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Cross-sector campaign needed to save lives says Turia

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Maori Party co-leader, Tariana Turia, has called for a cross-sectoral approach towards healthy housing following the release of findings from He Kainga Oranga Housing and Health Research Programme this morning.

"The key findings of the research are alarming. Almost 10% of all hospital admissions a year (1343 admissions) are attributed to household crowding. Some populations are disproportionately affected - 45% of Pasifika children and 28% of tamariki Māori are exposed to household overcrowding, and of course with that, the relative impact on disease incidence is increased".

"The researchers suggest that the 3000 new state house bedrooms and 500 new homes announced in the Budget is positive, but more must be done on all fronts.

"The Māori Party has been working consistently at different parts of the puzzle. We have placed priority on preventing rheumatic fever; investing in home insulation; establishing a housing warrant of fitness, and various other housing initiatives that we championed through the Poverty committee.

"But the time has come for a much closer collaboration between health, housing, social and economic development. We need Building and Construction onboard to address the shortage of affordable housing. We need a much clearer focus from all parties on introducing a living wage - which Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand recommends as meeting an $18.40 threshold. We can not afford to take a piecemeal approach to what is literally a life and death context.

"The Māori Party will be looking closely at the report’s recommendations particularly

the broad strategies to increase the number of social and affordable houses;

the proposal to redesign demand side accommodation supplements and income related rent subsidies;

interventions to improve the quality of social housing managed by HNZC and

policies to improve accessibility to affordable housing for those most in need, including Māori and Pasifika households.

"We note, with concern, the comments that one factor that may contribute to household crowding is racial discrimination in the private rental market. It provides even more justification for the Māori Party’s private members bill on institutional racism".

"We thank Lead Investigator Professor Michael Baker and their team for a very comprehensive study, derived from a starting point of almost 10,000 published international studies on crowding and infectious disease. They have provided a robust foundation for our future work and we will be talking with relevant Ministers and Ministries as a matter of priority early next week".

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