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The Housing Crisis for Renters: Rights & Struggles In NZ - U


Thu 20 Oct 2016, 6:30pm–8:00pm

Where: University of Auckland, Owen G Glen Building, 12 Grafton Rd, Grafton, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

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Listed by: Elinor Chisholm

The Housing Issue. It keeps on giving up ideas, details and debate! The Auckland Fabians are pleased to bring together two speakers that focus on renters’ rights and resistance.

This talk will look at collective efforts to improve experiences of private renting in Aotearoa and the United States. Elinor Chisholm will look at New Zealand’s history of renter activism, and Milo West will consider lessons from renter activism in the USA.

The conversation around the housing crisis has been dominated by the inability of middle-class millennials to buy their own home as house prices skyrocket. State housing and moves to privatise it by way of moving it into the third sector have also been part of the housing conversation, thanks to groups like the Tāmaki Housing Group. And more recently the escalating rates of people experiencing homelessness have hit the news. What's somewhat missing in this conversation is the struggles private renters face in today's housing market.

Milo West:
Milo spent two months in the United States mid-2016 meeting with a variety of tenant activist and advocacy organisations. She will share some of the tactics and strategies these organisations used including lobbying for or enforcing certain legal protections, collective bargaining with landlords, and work with media and the public on counter-narratives. The groups focused on are in three cities: Portland Tenants Union and Boston's Citylife Vida Urbana and in San Francisco, SF Tenants Union, Central City SRO Collaborative, and Housing Rights Committee.

Elinor Chisholm:
Drawing on her recently completed PhD research, Elinor Chisholm will consider the history of renter collective action in New Zealand. Over the past century, New Zealand renters have organised for more affordable, more secure, and better quality rental housing. Renters have improved the housing situation of their members using tactics such as rent strikes, eviction resistance, and picketing landlords. They have also influenced housing policy, marching and lobbying for a better regulated private rental market, more state housing, and fairer rent. This seminar outlines their methods, achievements and challenges, and considers what renter organisations today can learn from the past.

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