Monday, June 08, 2015


Last week we learned that a child's death had been explicitly blamed on the poor quality of the state house she lived in. This week: the Minister responsible for the organisation which killed her calls the the idea of rental housing warrants of fitness "extreme":

The Government won't support "extreme measures" like warrant of fitness checks for all houses because it will drive up rent and push housing stock out of the market, says Finance Minister Bill English.


Labour leader Andrew Little had resubmitted Twyford's [Healthy Homes] bill but English told TVNZ's Q+A it was unlikely the Government would adopt it because it would result in "mass inspection of every house in the country".

"We're not going to adopt extreme measures, we want to get something practical and affordable that will start lifting the standard," he said.

"We're trying to find the solution that helps lift the standard of housing without making the problem worse by forcing housing stock out of the market or people out of houses they can no longer afford."

Because obviously its unreasonable to require landlords - including government ones - to ensure that the houses they rent are fit for human habitation and don't kill people. Whatever next? Warrants of fitness for cars? Safety standards for children's toys? Not letting people put asbestos in food?

This is bullshit, and English knows it. Health standards for rental homes should be a basic condition of participating in the market. And if this puts slumlords out of business, and requires Housing New Zealand to stop behaving like one, then that's a Good Thing, not a bad one.