Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Cam Slater: I Would Have Thought There Were More Important Things to Do

Yesterday the Government announced a vitally important policy…a policy that is needed before any other policies or law changes…a policy to allow renters to have pets. Seriously, that’s exactly what Chris Bishop and David Seymour think is vitally important legislation, right now!

The Government says it is introducing pet bonds for renters, and obligations for tenants to pay for the damage their animals cause.

Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Regulation Minister David Seymour announced the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act on Monday, saying they hoped the changes would give tenants with pets greater choice when looking for a rental property.

The changes to the legislation include:
  • Introducing a pet bond (set at a maximum of two weeks rent) that can be charged in addition to the existing bond
  • Making tenants liable for all pet damage to properties beyond fair wear and tear. This means a tenant is fully liable for any accidental or careless damage caused by pets, as well as any intentional damage
  • Requiring that tenants may only have a pet or pets with the consent of the landlord, who can withhold consent on reasonable grounds

Bishop said the changes would be welcomed by prospective tenants with pets.

“Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64% of New Zealand households own at least one pet, and 59% of people who don’t have a pet would like to get one,” he said.

“Anyone who has ever tried to find a pet-friendly rental property will know how hard it is, so we’re going to make it easier.”

While it is nice to know that pet owners won’t now be discriminated against, the reality is it will actually change nothing. But this seems to have been a priority for this Government, ahead of the multitude of other problems that need fixing.

It’s hard to take this seriously. But it is real, and Bishop and Seymour both turned up for the presser with a couple of dogs.

This is a nice to have change but it has been given priority. I’m gobsmacked, actually.

Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. Cam blogs regularly on the BFD - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Bread and circuses springs to mind. The more important things are being done behind the curtain by unelected NGO's.

robert arthur said...

Bonds are all a farce anway. Most intending errant tenants ensure they are in debt to at least the bond. It takes soem time to utilise the bond court procedure. The tenant then disappears and all the court orders are worthless. Privacy laws makes it very dificul to track. it is little wonder landlords seek high rents to cover risk and are very wary of many tenant stereotypes who consequently comprise the state house waiting lists.

DeeM said...

Maybe it's a cynical move to get all the "fur-baby" owners on-side. Maybe Bishop and Seymour belong to that group, who knows.
I hate that term, fur-baby, but there are plenty out there who dote on their pet like a treasured child.

It's political window dressing but the media will lap it up.

Tinman said...

There are 8,463 or so people on the Government benches.

Surely a couple taking time to do the odd not-so-important stuff should be seen as therapy.

Kay O'Lacey said...

Feels to me like a 'straightening the deck chairs on the Titantic' kind of exercise. 100% agree that there are much higher priorities for NZ, and am disturbed that our government wastes time on such 'fluff'.