LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
by Sam Clark
I hope you all filled out the census... If Harry Styles can do it, so can you.
It’s three weeks into uni, so many of you will have settled into your new flats. And those of you in halls might be wondering about flatting next year. Well, flatting in Tāmaki is great! You’re in the biggest city in Aotearoa, it’s alive with arts and culture and has a thriving music scene. Plus, there’s two unis here (we all know which one’s best), so it’s got a huge student population.
But it can get tricky as a student. No one wants to rent to young people, even if the place is shit. My friend who shares an office space with a property management firm says he sometimes hears them laughing about rejecting groups of students. How lovely. Viv says we should egg them, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s also no secret that Auckland’s a bitch to get around - public transport is average at best and debilitating at its worst. People will say you need a car here, and they’re probably right. I’ve never owned one myself, sticking to two wheels – my Honda 50cc scooter (now stolen), or road bike.
It's normal to pay $250 per week for a room in Auckland these days. Considering student loan living costs payments are $281.96, you’re not left with much. Part-time work is the only way you can eat and keep a remnant of a social life. You can find a room in uni towns like Christchurch and Dunedin for a whole lot cheaper. So, with these extortionate rent prices, how will Auckland hold on to its students? At least it’s cheaper here than Welly.
Healthy homes standards were introduced in 2019, meaning landlords might finally have to sort their shit out. But how often are the standards really abided by? I’ve visited my fair share of draughty, mouldy flats around Auckland – I’ve lived in a couple too. Even if your landlord finally decides to install a heat pump, how on earth are you meant to pay to run it?
In the spirit of the census, our last one (2018) found that home ownership is the lowest it’s been in seventy years. And as we spend hundreds of dollars on rent every week, it’s easy to feel despondent about the state of housing in Aotearoa. Stuff coined the term ‘mega landlord’, which is someone who owns more than twenty properties. Collectively, this group owns over 20,000 houses across the country. It’s not a very nice statistic and you’re probably even renting from one of them. How did we find ourselves here? The truth is, we need a capital gains tax. And it just so happens to be election year, so vote for someone who wants to improve housing in Aotearoa! Because something tells me quitting avocado toast isn’t going to fix it.