$200m spend on ‘homelessness’ no solution to rental shortage

The $200 million allocated to Housing First today has no plan for extra housing and is welfare dressed up as solving the housing crisis, Tenancies War spokesman Mike Butler said today.

The $200-million is for 1000 people over four years, or $961 per person per week. It is unclear whether this is on top of or includes any payments from Work and Income that recipients may receive.

“We have a housing shortage. A check on the Housing First website reveals that all they do is place their clients in dwellings leased from private rental property owners,” Mr Butler said.

“Housing homeless without building more housing means that current renters would be displaced and this is no solution to a housing crisis, he said.

Housing First includes the Auckland City Mission, Link People, Comcare Trust, Te Taumata O Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake Trust, and Lifewise.

Since it was formed in March 2017, Housing First says it has housed 922 people, including 436 children.

“During that time, I’ve housed more than 100 people without a government grant of $961 per person per week”, Mr Butler said. “So have hundreds of other private rental property owners.”

“We are still waiting for a meaningful response from this government to the housing crisis,” Mr Butler said.

No capital gains tax a relief for owners and tenants

Rental property owners and tenants will be relieved that pressure from hundreds of thousands of voters and taxpayers forced the ideologically-driven Prime Minister to drop the ideologically-driven capital gains tax, Tenancies War spokesman Mike Butler said today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern virtually told the media she wanted Michael Cullen’s capital gains tax but the myriads of opponents to the tax wouldn’t let her have it, Mr Butler said.

The arguments used to promote the tax, that a capital gains tax would help reduce inequality and that all New Zealanders would “pay their fair share”, assumed that those to be hit by such a tax were not paying their share, he said.

In fact, those who would be hit hardest are probably paying more than their share, he said.

The only people who appeared to support the proposed tax were those who thought they wouldn’t be caught by it, Mr Butler said, as was shown by responses of 90 percent who told one poll that they objected to having to pay a capital gains tax on their KiwiSaver investment.

However, a capital gains tax is just one silly idea from the current Government that those in the rental property sector won’t have to deal with, he said.

We still have to deal with the costly rental property standards that appear to have little to do with the claimed hospitalisation of children, possible changes to tenancy law that make it impossible to move on disruptive tenants, and the ring-fencing of rental property losses that may cause up to 116,000 rental property owners leave the sector, Mr Butler said.

Stop the War on Tenancies is a group that since last October has been highlighting the evidence that successive governments have ignored while creating rental property policy.

Tech firm: Test rental properties before spending on heating

Housing Minister Phil Twyford should heed a warning from tech firm Tether that if rental property owners don’t monitor the warmth and ventilation performance of their properties, they risk spending thousands of dollars on upgrades they don’t need, Tenancies War spokesman Mike Butler said today.

Kiwi tech start-up Tether – which designs and manufacturers monitoring systems like the EnviroQ to enable healthy living environments – says “diagnosis comes before remediation”.

Tether CEO Brandon Van Blerk said “you need to know what’s going on in the house first. How do you prove consistent temperature? How do you maintain temperature? What happens when the tenant says it’s colder than 18 degrees Celsius and it isn’t?” See http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1902/S00773/tech-company-urges-landlords-to-delay-buying-heat-pumps.htm?fbclid=IwAR13rhIwy4W58ijd3wtgobTOr9rvw-0SmrEuAN5TafQWp0hCPEf0fW2Mx4w

The Housing Minister has made a fundamental error by assuming all rental properties are damp, cold health risks when the evidence is that only 2.7 percent of tenants surveyed by BRANZ complained of cold and damp, Mr Butler said. Check p40 of the BRANZ report at

https://www.branz.co.nz/cms_show_download.php?id=606738ff7cb47451e094ad80f39cc912fa18f7a8

Based on that error, he has imposed heating, insulation, ventilation, draught-proofing and moisture-proofing on all rental properties that may cost $7000 per dwelling when it is largely not needed, he said.

The Minister has compounded that error by assuming that the 10,800 children hospitalised every year have been made sick by the poor quality of housing while not allowing for other factors present in the dwelling, such as smoking, drug abuse, poor hygiene, overcrowding, not to mention medical issues sick children may have inherited, Mr Butler said.

The 290,000 owners of rental property in New Zealand form a substantial voting bloc. They can see that the Minister is acting against the interests of both owners and tenants and will vote accordingly, he said.

Stop the War on Tenancies is a group that since last October has been highlighting the evidence that successive governments have ignored while creating rental property policy.