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Rental regulations among first National would scrap, Simon Bridges says

By Steve Brennan

Among the first regulations National would scrap, if elected, would be Labour’s proposed rental regulations and the newly introduced heating standards, leader Simon Bridges says.

Speaking in Auckland, Opposition leader Simon Bridges reiterated his promise to light a “regulation bonfire”, doing away with two regulations for every new one introduced, and said he would to appoint a minister dedicated to cutting red tape.

The party also released a list of the first regulations it would scrap if elected, with the government’s proposed rental law changes chiefly in its sights.

Bridges said National wanted businesses to thrive and not be strangled by bureaucracy.

“Unnecessary red tape and regulation is getting in the way of a stronger economy. It’s holding us back from having more money in our pockets, lower daily costs and affordable housing.”

A senior Cabinet member would be appointed Minister for Regulatory Reduction and would hold other ministers to account for proposed new regulations, a document outlining the plan said.

“Currently there are processes in government to try and identify the impact regulations have. It’s out of date, it’s not fit for purpose and often leads to more regulation and bureaucracy being created.”

National finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said Labour’s proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancy Act were a good example of unnecessary and harmful regulations.

National would axe the proposed law change limiting rent increases to once every 12 months and ending so-called “no-cause” evictions, he said.

It would also do away with rules which allow tenants to add minor fittings such as fire alarms, furniture brackets and door bells without landlord permission.

Goldsmith said such changes “reduce property rights of landlords, increase costs, discourage the supply of rental properties and increase rents for low income households”.

“That’s not good for the landlord, or the tenant.”

Newly-introduced heating standards requiring landlords to provide a heater in the living room would also be scrapped.

The announcement – which forms the “first plank” of National’s economic plan – were brought forward due to the increasing fallout of Covid-19 on New Zealand businesses.

However, much of the detail was already previewed in the party’s economic policy discussion document released in August.

The first regulations National says it will scrap:

  •  Rental standards prescribing heating output on qualifying heaters
  •  Rental standards prescribing the location of heaters to be supplied by the landlord
  •  Rental regulations which replicate or expand on standards already in the Building Code
  •  Rules – yet to be introduced – which make it difficult to remove problematic tenants
  •  Provisions – yet to be introduced – restricting landlords to only raise rents every 12 months
  •  Provisions – yet to be introduced – giving Government Departments powers to inspect rental properties
  •  Provisions – yet to be introduced – allowing tenants to add minor fittings and improvements to rental properties without landlord permission
  •  The regulations requiring IPOs to provide prospective financial information for the next two financial years
  •  The 30-day-rule that forces new employees to have a union contract when they begin employment
  •  The regulation creating the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
  •  The separate Hairdressers Regulations
  •  The Low Fixed Charge Tariff Option for domestic electricity consumers
  • Other “redundant” regulations including: The Ombudsmen (Protection of Name) Amendment Bill, Trade Agreement (Canada) Order, Trams-Drivers Regulations, Engine Drivers’ Examination Regulations, Gates and Cattlestops Order, Fire Extinguishers Regulations, Colliery Railways Vesting Act and Music Teachers Act
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