Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Save the Children
By Jacqui Southey
New Zealand is currently gripped by a housing crisis and those most affected by it are families that are struggling the hardest.
They are the families that can’t afford to own their own homes. Families that are forced to get by week to week, pay cheque to pay cheque. Families that earn barely enough – or if they can earn enough, it’s through working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Families that include children.
These families need a secure home that is warm and that doesn’t make them sick.
The majority of New Zealanders would surely agree that a secure, warm, dry home is not a luxury. These same New Zealanders would also agree that it is not okay for houses to leak, be filled with mould, be cold, and be responsible for making those that live in them sick.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt has clearly stated that living in a decent home is a right  and New Zealand needs to do more to uphold that right for all New Zealand families.
Keeping the current housing needs of New Zealand families in mind, it makes no sense to dangle revoking rental home heating standards as a political carrot that would take away the responsibility of property owners to ensure rental homes for families are of an acceptable standard. Standards that say that these homes meet heating requirements, are safe to live in, and there is a reasonable amount of security of tenure.
“Child poverty remains a significant issue for children and their families in New Zealand. Housing is a contributing factor to child poverty . We urge political parties to put solutions on the table that support the healthy living of families in homes that are affordable and of an acceptable living standard,” Jacqui Southey, Child Rights Advocacy Director, Save the Children New Zealand.
It is not acceptable to use our poorest families as a political football or as a carrot to win votes from those that are likely to own the very houses that should be of an acceptable living standard. Poor quality homes make children sick and in the worst cases kill children . This comes at a cost to society through adding to the burden of preventable healthcare including hospitalisations, and more importantly has a very real impact on the children themselves living in these situations who face an unfair struggle to reach their full potential.
Politicians often say they are there for the people – in our view children are the most important people there are, so come on politicians – be there for the children.
About Save the Children Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In New Zealand and around the world, we work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes, and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. We ensure children’s unique needs are met and their voices are heard. We deliver lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.