Candidate Efeso Collins answers Renters United’s questions

September 17, 2022 11:32 pm


Efeso Collins


Likely to make things better for renters

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Renters United asked every Mayoral candidate in Auckland 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are Efeso Collins’ responses in full.

Rapid fire questions

Are you a renter? No
Do you own any properties? Yes
Do you support the Renters United Healthy Homes Commitment? Yes
Do you commit to funding tenant advocacy? Yes
Do you support councils retaining ownership an expanding supply of council housing? Yes
Will you lobby for IRRS to be extended to councils? Yes
Do you commit to densifying inner city suburbs? Yes
Will you commit to using your platform to abolish the ratepayers roll? Yes

Stable homes

What actions would you take to improve stability and security for private renters?

I will advocate as Mayor for greater stability and security for private renters. I have good relationships with the current government (as well as a strong relationship with the Leader of the Opposition) and I’m willing to harness that relationship for good housing outcomes. Renters deserve good quality, affordable, and long-term rentals in Auckland so that they are able to thrive and participate in all the vocational and leisure activities the city has to offer. I’ve mentioned setting up an Auckland Council office in Wellington for advocacy and I’m willing to make advocacy on renters’ rights a priority of that office.

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?

I have mentioned in public debates the need to consider European models that have as a default longer-term rental periods. This would require legislative change but I am committed to taking this forward to the government since I am aware of the number of Aucklanders (including students and older people) who rent and deserve greater security, so that they can plan their lives and participate without being at constant risk of upheaval.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Auckland?

I will support Housing First and the Aotearoa Homelessness Action Plan, and will look to increasing our support to assist homeless people into stable and secure accommodation.

Meaningful enforcement

If elected, would you take steps to tackle persistent bad landlords who do not meet their obligations to renters in your area? If so, what?

I am willing to investigate use of the Health Act to review enforcement of minimum health standards in rentals. I would be keen to meet with groups, including emerging tenants’ unions, to listen to what steps can be taken to improve mediation services, tenancy advocacy services, and a Tenancy Tribunal. I’ll also advocate to central government on improved regulation of property managers and landlords.

What do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants? If nothing, why?

I absolutely agree that there is a power imbalance between landlords and tenants. I am willing to advocate for stronger renters’ rights using the Mayor’s advocacy power and to convene groups keen to progress this issue. As build-to-rent grows it will be necessary for the Mayor to keep a watching brief on this issue.

Fair rent

Would you advocate for additional powers or resources from Central Government to address the housing crisis (such as legislating for Rent Control), if so what and how?

Yes, I do think the central government can take a more hands-on approach to address the housing crisis. I grew up in a state house and one thing I will do is advocate for more building of state and social housing, which I think can address the housing crisis.

What do you think are the main reasons rents in Auckland are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Auckland are affordable?

One part of rising house prices and rising rents is supply. I will direct Eke Panuku to explore opportunities to deliver more housing. I will seek options to increase council housing for older people as part of the next long-term plan. I will partner with government to bring more housing and retail developments as a part of a vision for equitable transit-oriented development. I support intensification as well as good design standards for intensive housing developments. I am interested in equitable zoning processes, will look to increase our support for Housing First, and will investigate the possibility for owners of unoccupied houses to be connected to housing providers to ease pressure for those waiting for a home.

Safe and healthy homes

What actions (in contrast to or in conjunction with our Healthy Homes Commitment) would you take to improve the quality of private rental housing in your ward and in your city?

I will seek to increase the compliance and monitoring of boarding houses so people in these situations are provided with safe, healthy, and accessible housing. This has been a priority of mine in the past.

Anything else you want to share?

I want to be a champion for public housing again. I also will continue to advocate for intensification done well, with good planning and infrastructure. My fares-free public transport plan should also reduce costs for low-income people, including renters. I’m grateful for the advocacy of groups like Renters United.

Efeso Collins


Likely to make things better for renters

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