Candidate Tracy Hurst-Porter answers Renters United’s questions

October 1, 2019 10:26 pm

Renters United asked every candidate in the Takapū/Northern Ward 14 questions about the issues that most concern renters in Wellington. Here are Tracy Hurst-Porter responses in full. Compare Tracy with other candidates.

Housing quality:

How will you ensure all council owned and/or managed housing is safe, warm and dry? 

Councillors can only create policy and ask good questions around the policy. If elected I will ensure policy is followed and ask the right questions.

What actions would you take to improve the quality of private rental housing in Wellington?

Central Government is currently setting minimum standards for rental accommodation. I can only ensure the properties I have an interest in are of a good quality. Currently the tenants in the rental accommodation are my own children and I want them to be in a warm and safe home.

Security of tenure: 

How will you ensure all council tenants have security of tenure?

I believe Council has a moral obligation to provide social housing but tenants have an obligation to look after the facility. It is a partnership. Security of tenure needs to be based on need and honouring the partnership.

What actions would you take to improve stability and security for private renters?

I am open to suggestions but at this point I can not see that Council has a way to improve stability for private renters – this is more a function of central government.

Housing supply and affordability:

WCC estimates Wellington has a shortfall of 4,000 houses. Rents have increased in the city by 10% per annum for the last three years.

Would you set a target for Council to double its housing portfolio by 2024 (from approximately 2,000 units to 4,000)?

No – Wellington City Council is already the largest social housing provider in Wellington.

How many new houses do you think the City Council should be building annually (above and beyond the private sector)?

Additional housing is not the core business for WCC.

What are your other ideas for addressing the housing shortage and how would you make those a Council priority?

There is a difference between supplying social housing for those who can not afford to pay market rates for housing and housing shortage.  Market forces will sort out the housing shortage for most; social housing is the responsibility of local and central government. WCC is currently doing its bit.

Would you advocate for additional powers or resources from Central Government to address the housing crisis (such as the ability to freeze rents), if so what and how? 

No.

Meaningful enforcement of laws:

Renters United believes the council should be more proactive in supporting renters to enforce both the existing and new housing quality laws (i.e. the Healthy Homes Standards). This could include funding and undertaking inspections of private rental houses against the standards and/or funding advocacy services to support renters in enforcing their rights.

Would you support and fund Council proactively inspecting rental homes?

No – this is a central government initiative

Do you think that Council should play a greater role in enforcing the standards?

I think Council should make sure they meet the new standards within their rental portfolio and that is enough.

What other actions would you take to improve the quality of rental housing in Wellington?

I am open to suggestions.

Would you fund a dedicated tenants’ advocacy service?

No – Central Government already provides Tenancy Services.

What else do you think Council should do to address power imbalance between landlords and tenants?

The Tenancy Tribunal is your best port of call for sorting out landlord/ tenant issues. This is not the core business for Wellington City Council – unless it is one of their tenants.

Do you have any other ideas or plans relevant to renters that you would like to share?

Not at this time.

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