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Housing policy puts needs of children first

Housing spokesperson
23 November 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Housing policy puts needs of children first

Labour will put the needs of families and children first with policies which focus on stable and healthy homes, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Moana Mackey.

“Last night’s Inside Child Poverty documentary on TV3 highlighted how a healthy, secure home is the foundation on which a healthy childhood is built,” Moana Mackey said.

“Despite National’s big promises, there are still too many unhealthy homes in New Zealand.

“The last Labour Government worked with the Green Party to kick off the ambitious scheme to insulate all state houses - appropriating $53 million in 2008 to complete the work within five years. This is on track to be completed by the end of 2013 and means that thousands more children are now living in warm, dry homes.

“But Labour believes that the advantages that come from a healthy home environment should not just be limited to families living in state housing, and a Labour Government would require all private rental properties to be insulated within the next five years.

“Labour’s policy will ensure that the nearly 400,000 children living in rented accommodation are in houses that are warm and healthy. It will also ease pressure on family budgets by making them cheaper to heat and reducing the costs associated with cold, damp homes.

“A Labour Government would also make changes to the way Housing New Zealand operates.

“Labour spent nine years repairing the damage caused by a National Government that oversaw a fire-sale of nearly 13,000 state houses, carried out no modernisation whatsoever, and introduced market rents, plunging tens of thousands of families into poverty almost overnight.

“The current John Key-led government has learnt nothing.

“National has kicked thousands of applicants off the state house waiting list and has made it increasingly difficult to even get a foot in the door for a needs assessment. These people more often than not end up living in unhealthy overcrowded situations while state houses sit empty and are prepared for sale.

“Labour will also reverse the recent changes in criteria for state housing which have seen families living in emergency accommodation, or even those who are homeless and staying in a night shelter, told by Housing New Zealand that they are not able to even apply to go on the waiting list because they are now considered “housed”. The same changes have also made it much harder for women and children fleeing violent relationships to access state housing.

“In all decisions made by Housing New Zealand, the best interests and wellbeing of the children in that home will be paramount,” Moana Mackey said.


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