Lambton ward candidate Tony Jansen answers Renters United’s questions

September 13, 2016 11:19 pm

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

Yes it is a bare minimum and should be mandatory nationwide.

If so, how will you go about its introduction?

That’s a hell of a question and going into detail about council processes which I am not yet a part of. All I can say is I will vote to introduce it. I would imagine the terms of the WOF would be based on the government equivalent and also on similar documents all the major political parties have been formulating. Needless to say there is plenty of data and templates in existence to come up with a sound and robust WOF.

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

Again these are all covered in the WOF – whichever one is used – such as insulation, ventilation, heating, flooring, possibly double glazing in some areas of NZ etc. I don’t think I could come up with something that someone else who has or is focussing specifically on this, has missed. If you want something personally from me that is outside the square I would suggest that you cannot look at the issue of WOF/housing stock in isolation. You also have to address income disparity i.e. the introduction of the Living Wage as a bare minimum right across the board. If we can get this implemented properly at council then by taking the lead, maybe others will follow.

Removing GST from fresh produce, milk, bread, even possibly meat – the staple needs of a family’s food budget – that would help. Helen Clark said years ago that it could not be done. This is nonsense as Australia has been doing something similar for years.

3: How would you address homelessness in Wellington?

We have to work with all the caring agencies in this area such as the DCM, look at ways to provide shelter for these people. LTSA currently owns a large number of empty apartments waiting to be demolished for Jo’s 4 lanes to the planes, we could easily use these as temporary accommodation. They have been empty for at least a year. We also have to look at the root causes of homelessness not just treat the symptoms. That might not be something within the brief of councillors or city council. But building and providing more social housing is imperative as our society becomes more imbalanced and unequal. We are now seeing the fruits of our 30 year fling with pure free market economics. And it’s not pretty.

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 above and asking for a figure is pointless. I am not privy to the council’s financial plans and how may units are built depends on a raft of other factors eg finding and purchasing the land to build them on for a start. Asking for a number (and what would you do with one if I could?) is pointless.

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

Quality? And who will be able to afford it? Clearly the council intends and needs to embark on a building spree of sorts. From what I understand they already intend to build a range of mixed housing to cater for a range of different needs and “family” groupings.

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

Supply and demand. Rising internal immigration from the north as Auckland spills over, property speculation encouraged by this irresponsible government and an irresponsible banking sector. Greedy speculators and landlords.

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?

Isn’t there already a raft of legislation and provisions to cover this? And a councillor or and individual cannot do or be responsible for everything that happens in society or in transactions between private parties. For council housing, I know there is are specific agencies and a raft of provisions already in place. Seriously? You should be fully aware of this too. right?

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

Again aren’t there a range of services already in place eg Tenancy Services, the Tenancy Tribunal. Landlords/tenants – council only or right across the board? Please see my answer above. What else do you want?

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

I think you are getting a little emotive and confused. There is a huge difference between the private market and council controlled services. In the private market place council has little or no legal standing. And there are agencies and mechanisms set up already to regulate and police the private market. All a councillor could do, if made aware of individual cases, is direct the aggrieved party to the appropriate agency that will assist them resolving their particular dispute.

If it is council housing in question, then that is different. But would you expect this sort of behaviour from the council? If you have evidence of the same then you need to take it up with the appropriate council agency.

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

I’d like to see rents pegged to income for social housing owned by the council. But your question is, unfortunately, too ambivalent and open. You need to be more specific. And is the renting in general, or renting from the council?

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

Again, too open ended and vague.

The way to design surveys or questionnaires is that you need to ask short specific questions. No double barrelled questions i.e. two questions rolled into one. You need to be very specific so people actually answer the question you thought you were asking. If you don’t get it right the data you get back is often useless.

Overall your questions deteriorated as the questionnaire progressed which shows that you were running out of things you wanted to ask. The last few questions were unanswerable. Truly.

Your questionnaire could and should have been half the size with very short specific questions.

The longer more open ended the questions the more people will rant and get off topic. It is also harder to sift through the answers and glean any useful data.

How are you going to go through this questionnaire and extract the useful data you want? Are you going to be able to do anything other than get a general idea of what each candidate thinks about the rental property market? Is that really enough? Was that really all you were looking for? I think probably not.

Happy to assist you further in any way if that helps.

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