National MP Chris Bishop has admitted he rents a house from his in-laws, despite posting on social media saying he did not rent from family.
Bishop considered the term “family” to mean his own parents or his sister, and not his parents-in-law.
In Twitter posts on April 28, Bishop replied “no on all counts” to questions from another Twitter user about whether he was renting from himself or a family member.
Victoria University’s Salient magazine revealed the arrangement on Monday morning. Bishop told the Herald the story was a “ridiculous beat up. I am a renter, I have been a renter in the past.
“Salient should spend more time investigating why rents are out of control in Wellington under this anti-student Government,” Bishop said.
The remarks were made in an extended Twitter thread following the announcement of National’s tenancy policy.
The policy would reverse Labour’s removal of no-cause tenancy terminations, and changes which see fixed-term tenancies roll into periodic tenancies in many cases.
National argues that the changes were “well-intentioned” but “backfired badly, discouraging landlords from offering their properties up for rent”.
“Since 2017, Labour has waged a war on landlords – with the collateral damage borne by tenants. Rents have risen by an average of $175 a week since 2017, the social housing waitlist has quadrupled to more than 23,000 and more than 3000 families live in motels,” Bishop said when launching the policy.
“Labour’s removal of no-cause termination has hit vulnerable people particularly hard. Many landlords are now reluctant to ‘take a chance’ on tenants with poor rental histories, due to the difficulty of ending the tenancy if it doesn’t work out,” he said.
“Mum and Dad landlords aren’t the enemy in the housing market, and New Zealand needs good quality rental accommodation. National’s changes will make it easier to be a landlord, leading to an increased supply of rental properties, and helping ease Labour’s housing crisis,” he said.
Housing Minister Megan Woods said Labour’s law change better balanced the rights of renters and landlords and National’s approach would only make it easier for families renting to be “shown the door”.
Woods said it was a “callous policy will send a shiver down the spine of renters right across New Zealand”.