PHOTO: DON’T CRY MATE, THE LAW IS STILL ALL ON YOUR SIDE (IMAGE: TINA TILLER)
Jacinda Ardern was called an enemy of landlords and a threat to tenants after a series of changes to New Zealand’s rental law. Justin Giovannetti contrasts the law for renters here with that of his native Canada.
“Our national sport is real estate.” I’ve heard some version of that phrase over a dozen times since my arrival in New Zealand three months ago. If property is the sport, we learned this week that landlords are the reigning champions. And they are aggrieved.
Property commentator Ashley Church called Jacinda Ardern “the most anti-landlord government probably in the history of our nation.” National leader Judith Collins said the prime minister had turned landlords into the country’s “whipping boys”. Their fury was prompted by a number of small law changes this week, that fundamentally make little difference to the relationship between tenants and renters in New Zealand.
As a recent arrival to New Zealand’s shores, let me take a step back to assess what seems like hyperbole from the landlord lobby. Because while I can’t reliably compare Ardern’s treatment of landlords to that of her predecessors, I can compare it to the situation for renters in North America.
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