Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford supports calls for all political parties to agree to a cross party accord to address the “very serious” issues facing New Zealand with respect to adequate housing.
“What concerns me most are the many and varied housing issues in New Zealand which have no joined up, coordinated action plan to address them,” Mr Rutherford said.
“The human right to adequate housing is a binding legal obligation of the State of New Zealand. This means the government has a duty to protect the right of people in New Zealand to enjoy adequate housing and it has a responsibility to provide remedies.
“We’re seeing housing issues being talked about as separate issues when in fact they need to be addressed as a whole; housing affordability in Auckland and Canterbury; the provision of adequate housing in Northland, South Auckland and other places throughout the country which would reduce the incidence of childhood illnesses due to cold, damp, overcrowded accommodation; and the call for more of our elderly to be cared for in homes which are in many cases likely to be unsuitable for elderly habitation to name just a few of the issues.”
The adequate right to housing has seven requirements: security of tenure; habitability; accessibility; affordability; availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure; location and cultural adequacy.v
“A cross party accord would do well to use our human right to adequate housing as a starting point for a coordinated, joined up approach to addressing the housing issues which are certainly not going to magically go away,” Mr Rutherford said.
“This is not a three-year fix, it will take decades to get right but we need to get started right now. This is not about having a talkfest, it is about action on all fronts, not just affordability.
We have had a talkfest about these issues for over 30 years mainly centred on how many State owned houses should or should not be built. In that time a state like Singapore has surpassed New Zealand in providing adequate housing and that in turn has led to higher levels of wealth and health in Singapore than New Zealand.”
- Read our flyer on the Right to Housing
- New Zealand Herald: "Housing: Human rights commissioner calls for drastic action"