Healthy Homes Campaign FAQ

Background

Housing is one of the key material determinants of health and well-being; shelter is a fundamental human need. New Zealand housing is of a lower quality than most OECD countries and several national surveys and research studies have shown that private rental housing is in poorer condition than either social housing, or houses that are owner occupied. Living in substandard housing is seriously damaging the health of New Zealanders with children from low-income families, Māori and Pacific peoples disproportionately affected. Over 70% of all children who are in poverty live in rental accommodation (20% in Housing New Zealand housing and 50% in private rentals). The current regulations for rental housing quality have not been amended since 1947. Today these guidelines are seen by many as inadequate including the Children’s Commissioner's Expert Working Group on Solutions to Child Poverty; the group has recommended the introduction of a Rental Housing Warrant of Fitness (WOF), as a means to addressing the health and safety of a large proportion of children living in poor quality private rental housing.

Why are you doing this?

Everyone deserves a warm, dry and affordable home.

What are you hoping to achieve? MPs won't really accept this challenge, will they?

Great question! The goal of this campaign is two-fold;

1) Generate national media attention not simply on the issue, but on the fact that a whole lot of MPs who live in warm homes have just voted down a bill that could have ensured that nobody in New Zealand need to live in a cold damp house.

2) Put pressure on the politicians that voted down ‘The Healthy Homes Guaranteed’ Bill to vote in favour of it if it comes up again.

Why do we need the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill?

Every winter between 25,000 to 30,000 of our children end up in hospitals with respiratory infections and illnesses caused by living in cold, damp houses. (Environmental Health Indicators NZ). This is a widespread and urgent issue. Forty-four percent of our rental housing stock is in “poor” condition according to a report from BRANZ in 2012 (pg 9).

Is the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill really the best solution?

This Bill is currently the only piece of legislation being considered that addresses the major issue of cold and damp rental housing. While there may be other possible solutions, we’re making the most of this Member’s Bill being discussed as this is an opportunity for NZ to make progress on this issue.

Will the Bill put a burden on good landlords?

Ideally, no.

The Bill “adds the requirement for [tenancy] agreements to include a statement that the premises meet, at a minimum, the standards published by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.” Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill

In practise this should mean little further action is needed from landlords whose properties are up to scratch.

Will a WoF for houses mean higher rent?

There has been in-depth research and interviews conducted around this by He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme University of Otago, Wellington. After interviewing landlords on five regions they found that, "A small minority of the private landlords (12%) interviewed stated they would put up the rent as a result of improvements made" according to the Results from a Rental Housing WoF PreTest report (pg8).

Improved housing would also likely reduce illness and therefore health costs, and make home heating more efficient.

Who are the MPs that voted down the Bill last time?

In March of this year the following MP's voted against introducing Warrants of Fitness for all rental properties:

  • Adams, Amy Selwyn
  • Bakshi, Kanwaljit Singh List
  • Barclay, Todd Clutha-Southland
  • Barry, Maggie North Shore
  • Bayly, Andrew Hunua
  • Bennett, Paula Upper Harbour
  • Bennett, David Hamilton East
  • Bishop, Chris List
  • Borrows, Chester Whanganui
  • Bridges, Simon Tauranga
  • Brownlee, Gerry Ilam
  • Carter, David List
  • Coleman, Jonathan Northcote
  • Collins, Judith Papakura
  • Dean, Jacqui Waitaki
  • Doocey, Matt Waimakariri
  • Dowie, Sarah Invercargill
  • English, Bill List
  • Finlayson, Christopher List
  • Foss, Craig Tukituki
  • Foster-Bell, Paul List
  • Goldsmith, Paul List
  • Goodhew, Jo Rangitata
  • Groser, Tim List
  • Guy, Nathan Ōtaki
  • Hayes, Joanne List
  • Hudson, Brett List
  • Joyce, Steven List
  • Kaye, Nikki Auckland Central
  • Key, John Helensville
  • Korako, Tutehounuku (Nuk) List
  • Kuriger, Barbara Taranaki-King Country
  • Lee, Melissa List
  • Lotu-Iiga, Peseta Sam Maungakiekie
  • Macindoe, Tim Hamilton West
  • McClay, Todd Rotorua
  • McCully, Murray East Coast Bays
  • McKelvie, Ian Rangitikei
  • Mitchell, Mark Rodney
  • Muller, Todd Bay of Plenty
  • Naylor, Jono List
  • Ngaro, Alfred List
  • O'Connor, Simon Tāmaki
  • Parata, Hekia List
  • Parmar, Parmjeet List
  • Reti, Shane Whangarei
  • Ross, Jami-Lee Botany
  • Scott, Alastair Wairarapa
  • Simpson, Scott Coromandel
  • Smith, Nick Nelson
  • Smith, Stuart Kaikōura
  • Tisch, Lindsay Waikato
  • Tolley, Anne East Coast
  • Upston, Louise Taupō
  • Wagner, Nicky Christchurch Central
  • Williamson, Maurice Pakuranga
  • Woodhouse, Michael List
  • Yang, Jian List
  • Young, Jonathan New Plymouth
  • ACT Seymour, David Epsom

All the other MP's from all other parties voted in favour of it

 


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