Lambton ward candidate Brian Dawson answers Renters United’s questions

September 13, 2016 10:59 pm

Renters United asked every candidate for the Lambton ward 11 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Wellington. Here are Brian Dawson’s responses in full. Compare Brian with other candidates. Read responses from other candidates.

1: Wellington City Council has declared its intention to introduce a rental WOF. Do you support the introduction of a rental WOF? If so, how will you go about its introduction?

Yes, I wholeheartedly support this. I think the first step is to get a commitment from council to the WOF. It seems likely that there will be enforcement restrictions and issues at a local level, but a strong (and hopefully united) message from council is a start. The next step will be to put significant pressure on central government to legislate for a national rental WoF.

2: Are there any other steps you would you do to improve the health, quality and safety of rental homes in Wellington?

Positive reinforcement of the message through targetted rates rebates and incentives is a good step forward. I would also like to explore having a clear register of rental properties in the city so council can easily identify what is and isn’t a rental.

3: How would you address homelessness in Wellington?

There are a number of answers to this, depending on which mode of homelessness you’re referring to. I am highly supportive of Justin Lester’s pledge to establish a so-called ‘wet-house’ as international evidence shows this to be a highly effective method for assisting those with high alcohol dependency issues, which in turn will have a major positive effect in terms of addressing rough sleeping in the city and the many issues that flow from it. We need to strongly affirm WCC’s ongoing commitment to social housing and I want to see this strengthened. Council needs to work with it’s own officers and outside partners to increase the amount of affordable rental housing in Wellington as ultimately the answer to homelessness is more homes. We also need to strongly lobby central government to recognise local bodies as social housing providers and extend income related rents to them. Ultimately I believe the Te Mahana strategy is a good one and council needs to continue it’s facilitation and resourcing roles with the many agencies doing great work in this area.

4: Do you support the building of additional council housing and if so how much housing should be built in the next council term?

Yes (as per previous answer) and the amount depends on a number of factors, including partnering with other providers. Personally I would like to see the amount of council housing doubled, but this is probably ambitious.

5: Are there other measures you would take to increase the supply of quality rental housing in Wellington?

Note previous answers. Housing needs to be in the top three council priorities for the next term.

6: What do you think are the main reasons rents in Wellington are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Wellington are affordable?

The continued rise in house prices and growing demand are the two biggest reasons. The main thing that will make rents affordable is more supply.

7: Many renters face discrimination on the basis of their gender, family status, age and ethnicity and when trying to find a home in Wellington. What steps would you take to address this?

We need to be strongly lobbying central government to ensure this is taken seriously and the full resources of the human rights commission used where necessary. I would like to see a consultative council established that would monitor these along with other housing issues in the city.

8: Do you support dedicated tenant advocacy services to balance the influence of landlords and rental agents? If so, how should these be funded?

Yes. I see this as primarily a central government issue which should be funded through the tenancy tribunal, but would be happy to see council tackle a role to get it established.

9: Would you take steps to tackle persistent bad landlords who do not meet their obligations to renters?

I would like to but am not sure what council could do. Very open to ideas.

10: How would you ensure renting is more stable/secure?

As with the previous question, I’m no sure how to address this at a local body level. Moving towards a minimum tenure term would be one option (as overseas) but would need to be established nationally at a central govt level.

11: Do you have any other policies that you believe will have a particular impact on improving renting for renters in Wellington?

A major issue for renters is income and I am a strong advocate for the Living Wage. If elected I will be working to get WCC accredited as a Living Wage Employer, which I believe will be a key factor in having others follow suit.

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