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Unhealthy New Zealand Homes Not Limited To Rental Properties

Media Release

Date: 12th January 2012

Unhealthy New Zealand Homes Not Limited To Rental Properties

Or Those On Lower-Income

Healthy Home specialist HRV supports the call from the Families Commission for an improvement in the condition of rental properties but says the unhealthy state of many New Zealand homes spreads far wider than the rental market and is not limited to those in lower socio-economic groups.

Bruce Gordon, CEO of HRV Group, says many New Zealanders believe that their houses provide a safe and healthy environment but the truth is, in many cases, their homes fall well short of acceptable standards.

“In the nine years HRV has been visiting New Zealand homes and talking to kiwis about creating a healthy environment for their families, our staff have encountered all types of houses that suffer from damp, cold, air pollution or show signs of extensive mould.

“If these problems are left unchecked the result is a myriad of health issues for those living in the house, including increased levels of asthma, flu, fatigue and the potential onset of a range of allergies such as hayfever and eczema.”

HRV’s observations are supported by a number of studies into the state of New Zealand homes by organisations including BRANZ, Otago School of Medicine and the Asthma Foundation.

Relevant findings of these studies include:

• 46% of New Zealand homes suffer from condensation (BRANZ)

• 35% of New Zealand homes have visible mould (BRANZ). You are 49% more likely to have asthma with visible mould in the home (Asthma Foundation)

• New Zealand has the highest dust mite population in the world due to cold temperatures and high humidity (Otago School of Medicine)

• The Majority of kiwi homes are under-heated by WHO standards (BRANZ, Beacon Pathway, Otago School of Medicine)

• New Zealand is ranked 6th in the world for eczema and 10th for allergies

• One in four kiwi kids has asthma (Maori and Pacific Island children are over represented, ranked second worst in the world behind Wales). (Otago School of Medicine)

• The air you breathe in your homes is four times more polluted than outdoors (USEPA)

• 25% of New Zealanders think their home is making them sick (Shape NZ Survey)

“These facts alone dispel the myth that New Zealand dwellings match the clean green healthy image of our outdoor environment and it is important for home-owners and landlords to know that implementing well insulated and properly ventilated homes with appropriate heating solutions is a critical step to living much healthier lives for everyone in the home. Government Initiatives and individual efforts to achieve this transition will save the country millions of dollars in healthcare,” concluded Gordon.


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