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March 3, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Warm, Dry, Not Quite Yet

Students will be left to freeze for another winter after Minister of Housing Nick Smith announced last week that the Government “has not made any decisions” about private rental Warrants of Fitness.

The Minister announced last week that the Government will begin a Warrant of Fitness trial for state housing in New Zealand. However, there is no plan at this time to bring the Warrant of Fitness to private housing. “Our first duty is to ensure our own house is in order,” said Smith.

The Warrant of Fitness programme looks to ensure that New Zealand rental housing is insulated, safe, and provides essential amenities. It would require all rental properties to be inspected regularly by trained inspectors to ensure they meet set standards.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown announced a local Bill for rental warrants of fitness as one of the ‘key planks’ of her successful campaign for re-election in 2013. The Bill must now be passed by the Wellington City Council before local MP Grant Robertson can take it to Parliament to be voted into law.

VUWSA is continuing the work begun by 2013’s President, Rory McCourt, in supporting the Bill. VUWSA’s Welfare Vice-President, Rick Zwaan, said they would work hard on getting the Bill through in the first trimester, as political focus will shift to the upcoming general election later in the year. However, he said the timeframe will depend on how fast it gets through the WCC.

Between now and July, the Government will survey 500 Housing New Zealand homes as a sample to determine the quality of all state housing. Smith said that the Government hopes to “assess every Housing New Zealand home on a rolling three-year basis.”

“This Government is committed to improving the quality of housing to help achieve our goals of better social, health and educational outcomes for New Zealanders,” Smith said.

On a national level, Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill will bring the topic back up for debate soon, after it was pulled from the member’s-bill ballot late last year. Zwaan said the Bill was good, but lacks necessary enforcement which is contained in the local Bill.

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