Local Bodies control where our housing is built, what it looks like, what quality our housing has to be in , where and when our public transport runs and much more! For too long property owners, and landlords have held a disproportionate amount of power. That changes this year, the 2022 local body elections will be for renters!
Who’s the best option in your area?
Voting closes midday Saturday October the 8th
Our asks for the 2022 local body elections
The Healthy Homes Commitment
The Healthy Homes Commitment is one of our major asks of councils this year. We don’t need to tell you that even after the implementation of the Healthy Homes Standards our houses aren’t getting much healthier! The most recent government studies show that 55% of renters have an issue with dampness or mould in their flat, and 57% percent have issues staying warm in winter.
Councils have the power to inspect properties to make sure that they comply with laws that prescribe housing, but they also have the power to make sure that rental housing isn’t making renters sick! Everyone has a right to a healthy home. Councils can make that a reality, now.
Tenants’ Advocacy Services
Wellington leads the way in funding tenants’ advocacy services. In 2019 after our campaigning, the Wellington City Council committed to funding for two housing lawyers in the city. We know that if you want to hold your landlord to account that often means going through the Tenancy Tribunal. We’re asking candidates to join Wellington City council in funding their local tenancy services. Everyone deserves access to their rights, funding tenants’ advocacy can make that a reality for renters throughout the country!
Support council housing
For far too many renters the private market is simply unaffordable. The best way to bring rental prices down is by forcing the private market to compete with someone who doesn’t make a profit, councils and the government!
As of 2018 60 of New Zealand’s 67 local and territorial authorities owned council housing. The
majority of these lease their operations to Community Housing Providers (CHPs), and some
have transferred ownership to these entities.
Since 2013, councils have been under increasing pressure to sell council housing. Renters United firmly believes that the state has the responsibility to ensure minimum standards in the housing market and that the best way to do this is for social housing to be democratically controlled and operated by local authorities.
Local Government New Zealand published a paper in 2022 suggesting that councils should be
classified as CHPs in order to access the Income Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS). Right now councils can’t afford to maintain their housing stock levels, but with the IRRS 30% said not only would they be able to retain their stock, but they would be able to expand their stock if they had access to the IRRS.
More people means we need more homes
The introduction of the Medium Density Residential Standards, as well as the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) in the same year, was a decisive statement from the Government that local authorities cannot continue disincentivising medium density development through restrictive and archaic planning laws.
Councils around the country are trying to oppose rules that allow the houses we need to be built for our communities. If we aren’t able to build more houses rent won’t be getting affordable any time soon.
If we want to be able to build strong communities where everyone has access to a safe, dry affordable home, then we need to be improving the way that we build, not moving backwards.
Want to support the movement?
What can I do as a renter?
1. Check that you and your fellow renters are enrolled to vote at the correct address!
If you’re renting that makes you a ratepayer! In fact you’re eligible to enrol and vote in local body elections if you are 18 years or older, a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and you’ve lived in New Zealand continuously for 12 months or more at some time in your life. Make sure you can have your say at enrol.nz
2. Email your local candidates to see if they support the Renters United Healthy Homes Commitment.
If you know who the local candidates are in your area then send them a message, asking if they support the Renters United Healthy Homes Commitment. Here’s some text to get you started:
I just read about the Renters United Healthy Homes Commitment and I wanted to know if you supported it?
The Healthy Homes Commitment is a promise that local councils will take a proactive approach to ensuring renters are living in warm, dry, and safe homes.
You can read more about the commitment and their information for candidates here:
3. Stay updated through the 2022 local body elections
Can I volunteer?
Nationally we need help with:
- Social Media & Communications, like creating copy, scheduling posts on social media, and engaging with people online
- Access to Democracy. We need people to be attending meet the candidate events and asking candidates if they support better rights for renters in their community!
- If you want to get involved in any of these email email@example.com
In Tāmaki Makaurau and Pōneke we need help with:
- Local Events, we need people to help organise and run a series of events. They could be anywhere from Q&As to candidate roasts, where renters take back the power in their local community discussions
- Scorecards. Each election we make scorecards for candidates to help everyone understand who’s going to make renting easier, and who’s going to make it harder!
- If you want to get involved in either of these email firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a candidate? Share your support now!
If you’re ready to deliver what’s needed to make sure renters have access to safe, dry, affordable homes, then share your support for our commitments now! The best thing you can do is share your support with renters publicly on social media!
Have questions? You can contact email@example.com.
Ready to sign your support?
Let’s abolish the ratepayers roll!
We want to fix renting in Aotearoa, but we can’t do that if our voice is diluted in elections. Right now, it’s one rule for renters and another for landlords. In 2016 one landlord voted in seven separate local elections. We believe that each person’s vote is equally important. We did away with property-based voting rights for national elections in 1893. It’s time that local government caught up.
Authorised by Geordie Rogers, firstname.lastname@example.org