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UN supports call for human rights-based national housing strategy

Graphic: Skyline of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights highlighted the issue, which was raised in the Commission's submission to the treaty body.

The United Nations has supported calls for New Zealand to adopt a human rights-based national housing strategy.

The support was included in the concluding observations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recently reviewed New Zealand's progress in areas including housing, health and education.

A human rights-based strategy requires housing to be affordable, habitable, secure in tenure and accessible.

Chief Commissioner David Rutherford said that many New Zealanders, especially vulnerable members of the community, are experiencing the flow-on effects of successive governments neglecting to treat housing as a human right.

"The impact of this neglect on educational achievement, good health and other foundations of wellbeing is well documented," Mr Rutherford said.

"We need to make sure our housing is accessible for the elderly and people with disabilities, that it is insulated and safe to live in, and that there is enough supply to meet demand.

"We look forward to this Government working with civil society, business and their political colleagues across all parties to develop a human rights-based housing strategy that will endure from government to government and ensure all New Zealanders are well housed," he said.

The Commission's submission to the Committee made several recommendations related to housing, including:

  • Developing a human rights based national housing strategy
  • Introducing legislation requiring minimum quality standards for heating and insulation in rental homes
  • Reviewing/amending the Residential Tenancies Act for greater security of tenure rights for tenants
  • Increasing the provision of social housing.

Date: 4 April 2018

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Image credits

  1. Skyline of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city - Daniel Pietzsch, Flickr Creative Commons