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Housing strategy inadequate to solve crisis

Tuesday 10 August 2004

News release

Housing strategy inadequate to solve crisis

The Public Health Association says a proposed housing strategy for New Zealand puts too much emphasis on reviews and investigations when there is an urgent and immediate need for action on housing.

In a submission on Housing New Zealand's housing strategy, the PHA director Dr Gay Keating says many of the actions proposed in the review may take years to bring improvements in housing conditions but infectious diseases and other illnesses will not wait.

"The government needs to accept that a large burden of avoidable death and disease is being caused by a failure of housing policy."

Dr Keating says the actions of the current government to rebuild the stock of social housing are very welcome, especially in areas of greatest need. However Dr Keating says the increase in social housing stock is not matching need.

In a developed nation there is no justifiable reason for the inadequate, overcrowded accommodation that some people are now in, Dr Keating says. She says it is unacceptable the discussion document identifies a limited role for government.

"Government clearly has a role setting and maintaining a framework to ensure all New Zealanders are housed. It is astonishing that New Zealand has become so out of line with other western countries by having such high levels of profit-making housing and low levels of socially responsible rental housing."

The PHA says families should not pay more than 25 percent of their household income in housing costs.


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