Guidelines on right to decent housing welcome

HPF welcomes the launch by the Human Rights Commission this week of guidelines on the right to decent housing in New Zealand.                                                                                                  

‘The Framework Guidelines on the Right to have a decent home in Aotearoa’ will be used in a national inquiry into housing, a key determinant of health, by the Commission. An announcement on the inquiry structure, composition, terms of reference and timescale will be made public later this year.

Developed in partnership with the National Iwi Chairs Forum with the support of Community Housing Aotearoa the guidelines are built on values such as fairness and manaakitanga (respect), the United Nations ‘decency’ housing principles, successive governments’ international promises, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt said for many people, especially young people, the goal of an affordable, healthy, accessible home, has actually become more remote.

“The housing crisis in Aotearoa is also a human rights crisis encompassing homeownership, market renting, state housing and homelessness. It is having a punishing impact especially on the most marginalised in our communities,” said Mr Hunt.

“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, what the right to a decent home means in New Zealand.”

Rahui Papa and Dame Naida Glavish of the National Iwi Chairs Forum said the National Iwi Chairs Forum had a “specific responsibility to ensure the wellbeing and prosperity of whānau, hapū and indeed communities”.

“With this responsibility sits Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which forms the underlying foundations of the relationship we have with the Crown,” they pointed out.

Mr Hunt said the guidelines signalled the different ways the right to a decent home can constructively contribute to a fair and dynamic housing system in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We must recognise that everyone has the human right to a decent home grounded on Te Tiriti. The guidelines highlight the unique context of Aotearoa, the importance of active and informed citizen participation, and the need for accountability.”

Click here for the guidelines.

Banner photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash