Thursday, March 07, 2013

Dragging his feet on housing quality

The Herald reports that Housing Minister Nick Smith is interested in a warrant of fitness scheme for rental housing, but wants to improve the quality of state housing first:

New Housing Minister Nick Smith wants to fix up run-down state houses before imposing a "warrant of fitness" on private landlords.


"[But] before the Government starts demanding a set of standards from the private sector, we have to get our own house in order. I am quite concerned about some of the quality of housing that Housing NZ has."

The problem? Our state housing is already higher quality than market rentals. Which means that Smith is simply foot-dragging.

Improving the quality of rental housing and requiring rentals to be warm and healthy would have significant public health benefits (that's why the government finally moved on upgrading state houses). But it would cost slumlords - including slumlord MPs - money. And it seems that that is the last thing Smith wants.