In 1936 New Zealand faced a similar housing crisis to what we face today. Houses were in short supply, wages were low, slum living was common, unemployment was rife, rents were high and increasing rapidly. Life was a desperate struggle for low-income tenants and families.
(Note unemployment then was measured accurately unlike now when anyone working just one hour per week is not counted as unemployed!)
The first Labour government did two critical things:
- It began an industrial scale state housing building programme and by 1938 it was building 3,500 state rental houses per year (The equivalent for today’s population would be 10,000 per year – however the current Labour government has set the limit of increase to 1600 per year for a waiting list of almost 25,000!)
- It implemented rent controls through the 1936 Fair Rents Act which froze rents to what they were on 27 November 1935. Rents could only increase with the approval of a magistrate.
We desperately need that rent freeze now. And we need an appeal process whereby rents can be reviewed on appeal from a tenant. That way we can cap and manage down rents to liveable levels.
You can be part of this campaign by signing the petition at www.alternativeaotearoa.nz and clicking to be kept updated.
Don’t leave it to someone else – your country needs YOU!