Govt announces new transport and rental housing initiatives and enthuses about human rights (but without mentioning voting rights)

Buzz from the Beehive

The big announcement from the Beehive so far today is that workers and public transport users are at the heart of a new approach to public transport branded the Sustainable Public Transport Framework.

This is great news, although when you  take workers and public transport users out of considerations it is hard to find too many other interested parties, besides politicians and administrators.

Oh, wait.  Taxpayers and ratepayers, which accounts for most people, have a stake, too.  Their money funds the system and a major change is to allow councils to own and operate services in-house.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said the current model is causing operators to wind back services and timetables, because they can’t get drivers.

“The new Sustainable Public Transport Framework will help to create a public transport system that is reliable, an attractive career opportunity and a credible alternative to using cars to get around.

“Improving the conditions of employees will make it easier to recruit and retain the workforce, allowing frequent and reliable services. This will also provide job security by allowing drivers the opportunity to maintain employment if there is a change in operator.

The announcement can be found on the Beehive website along with two ministerial speeches delivered in recent days.

One speech  – delivered by Phil Twyford at a function to welcome Afghan human rights defenders – inevitably clucked approvingly about human rights, although he did not mention the divisive eccentricities of the electoral rights the government is creating for some people in this country.

The second speech (to an unidentified audience) was delivered by Housing Minister Megan Woods who declared:

“It’s my great pleasure to be able to speak with you about a really positive move for the Build-to-Rent sector.”

The really positive move was that the provision of tax incentives  for developers for as long as the homes are held as long-term rentals to encourage more long-term rental options.

Woods said an exemption from the interest limitation rules would be provided for certain types of new and existing build-to-rent developments in perpetuity.

To qualify, developments need to offer tenants leases of at least 10 years.

Tenants can ask for shorter agreements if they wish and the development will still qualify for the exemption. Tenants will be able to break their tenancy agreements at any time, with a 56-day notice period.

“We believe security of tenure is critical for people who are renting. This requirement will enable people to settle and personalise their homes, reduce how often they must find a new place to live and all those associated moving costs, especially as people face cost of living challenges, and help them to build and maintain connection to their community.”

The press statement said the move was being welcomed by Property Council New Zealand.

It quoted council chief executive Leonie Freeman.

“Today’s announcement is one of the best levers to unlocking the potential of Build to Rent,” says Property Council New Zealand Chief Executive Leonie Freeman.

“We support the government’s desire to enable Build to Rent in order to provide warm, dry rental homes that offer Kiwis long-term security of tenure,” Leonie Freeman said.

Legislation to make the changes is expected to be introduced to Parliament at the end of August.

Ministers Michael Wood and Priyanca Radhakrishnan and MPs Vanushi Walters and Dan Rosewarne were in the audience when Phil Twyford welcomed a group of Afghan human rights defenders and family members to New Zealand at a function hosted by the Governor-General at Government House.

The group included human rights advocates, journalists, judges, NGO workers, politicians, an athlete, a doctor, an entrepreneur, public servants.

Twyford recalled Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban a year ago and the Government’s response, to help evacuate Afghans who assisted, or were otherwise connected with the New Zealand presence in Afghanistan.

Help was extended to those who were promoting human rights, running for political office, competing as an athlete, reporting the news, working in the public service – they were viewed as a threat by the insular and oppressive ideology of the Taliban.

In the upshot, more than 1700 Afghan nationals were resettled, around 200 of them human rights defenders and their families.

Twyford said he hoped that

“… while you make a new life in peace and safety, you can also put your talents, and qualifications to use in building our country Aotearoa-New Zealand. And that is part of the reason I have gathered you all here today.

“We value your passion for human rights, your willingness to speak up, your commitment to the common good. Don’t be shy about expressing those things in your new country, and in working from here for human rights and democracy in Afghanistan.”

Twyford noted that while NZ  is far from perfect,

“… gender equality is a core value of our nation. The Taliban’s denial of the rights of women and girls is repugnant to our Government and that will continue to be at the centre of our response to their regime.

“I am moved by the thought that so many talented Afghan women, and your daughters, will have the chance to live freely, seize opportunities for education and work, and live your best lives in our country.”

 He invited the new Afghan Kiwis to work with the government in putting human rights at the centre of the country’s nation-building.

He didn’t mention his government’s unmandated push to accord some people greater rights than others – the failed effort to give much more weight to a Māori vote than a non-Māori vote in Rotorua, for example (HERE) and the successful passage of legislation to debase the electoral system by guaranteeing two seats (by appointment only) to represent some citizens in Canterbury based on their genealogy (HERE).

Latest from the Beehive

15 AUGUST 2022

Creating sustainable public transport for all

Workers and public transport users are at the heart of the new Sustainable Public Transport Framework, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.


12 AUGUST 2022

Welcome for Afghan human rights defenders, Government House Auckland

As-salamu alaykum, Tena tatou katoa,


Speech on tax changes for Build-to-Rent sector

It’s my great pleasure to be able to speak with you about a really positive move for the Build-to-Rent sector.

Tax incentives to boost long-term rental supply

The Government is encouraging more long-term rental options by giving developers tax incentives for as long as the homes are held as long-term rentals.

Govt marks 350th tower in push for improved rural connectivity

The Government has marked another milestone in its push for better rural connectivity, welcoming the delivery of Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) 350th tower.

Joint Press Release: Trans-Tasman agriculture ministers discuss biosecurity co-operation

Biosecurity co-operation topped the agenda when Australia and New Zealand’s agriculture ministers met yesterday.

One thought on “Govt announces new transport and rental housing initiatives and enthuses about human rights (but without mentioning voting rights)

  1. And the new policy allows councils to “set fairs”. Either the Labour Party is subsidising carnivals or can’t spell.


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