Candidate Teri O’Neill answers Renters United’s questions

September 14, 2022 2:59 pm


Teri O’Neill

Motukairangi/Eastern Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

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Renters United asked every candidate in the Motukairangi/Eastern Ward 17 questions about the issues that most concern renters in their ward. Here are Teri O’Neill’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?
We need to increase supply to ensure tenants have greater choices and create more competition to attract and retain tenants. We also need to disrupt that market ourselves with more city housing, more Te Kainga apartment conversions (which are designed with stable and secure tenancies in mind) and more partnerships to support increased community and public housing, and more build to rent. We also need to keep supporting calls by tenant groups to ensure central government enhances tenant protections.

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?
NOTE : this term the Grants subcommittee (Fleur Chair, Teri Deputy chair) with reps from council voted to grant Community law the contact to carry out a tenancy advocacy service. – Labour councillors voted to ensure protection from eviction is part of a CHP, and other measures to ensure we are best practice landlords. We will keep prioritising this as the CHP is established, and keep ensuring stable and sustained tenancies are core to Te Kainga. We also need to keep support and resourcing tenant advocacy such as the group we have voted to establish.

What steps will you take to end homelessness in Wellington?
Build more social and affordable housing through apartment conversions and partnerships with Mana whenua and other Community providers. We’ve had close conversations with DCM, WCM, Kahungunu Whānau Services, KO and Wesley – good practice is not to make emergency housing the provision of ending homelessness (for example 1 night shelters exasperate homelessness), but rather a housing first and assertive outreach program (What role does assertive outreach play in ending homelessness for people who are sleeping rough. (, Housing First Wellington)
Something we’re incredibly proud of this term is through Gender Minorities Aotearoa we have ensured a whole floor of City missions transitional housing is for Rainbow and gender diverse people experiencing homelessness. We need to continue on this path for supporting those not in the binary of hardship. A review of Te Mahana – WCC’s Homelessness strategy has already been initiated through the homelessness lead this term Teri O’Neill , and developing a plan for ending homelessness must be supported with the strategy of both our mana whenua partners in Tākai Here.

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?

Labour councillors voted to use Council powers to actively investigate unhealthy and unsanitary homes on behalf of tenants. We will continue to push for this. We also established a tenants advocacy service through Community Law and will continue to push for this to be extended and promoted, as well as through other services we fund such as CAB. Labour councillors pushed for mandatory education of landlords to be included in regulation, and will keep pushing for greater regulation of property managers and all landlords. Being a landlord is not a right, and it needs to come with responsibilities.

What do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants? If nothing, why?
Information, access to advice and support, local and central government regulation to protect tenants, greater numbers of social housing places, and greater supply all help achieve this. So does amplifying the concerns and voices of renters, something that Labour councillors and candidates are committed to.

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. We have done so in this term and have pushed WCC to stronger advocacy in this area, and will continue to do so. We have all signed up to support the Renters United programme and as a team that is majority renters, consider this an essential part of our role if elected.

What do you think are the main reasons rents in Wellington are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Wellington are affordable?
Supply of all housing has been a massive problem, and in particular supply of accessible, affordable housing of different types where people want to live. By widely upzoning close to public transport and with large walking catchments around inner city and suburban centres, council can become part of the long term solution rather than an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Upzoning would allow for more affordable housing options but also do more to increase the supply for the “missing middle” of low and middle income earners who cannot afford to rent in the entire Wellington region. After zoning, we need to actively support construction with all the levers we have at our disposal. We also need call for other tools to support affordability while we build more housing, and that includes measures like localised and time bound rent controls.

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 continue to support the Sustainability Trust to do the on the ground work to upgrade our housing stock. We have supported moves to greatly reduce/eliminate character protections which have kept poor older housing at the expense of development of newer healthier homes. We support your Healthy Homes Commitment and we have also included measures in our District Plan to ensure new homes are healthy, warm , dry and accessible.

Anything else you want to share?

We remain concerned about voting turnout for renters in Wellington, and will continue to support measures to open up access to local government to give greater voice to renters and to break down the dominance of home owners in engagement processes, voting and representation in local government.

Teri O’Neill

Motukairangi/Eastern Ward

Likely to make things better for renters

Compare Teri with other candidates

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