Housing Wof item remains non-public

A discussion about the Dunedin City Council's possible involvement in a housing warrant of fitness (Wof) programme remained in the non-public part of the council's meeting yesterday, despite a bid for it to be discussed publicly.

A housing Wof test is being developed by the housing and health research programme at the University of Otago, Wellington, and the New Zealand Green Building Council.

The idea is to establish a minimum standard for rental accommodation and encourage improved housing performance over time.

Cr Lee Vandervis started yesterday's meeting by suggesting an agenda item titled ''Dunedin City Council participation in housing warrant of fitness field test'', listed in the non-public part of the agenda, be moved to the public part.

There appeared to be no good reason for not discussing it in public, he said.

However, he was voted down after staff explained the project was a national one with many partners, including councils that chose to participate in the programme, and the agreement was not to discuss the details publicly until a co-ordinated national announcement was made.

To discuss it publicly at this stage would undermine the project and breach the confidence of the parties involved, staff said.

It was reported in September that, with help from the University of Otago's healthy home index, councils and the Accident Compensation Corporation, draft criteria for a national Wof had been developed covering categories such as insulation and heating, moisture and ventilation, electricity and safety.

The Wof incorporated regional variations.

The implementation costs and unintended consequences of such a programme were yet to be assessed at that stage and the cost to landlords and tenants still needed to be considered, along with whether it would apply only to rental properties or generally, how it would be enforced and who would administer it.

The aim at that stage was to run field tests in October and adopt the Wof by December.


Housing WOF

This worthy project needs all the support it can get.

If  the agreement was not to discuss the details publicly until a co-ordinated national announcement is made- then so be it.  

I hope it gets rid of some of the Dunedin slums and makes living here more attractive.


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