The Green Party has published an open letter to the prime minister, calling for her to immediately freeze rents until rent controls are strengthened.
The open letter has received more than 2000 signatures as of 11am today, Thursday.
Co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson said they wanted to see limits on annual rent increases, linking rents to what previous tenants paid and temporarily freezing rents until annual limits are in place.
They said it will “help rebalance the rental market in favour of people”.
A November 2021 report by the Ministry of Social Development found more than 60 per cent of low-income renters in New Zealand in 2018 were spending more than 40% of their income just covering the rent — the worst ratio in the OECD.
The Greens also want to see a warrant of fitness for rental properties, a landlord register and increasing housing supply.
“An immediate rent freeze followed by permanent and meaningful rent controls is essential for recognising the human right everyone has to a warm, affordable home,” Davidson said.
“Unaffordable rent is a major cause of the inequality crisis in Aotearoa. Tens of thousands of people face the constant stress of handing over most of their income to a millionaire landlord, just to keep a roof over their heads,” she said.
“Today we are urging the prime minister to put that right.”
Both National and the Greens have grilled the Government on rising rent in the past.
Associate Minister of Housing Poto Williams told Breakfast in February that Cabinet was floating proposals to support struggling renters. She said these included rent control and indexation.
However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern later told Newshub’s AM the Government was not planning to use rent controls.
Ardern at the time said the Government was pulling levers on housing affordability, like reforming interest deductibility rules and extending the brightline test. She said this increased the number of first home buyers in the market.
“At the same time, we have to make sure that rental properties are available. We are doing all we can, though, to make sure that we have a rental sector that is affordable and where we have more long-term stable tenancy for our renters.”
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