National needs to get hands-on with kids health

The Government needs to stop pussy-footing around and take action to ensure all state and private rentals are properly insulated and heated, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King.

“The lack of insulation and heating in our homes is making our children sick. They are not just getting sniffles or a cold, but are developing on-going serious illnesses.

“Ensuring New Zealanders have warm, dry homes is no longer just a health concern, it’s a moral concern.

“Deprivation is complex, but most of us would agree – if our children are living in cold, damp, or overcrowded homes, their health is going to suffer.

“The latest edition of the Children’s Social Health Monitor has cited an increase in hospital admissions for children suffering from preventable environmental conditions like respiratory, viral and skin infections.

“These are conditions that commonly afflict second and third world countries – and yet they are on the increase here in New Zealand.

“The fact 44 per cent of our rental properties are in poor condition and one third are deemed to have inadequate or non-existent heating is a grave concern.

“The Government needs to make it clear to landlords that they must meet minimum standards and ensure landlords know how to get their homes up to scratch. The fact that only five per cent of our rental stock has been insulated as a result of the Government’s Warm Up New Zealand subsidy must be addressed.

“That is why Labour is pushing for a healthy home guarantee that would ensure all New Zealand houses meet minimum standards for insulation and efficient heating.

“This government needs to roll up its sleeves and address the drivers of poverty. It must not stand back and let families, and particularly children, live in cold, damp, overcrowded homes, where their health and future suffers,” Annette King said.