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Housing supplement could up rents: Greens

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/05/2017

After backing a rise in the Accommodation Supplement through Parliament last week, the Green Party now says it could be an excuse for landlords to raise rent.

The government passed its budget family tax package with a strong majority during urgency last week, allowing for changes to the lowest tax brackets and increases to the accommodation supplements to be introduced from April 1 next year.

Only Labour voted against the legislation which will see the accommodation allowance rise by up to $80 a week for some households.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the alarm about landlords increasing rents in response was first raised two years ago in a Treasury report to government.

She says nothing has changed since then.

"Unless the government commits to building thousands more affordable houses, the Accommodation Supplement is really just a subsidy flowing straight to landlords," she said.

Landlords have already indicated the supplement increase could be a cash cow.

Property Investment Advisors Olly Newland and Carl Burling told Facebook followers the supplement increase was good news for landlords.

"The average investor is lucky to get a net 2 per cent return on their residential investment so this move in the budget will go some way toward redressing the imbalance," Newland Burling & Co posted.

"It is still nowhere near enough but a good step in the right direction."

The Green Party has been forced to defend its support for the tax changes, arguing while the changes are "far from" perfect it is not their role to deny families the support they need.

Social housing spokeswoman Marama Davidson said $5 extra a week was a pittance for people on low incomes but it still made a meaningful difference.

"That is why we are not going to stand in the way of families getting more money where it is sorely needed," she said.

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