Renters United asked every candidate for the Northern ward 11 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Wellington. Here are Peter Gilberd’s responses in full. Compare Peter 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 support a rental WOF. To introduce it, there should be a pilot programme on WCC properties, within three years. Then, it should be applied to all rental property by 2025.
2: Are there any other steps you would you do to improve the health, quality and safety of rental homes in Wellington?
WCC has an excellent social housing programme, going back to the work of Councillor George Porter in the sixties. WCC needs to retain its leadership, continue to invest in social housing, and to approach Government for support to increase the amount of its rental housing and to improve existing stock. Initiatives to improve heating, insulation, and efficient use of hot water, such as the Curtain Bank and other schemes run by the Sustainability Trust, and the energy efficiency programme trialled by WCC, should continue and expand.
3: How would you address homelessness in Wellington?
Support Te Mahana Strategy, a collaborative strategy to end homelessness in Wellington by 2020. Support agencies such as DCM, and the Night Shelter, who work with homeless people.
Provide more opportunities for people to obtain work and to be paid a decent wage, through the Council supporting job creation and the expansion of the Living Wage to Council contractors
Support additional housing for homeless people that have ongoing alcohol or drug addictions.
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, I do support additional council housing, especially as housing available on the open market tends to be lacking the diversity to cater for all needs. 70-100 homes a year built by Council, for rental, would be an appropriate target.
5: Are there other measures you would take to increase the supply of quality rental housing in Wellington?
Council should work with other community housing providers to increase availability.
6: What do you think are the main reasons rents in Wellington are increasing? How would you ensure rents in Wellington are affordable?
The root cause is a shortage of housing. We must build additional housing, including affordable housing. I do not accept that we should abandon the traditional New Zealand approach in which all sectors of society had a reasonable chance of house ownership, including lower income families. However, this will require local and central government intervention, as has happened in the past. While home ownership would not be available to all, increased levels would lead to a reduction in demand for rental housing, with a consequent easing of rents.
I support cheaper public transport so that families could live further from the city centre, effectively widening the area in which people can live, again easing the demand.
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?
There needs to be power given by Government to an agency, probably the Tenancy Tribunal, to address this.
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. This would need to be funded by central Government.
9: Would you take steps to tackle persistent bad landlords who do not meet their obligations to renters?
Council can advise people of the avenues to address issues, through its community network. Individual councillors can also advise people of mediation services, organisations to support renters and, if sufficiently serious, the Tenancy Tribunal.
10: How would you ensure renting is more stable/secure?
Easing demand by encouraging the building of more homes, for sale and for rent, helping to move the market from a seller’s market to one of parity. Helping to ensure that all parties are aware of ways of communicating well and of solving issues.
11: Do you have any other policies that you believe will have a particular impact on improving renting for renters in Wellington?
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