5 Jul 2021

The cost and extent of substandard housing

From Nine To Noon, 9:09 am on 5 July 2021

As of last week, private rental properties must now comply with healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new tenancy, but state houses have two years longer, and currently only a sixth of them meet the standards. 

Kainga Ora owns 66,000 properties and has until July 2023 to ensure they are all fully insulated, have good quality curtains or blinds, a fixed heating source, extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms, and no drainage or moisture issues.

So far, only just over 11,000 state houses meet the standard.

Meanwhile the government is spending millions of dollars a year on interventions to limit the damage to the health of those who live in sub-standard housing - the Health Ministry's Healthy Homes Initiative got an additional $30 million in this year's budget to provide literal stop-gap measures to make homes more habitable, such as providing better curtains.

Kathryn speaks with a Kainga Ora tenant in the Wellington region, about the cold and mouldy home she lives in with her five children, one of whom has been diagnosed with rheumatic fever.

Also with Phil Squire, Fair Energy Manager with the Sustainability Trust in Wellington, and Nik Gregg, co-founder of Sustainability Options in Tauranga.

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Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson