Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she believes that most landlords do want to provide a healthy home for their tenants.
The comments, made this morning on TVNZ 1's Breakfast, come after the Government announced the details of the Healthy Homes Initiative on Sunday.
The new standards outline minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in residential rental properties.
Ms Ardern said "we're doing a disservice to landlords if we claim they don't already undertake some of this work - that they're not trying to provide a healthy home for their tenants," she said.
"There's a lot of chat around the cost to landlords, but I think we should give them a bit of credit."
Responding to a question on what can be done to discourage landlords from simply passing on the cost of meeting the new standards to tenants, Ms Ardern said work is already underway on changing the number of times landlords can increase rent each year.
"What people are seeing is increases in their rent that doesn't keep pace with increases in their pay in terms of the regularity - so we think there's a bit of work to be done there.
"We are seeing more people rent," she said.
"We do need to make sure we're creating an environment where they have a bit of security of tenure - that's good for landlords too - landlords don't want a whole lot of churn, and this is one way we can prevent that."