Candidate Jonathan Markwick answers Renters United’s questions

September 17, 2022 10:57 am


Jonathan Markwick

Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate in the Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are Jonathan Markwick’s responses in full.

Rapid fire questions

Are you a renter? Yes
Do you own any properties? No
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? No
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?

Increasing housing supply will make it easier for renters to find a home in the right location, and will give renters better options for the right type of home (townhouse, low rise apartment, etc.). Wellington’s highest rents are found in the city centre and surrounding suburbs showing that this is where demand for housing is highest and where supply is the most constrained.

I will allow more housing to be built where it is most needed.

I will work on Wellington’s “District Plan” to allow more intensification to happen in our city centre, inner suburbs and around core transport routes.

I will ensure the implementation of the NPS-UD 2020 and the MDRS.

Once more housing has been enabled, I will advocate with the council to work with central government for legislation that protect renters’ rights.

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

I will advocate for council housing tenants to be included in the IRRS scheme.

I will ensure that council housing is in good condition and any earthquake-prone buildings (EPB) owned by WCC are assessed and strengthened to the NBS of at least 34%.

I will ensure that there is sufficient intermediary housing if WCC needs to relocate tenants for building upgrade/construction work.

I will work with Kainga Ora to build more papakainga in Wellington.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Wellington?

More housing.

Homelessness rates, in high income cities with housing shortages, are higher than homelessness rates in low income cities without housing shortages.

We can look at Finland and Singapore’s effort to tackle their homelessness by providing their vulnerable communities with more housing.

I will work to increase our housing stock whether that be private or public.

I will work with Kainga Ora to provide more social housing and papakainga in our city especially in the wealthy suburbs.

We need to avoid concentrating all social housing into a few locations to de stigmatise social housing.

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 aware of some landlords who own a large number of rental properties who don’t always meet their obligations to renters. I will raise awareness of prolific problem landlords to the council and government.

I will advocate for more effective mediation services for renter-landlord disputes. I will commit to funding tenancy advocacy services.

The council does not have the power under the LGA to regulate property managers but I support better regulation of property managers. I will work with the council to lobby to the government for better oversight.

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

Build more housing.

More housing will mean that landlords will have to work harder to attract and retain good tenants.

More housing will mean that tenants do not feel coerced into accept unhealthy living conditions and dehumanising inspections.

More housing means that renters will have more alternative options if the relationship between renters and landlords sour.

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?

The regulatory power that council has is enough to allow plenty of housing growth, however local council are very limited in the amount of funding that they can raise. I believe Central Government should allow alternative funding sources for local government (eg. GST, land tax). Councils need more funding for infrastructure and for building housing themselves.

I don’t support long-term rent control but I can see the need for a short immediate rent freeze to combat the living cost crisis following the COVID crisis.

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

NOT ENOUGH HOUSING: Young people and renters generally don’t participate in local elections or consultations, with the voter turnout for younger demographics usually below 30%. This means council policies (e.g. District Plan, Spatial Plan, Long-term Plan, etc. ) are catered to those who do engage in local democracy, i.e. older property owners who are interested in increasing their property values.

This distorted democracy causes councils to severely restrict housing supply by effectively banning new housing in parts of the city. This means that people are not allowed to build more housing to respond to increasing demand for housing including rental housing. This causes rental prices to increase dramatically, and even bidding wars between renters.


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?

First and foremost, I will want more housing to be built where it is most needed. These new-builds must comply with the government’s Healthy Home standard and the latest building code.

I support the intent of of RU’s “Healthy Homes Commitment”. I am unsure that the Health act could be applied for this purpose but I think the council should make an attempt to apply the power at it might have, including the Health act, to protect the health of its residents.

Anything else you want to share?

Please visit my website at for my visions and plans.

Jonathan Markwick

Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

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