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Sick kids: urgent need to improve housing

Sick kids: urgent need to improve housing

High rates of infectious diseases, especially those associated with poverty and poor housing, highlight an urgent need to improve the quality and quantity of housing in New Zealand, says the Green Party.

Green Party spokesperson for children and housing Holly Walker said unless we built more houses and regulated the market for better quality, we would see a further increase in children with infectious diseases.

“Of all our children in hospital, two thirds are there because of infections. This shouldn’t be happening in a developed country.”

The infectious diseases found to have caused most hospitalisations were respiratory, skin, and gastrointestinal infections.

“All of these are exacerbated by poor quality, overcrowded housing,” Ms Walker said.

“The Green Party would like to see minimum standards for rental accommodation to ensure that all housing is warm and healthy for children.”

“The successful Green-Government HeatSmart home insulation scheme has been great for improving the quality of owner-occupied homes, but hasn’t been taken up by large numbers of landlords.

“Extending the subsidy, coupled with setting minimum standards for rental housing would ensure that all rental housing is of a liveable standard.

“We also have a housing availability crisis which is leading to overcrowding and contributing to ill-health,” Ms Walker said.

“We need to improve provision of social housing, including building more state houses to both meet acute need, and health with skills training and job creation.”

ends

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