“The Families Commission has rightly identified the poor quality of rental accommodation as a major issue facing New Zealand families,” Green Party Housing Spokesperson Holly Walker said today.
In its submission to the Productivity Commission’s report on Housing Affordability, the Families Commission noted that poor quality housing not only has a negative impact on family health outcomes, it can also prevent families from accessing other support because of the stresses associated with living in substandard, overpriced housing.
“We know that substandard rental accommodation is a major driver of child poverty and poor child health in New Zealand,” Ms Walker said.
“Up to 375,000 New Zealand children live in rented homes that are likely to be poor quality and make them sick.
“I applaud the Families Commission for calling for a rating system for rental housing. This is what is proposed in the Green Party’s Warm Healthy Rentals bill, which would set minimum standards for rental accommodation in New Zealand.
“The joint Government-Greens home insulation scheme has been very successful at helping families who own their own homes into warmer, drier, healthier homes. Improving the quality of rental accommodation is the next challenge.
“Not only is this good for families, it’s smart economics. Every dollar invested in insulation returns up to two dollars in health, economic, and social benefits.
“Setting minimum standards for rental accommodation is part of the Green Party’s plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014, and will be a major focus for the Greens in the coming Parliamentary term,” Ms Walker said.