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Students to work with Mayor on Healthier Homes

Students to work with Mayor on Healthier Homes

Today Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association hosted Wellington City Council Mayor Celia Wade-Brown at Victoria University to announce support for a rental warrant of fitness for Wellington, and the collaboration between Wade-Brown and the Association.

The Healthy Homes Launch, attended by about 160 students, health and housing researcher from the University of Otago Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, community group Every Child Counts, and current councillors and candidates; heard from President Rory McCourt on the need for minimum housing standards in the region.

“Most properties are fine, and most landlords are great. We’re concerned about the small, but significant minority; the real shockers out there. Currently a home or flat can be rented without insulation, double glazing or adequate ventilation. And unbelievably, there is no minimum room temperature for a property” said McCourt.

“This is not a wish list. It’s not luxury. It’s the basics. And it’s what any renter should be guaranteed in a first-world country”

“We’ve been calling for local leadership on minimum housing standards for some time now. We can’t rely on the National-led Government to deliver standards any time soon, so we’re thrilled Celia has come to the table to provide that leadership, and we are looking forward to working with her and her team to develop a local bill to give the Wellington City Council the power to set the minimums”

“We see the cost of poor quality housing every day, as students queue for the doctor, get sick and fail courses, and lose thousands of work hours at part-time jobs in Wellington’s businesses” said McCourt.

McCourt said guaranteed quality housing in the capital would be significant for students.

Benefits of warmer, drier housing included energy efficiency gains, reduced power bills for students and families, and reduced risk of respiratory illnesses and rheumatic fever. McCourt said hoped the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes subsidy, along with subsidies from community organisations like the Sustainability Trust, would help to reduce the upgrade costs faced by landlords below the minimum standard.

“No longer will students live in fear of the mildew in their kitchen, or the mould in their bathroom. That’s got to be good for Wellington!” he concluded.


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