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CPAG supports housing petition by Medical Students

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) endorses the petition by the Medical Students for Global Awareness (MSGA), calling on Members of Parliament to support the Labour Party's Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No. 2) at its second reading this week.

The bill aims to ensure that every rental home in New Zealand meets a minimum set of standards for heating and insulation. The MGSA petition supports the passing such legislation into law.

The MSGA, a nationwide network of medical students, want health inequities to be addressed urgently on a local and global scale, and say that too often New Zealand’s poor rental housing stock can harm the health of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No. 2) aims to address this.

The organisation was one of many who submitted on the Bill prior to its first reading last year.

CPAG also submitted on the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) in 2016, and said that introducing the minimum standards outlined in Andrew Little's Bill would go a long way to reducing preventable hospital admissions that are costly to children, families and the nation.

Frank Hogan, CPAG housing spokesperson said that passing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No.2) into law is the first of many steps to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our children and families.

“To improve housing for many families a rental housing Warrant of Fitness is required, so that homes can be warmed efficiently, reducing the impacts on children’s health, and provide more effective protections for tenants,” says Hogan.

“In New Zealand last year, more than 40,000 hospital admissions were of children with illnesses that could have been prevented, while 1600 deaths each year are attributed to people living in cold, damp homes.

“Our most vulnerable children are affected most, because maintaining warmth in poorly insulated, draughty homes is ineffective and too costly.

“Many of these children reside in private rentals that take up more than 50 per cent of their family’s total income, or are among the thousands who do not have a permanent place to live.”

CPAG says that along with legislation for improving rental housing conditions, we need thousands more state houses to be built and incorporated into the Income Related Rent programme.

Family incomes also need urgent attention, including raising benefits and tax credits, and ensuring they are indexed to wages, as is done for New Zealand Superannuation.

The MGSA petition will be delivering their petition, which currently has almost 1000 signatures, to Parliament on Tuesday, 25 July. There is still time to sign and share the petition to show your support for a New Zealand where all children can flourish.

CPAG has outlined a number of policy recommendations to ensure that all children are able to have the opportunity to thrive in New Zealand, and will be releasing its housing recommendations next week.