first time round ticket is really hard - possibly impossible. They should watch the polls and if not looking within reach, have a Plan B - because our Parliament really does need this kind of transformative thinking.

I think the TOP will get a lot more votes than people think. Purely based on what has happened overseas in recent times.

Indeed. People are looking around for change and often now pick any change from the 20th century status quo parties & policies. It certainly turns more vile in countries that have limiting electoral systems (e.g. America and it's FPP system).

Let's not forget the Colin Craig Conservatives obtained 4% of the party vote in 2014, with a fairly uninspiring manifesto

With the WOF's forcing landlords to fix up their rentals, plus tightened tenancy rules, you will see landlords be a lot stricter on who they let their houses out to. Many would just sit and wait for the better tenants rather than take a risk. The sort of people this is aimed at protecting would find it very hard to secure a rental. Not wanting the world to be this way, just saying.

What do you mean "the sort of people this is aimed at"? It's aimed at all people who rent that are looking for good, warm well maintained property and security of tenure. That's EVERYBODY who rents property - and they are a substantial percentage of NZers.

I hardly think Gareth is trying to swing over/appeal to slum landlords - as he knows they'll just sell up as opposed to bring the rentals up to WOF standard. And that will be a massive benefit to FHBs. Let the rush for the exits commence :-)!

I'd be interested to see who you would blame if we end up with a shortage of rental accommodation, over time, as such things as WOF....Tenure rights.... Rent controls slowly come in...???

My son has just moved into his first flatting situation.... An old villa that is waiting to be demolished...
By your definition Kate, the owner is a slum landlord.... a low calibre landlord.... the place is rough... but it is ok.
The house would badly fail any kind of WOF...
And yet... my son and his 5 mates are really happy... because they can AFFORD this place... and that is far more important to them than living in the 'Ritz'.

Jamin.. I agree....

I am confused. Is the intention of this law to cause more houses to be rented out via channels such as AirBnB as opposed to traditional rentals?

Wouldn't that drive rent prices up substantially due to a reduction in supply which would leave the bottom end of the rental market homeless?

No. The successful AirBNB listings are not your average rental home - unless located in Queenstown, that is :-).

When sufficiently desperate there are those who will turn to AirBnB accomodation as their primary accomodation.

Also plenty of backpackers & tourist who would gladly take a centrally located AirBnB in Auckland over a hotel. To prove the point simply look for AirBnB options in Auckland. There appear to be a few available at the minute.

I said "successful".

queenstown council will be going after Airbnb landlords shortly,
gareth morgans idea of going after landlords will filter through to other parties so even if he does not get in power some of his policys will bring about changes by the major parties that do get into power.
I expect to see the WOF adopted as well as some kind of long term lease option and in the future some time rent controls

Yes, saw that. Major big problems there - and the ptb are finally realising that tourism workers need somewhere to live!

Gareth Morgan keeps,on coming up,with great policies doesn't he?
Brilliant, someone rents out THEIR property to someone and then they are never allowed to sell THEIR property ever again unless the tenant doesn't pay the rent or damages it???
So if the owner needs the money or can't afford the mortgage on it, then tough luck
, grin and bear it and subsidise the tenant until they move on?
The only way to to have them move on would be to raise the rent so that the tenant didn't want to stay on.
That's right, Mr Morgan would through in another policy for landlords that rent can't ever be over a certain amount!
Mr Morgan does sound rather dictatorial, however there will be many on here that think he is great because he is anti landlords!

No one with good business sense goes into a business with the idea that they'll run it into the ground and then hock it off.

Time we got a better calibre of landlords - if that's your complaint.

You are going to have to be a really new type of landlord if you can survive falling property prices, an annual tax on what's left of the value of your property, and pay rates and maintenance, and tax on rent.
Surely just a well thought out CGT on second homes/rentals, further limitations of what is left of negative gearing and a rental WOF would be better than this loopy highly complex asset tax on owner occupied houses.

A well thought out CGT on second homes/rentals - Labour's policy last election if I recall. I'm thinking this time round however, that would retrurn a great deal less revenue in the next decade. I'm not sure the TOP capital/asset tax is complex - it's even easier for landlords to understand where they would stand on it, as where rental properties are concerned one doesn't need to calculate the other side wrt income tax reductions to understand the policy's full effect.

Gets complicated when you have retired people with no income having to sell up or take reverse mortgages, and there aren't any places economic to rent so they'll live in a tent(or with their grandchildren) or on welfare at the taxpayer's expense.the spouse may die, wills will be mayhem etc; it's basically extreme asset testing or an antemortum death duty.
A simpler idea would be to tax everbody 20% of their net worth pa till they are down to 5mill, say. But Gareth would not like that sort of wealth redistribution and would have to be PM in exile!!

A simpler idea would be to tax everbody 20% of their net worth pa till they are down to 5mill, say.

As far as I can tell, this would fit in with Gareths "philosophy"...

I have tried to understand the rationale , the underlying first principle, of his "imputed earnings " tax on Capital.... and I can't find anything.
( The only thing I see is that he wants to nail Capital gains, and sees that a Capital gains tax only happens when someone sells.... and thats' not good enuf since people dont generally sell the family home.)

If he is ok with the IRD sucking away the net worth of an elderly retired person, in the form of a reverse mortgage... then he should be ok with taxing everybody at 20%.

(In terms of reverse mortgage... it is the power of compounding in reverse ( insidious )... and with IRDs' 8% use of money charge.... it wont be long before they own an old womans house... )

Its' simply a tax to shift the tax burden, and redistribute... that is its' only intent.... Nothing to do with "first principles" etc..

I'd be interested to see who you would blame if we end up with a shortage of rental accommodation, over time as such things as WOF....Tenure rights.... Rent controls slowly come in...???

My son has just moved into his first flatting situation.... An old villa that is waiting to be demolished...
By your definition Kate, the owner is a slum landlord.... a low calibre landlord.... the place is rough... but it is ok.
The house would badly fail any kind of WOF...
And yet... my son and his 5 mates are really happy... because they can AFFORD this place... and that is far more important to them than living in the 'Ritz'.

You are capable of better reasoning than that Roelof. There is no defense or excuse that is acceptable for the immorality of unearned income. More so on an assumption.

Can u elaborate..?? are u talking about a landlord charging rent..??

You seem concerned about dictators. Perhaps I should add you to the arrest list.

Funny that a person who makes a living through a form of slavery is worried about a dictator.

Whats the old saying......................'Know thyself'.

No that's not what the policy says.

"Sale of a property is not necessarily a legitimate reason for eviction."

So if the landlord wants to sell then they are free to do so. However the buyer needs to be aware that the tenancy comes with the property. It will then be priced up or down accordingly, depending on the tenants and the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Yep, the idea is to get the casual "landlords" out of property speculation and into investing in real businesses not ponzi schemes.

TOP really are all over the place on policy issues .

For starters , on the NZ Super , we dont have the Aussie style retirement allowances system , so saving for retirement has to be done with after-tax money .

Consequently nearly all Kiwis cant retire at 65 without the super

All we get with kiwisaver is the tax credit for $1042. Which is just the tax back on that amount. The US has a number of tax free accounts where tax is only paid when the money is withdrawn, although that includes capital gains tax as well.

Maybe that is the idea. Certainly in my case looking at the rate my house overheads are doubling eg rates up x4+ in 20 years, ditto kwh power charges I suspect by 65 there is no way I can retire, I suspect I will work until I am dead....and a lot of NZers will be in the same boat.

Seriously I dont agree with you. The thing is TOP says BBs have to much of the wealth now so giving them tax breaks on top of all the have / will have just makes inequality worse.

Another dreamer, nothing the government ever does makes any difference. It will have very minimal impact, I couldn’t care less if they change the tenancy act, almost all of my tenants in the city are transient and don’t tend to stay longer than a year, if they stayed longer then all good. If they tax your home each year then there is less incentive to keep up repairs. In fact smart people will take half the side of their house or windows off, get it revalued down, then put them all back on again. Every tax always results in an overall decline in standards. If you taxed everyone for taking a shower, there would be a lot of smelly people walking around.

So you've gone from saying "a wasted vote" to saying all votes are a waste. In this case I recommend that you don't vote ever again and everyone else should vote.

If you really didn't believe changes to laws would have an effect you wouldn't be whinging about it.

It's a wasted vote because there is more chance of a one legged man winning a backside kicking competition that TOP getting 5%. However I admire the fact he has given it a crack.

We need a Trump, not a Sanders!!

How does this solve anything except encourage us all to become tenants in a foreign controlled country.

Solve the underlying problem of allowing immigrants to buy residential property as a ticket to residency...

What precisely do we need a Trump for? Do we need him for his misogyny,or perhaps his racism,or possibly his unrivaled ability to lie on almost a daily basis?
I can't wait to hear what he would bring to NZ

...Exactly how is Trump racist?
Its one thing that really fascinates me - why people are so obsessed with throwing this label around. Especially when they make no mention of the fact that the democratic party is, by implication of its politicking, the real segregating party.

I will be supporting TOP policies in September. The old and new testaments are unequivocal in teaching us to "be our brothers keeper" and to "love our neighbour as ourselves". TOP is the only party providing policies that will move us in this direction. In time they will find a place in the political mainstream. I would encourage all to consider them now for both themselves and for others

For ever and ever Amen

Brothers and neighbours in the Bible referred to people who were part of your community and extended family. I don't think the sentiment ever extended to Philistines or Amalekites.