Our work

Right to a decent home

He mea nui te whare ki tō tātou mana me tō tātou oranga: He tika tangata.

Decent housing improves health, education, and work. It provides a sense of safety and belonging. Without a decent home, it is difficult to contribute to society. Because housing is so vital to our mana and wellbeing, it is a human right.

For 50 years, successive New Zealand governments promised to advance the right to a decent home for everyone in Aotearoa. Their promises are legally binding in international law. Of course, they did not promise to give everyone a home – that would be neither possible nor desirable. They promised to establish the conditions which would enable everyone to ensure for themselves a decent home. But this has not happened.

Instead, the country is facing a housing and human rights crisis. Many people, communities and iwi are doing all they can to secure warm, dry, affordable, accessible, decent homes. Despite doing everything possible, they cannot achieve their goal. In other words, successive governments over the last half-century have broken their promise to establish the conditions which would enable everyone to enjoy a decent home.

This project seeks to:

  • Raise the profile of the right to a decent home 
  • Deepen understanding of what this human right means in the unique context of Aotearoa 
  • Signal how the right to a decent home can improve and strengthen housing policies and other initiatives
  • Empower individuals, hapū, iwi and communities 
  • Help to hold accountable central government, local government, and the private sector 
  • Advance the partnership between kāwanatanga (Crown) and rangatiratanga (hapū, iwi).

We have print copies of the Guidelines on the right to a decent home as well as right to a decent home posters and colouring pages for your schools, offices, and housing advocacy mahi. If you would like a print copy of the Guidelines or a poster, please email [email protected]

Guidelines on the right to a decent home

Guidelines on the right to a decent home

The human right to adequate housing has been recognised in multiple international human rights treaties. As New Zealand is a signatory to many of these international treaties, everyone in the country has the right to adequate housing. Government is obliged to ensure this right is upheld.

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Housing Inquiry

Housing Inquiry

In August 2021 we launched guidelines on the human right to a decent home and inquiry into the housing crisis in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our Inquiry will go into communities to hear their experiences of finding housing.

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Measuring progress

Measuring progress

We are tracking our progress towards the right to a decent home by collating and publishing data on this page. The graphic below shows what needs to be better over time to achieve the right.

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