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Expert Panel Discusses Housing And Health

Expert Panel Discusses Housing And Health

The Public Health Association’s 2017 Conference got underway this morning at Rydges Hotel Latimer, Otautahi (Christchurch).

During the last session before lunch, which was an expert panel discussion on housing quality and health, Professor Arthur Grimes (Victoria University of Wellington and Motu Economic and Public Policy Research) spoke about recent research results on the effects of insulation on health outcomes and the relationship between housing and health.

He said health authorities (who concentrate on the health system) may underplay housing interventions as a health measure; while housing authorities (who concentrate on putting people into houses) may overlook health benefits of changing the quality of the housing stock.

He pointed to the reduction in scope of the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme which is now available to house owners or tenants with a Community Services Card or to people with high health needs referred by a health agency. Research shows that the largest benefits from insulation accrue to older people who have a heart condition but not all of this population will be referred for extra insulation in their house within this scheme. Furthermore, funding for this type of health intervention is miniscule compared with the overall health budget.

Professor Grimes is a Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and Chair of Wellbeing and Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. He was Reserve Bank of New Zealand Chairman from 2003 to 2013, having previously been the Bank's Chief Economist. Arthur has a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics. In 2005 he was awarded the NZIER Economics Award recognising excellence in economics relating to New Zealand. His research focuses on the economics of wellbeing, housing and urban issues.


ENDS


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