'Half the population is living in rentals that are making them sick' - calls for tighter housing regulations

It may be the way of the future, but rental costs have rocketed compared to the rate of the average wage, and there are calls for tougher protections for tenants.

Rick Zwaan from ActionStation has spent the past few months gathering renters' stories and reveals a disturbing picture of the sector in New Zealand.

"There are some pretty heart-breaking stories in there with people living in cold, damp flats and homes, unable to afford rent and keep the heaters on," Mr Zwaan told the Breakfast programme this morning.

ActionStation teamed up with Renters United to produce the People's Review of Renting survey which documents the stories of 200 people in rentals.

Mr Zwaan says the survey revealed that most renters say their homes are affecting their health and the health of their children.

"Half the population is living in rentals that are making them sick and they can't afford to pay rent and keep the heaters on.

"[Renting is] massively expensive. And what we see is people getting locked into homes that are unhealthy and making them sick and they can't afford to leave."

Mr Zwaan says the government has created some incentives to make sure landlords insulate their homes but believes this doesn't go far enough.

"What we've seen is successive governments taking a hands-off approach to the housing issue and what we need now is some stronger regulations there so people can live in a warm dry safe home."

Mr Zwaan says the survey showed renters would like to see a housing warrant of fitness brought in which would guarantee homes have heaters, insulation and ventilation.

They would also like to see landlords held to those regulations.

Mr Zwaan says he would like to see the tenures being secured so tenants can stay in their homes longer with greater protections placed around this.

Rick Zwaan from ActionStation says a recent survey reveals how poor quality homes are affecting the health of renters. Source: 1 NEWS

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Pictures: Baby Neve takes pride of place alongside Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford at United Nations

Baby Neve has made a very public appearance alongside her parents at the United Nations in New York.

The youngster was pictured with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and dad Clarke Gayford at the UN's General Assembly overnight, where her mum was to speak at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.

It's the first overseas trip for Neve, born in June, after she skipped the PM's visit to Nauru. 

Read more: Baby Neve inspiration behind 'family-friendly policies', Jacinda Ardern tells millions of Americans on NBC's Today show

Read more: 'You can be strong, you can be kind' - Jacinda Ardern talks leadership, President Trump on US television

* The Prime Minister's office gave permission for the photos to be published

There was a very public appearance for the Prime Minister’s baby in New York. Source: Reuters



Meka Whaitiri says she accepts PM's decision to sack her as she faces barrage of questions on return to caucus

Meka Whaitiri accepts Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to sack her as a minister, saying she is committed to self-improvement as she returned to parliament.

Ms Whaitiri was sacked as Customs Minister after an investigation by ministerial services into an alleged assault of a staffer during an event in Gisborne in late August.

The Prime Minister says she took action after an investigation deemed an incident did happen. Source: 1 NEWS

She batted away repeated questions from the media about the investigation and its findings, which she disputes.

“It’s been a debilitating time, but I really want to reflect on what I need to do to improve myself, to regain the confidence of the prime minister,” she said.

“I’m absolutely gutted, but I accept the prime minister’s decision but I’m going to work really hard and reflect on what I need to do to improve myself.”

“I can’t talk about the report until it’s released but like I said, I accept the prime minister’s decision.”

Ms Whaitiri, the MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, said she was grateful for the support from Māori caucus and others.

“Willie has declared and so have my Māori caucus members that they continue to have confidence in me to do the job that I was elected to do,” she said.

“You know, I’ve got a lot of work to do here on behalf of the people of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.”

“I’m very humbled by the support of the Māori caucus and those that have sent support but I’m here to do a job.”

“As I travel throughout the electorate we’re having meetings and I will tell them when I see them face-to-face my plans going forward.”

Whaitiri says she is determined to earn the Prime Minister’s trust back, and work hard for her electorate, after her sacking as a minister. Source: 1 NEWS

Simon Bridges and Judith Collins were 'defamatory' with 'meth crooks' claim, says Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has accused Simon Bridges and Judith Collins of making defamatory claims over their ‘meth crooks’ claim about the 800 evicted Housing NZ tenants who will receive compensation.

The opposition leader and National’s housing spokesperson have repeatedly said they were against compensation for the Housing NZ tenants who were evicted as a result of adverse meth tests on their properties.

The National leader says it sends a poor message that those found to have cooked or used meth in Housing NZ homes get compensation. Source: Breakfast

READ MORE: Simon Bridges against compensation for tenants proven to have smoked or cooked meth in Housing NZ home

“I’m appalled that Judith Collins and Simon Bridges, who have pretence to be experienced and practiced lawyers, would think that people who are utterly innocent and in their hundreds and hundreds should be turfed out of a place and have all their assets and materials destroyed because of a hoax scientific investigation, which wasn’t scientific at all, and that they shouldn’t deserve some compensation,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

READ MORE: Judith Collins savages decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants evicted over meth contamination

National’s housing spokesperson savaged the decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using P or allowing its use in their homes. Source: 1 NEWS

“I know ordinary people might do it but how could a lawyer possibly believe somebody is guilty before proven to be that and that’s what I find for narrow venal populism in which they’re not going to be successful they have appeared to use such language.”

Housing New Zealand released a report last week admitting it shouldn't have turfed out tenants based on methamphetamine contamination guidelines which have since been found to be misused.

The period was dubbed 'meth hysteria' - during which hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent unnecessarily on stripping out homes, and hundreds of state tenants kicked out.

The deputy prime minister was appalled that the opposition leader and housing spokesperson could make the meth crook claim about mostly innocent Housing NZ tenants. Source: Breakfast