We’ve prepared this guide with two key focusses: how to prepare for and present yourself at the meetings and a list of suggested questions for you to ask.
BEFORE THE MEETING
- Spend some time researching what key issues will come up at the meeting and who the candidates are along with their positions on issues you care about. We’ll be releasing scorecards on parties in the coming weeks, as will a lot of our allies. Keep an eye on your inbox and on social media for these as they come out!
- Talk to other like-minded people and go together to support one another.
- Know how much of the community you represent (about one in three households rent)
- You can find information on when/where candidate meetings are happening in lots of different places! Check political organisations and candidates’ FB pages/groups, community noticeboards/groups, cafes, religious groups, email community leaders/groups/candidates to ask!
AT THE MEETING
- Arrive on time/slightly early! Talk to those sitting around you!
- Be equipped to combat anecdotes with specifics but remember that your perspectives are equally valid. People can disagree with you on a lot, but not your lived experience.
- Make clear your connection to the community. You live, work, play there, you have just as much of a stake as any ratepayer. If you’re a renter, you still pay rates the same as a property owner, your landlord just kindly collects them and sends them to council for you.
- Engage in good faith and remain constructive, you might disagree with how to do it, but you’re all there to make the community the best it can be.
- Don’t assume other’s knowledge. Renting has changed massively in recent years, and other’s perceptions of the issues might be out of date, don’t be afraid to respectfully explain.
- Find common ground with others! For every one thing you don’t agree on there’s two that you do. Don’t be single issue, if you want people to listen to you, you need to listen to them.
- When there’s opportunities to ask questions or participate, don’t be afraid! That’s what you’re there to do!
AFTER THE MEETING
- Remember, it gets easier!
- Introduce yourself to candidates, they’ll remember you!
- Even if candidates don’t seem to respond positively, the fact you’ve raised issues brings them into the community conversation and is valuable!
- Debrief/vent with friends after, talk about what was frustrating and what went well.
Are you a renter? If not, how many properties do you own? How do you intend to engage with and represent renters?
We need people who understand what it’s like to be a renter, and what it’s like to be a renter that will never be able to afford to buy a home. Lasting solutions for renters will come from those who truly understand what we need, or are willing to openly listen and implement what we ask for.
Can your party rule out reinstating no-cause evictions?
This election National has announced its intention to bring back no-cause evictions. We’re really worried about how this will affect housing stability for renters. The rules around evictions are already heavily weighted in the favour of property owners. Bringing back no-cause evictions means that many renters (especially those already facing structural discrimination such as families, older renters, our LGBTQI+ whanau, ethnic minorities, and disabled people) will be too scared to ask for the bare minimums out of fear they’ll be evicted. We want to draw attention to this policy, as it undermines all of our other rights as renters.
If voted in, what will you do to improve the quality of rental housing?
To improve the quality of the existing rental stock, landlords need to be held accountable. To do so, we need to implement higher rental standards such as a Rental Warrant of Fitness and improve the enforcement of existing ones such as the Healthy Homes standard. Funding tenant advocacy (such as the Tenants Advocates Network) is one way to enable renters to uphold their rights to a healthy home.
The construction of new housing also needs to be accessible – situated near public transport, schools, shops, and within walking distance to city centres.
If voted in, what will you do to lower the cost of renting?
There are two ways to lower the cost of housing for those in private rentals. The first is building and supplying more rental properties. The second is increasing the supply of public housing. This will force the private market to compete with central and local government. The National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) are the best tools the government has to encourage housing to be built near public transport and city centres. We strongly encourage political parties to commit to maintaining these directives. These are the perfect locations for new private rental housing. Increasing the density at which these can be built also decreases the cost per unit.
If voted in, what will you do to improve tenants ability to meaningfully enforce their rights?
Funding tenant advocacy and using their powers to improve enforcement of the Healthy Homes Standards are the best ways to make sure that tenants are supported enough so they can safely access their rights.
Will you commit to providing funding for dedicated tenants advocacy services?
Allowing renters to enforce their rights leads to better living conditions, longer security of tenure, and stronger neighbourhoods.