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Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No. 2)
1 June 2016
More than half of all New Zealand children living in poverty are in private rental properties. Improving the quality of rental accommodation in New Zealand has been a major focus of the current Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills. With that in mind, we support the intent of this bill to make every rental home warm and dry for tenants – especially children.
Key points of our submission
Children are disproportionately affected by poor housing
Children spend more time in homes than adults, especially those under 5 and their bodies are more susceptible to illnesses like bronchiectasis and rheumatic fever. Asthma can be aggravated by cold, damp housing. Childhood development is impeded by poor quality housing and this in turn affects education, wellbeing and future productivity.
Quality of rental housing matters for children
More than half of all New Zealand children living in poverty are in private rental properties.
This Bill is a step in the right direction ie better standards for insulation, heating and ventilation but we support going further, for example a full rental WOF.
Health and safety regulations should be standard for landlords
Providing a healthy property for rent should be seen as a normal cost of doing business for property owners. Families and children living in poverty need efficient, affordable heating systems alongside effective insulation to adequately heat their homes.
Every child has the right to adequate housing
New Zealand is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Under section 27 of the Children’s Convention, every child has the right to an adequate standard of living – which includes housing. The Government is obligated to uphold its commitment to the Convention, and should take this obligation seriously given the effect poor quality housing has on children’s health.