Chief Executive Scott Figenshow today endorsed the United Nation’s report into New Zealand’s progress on housing, which backs a call for a human rights based national housing strategy. Such a strategy would require housing to be affordable, habitable, accessible and secure in tenure.
“We need the Government to change its approach. The UN calls for strategies to be developed using rights based participation. It’s more than consultation, it’s about ensuring that affected groups and their representatives are involved in identifying what needs to be done, with the Government responding accordingly.”
Scott Figenshow says CHA wants to see the Government genuinely involving and working with all parts of the community in the development of a national housing strategy.
“We’ll fail if this becomes a strategy produced by government departments from a government perspective. We’ll miss the huge opportunity to shift our systems forward, and positively resolve the housing crisis once and for all.”
The UN’s review of New Zealand’s progress on housing followed a submission by the Human Rights Commission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In the submission, Human Rights Chief Commissioner David Rutherford called for a human rights based approach to housing alongside other recommendations to Government.
Scott Figenshow says New Zealand is fortunate to have a Human Rights Commissioner dedicated to applying the principles of human rights in practical terms.
“We note in particular Chief Commissioner Rutherford’s call for Government to work ‘with civil society, business and their political colleagues across all parties to develop a human rights based housing strategy that will endure from Government to Government and ensure all New Zealanders are well-housed’.”
“New Zealand can learn from work done in Canada where that country’s first National Housing Strategy was developed by working in partnership with all levels of government, businesses, indigenous groups and civil society to ensure involvement and commitment from all partners, taking a coherent whole-of-government approach, he says.”
CHA, with the endorsement of the community housing sector, produced ‘Our Place,’ a plan to see all New Zealanders well-housed by creating housing solutions with a full range of affordability.
Our Place uses the human rights definition of adequate housing as housing that is affordable and secure, and calls for a report card to track progress. Our Place provides a starting point for a human rights based housing strategy.
“The goverment can’t solve this by itself, and the UN report gives a clear mandate for government to work in partnership to achieve the best outcomes for all New Zealanders. That is a shift we seek from the current government,” says Scott Figenshow.