Candidate John Davies answers Renters United’s questions

September 17, 2022 11:53 pm

VOTE HOUSING: LOCAL BODY 2022

John Davies

Albany Ward

Likely to make things worse for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate the Albany Ward 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are John Davies’s 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? No answer provided
Do you commit to funding tenant advocacy? No
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? No

Stable homes

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

Tenancy law is a subject to take up with central government, it is not a Council matter. I would be happy to weigh in behind any campaign to central government that seeks to strengthen the stability of tenancy, hand in hand with stronger rights of removal of tenants who behave poorly or damage a rental property.

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

I would be happy to weigh in behind any campaign to strengthen the stability of tenancy, hand in hand with stronger rights of removal of tenants who behave poorly or damage a rental property.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Auckland?

Homelessness in any part of New Zealand is an issue for the government through Kāinga Ora and Work and Income. Council’s do not have a place under NZ law in social support of this kind.

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?

If elected I would support enforcement of obligations to deliver obligations for safe and healthy rental houses as long as the cost of doing so was clearly recoverable or met by the landlords, tenants or taxpayers, not the ratepayer.

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

This is largely a question for central government.

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?

I am standing on a platform where we keep Council focussed on its statutory obligations. Again, tenancy law is primarily a central government responsibility and any advocacy of plans to take on work in this area needs to be accompanied by an understanding that the cost of seeking these extra powers must be accompanied with a funding solution. Rates are a poorly targeted way to fund such things and many stand I took would need to be balanced with a clear understanding around who is paying.

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

Rents reflect house capital values first and foremost. Increasing rents will reflect that. Affordable rents is in itself an emotive reference and has no benchmark, nor will it ever have. Some people can afford a $3000 a week mansin, otjers can not afford a 3 bedroom house for their 5 person family. I can not ensure rents are affordable in Auckland.

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?

Better planning of new build or rebuild areas that reflects the need for community amenity in the shape of parks, gathering places and safe walking precincts.

Anything else you want to share?

I am a strong believer in protecting the vulnerable of New Zealand, but hand in hand with that I believe that is a taxpayer funded obligation, not one for Councils funded first and foremost to deliver safe water, waste water transport and planning solutions in their areas. This legislated duty has been lost sight of at times past where Councils got in to social housing at varying levels. Auckland City Council for instance delivered future slums (now almost slums) around the edges of the CBD. Whilst intense living is very much part of our futures, well planned residential areas are the key that Council can turn in the locks. I do not support more social housing by Council, I 100% support it maintaining the existing tenancy obligations it has.

I have not answered the question “Will you support and sign our Healthy Homes Commitment to use the powers of councils as per the Health Act 1956 to enforce minimum health standards in private rentals?” I did not as it is not clear how this commitment will be funded at my first glance. Unless I can see a clear obligation under the Local Government acts, not the Health Act 1956, that is not being met by Council, I would not intend to support additional costs to ratepayers for new activities.

John Davies

Albany Ward

Likely to make things worse for renters

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If you are a candidate or representative of a candidate and wish to correct or elaborate on the information please contact lbe22@rentersunited.org.nz.

Authorised by Geordie Rogers, geordie@rentersunited.org.nz

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