Housing is central to the Green Party’s vision for a fair, sustainable, and prosperous society. Safe, secure, sustainable housing is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities and to our economy. All New Zealanders should have a warm, safe, stable and healthy home. If we can achieve this, we can unlock a huge range of benefits for our families and communities. Improving security of tenure, whether through home ownership or longer-term tenancies, would mean that children would change school less often, improving educational outcomes. Families that move home less often build stronger links with their communities – they are less likely to engage in anti-social behavior and more likely to contribute to community groups. They are also more inclined to invest in and care for the homes they live in. Improving housing affordability, housing quality and security of tenure is critical in the fight to end child poverty in New Zealand both in terms of reducing the costs that impoverished families face and improving the health and educational outcomes of children in poverty.
Building new, high quality affordable homes would create thousands of jobs. In the past, governments have used home building programs to create jobs, improve home- building techniques, and up-skill workers. More energy efficient homes will help to reduce demand for electricity and make it more affordable, as well as reducing greenhouse emissions from electricity. Using modern building methods to build eco-friendly homes, in compact urban forms, well-served by public transport can dramatically reduce our impact on the environment, and create more livable cities. This Green discussion paper proposes three initiatives in the housing sector that – in conjunction with our existing housing policies – will unleash a broad range of benefits for New Zealand families in terms of health, education, equality, jobs, and security of tenure.
These initiatives are Progressive Ownership, a Warrant of Fitness for Rentals, and secure tenure for renters.