New Zealand Human Rights Commission launches guidelines on the right to a decent home
The New Zealand Human Rights Commission (NZHRC) has launched guidelines on the right to a decent home in an effort to address the Government’s shortcomings in its human rights obligations.
The guidelines are based on values such as fairness and manaakitanga (respect), the United Nations ‘decency’ housing principles, New Zealand’s international human rights commitments and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the foundational treaty of Aotearoa New Zealand. Prepared in consultation with a range of stakeholders, the guidelines are intended to raise the profile of the right to adequate housing and clearly outline the responsibilities of central and local governments, and the private sector.
The NZHRC’s Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, said:
The right to a decent home, although binding on New Zealand in international law, is almost invisible and unknown in Aotearoa. The purpose of the guidelines is to clarify for central and local government, and individuals, communities and iwi (tribes), what the right to a decent home means in New Zealand.
The NZHRC will use the guidelines to inform a national inquiry into specific components of New Zealand’s housing crisis. The details of the inquiry will be announced in late-2021.
The UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing said in a report published last year that housing speculation, a lack of affordable housing options, limited protection for tenants, substandard housing, the absence of an overarching Te Tiriti o Waitangi and human rights-based housing strategy, and a lack of adequate social housing or state-subsidised housing are the main causes of the crisis.