Decent housing should be a human right recognised by law because too many people are still living in cold, damp and mouldy homes, the Human Rights Commission has concluded.
It also wants a housing watchdog to keep the housing system and government accountable.
Homeless rangatahi spend a year at He Pā Piringa kaupapa Māori transitional housing service to get back on their feet.
“It actually puts you in a mindset of confusion you don’t know where your life going to be without a steady, stable home,” says Tamaiti.
He was “just couch riding” before his mum referred him to the service.
“It’s actually been such a huge healing, growth for myself. I can actually talk now because I have a say and people listen.”
The Human Rights Commission on Thursday released its final report into housing and says to get out of the crisis we’re in:
- The human right to have a decent home needs to be recognised by law and used to make policy decisions.
- Housing decisions should fulfil te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations.
- There needs to be accountability measures, like a housing watchdog.
“The right to a decent home places individuals and communities at the heart of everything and that’s not happening at the moment,” said Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.
“I want to ensure that these promises successive governments have made are honoured.”
Unsurprisingly, politicians are not on the same page over whether housing should be a legal human right.
“It would ensure that renters have security of tenure by having affordable rents,” said Greens MP Ricardo Menéndez March. “It would mean Government committing to long-term funding for public housing.”
“I haven’t read the detail of the report but what I would say is the finding would be obvious which is that we need to build more houses in New Zealand,” said National’s Christopher Luxon.
“It is further proof that the Human Rights Commission provides not only no value, but negative value. I could have got a Year 11 economics class to produce something better.”
Meanwhile, the Housing Minister was not available.