Absolutely ambitious, affordable and achievable

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford has outlined his vision for the future of public housing and how he plans to tackle homelessness.

Twyford told an audience of more than a hundred people at the Salvation Army Manukau, south Auckland, today that homelessness “strips people of their dignity and hope”.

He said when families move frequently it takes a terrible toll on people, especially children.

Why do they move frequently? Are they ejected from rentals because they are bad tenants?  A little background to the statement would be useful.

Living in cold and damp rental homes shortens people’s lives, he said.

Many times this is personal choice, to not allow ventilation, to dry clothes indoors, to not open windows when cooking etc. Rental properties are not, by definition, cold and damp.

“When housing costs are so high, there isn’t enough [money] to spend on healthy food or pay the power bill.

But often, plenty for cigarettes, pokies, fast-food and so on.

“When home ownership is out of reach, people are denied the opportunity to build an asset and build themselves up.”

Twyford said the new Labour-led Government plans to put the ‘state’ back into ‘state housing’.

It will reinvest profits earned by Housing NZ back into building new state homes and upgrading existing ones, and stop the “mass sell-off” of state housing.

Surely it is good business to quit houses on large sections in expensive suburbs for a good market rate and re-invest the proceeds in building more appropriate housing for the current demands?  But no, it was sold by the previous Government, it must be bad.

Twyford said he wants the agency to be a world-class landlord.

Housing NZ should put a warm, dry and secure roof over the heads of Kiwis who need it and help tenants to sustain their tenancies and live with dignity.

Twyford also spoke about Housing NZ’s policy toward tenants with pets.

Currently, tenants cannot have a dog except in special circumstances, and other pets are accepted with prior approval from Housing NZ.

The minister said he favours an accommodating approach that allows tenants to own a pet as long as it’s properly looked after, is not a nuisance or danger to neighbours, and does not damage property.[…]

“not a nuisance or danger to neighbours, and does not damage property”  Could be a criteria for tenants as well as their pets?

Stuff.co.nz

[…]Twyford said the new Government will build a lot of houses as well as whole new communities.[…]

[…]Twyford said the Government is committed to developing a strategy to end homelessness and it will work with the sector to achieve that goal.

The Kiwibuild policy will see 100,000 affordable houses built for first-home buyers in New Zealand, with half that number in Auckland, he said.

The completion date for the 100,000 affordable houses was not given, or a definition of “affordable”.

The Government will set up a Housing Commission to lead large-scale projects to build whole communities that have the jobs, transport infrastructure and open spaces and amenities that people need.

Such new communities will have a mix of state and community housing, affordable Kiwibuild properties for first-home buyers, and open market homes.

As well as Unicorn exercise areas and fairy-dust dispensers on the street corners.

Twyford said legislation will be introduced restricting the sale of existing homes to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

And if speculators sell a rental property within five years of buying it they will pay income tax on the capital gain.

“We will also shut down the negative-gearing tax breaks that give speculators an unfair advantage over first-home buyers.

So without the Mum & Pop investors buying a rental for their retirement and making use of tax-breaks and negative gearing, where are all the rental properties going to suddenly spring from?  The more hurdles the COL put in the way, in terms of tax disincentives, CGT provisions, rental WoFs and so on, the more rental properties will disappear from the rental pool as they sell up to avoid the Government hassles. Never mind the P-contamination and lousy tenant hassles.

“And our Tax Working Group is being asked to design tax reforms that will tilt the playing field away from real estate speculation and toward the productive economy that creates jobs and exports.”

The Government will review the Residential Tenancies Act next year to deliver more security of tenure for renters, Twyford said.

Another good reason to quit one’s rental property.

“I know this is an ambitious agenda, but the scale of the crisis demands ambition.”

Stuff

Disclaimer: Previously owned rental properties and very glad to be out of that game.

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Dr Seuss may have been describing WH when he wrote, “He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy.”  WH, however, is tallish and only just fits in his MG.

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