Transition Times February 2020

DATE: February 2020
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, is visiting New Zealand from 10-19 February, and there are several opportunities for you to engage with her during the visit on matters relevant to your work.

Ms Farha will assess positive developments in housing in New Zealand as well as challenges and gaps in the protection and promotion of the right to adequate housing. She will produce a summary of her findings at the end of her visit or shortly after, followed by a full report in due course.

Ms Farha will be meeting with a range of government agencies, as well as non-government organisations, and human rights and housing experts. Community Housing Aotearoa has been working with the Human Rights Commission, Te Matapihi and others to develop a schedule of visits that will provide Ms Farha with access to on-the-ground insights into New Zealand’s housing situation.

There are two particular areas of her work that Ms Farha will be seeking to engage on. The first is the extent to which houses in New Zealand are being used simply as a financial product rather than as great homes fostering wellbeing in communities. The second is to do with how a rights-based national housing strategy has worked in other countries and what lessons New Zealand might learn in order to ensure all New Zealanders are well-housed.

The visit is a real opportunity to show the UN Special Rapporteur what New Zealand’s housing crisis looks like for people seeking decent affordable homes, the contribution we are making to turning this situation around, and what else needs to happen.

We are working with a range of service and housing providers to offer Ms Farha the opportunity to hear directly from residents and persons facing homelessness during the afternoon of 11 February in Wellington, on the afternoon of Friday 14 February in Auckland, on Saturday 15 February in Kaitaia, and Monday 17 February in Christchurch.

Also included in the current itinerary are a small number of RSVP events including a film screening in Wellington on 11 February, and an in-depth seminar on Housing Finance and Wellbeing in Auckland on 13 February.

Any queries, please contact Brennan Rigby at

If you would like to attend any of the following events, please confirm your interest by emailing

Wellington: 10 -12 February
From 10 – 12 February Ms Farha will be in Wellington. Morning sessions involve engagement with Government. On Monday afternoon Ms Farha’s key engagements include a series of meetings with various Commissioners and independent Crown entities.

Tuesday 11 February
Tuesday afternoon includes a series of site visits around Wellington with a focus on meeting families and individuals facing housing risks and risks to their rights to housing.

Public event: Screening of award winning documentary: The Push (Sweden, 2019, 92 minutes), featuring the work of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing around the globe on the issue of financialization of housing (Director: Fredrik Gertten)
7pm, 11 February – Victoria University Wellington Lecture Hall

Ms Farha will introduce the film, with hosted Q and A
The event is free.  Please contact to ensure a seat.

Wednesday 12 February
Wednesday afternoon includes a series of meetings on tenancy rights issues, and human rights in New Zealand broadly. This programme will also include a briefing on current housing related research.

Auckland: 13 and 14 February
Thursday 13 February includes a marae visit and a Housing Finance and Wellbeing seminar as follows.

Thursday 13 February – 3pm – University of Auckland Lecture Hall (room tbc)
Seminar:  Housing Finance and Wellbeing
The seminar will surface the connection between housing finance and wellbeing, in the context of growing recognition of the risks in the use of housing as a financial tool rather than as a home. It will help focus on the choices we have financing our housing stock to ensure wellbeing. The event is free.

For more information on this event please contact to ensure a seat.

Auckland: Friday 14 February 3:30 to 5:30 pm (location TBC)
Meeting with civil society/advocacy organisations
In this session community, family and housing advocates will have a chance to speak with Ms Farha about their work and their concerns in the context of human rights.

Places are limited. Please contact to express your interest.

Kaitaia: 15 February
Site visit to Kaitaia focused on meeting individuals and families facing housing risks and risks to their rights to housing.

Christchurch: Monday 17 February
Ms Farha is engaging a significant series of site visits in Christchurch. Please contact if you are interested in being involved.

In Christchuch the itinerary includes:

  • Site visits – Inner city red zone tour with former and current residents, and site visits in various red zone areas of Christchuch focused on meeting with individuals and families facing or having faced housing risk.
  • Meeting with civil society/service organisations – places are limited. Please contact to express your interest.
  • Site visit – Housing First homelessness services focused on meeting with individuals and families

In addition, meetings with the Mayors of Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch are being sought.

Photo: bruceandrobyn