Movement for change: New Zealand renters and the quality and security of their homes
Elinor Chisholm – PhD candidate, Ongoing
Research shows that poor quality housing leads to poor physical health, and that tenure insecurity can have negative impacts on emotional health. One way in which other countries have improved the quality of rental housing is through the influence of citizen groups that agitate for policy change. My doctoral research looks at why historically renters have not mobilised in this way in New Zealand, and how this has affected rental housing quality and experience. I consider the possibilities that renters could mobilise to push for better rental housing quality and tenure security. I aim to contribute both to contribute to the body of knowledge on social movements and citizen engagement in New Zealand, and to engage New Zealand renters in the housing debate in New Zealand.
Such a movement could be the impetus that is needed to ensure that public health findings on housing translate into policies that improve renters’ health.
This study will:
1. Investigate the reasons and context for the lack of tenants’ voices in the discourse
on rental housing in New Zealand.
2. Study the functioning and role of tenants’ organisations/unions in comparable
3. Establish relationships with people and organisations working for better rental
housing in New Zealand.
4. Survey renters’ ideas about rental housing conditions, their identity as renters, and
political engagement on this issue.
5. Assess the potential for collective action to improve the conditions of rental housing
in New Zealand through campaigning and advocacy.