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Visit to New Zealand: Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.

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United Nations, ,

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The UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, visited New Zealand 1 from 10 to 19 February 2020 at the invitation of the Government.

Farha’s resulting report investigates the housing crisis through a human rights lens, emphasising the significant impact on Māori and other marginalised groups. It identifies the crisis as a multifaceted issue rooted in historical colonisation, land dispossession, and a shift towards viewing housing as an investment rather than a basic human right. The report outlines the government’s recognition of and steps towards addressing this crisis, including the Aotearoa New Zealand Homeless Action Plan 2020-2023 and reforms in rental housing policies. It stresses the importance of integrating Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori perspectives into housing strategies to ensure equitable and culturally sensitive solutions. The report also highlights the need for a unified human rights-based housing strategy to address the systemic issues contributing to the crisis. By framing the housing crisis within the context of human rights obligations and the historical backdrop of colonisation and treaty breaches, the report offers a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced. It recognises the government’s initiatives to mitigate the crisis but argues for a more cohesive and rights-based approach to housing policy. Importantly, the report underscores the necessity of Māori leadership and consent in crafting solutions, adhering to principles of self-determination and cultural respect. It provides 27 recommendations, including legislative changes, the development of a comprehensive, rights-based national housing strategy, increased support for community housing providers, significant increase in protections for renters, the adoption of a capital gains tax, building of more housing stock, and a number of other solutions.

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