Political manoeuvres: National to reinstate no-cause evictions   

National says, if elected, it will reverse Labour’s removal of no-cause terminations and provisions which see fixed-term tenancies roll into periodic tenancies.

The National Party wants to unpick several changes Labour introduced in 2020 under the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act.

Housing spokesman Chris Bishop said that removing no-cause terminations and the rollover of fixed-term tenancies into periodic tenancies may have been well-intentioned but had “backfired badly, discouraging landlords from offering their properties up for rent”.

Empty properties a sign of risk-averse landlords? 

Bishop said in Queenstown, about a quarter of properties were estimated to be empty, while hundreds of people were living in cars, in tents, or on couches.

“Some landlords have simply decided that the risks are too great and have exited the rental market altogether, decreasing supply and putting upward pressure on rents,” he said.

National has earlier indicated a commitment to restore interest deductibility for rental properties and adjust the bright-line test – the period in which someone can sell a residential property without paying any tax on gains – to two years, down from 10 years under Labour.

Labour doesn’t agree

Housing Minister Megan Woods described National’s housing policy as “callous” and likely to “send a shiver down the spine of renters right across New Zealand”.

She said there was no reason to change the law as it currently balanced landlords’ rights with the need for renters to “feel they have some degree of security in their rental accommodation”.

National backpedals on housing density

National is also withdrawing its support from the bipartisan agreement with Labour on housing density.

Under a National-led government, councils would be able to opt out of the Medium Density Residential Standards that allowed three-storey dwellings to be built on all residential land in the main cities.

National leader Christopher Luxon said the party had got it wrong on housing density rules. The change would force councils in major towns and cities to zone for 30 years’ worth of growth immediately.

The new policy would make it harder to subdivide large sites in brownfield areas and to build townhouses to three levels in most places.

Ockham Residential co-founder Mark Todd said the policy would be a boon for greenfield development, but would not lead to the construction of compact, well-connected cities for the next century.

National and Labour housing policy is poles apart. Your vote has never counted more.