Lots of if’s, but’s and maybes from Twyford on rentals, but not a single solution

Phil Twyford really is struggling with the transition from opposition to government.

He attacked the former government for having no housing solutions, but he is now the minister and it appears he has no idea either:

New Housing Minister Phil Twyford has several plans to make life easier for renters, but has ruled out rent controls.

Instead the new minister is clear that in his view the only way to seriously keep rents in check is to greatly increase supply.   

Well, that’s not going to happen this year, or even next year. If that is his plan then he is doomed.

But that doesn’t mean he wants the Government to stay out of the equation: he thinks it has a serious role to play in both increasing supply and softening the rough edges of the private market.

What on earth does that even mean? There is no way the government is going to increase supply in anything but the medium term or longer. Certainly not within three years. As for softening rough edges? Only he knows what that means.

By the end of this year, Twyford wants to introduce legislation to reform the Residential Tenancies Act, our main tenancy law.

He wants to…by the end of the year. If he hasn’t planned the legislation by now it won’t happen.

The key planks of these planned reforms will be an end to letting fees that are charged to tenants, a requirement that rents can be raised only once a year instead of every six months,an end to no-reason terminations, and the required inclusion of a formula for how those rent rises will be calculated on every tenancy agreement.

Raising rents only once a year is going to mean one big wallop a year instead of two manageable increases. As for the formula, how does one create a formula that is relevant in Auckland and Wellington from one for Invercargill?

He is also interested in looking intowhether practices like “rental bidding” can be abolished, but is not sure if this can be achieved. In fact given the reforms were planned while Labour was in opposition, some may not make the final cut.

“Under the current laws, particularly when there is a shortage of housing and it’s a landlord’s market, the market can be harsh and oppressive to people,” Twyford said.

The market isn’t oppressive, it is the market. It reacts to supply and demand. He’s the minister he can only affect one of those, supply. But he isn’t even sure about all this despite nine years in opposition. It is obvious that he has no plan, no idea and no wherewithal to do anything.

“What we need are laws that bring the best out in people, and encourage their better side. And that’s why modernising the tenancy laws will be about a set of rules that work for landlords and tenants – and encourage for instance longer term tenancies, which are good for families and good for landlords.”

Oh FFS. How do you legislate for that? You simply can’t. It just shows what a complete out of touch womble this prick is. All motherhood and apple pie statements that mean nothing and just sound condescending and platitudinous.

Twyford has ruled out rent controls, which he says is “bad policy”, instead arguing the only real way to keep rents in check is to increase supply.

Rent controls … drive investment out of the market and discourages landlords from properly maintaining properties. It keeps some rents low, the ones covered by rent controls, but not others. It does nothing to tackle the basic supply and demand pressures.”

Fixing supply will alleviate problems like rental bidding and go some way to stop illegal discrimination against tenants.

Good luck with that. They are already behind on supplying affordable homes, now he wants to supply affordable rentals as well?

So how do you increase supply? The Government’s KiwiBuild plan is to build 100,000 affordable private homes over ten years. This would help free up rentals by moving more tenants into private homes.

This guy is a economic idiot. He’s special. That is not how it will work at all. He also says he is going to have a chat with Justin Lester on how to solve Wellington’s issue. Perhaps he might like to get Lester to ditch his Rental Warrant of Fitness that has driven landlords from the market?

It won’t help either that Labour MPs  seem to have forgotten they are in government now and are running landlord shaming activities like his finance minister Grant Robertson and Hamilton list MP Jamie Strange.

Between him and Robbo they will have more than enough stuff to embarrass Twyford.




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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.