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Pet ownership is none of Housing NZ's business

By John Tamihere

Housing New Zealand are reviewing the 69,000 property tenancies and they are going to determine whether their tenants are allowed to have dogs. In the budget, the Government determined that a number of people in these houses were going to get free contraception to stop them having more children.

This week we find out that they are not allowed to have pets.

This got me to thinking about Kiwis and how many have pets. You may be surprised to learn that NZ has one of the highest levels of pet ownership in the world. 52% of households have a cat, 30% of households have a dog. This means that there are at least 1.4million cats and 700,000 dogs. In the event that you are into trivia, Kiwis have 1.6 million fish as pets.

This tells you a lot about Kiwis. Virtually every one of us have owned, own or know somebody that has a pet. The idea that the state is now going to interfere with a person's right to own a pet because they are a state house tenant is wrong.

It was wrong for the state to enter families lounges with the police over the way in which we discipline our children and we have to be forever vigilant on new rules taking away rights that we consider should never be contested.

It should be acknowledged that we have dog control officers as well as dog chipping and dog registration that manages the present dog population. Let's leave it at that and tell the regulators at Housing NZ to get lost.

We also heard this week that a Hamilton City Council is moving to get consent from private property owners so that their traffic regulators can ticket cars that may not have registrations or warrants. This has got nothing to do with public safety or public good, it is a simple money grab.

Times are tough and people on the breadline will use their money to pay for food and power. The first thing that goes is the registration and warrant. The majority of people do not want to break the law, they just cannot afford to keep the law.

Sunday News, 17th June 2012

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