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Healthy Housing Progress

September 28 2001 Media Statement

Healthy Housing Progress

Housing Minister Mark Gosche today visited houses in Otara and Mangere to view progress on the government's Healthy Housing programme.

Under this programme, introduced earlier this year, the government in partnership with the district health boards of Counties-Manukau and Auckland, is tackling unhealthy, overcrowded living conditions in state houses.

Priority areas are Otara, Mangere and Onehunga. The programme includes extending existing homes to accommodate large families and modifying them to improve ventilation and insulation. In total 1000 houses will benefit from the programme this financial year at an expected cost of $13.8 million.

"Of particular concern in the incidence of meningococcal disease. Auckland has a high rate of this disease, and similar diseases such as rheumatic fever and tuberculosis", said Mark Gosche.

New Zealand's rate of meningococcal disease is six times that of Australia and twelve times the United States' rate.

There are currently 32 homes being altered under the programme,and the Minister visited six of those today.

Many of the families in the homes visited today have been identified as at high risk of infection. Most of the homes had seven to nine people living in three bedroom houses with one bathroom. Under the programme these homes are being extended to five or six bedroom houses with two bathrooms, improved ventilation, insulation installed and damp eliminated.

"The tenants have been closely involved in the design of the alterations, working with the architects to ensure the changes meet their needs – even down to picking the colour scheme."

Healthy Housing also aims to improve tenants' access to health care services and raise community awareness about health issues. Depending on the outcome of these initiatives the programme will be extended across the southern Auckland region.

ENDS

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