Eastern ward candidate Robert Murray answers Renters United’s questions

September 19, 2016 8:20 pm

Renters United asked every candidate for the Eastern ward 11 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Wellington. Here are Robert Murray’s responses in full. Compare Robert 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?

I would have to see the details of the rental WOF proposal before committing either way but the first requirement is that it be fiscally neutral to Council. Second, I don’t immediately see how such a scheme can be anything but aspirational – WCC does not have the power to enforce such a scheme; it requires Government backing. Thirdly, is this scheme going to increase the cost of renting and consequently homelessness, or even reduce the amount of rental stock in the market?

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

I will not be willing to give preferential treatment to rental over owned housing: I feel there is also a problem with older home owners on limited incomes who are unable to maintain their houses in a livable condition. These people may not have the ability to change their circumstances that renters have. Due to geography some dwellings are in permanently shaded damp locations: sometimes this is also due to vegetative growth which is prized by the residents; I don’t know how to address these issues.

3: How would you address homelessness in Wellington?

I do support the concept of a wet house to accommodate those who are homeless because of such needs. Under the stand at the Basin Reserve might be an appropriate site.

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

Generally No – WCC is undertaking a huge program of upgrading and replacing its rental stock and this has to remain its prime focus over the next triennium: this may result in more units (eg replacement of part of the Arlington complex)

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

I will not promote population increase in Wellington. At the moment I have no other ideas.

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

I am aware that there will be further pressure on Wellington’s housing stock as we are forced to retreat from sea level rise. Rents will continue to increase while property prices increase and while demand exceeds supply. WCC cannot reasonably address either of these factors.

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?

My understanding is that this is already illegal.

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

Generally No.

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

Generally No.

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

Generally No.

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

Generally No.

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