Green Party condemns eviction of family from Auckland 'swamp house'

Underneath the Papakua 'swamp house'.
Underneath the Papakua 'swamp house'. Photo credit: RNZ/ screenshot

The Green Party has condemned the eviction of a family living in "swamp like conditions" in Auckland, saying it proves the need for a housing Warrant of Fitness (WoF).

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson says the family were told to leave after "daring to speak out" about the conditions they were living in.

"Now they've been issued a 90-day eviction notice, creating uncertainty for that family with two small children.

"On top of that, Auckland council only intervened with the horrendous and dangerous conditions of the house once it had been revealed to the media," Ms Davidson said.

The residents of the rental in Papakura told NZME that it flooded every time it rained and they were getting sick from living in cold and damp conditions.

After details of the house were publicly reported, the council issued an insanitary notice to the property owner on August 31, giving him ten days to resolve the issues or face a $200,000 penalty.

The family told NZME that on September 4 they were handed a 90-day eviction notice by the property manager through email, with no reason given.

Ms Davidson asked why there are warrant of fitness checks for vehicles so no one can lease or sell a dangerous car, but not for housing.

"To be able to lease a house that is life threatening to a family with children under four years old is not acceptable. Everyone deserves to live in a dry, warm, healthy home.

"To argue against this is to defend the minority of landlords doing the wrong thing and putting families at risk of life threatening respiratory illness caused by mould," Ms Davidson said.

She says her party will continue to push the Government to introduce a housing WOF.

The National Party opposes the housing WOF, saying it's a policy "made in a vacuum from reality" and will lead to fewer rental homes on the market.

"Most landlords are mums and dads who are doing their best for their tenants. If it becomes too expensive to lease accommodation, then they're likely to sell up, reducing the supply of rental housing," housing spokesperson Judith Collins.

"National made significant changes to our tenancy laws that are ensuring warmer, drier and safer homes for the one million New Zealanders who live in rental properties. Our policies are making sure that 500,000 homes are retrofitted with insulation - compared to fewer than 50,000 under the previous Labour Government."