Candidate Mark Chirnside answers Renters United’s questions

September 17, 2022 5:42 pm


Mark Chirnside

Mayoral, Riccarton Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate in Christchurch 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Christchurch. Here are Mark Chirnside’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? 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?

Particularly with the powers available to local government, it is extremely hard to ensure landlords will offer their tenants’ security of tenure. However, if we make sure housing is affordable, abundant and properly designed for the urban environment it exists in, we can build socially and culturally connected communities that will make long-term rental more desirable for all parties.

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

I can’t honestly say I have an easy solution to this problem. I don’t understand every mechanic. I can tell you that my values dictate that I want to ensure that security of tenure, and I encourage anyone with concrete ideas and knowledge about this to email me at

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Christchurch?

There’s no clear answer to this question, because homelessness takes on many forms and has complex causes. What I do know, is that if we have MORE homes, we will have less homeless. Supporting the expansion of IRR also helps get these people into homes.

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?

Yes. I would support mechanisms to raise rates on landlords who repeatedly and egregious neglect their tenants.

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

Council can use rates to leverage against extremely negligent landlords, and abolish their right to vote in places they do not live and thus do not have a stake in.

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 think rent control will ultimately result in a worse experience for those renting. Our chief problem is supply, and if we focus on rent control, we will disinsentivize building more houses, and undermine our attempts to intensify the city.

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

Chiefly, it’s a supply issue. It’s a lack of housing stock. Resistance to intensification has exacerbated this, and that’s why I strongly the support the NPS-UD.

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?

We have to actively engage with private developers, who are doing the good work of intensifying the city, to ensure that they are also building homes fit for purpose, not just fit for sale.

Anything else you want to share?

I don’t have all the answers to some of these extremely difficult problems. However, I want to emphasize that I am strongly aligned with the goals of Renters United, and I want to hear from you about your ideas and vision. Please do email me at, so that I can listen and educate myself further on what we need to do to create a better environment for renters in our city.

Mark Chirnside

Mayoral, Riccarton Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

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