24 Jul 2015

2000 state houses needing work

9:44 am on 24 July 2015

Anti-poverty groups say news that 2000 state homes need work after just a month of checks means it is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Housing New Zealand says the demand now is for larger homes, and smaller one bedroom units.

Housing New Zealand owns 68,000 state homes. Photo: RNZ / Teresa Cowie

Housing New Zealand began an urgent check of its stock after a scathing coroners' report that a cold damp house may have been a factor in a South Auckland toddler's death.

In one month it has identified nearly 2000 properties that require additional maintenance work or a potential upgrade.

That could mean things like installing a new heating source, curtains, or trimming back vegetation shading the house.

It cannot say how many of the 68,000 homes it owns it still has to check.

Alan Johnson, a social policy analyst from the Salvation Army, believes 2000 could not possibly be close to the final count.

He said that small number of homes with problems could be found in just a few Auckland suburbs

He thinks it is more likely to be between 10,000 and 20,000 homes that need work.

Otago University's Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman is the Programme Director of the Housing and Health Research Programme.

She said the problem was that wear and tear had not been properly taken care of in more than a decade.

Professor Howden-Chapman said that was up to the Government to decide whether it should take a full dividend, or allow that money to be spent on the backlog of repairs.

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