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Housing crisis at heart of child poverty

Phil Twyford
Housing spokesperson

9 December 2013

Housing crisis at heart of child poverty

Soaring housing costs are a major contributor to our persistently high child poverty rates according to a new report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

"This is the Kiwi cycle of poverty in the twenty first century: families under enormous stress because after they pay the rent there isn't enough to pay the bills. Add to that cold, damp houses and overcrowding.

“Is it any wonder the futures of so many of our children are blighted by preventable illness?

"The Child Poverty Monitor report analysed poverty rates before and after housing costs are factored in. It shows the Government's failure to get a grip on the housing crisis is the main reason child poverty rates haven't come down.

“Not only is the housing crisis a major cause of child poverty, it is also directly responsible for shocking rates of children being hospitalised for infectious diseases. Since 2008, more than 40,000 children have been hospitalised for poverty related illnesses. Sadly, those figures have been rising.

“Families are being forced to cram more family into rental houses. In winter they crowd into one room to share a heater. This is a recipe for infectious diseases to spread.

“The poorest Kiwis struggle to put a decent roof over their heads. That is why the backyards of large swathes of our cities are full of garages and sleep outs housing families.

“As well as putting children at the heart of our policy, and making a concerted attack on child poverty, Labour will fix the housing crisis by building 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers, setting minimum standards for heating and insulation of rental properties, increasing the stock of state and social housing and taxing property speculators.

“My Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill which was recently drawn from the members' bill ballot will make it mandatory for all rental properties to meet minimum standards for insulation and having an efficient heating source,” Phil Twyford says.

ENDS

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