Candidate Shane Henderson answers Renters United’s questions

September 17, 2022 11:49 pm


Shane Henderson

Waitākere Ward


Likely to make little difference for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate the Waitākere Ward 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are Shane Henderson’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? 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?

This is primarily the responsibility of central Government, but Council has a vital planning function in enabling new housing. I have been a strong advocate for more housing to be enabled closer to the central city suburbs, closer to peoples work and study. Through encouraging supply, we can realign the balance between landlord and renter, providing more power, agency and choice for renters and thereby making arrangements more stable.

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

Auckland does not have a large stock of Council housing, unlike some other cities. We have an elder adults housing portfolio that we manage with the Selwyn Foundation. I have worked closely with residents of these houses, building relationships and being an advocate where needed in management of their tenancies. Arrangements around security of tenure appear to be working well, but I am poised to advocate if problems occur.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Auckland?

I am committed to supporting the Housing First initiative, which is really showing results, and the Govt’s Homelessness Action Plan as well. We don’t just need houses though, many people have complex needs and we need to resource social services to work with people and meet those needs. We need compassion, a mana-restoring approach, an approach that doesn’t just help with the homes itself but with skills to keep tenancies, and to build a good life.

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?

This is again primarily a central Government function. I support recent moves such as the Healthy Homes Guarantee to help tackle the issue of slum landlords, which is a problem particularly in lower socio-economic areas of Auckland like the one I represent. Prior to my current role, I was a community lawyer and regularly represented renters against horrid landlord behaviour, helping them take their claims to the Tenancy Tribunal. As advocates, we can lobby central Government to address this problem, and I believe we should do so.

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

As explained in a previous answer, the main lever Council’s can pull is to encourage the increase of supply, and that will address the power imbalance that is currently all too prevalent. It is a heartbreaking situation right now for too many Westie families.

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 feel that the MDRS and NPS UD going through central Government will make a huge difference, and I have concentrated my advocacy in implementing the spirit of this legislation in Auckland. We already have a rudimentary system of rent control in the RTA, with the Tribunal able to declare a rental unreasonably high relative to market. This is not often used, and the power imbalance does not encourage such moves. I suggest central Govt re-look at this section of the RTA to see how it is operating and how it can be used better.

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

It is supply and demand. We have families here in the West showing up to rentals to find 30 other people there seeking the same house. It’s heartbreaking, and with this imbalance landlords can name their price. The best thing we can do is increase housing supply.

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?

This is a central Government issue and moves have been and are being made to improve housing stock, for example the Healthy Homes Guarantee. I support the Government in these moves. One issue we have particularly in our ward is a huge shortage in emergency housing stock, and this has meant hotels, and accommodation that is totally inadequate with no real incentive to improve it. We need to advocate for more emergency housing.

Anything else you want to share?

At a broad level, we need to also ensure people have proper public services funded like libraries, parks and playgrounds, that contribute to putting down roots and leading a healthy and fulfilling life in the community.

Shane Henderson

Waitākere Ward


Likely to make little difference for renters

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