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Urgent housing action needed for children's well-being

Urgent housing action needed for children's well-being

25 May 2016

Early Childhood Education teacher Julie Brice wants to see urgent action in tomorrow’s Budget to help children living in mouldy, damp and cold rental housing.

She says the appalling state of the city’s rental housing is having an enormous impact on children’s health and education.

“We’ve started to see a big increase in children suffering respiratory condition such as asthma brought on by the onset of winter and living in damp, cold housing, says Auckland’s Finlayson Park Childcare Centre supervisor.

Julie Brice says the quality of rental housing in Auckland is shockingly poor but parents don't complain for fear of being evicted.

“There are so many damp and mouldy houses caused by lack of insulation and proper heating. But people are prepared to put up with shocking conditions because they know how desperate the rental housing situation is.

“I tell parents to bring their children here even if they are sick with asthma because they’re better off being in a warm and dry environment than at home in a damp, cold house.”

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Louise Green says the government’s Budget this week needs to urgently redress the damaging effect its policies have had on vulnerable children.

She says the housing crisis has put a spotlight on the ballooning inequity caused by economic policies that have driven low wages, sky-rocketing housing costs, and effective cuts to funding for education and health.

“As we have seen in recent weeks, far too many children are living in substandard conditions and this is having a huge effect on their health, education and long term opportunities.

“The government has been giving out mixed messages about upcoming income tax cuts in this Budget or next, but surveys have shown that people want the government to put more funding into education and health.”

The 2014 New Zealand Election Study showed that 65 percent of New Zealanders wanted greater spending in education. Only health rated higher, with 68 percent wanting increased spending in that area.

“So before the government starts to promise tax cuts, it needs to focus on creating a fairer, more equitable society for children.”


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