The Green Party's calls for rent control are economically illiterate.

Rent control has been a disaster wherever it is tried. One economist famously described rent controls as the most effective way to destroy a city short of bombing it.

When property owners aren’t allowed to charge a full market rate, investors aren’t willing to invest in new rental units and landlords lose the incentive and financial resources to properly maintain their properties.

Add the Greens’ demands for higher taxes on landlords, and a strict WOF for rentals, and we’d see a dire shortage of rentals with many more Kiwis left living in cars, garages, and on the streets.

The Greens seem to believe that high rents are a result of greedy landlords colluding to screw over tenants. In the real world, rents are determined by supply and demand. When more homes are built and more homeowners are enticed to rent out their properties, renters have greater choice and prices drop.

In other words, we desperately need to cut the red tape that stops homes from getting built and makes it harder for one Kiwi to offer another a place to call home. But this wouldn’t satisfy the Greens’ opportunistic desire to pit tenants against landlords for political gain.

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