“No wonder the Prime Minister’s spin doctors have been hunting out quotes from economists who might disagree with many of their colleagues that renters will suffer as a result of scrapping of mortgage interest deductibility,” says ACT Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.
“ACT now has over 10,000 signatures to its petition to abolish the bright-line test and reinstate the ability for landlords to deduct mortgage interest from their tax bill.
“That’s no surprise given how divisive and unfair the change is for landlords and their tenants.
“As Victoria University political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards put it in his weekly roundup of politics today ‘Renters have been thrown under the bus by the Labour Government.’
“In an email from Jacinda Ardern’s chief press secretary accidentally sent to Stuff he asks and states ‘Can we get a table [of] rent increases year on year … compared to increase in wages and house prices … My understanding is rents have been in line with average wage growth and obviously a lot less than house price growth.’
“Across Jacinda Ardern’s time as Prime Minister he could not be more wrong.
“According to Statistics NZ rents have risen two and a half times as fast as income between June 2017 and January 2021.
“Then you have the Prime Minister going out on television claiming that Healthy Homes rules haven’t increased rents when rents have increased since their introduction.
“The Prime Minister said, ‘They said that about the changes we made to Healthy Homes, insulating rentals, and we haven’t seen what people claimed.’
“After the fact her chief press secretary asked his colleagues ‘is there any evidence this didn’t happen?’
“The uncomfortable reality for the Prime Minister is that since July 2019 when Healthy Homes standards came into force rents have increased steadily from an average of $470 a week to $550 – 17 percent.
“The accidentally sent email said the Government would be ‘arguing against the assumption rents will go up.’
“What they base that claim on will be fascinating. As sure as night follows day landlords will seek to offset thousands of dollars annually in extra tax bills by increasing rents.”