New Minister of Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill will enable the Government to set standards for rental housing quality and is a huge step forward for public health.
However, National Party housing spokesman Michael Woodhouse says the Bill does nothing to improve the quality of rental housing.
Their contrasting statements are below.
Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill in first 100 days
Every New Zealander deserves a warm, healthy home to live in, said Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford, as he opened the Committee of the Whole debate for the final stages of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2).
“Half of New Zealanders now rent. It is time to modernise the law and ensure that all rentals are fit for people to live in,” Mr Twyford says.
“This Bill will enable the Government to set standards for rental housing quality. It will be a huge step forward for public health. It is one of the Government’s priorities in our first 100 days to start building a better New Zealand.
“Warm, dry homes are vital for the health of our families. It is only reasonable for landlords to ensure that the product they sell does not damage the health of their tenants.
Earlier this year, the Building Research Association released research showing nearly a third of rentals felt damp by varying degrees. 40,000 children a year are admitted to hospital due to diseases are related to poor housing, and 1,600 New Zealanders’ lives a cut short by illnesses caused by living in cold, damp conditions. This has to change.
“The Healthy Homes standards will cover heating, insulation, ventilation, draught stopping, drainage and moisture. Many landlords will already meet these standards. For those that need to upgrade their properties, government grants of up to $2,000 for installing heating and insulation will be available.
“The Government will run a consultation process over the next 18 months to ensure that tenants, landlords, public health and building science experts and industry representatives have an opportunity to get involved in creating robust minimum standards” Mr Twyford says.
The minimum standards will be implemented through supplementary regulations that will be developed after the Bill has been passed, and after public consultation.
·the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) will commence on 1 July 2019
·all residential tenancies must comply with the regulations within five years of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) commencing; and
·earlier compliance dates may be prescribed by the regulations in some circumstances.
And here's the statement from Michael Woodhouse.
Labour’s housing bill a backward step
The Government’s new bill supposedly aimed at imposing stricter regulations on landlords does nothing to further improve the quality of New Zealand’s rentals, National’s Housing Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.
“National strongly supports efforts to make homes warmer, drier and safer but Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill does nothing to further those aims and in fact takes a number of backward steps.
“The previous National-led Government took a range of practical measures which improved rental accommodation for tens of thousands of New Zealanders, without imposing unreasonable costs on landlords and driving up rents.
“We invested heavily in insulation and made it compulsory in all rental properties along with smoke alarms, and we changed the law to ensure bad landlords were more accountable.
“Under Labour’s bill, the date for homes to be insulated could actually be delayed and the responsibilities placed on landlords will remain the same, as will the penalties they face when they fail to comply.
“The requirements for homes to be heated, ventilated, properly drained and free of draughts are also already required under existing housing regulations - so what is the point of this needless legislation?
“As with a lot of what we are seeing from Labour, they are struggling to come up with ideas and when they manage to do so they are failing to deliver the detail.
“Instead we continue to see them impose superficial and ill-thought out changes which only create uncertainty, and then spin them as significant improvements.
“That’s exactly what we are seeing here. This latest bill is a waste of the House’s time and National won’t be supporting it.”