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Death by damp house

Written By: - Date published: 1:36 pm, June 4th, 2015 - 167 comments
Categories: health, housing - Tags: , , ,

167 comments on “Death by damp house ”

  1. The Chairman 1

    Rents tend to reflect the quality of rental housing, thus improving the quality of rental homes will more than likely result in the newly improved homes achieving higher rents, forcing lower income earners to pay more for their newly insulated home.

    Preventing rentals (that fail to meet the new warrant requirements) from being tenanted will rob the poor of cheaper alternatives and market of rental supply.

    • Charles 1.1

      So you’ve pretty much stated a case to either outlaw private landlords, or excused death-by-landlord as a function of “natural law”.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      So clearly the fact that this is a state owned property (and therefore not subject to market rents) sailed right over your head, Chairman.

      You’re right about that supply and demand thing too, so the obvious solution is that people who refuse to bring their properties up to standard will forfeit the property. Children’s lives are too important to leave to centre-right slum lords.

    • Tracey 1.3

      how many deaths would be too many?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3.1

        Sociopaths don’t have boundaries: no amount would be too many.

    • Bill 1.4

      I’m in agreement with ‘the chairman’ insofar as this idea needs some flexibility built in.

      I live in an old house.

      It probably couldn’t be brought up to any ‘warrant’ standard…and I wouldn’t want it to be. My landlords are fantastic, the place is such, and in such a location, that if I was still in Europe, I would never – not in my wildest dreams – have such a place to live.

      Bring in a warrant of fitness, but give those of us who are content an option to opt out.

      • weka 1.4.1

        An opt out for existing tennants with the proviso that if they leave the house needs to get a warrant? I can see the potential for some landlords to be arseholes and pressure tennants to opt out, but I can also see the need to protect existing tennancy as well. Not sure how to do that.

  2. john 2

    The government needs bite the bullet, spent the millions, and make sure that state houses are insulated.

    Oh – that’s right. They did.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      The house in question “will undergo a vacancy upgrade to meet Health and Safety standards before being re-let.”

      Doesn’t sound very insulated.

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        But they didnt adopt that part of Green Party policy, just the insulation part.

      • john 2.1.2

        There were news stories in 2013 saying all the Housing NZ that could be insulated had been already.

        I have an well insulated house, but will get damp and mouldy too if I don’t ventilate it regularly over winter.

        • Tracey

          you open the windows every day and that does the trick? what prevented the rest from being able to be insulated?

          • john

            Open windows every few days if possible. And clean up any mould as soon as it starts – not just using “bleach once a year” like the family in the story.

            HNZ insulated all properties that could be insulated. However some properties have flat rooves, or are lower floor apartments, so don’t have a roof.

            • Tracey

              Thanks. No roof, but walls, surely?

              How much does it cost to bleach the house every time mould appears?

              • john

                Retrospectively insulating walls (which lose much less heat than ceilings and floors) is barely worth it.

                I’ve looked at it several times and it hasn’t been worth it. Besides which foam insulation injected into walls often shrinks and becomes ineffective.

                Cost of bleaching the mould? Janola costs $2.69, and a bit on a cloth is all we use, so that’s somewhere under 10 cents. So maybe that could reach a whole dollar over a year.

                • felix

                  There are plenty of ways to insulate a flat roof, it’s just that they involve a bit more cost.

                  But that’s what we’re talking about really, isn’t it john? The cost.

                  You’re essentially saying the govt has done all the cheap easy ones, so job done.

                  But this is still costing lives, along with all the other costs associated with poor quality housing.

                  So your response of “job done” is simply an inadequate one. The govt either

                  a) spends more money insulating the difficult buildings, or it

                  b) builds new ones to replace them, or it

                  c) lives with the level of disease, deprivation, and death on its hands that comes from the decision not to finish the job because of the cost.

                  • john

                    Insulating 49,000 houses is significantly better than doing absolutely nothing. …….like the previous government.

                    • felix

                      Yes, it is better than nothing. Thank fuck for the Green Party, eh?

                      p.s. you appear to have chosen option “c”.

                      Well done. Good tory.

                    • john

                      So you obviously think Housing NZ spending $3,000,000,000.00 on housing upgrades in the next three years is doing nothing.

                    • tracey

                      and you think it means doing everything and the poor should be grateful and not kill their toddlers for political purpkoses.

                    • felix

                      john, that’s a lie.

                      I said very plainly that I agreed that it was better than nothing.

                      Why would you deliberately misrepresent me by pretending I said the exact opposite of what I said?

                    • sabine

                      are these the statehouses now up for sale?

                • tracey

                  you must have to repaint cos bleach takes paint off each time you do it and paint has a place in the fabric of the home re moisture etc

                  • john


                  • John

                    For gods sake – it’s one of the most common products used to get rid of mould, and you’re trying to argue about it.

                    • the pigman

                      Oh for god’s sake – you really think wiping away the shit you see on the surface rids you of your mould problem?

                    • felix

                      I wouldn’t describe it as thinking, piggy, no.

                    • Marie Tern

                      Me and my family lived in a damp, mouldy ex_state house in Wellington for 12 years. We couldn’t afford to insulate it for several years. Condensation was terrible and cleaning the mould off windows and ceilings was constant. Windows were open whenever possible. Clothes and shoes in the wardrobes were infested with mould, I suffered from constant ear and sinus infections and bronchitis, my husband sinus infections and the kids, croup and bronchitis. The last 15 years I’ve lived in an (ex-state) house on the West Coast. Not a hint of mould and the sinus infections etc. have disappeared. Wgton house was on a poorly drained clay sub-soil and West coast house is on sand.

                    • Tracey

                      Your bleach must be AMAZING John… to deal with the kinds of problems which contributed to this child’s death as you recommend

                      “The family lived in an Otara home described as very cold and damp during winter, and which did not receive a lot of sunshine.

                      It had no carpets – only bare floorboards, it says. When it rained, the hallway ceiling would leak which required a bucket to catch the drips.

                      Because of the dampness, Housing New Zealand provided a heater but this was not sustainable for the family because of the resulting extremely high power bills. “

                • tracey

                  $1 a year?

                  what kind of mould do you have and where?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Cleaning mould away doesn’t make a house any less damp or cold anyways. It’s treating the symptoms at best.

                    • felix

                      john is ok with some state houses being cold and damp, as long as not all of them are.

                      He says doing some of them is the best we can hope for.

                    • Tracey

                      It seems he doesn’t know what kind of mould he has… I guess he must have the “good” kind.

            • miravox

              Tell you what, if I lived in a house that was left a wreck by the previous tenants and was new to an area where you didn’t know if other people were like the ones that just left, I wouldn’t be opening my windows either.

              I’ve also seen a new-ish home dripping with water and building mould, which the couple with a baby happily left for a grotty ex-state house that had a ‘breeze’. They secured tenancy by offering the landlord free painting of the whole place. The dampness of the first house and dryness of the second had nothing to do with the slovenliness or ‘loserness’ of the tenants. It was entirely to do with the housing.

              Your trashing of these people is vicious and ill-informed.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      They obviously need to spend more. Considering that the excuse for spending so little is because of not enough money and the reason for that is the accumulated tax cuts for the rich since the 1980s it’s about time we put all those taxes back.

  3. Colonial Rawshark 3

    Putting an artificial shortage of electronic ones and zeroes ahead of investing in the real capital of NZ – our young people.

  4. How much does it cost to prevent ignorant tenants turning your rental property into a damp, mouldy shithole in need of major repairs? Nothing. Well, to the extent that it’s not really a matter of cost, it’s more a matter of making sure you only rent to tenants who’ll air the place out now and then. Unfortunately, Housing NZ doesn’t have that luxury.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      You’re really fast with the victim blaming there.

      A warm, dry house is a matter of design as you can’t always have it open to the breeze. Winter is a good example and when the child died.

      • weka 4.1.1

        I agree.

        Does airing out a house by opening windows work in a climate like Auckland with high humidy? I gather the house is in shade. Maybe it also doesn’t get much airflow. Maybe it’s badly designed for that. etc. They had two sick kids in the house and inadequate heating. How does one air a house in that situation?

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.2

        NZ hasn’t “designed” warm, dry houses for most of its existence as a country. I’m in the top decile for income, my house was architect-designed only a few years later than the one these people were living in and, like that house, it lacks insulation in the walls, double-glazing, central heating etc. In the winter there’s condensation on the windows on cold nights. The houses I grew up in were much worse than this one. And the main difference between those crappy uninsulated houses I grew up in and the one these guys were living in amounts to a lower number of occupants and opening the doors and windows now and then – not “always open to the breeze,” but having the odd window open a couple of centimeters most of the time and opening more up during the warmest part of weekend days. What’s wrong with these state houses isn’t “design” or “maintenance,” it’s packing too many people into them and never opening a window. The government can’t fix that by spending money on the houses – money spent educating the tenants would get a better result.

        • weka

          What kind of heating did you have? What part of the country? Any sick kids or adults in the house? Was the house in shade? Attached to other houses? What was it made of?

          How do you know how many people were living in the house and how many rooms there were? Or what year it was built?

          • Psycho Milt

            What kind of heating did you have?

            Varied – from wetback log burner down to nothing.

            What part of the country?

            Various parts of the South Island, all of them a fucking sight colder than Auckland.

            Any sick kids or adults in the house?


            Was the house in shade?


            Attached to other houses?

            Never, but being attached to other houses makes a house warmer.

            What was it made of?

            The stuff that almost all NZ houses are made of, including the one in question.

            How do you know how many people were living in the house and how many rooms there were?

            According to the news reports, there were four or five in the house depending on which one you read. From the photos and video of it in the media, it looks like one of those two-bedroom state house units.

            Or what year it was built?

            Looks like a 1960s job. Could be 70s, but I reckon 60s. Most houses you can guess the age of within a decade or so if they aren’t one-off architect jobs.

            How is any of that in any way relevant?

            • weka

              It’s relevant because you seem to think that your experience applies to all experiences, which is patently not true. It’s easier to keep a house dry in a dry climate than a humid one for instance. Your answers are all sufficiently vague that I’m sure you can say you’ve covered the range of experiences but that just takes up back to your lack of empathy.

              • I can assure you that South Westland is not a dry climate. And what you term “lack of empathy” is just a failure to share the general enthusiasm on this thread for blaming someone’s death on people who weren’t in any way responsible for it.

                • Tracey

                  “The family lived in an Otara home described as very cold and damp during winter, and which did not receive a lot of sunshine.

                  It had no carpets – only bare floorboards, it says. When it rained, the hallway ceiling would leak which required a bucket to catch the drips.

                  Because of the dampness, Housing New Zealand provided a heater but this was not sustainable for the family because of the resulting extremely high power bills. ”

                  And hey presto, HNZ now announces it is going to begin work on the houses in that street. NOT an education problem or a showing people how to open the windows a smudge.

                  • “Very cold and damp during winter” describes just about every NZ house ever. From the pictures in the media, the house is on level ground without a lot of trees round it, so how it would manage to “not receive a lot of sunshine” isn’t obvious. My own house has a leak in the roof, which I’ve failed to repair twice but will maybe get right the next time. What’s unusual about this place is that it was apparently suffering from having been damp a long time, and had no carpets, ie previous tenants had treated the place like shit and Housing NZ struggles to keep up with the volume of repair work such tenants generate. Yes, it’s working on these houses now, because there’s nothing like bad publicity to push a job up the priority list. But other houses hat were higher up the priority list will be getting their maintenance deferred so the Minister can have his arse covered.

                    • Tracey

                      not mine.

                      re: your own home has a roof leak.

                      apples with oranges.

                      Are you saying the state should let houses with roof leaks it doesn’t intend fixing to people cos some of them might be what you describe as “wasters”? Kind of like wellness lotteries.

                      Of course tenants have an obligation within the parameters of their using the home but your response has been apoplectic in its victim blaming.

                    • felix

                      “Housing NZ struggles to keep up with the volume of repair work such tenants generate. Yes, it’s working on these houses now, because there’s nothing like bad publicity to push a job up the priority list. But other houses hat were higher up the priority list will be getting their maintenance deferred so the Minister can have his arse covered.”

                      And this is exactly where it all comes back to. The houses are fucked and the govt needs to fix them.

                    • Are you saying the state should let houses with roof leaks it doesn’t intend fixing to people cos some of them might be what you describe as “wasters”?

                      I’m saying we should show a bit of understanding for an organisation that is struggling to cope with the damage its tenants inflict on its housing stock.

                      …your response has been apoplectic in its victim blaming.

                      My response has been that these houses are in poor shape not due to some diabolical plot by the government to inflict decrepit housing on the poor, but because the tenants are trashing them, either deliberately or through ignorance. It’s not “victim blaming” because there isn’t a “victim.”

                    • McFlock

                      … no victim except the child and grieving family, you mean.

                    • Whose victim are they? The previous tenants, for leaving them with no carpets? Themselves, for not airing the place out? Housing NZ, for failing to cope with the amount of damage its tenants are inflicting on its houses? The government, for failing to prioritise this particular issue ahead of all the other issues leftists want it to prioritise depending on what today’s complaint is? Everybody’s a victim if you look hard enough for perpetrators.

                    • McFlock

                      Not everybody is a victim.

                      But if there is an obvious systemic issue, we’re all perpetrators.

                    • Damp is not an “obvious systemic issue.” If your house is damp, you have two options:

                      1. Do all your breathing outside the house.

                      2. Arrange the odd bit of ventilation now and then.

                      There is no option 3, “The landlord must make my house not get damp,” any more than there’s an option “The landlord must make my house not need cleaning” in situations where the “obvious systemic issue” is that your house is dirty and smells bad.

                    • felix

                      Actually PM, being a tenant does indeed mean that the landlord is responsible for anything the previous tenant did to the house.

                      I mean by definition. Like, that is precisely the relationship.

                      Also, a leaky roof is a leaky roof.

                    • That doesn’t alter the fact that your landlord can’t prevent you making your house damp. As long as you keep doing all that breathing you’re so keen on maintaining 24/7, your house is going to get damp – unless you, the tenant, trouble yourself to air it out. Or, unless you’re envisaging some arrangement in which the landlord is obliged to come and open the damn window for you, but that isn’t going to happen for obvious reasons.

                      In this particular case, it sucks that the landlord in question is a) unable to cope with the sheer volume of damage its tenants are doing, and b) politically unable to keep properties empty until it is in a position to repair them, but that’s a reflection of the quality of tenants it’s forced to deal with, not of some dastardly plot to shaft the poor.

                    • felix


                      How does any of that mean the current tenant is responsible for anything the previous tenant did?

                      And what does it have to do with renting out shitty houses with leaky roofs and no carpet?

                      And “in a position to repair them” is simply a choice, nothing more. They could have repaired all of these properties any time they wanted to.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      landlords who arent suited for this business should be exited. Maybe its the landlords who need a WOF applied to them.

                    • This is getting ridiculous. How about building straw men somewhere else?

                    • felix

                      I’m just going by what you’ve said, which is that the landlord can’t be expected to maintain the house for the current tenant because the previous tenant fucked it up.

                      It’s not my fault you hold such absurd views. Perhaps you should keep them to yourself if you don’t want them discussed.

                    • Well, exactly – if you’re going to make shit up that I’ve supposedly said, and declare it absurd, “straw man” is the appropriate term. I’m happy to argue the actual points, but not really interested in ones you’ve invented.

        • Sanctuary

          The state of insulation in NZ houses never used to matter not because we all enjoyed the bracing good health imbued by a nice breeze wafting through the windows in the middle of winter, but because until the last decade or so power was cheap so for the 3-4 months of the year you needed warmth you just put the heater on.

          Now power companies have joined the party of price gouging us all with their cartel pricing, everyone except the rich think twice about turning heaters on – especially the inefficient fan heaters which the poor buy because they are cheap. I note that in this particular case of state killing by neglect the family was provided with a heater, but Housing New Zealand say they “didn’t know” the family couldn’t afford to run it – a level of culpable and willful stupidity that to my mind amounts to making them accessories to manslaughter.

          • Psycho Milt

            In an ancient flat in Christchurch in 1981 I had a one-bar electric heater that we mostly didn’t bother running because it did fuck-all. We wore coats inside and put blankets over ourselves if we were sitting down. I would have regarded having children in that environment as a recipe for dead children, but no doubt the coroner would have blamed my landlord.

            • McFlock

              Well, you might not doubt it, but your belief certainly wouldn’t be based on anything in the news today.

              Because that’s not what the coroner, or anyone, has done.

              • True, the coroner only said it can’t be ruled out that the house might have contributed to the child’s death. However, the NZ Herald, the author of the “please share” advert and the author of the OP all claim “Damp house led to toddler’s death” and the OP author adds “Death by damp house.”

                • McFlock

                  And neither of those headlines blame the landlord.

                  See, that’s the thing: people dying because of shitty housing is a systemic problem. Like if a plane crashes due to pilot fatigue because pilots are expected to work long hours and change sifts randomly: the systemic problem was the culture of the workload and nobody says “oh, their HR director is the only person to blame for that crash”.

                  • Or, like if a child dies because Housing NZ’s rental properties are deteriorating faster than it can repair them, because it’s legally obliged to take all the waster tenants that private sector landlords won’t touch with a bargepole. Yes, it’s a systemic problem, but the proposed solution in the OP is all about blaming the landlord.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, the proposed solution is all about solving the problem in the most effective way possible.

                      If HousingNZ wasn’t obliged to take those people you so charmingly describe as “waster tenants”, would that stop children dying due to cold and damp conditions? Nope, the problem would get worse, which is why state housing was created in the first place.

                      The only reason HNZ isn’t repairing properties and driving slumlords out of business is underfunding. But rental WoFs are more achievable than expectng this government to do something realistic to solve the housing crisis.

                    • The reason Housing NZ can’t keep up with the amount of damage inflicted on its housing stock by waster tenants isn’t “underfunding,” it’s “waster tenants.” When this family found their state house had no carpets, damage in need of repair and a serious problem with damp, the immediate cause was “previous tenants,” not “underfunding.” No-one’s going to offer Housing NZ a budget of $Unlimited pa to play Sysyphos with, so proposed solutions that involve doing that aren’t actually solutions.

                    • McFlock

                      Surely the people proposing sufficient funding would indeed offer that funding?

                      And a landlord renting out a damp, poorly maintained home is actually the fault of the landlord. The landlord has agency in the decision.

                    • If this particular landlord were to exercise its agency in that decision, the news stories would be about Housing NZ leaving houses standing empty awaiting repairs while desperate people need homes.

                      What constitutes “sufficient” funding to cover immediate repair of the amount of damage Housing NZ tenants inflict on its housing stock every year, especially when that damage includes ensuring chronic damp throughout the house via keepin it closed all the time? It’s an open-ended amount.

                    • Tracey

                      “Housing NZ leaving houses standing empty awaiting repairs while desperate people need homes.”

                      What an odd reason for not repairing.

                    • McFlock

                      What constitutes “sufficient” funding to cover immediate repair of the amount of damage Housing NZ tenants inflict on its housing stock every year, especially when that damage includes ensuring chronic damp throughout the house via keepin it closed all the time?

                      No idea. A billion a year will certainly help, though.
                      And it’s definitely not “$Unlimited”.

                      Especially when NZ has made conscious choices to reduce the government’s income via tax cuts and not taxing some capital gains. Now a coroner has reported the results of those choices.

              • Tracey

                it’s the fault of the lousy badly behaved tenants for having children…


                “The family lived in an Otara home described as very cold and damp during winter, and which did not receive a lot of sunshine.

                It had no carpets – only bare floorboards, it says. When it rained, the hallway ceiling would leak which required a bucket to catch the drips.

                Because of the dampness, Housing New Zealand provided a heater but this was not sustainable for the family because of the resulting extremely high power bills. “

            • weka

              So nothing to do with housing but instead it’s the ideology of personal responsibility. Shall we off the children that were born in a good situation but are in a bad situation now? Oh wait…

            • Puddleglum


              So you weren’t a toddler.

              Doesn’t it say something to you that today women with children are competing for the kind of accommodation that, in your day, only students/young adults could survive – or would be expected to live in?

              They’re competing for state houses, of course, which are in the same state, it appears, as the semi-derelict housing that students/young flatters used to live in in our day – I’m a very similar age to you and have lived in Christchurch since the age of 7 so I know the conditions you are referring to – quite intimately.

              By the way, no amount of ‘airing’ would have alleviated the semi-frigid winter conditions in student flats that I recall from that time. Totally impossible to heat, even with open fires.

        • Tracey

          “The family lived in an Otara home described as very cold and damp during winter, and which did not receive a lot of sunshine.

          It had no carpets – only bare floorboards, it says. When it rained, the hallway ceiling would leak which required a bucket to catch the drips.

          Because of the dampness, Housing New Zealand provided a heater but this was not sustainable for the family because of the resulting extremely high power bills. ”

          Yup, education would have solved the problem. I think you are overlooking the fact that following a death in this house, HNZ is no going to address the problems in the homes in that street. Sounds like classic cost-benefit analysis and not about education and windows opened a smidge.

    • the pigman 4.2

      You, you fucking compassionless dunce, have very clearly never lived in a poorly-insulated home. It’s not a question of “airing them out” because for most of these places, living in them provides less insulation and protection from the elements than your average tent.

      • Psycho Milt 4.2.1

        You, you fucking compassionless dunce, have very clearly never lived in a poorly-insulated home.

        I’m 53 years old and insulating homes got properly under way in the mid-1970s. My experience of poorly- or totally-non-insulated homes is extensive. The only one I’ve ever encountered that couldn’t be aired out was one that my brother was living in on Devon St in Wellington, that was built in the early 1900s and got a total of 0 hours sunlight per year. These houses are not in that league.

        • Tracey

          Are you a landlord?

          • Psycho Milt

            Yes, Are you?

            • the pigman

              I’m 53 years old

              53, so old enough to know better. But instead, you fucking compassionless dunce you’re running the typical baby boomer, fuck-you-Jack-I’m-OK (and I’m also an expert on “personal responsibility of the poor”) lines.

              I used to live in a shitty 19C bungalow across from Eden Park. The house itself had been split into two apartments, so the whole thing had 6-7 people living in it, but it sat lower than the sportsgrounds themselves in a misty sinkhole of frost. Every year we had to replace all our pillows/curtains for the black mould that would grow on them, and we wiped at the mould on the windowsills and skirting til the flecky paint job had been taken off entirely. Getting into bed every night, despite extensive ventilation, meant getting into damp sheets and condensation would form on the wooden floorboards overnight. When we complained to the Eden Park Trust Board (which had bought the house and obviously at that stage still hoped to demolish it – but they couldn’t buy out the whole street) they treated us like feral scum.

              Anyway, when your tenants in your (what I am assuming are multiple properties over which you enjoy beneficial ownership/control) complain about the condition of the housing making their kids sick, do something about it, rather than behaving like a shithead, pretending it can be solved by ventilation, assuming it is all their fault.

    • Tracey 4.3

      “The family lived in an Otara home described as very cold and damp during winter, and which did not receive a lot of sunshine.

      It had no carpets – only bare floorboards, it says. When it rained, the hallway ceiling would leak which required a bucket to catch the drips.

      Because of the dampness, Housing New Zealand provided a heater but this was not sustainable for the family because of the resulting extremely high power bills. ”

      Yup, just open the windows…

  5. Mark Freeman 5

    This story makes me angry – what a tragedy that a child should die, when the coroner states that the state of the house “could” have had something to do with it. She is a victim for sure…
    But the real culprits are those who encourage a woman to have 6 children without anything like the means to even buy electricity to run a taxpayer funded heater. The cheek of the Green Co-pilot in blaming this Govt is disgusting…the blood is on her hands and those who were part of or supportive of the vote buying at any cost last Labour Govt.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Trash like you are the problem.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      But the real culprits are those who encourage a woman to have 6 children without anything like the means to even buy electricity to run a taxpayer funded heater.

      And where are these people who encourage other people to have 6 children?

      This government is to blame and probably the three before hand as well as they cut taxes on the rich and left the poor to suffer.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.3

      Hey Mark, you’re not really interested in looking after the children of NZ. Please save the croc tears mate.

  6. Mark Freeman 6

    Spare the crocodile tears. Time you troughing lefties started taking responsibility for the neglected & murdered children. Inevitably the KFC runs out and people starve…
    Didn’t anyone learn from the deaths of millions last Century? Here is a clue..they didn’t die from freedom, trade, self-suffiency or technology. They were murdered by those that promised them the great Socialist dream of equality, while raping them with “dues”, from a New York tax free payback, a Herne Bay do-up, a Taranaki tributary, Dunedin Castle or failed Aussie Poliburo wannabe…
    Face facts guys..your corrupt dream is over..try not to drag anymore of the unfortunate down with you.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Meanwhile, in New Zealand – which is, after all, the country under discussion, trash like you have helped almost double the level of child poverty over the last thirty years.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Capitalism is the corruption and it’s presently destroying our society and our environment all so that a few people can feel better about themselves no matter the pain and suffering that they cause.

  7. Mark Freeman 7

    Yeah, trash like me who pays tax, raises great kids, spares the health & justice systems expenditure, and is left to clean up after chickenshit, lazy, cowardly bludgers like you OneAssholeBitch?

    [lprent: You know nothing about OAB. Banned 4 months for the type of stupid pointless abuse that regularly got you banned in the past. Obviously you aren’t learning, and I suspect that you have an inherent inability to connect with and understand people.

    BTW: I’d take a bet that I have paid way more tax than you over the years. I’d also bet that I have generated way way more income for our country than you have over many decades in export based industries.

    To me, you appear to me to be a worthless local parasite with a higher opinion of yourself than is warranted.

    But hey … That is just my opinion, and is rather meaningless to society. I also haven’t had a kid, just as you cannot as well. That rather makes all males worthless to society by your stupid logic – you ever think about that?

    Dickhead… ]

    • McFlock 7.1

      So your kids are nothing like you, then?

      I spent years cleaning up after entitled little shits who thought “paying taxes” was contributing to society. It’s not, paying taxes is merely paying the rent to live in society. Whether you improve society is a different matter entirely.

      Your blaming of the parents and socialists in general is a cowardly excuse for the fact that you haven’t even tried to explain how you would have helped the baby who is now dead. At least we want to improve housing. What’s your solution – sterilising the poor?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      😆 at the projection on display.

    • weka 7.3

      well done on making Psycho Milt looks like a caring kind of guy.

  8. Mark Freeman 8

    So if paying tax is paying the rent to live in society, what about those that only live off that tax..when do they start to pay rent?
    Improving housing is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff in many cases.
    But you know all this…most of us can see through the faux concern however. Although I guess boosting the numbers of Social Workers is one way to get in front of the missing million and influence their votes.
    But I’ll leave you to the sickness…I too studied Sociology, luckily I am intelligent enough to have healed.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Boosting wages and improving the GINI would go a lot further than employing more people to cope with the consequences of right wing policy failure.

      Unless you don’t really want to see people out of poverty and paying your precious taxes, that is.

    • McFlock 8.2

      Never took any sociology papers, but I can say the same thing about my studies in economics.

      BTW, being so poor that you have to live off the meager government grants and be alienated and belittled by morons who don’t know how lucky they are… it’s worse than paying rent.

      Oh, and warm houses are preventions of morbidity and mortality, not treatment. Fences, not ambulances.

    • lprent 8.3

      Insulated and warm houses generally prevent sickness, they don’t fix it. You appear to not understand gravity and cliffs.

      They are also way cheaper than paying to fix someone. Do you have any idea of the costs of health care? Productivity losses from those working people who get sick?

      Rather than looking “intelligent”, you just look like another idiot dickhead wanking your ignorance in public.

      And I took science and business in my degrees.

  9. millsy 9

    You can be either part of the solution, or part of the problem.

    It seems the likes of Freeman and Milt are part of the problem. Living the dream with rental income, tax cuts and power dividends while people like the above family have children die because they cannot afford the power to heat their homes.

    And Milt has the temerity to say, “Open some windows,” even though that will lead to more coldness. He would rather see children on the street freezing to death if it meant tax cuts and high dividends.

    And yes, I do keep my windows open a crack.

    • john 9.1

      Even with insulation, if you don’t ventilate your house, it’s going to get mouldy.

      • millsy 9.1.1

        Ventilation lets cold air in and makes things worse, and it doesnt help that you want higher dividends from the power companies you own.

        • john

          Look at EECA or anywhere with expert advice, and you’ll see ventilation will be one of the major pieces of advice for stopping mould.


          And you are a great example of exactly what the problem is.

          People are ignorant and think ventilating is bad, keep their home shut up, and surprise surprise – they get bad problems with mould.

          Do yourself a favour. Read the link and get better informed.

          • millsy

            Youre just letting slum lords off the hook.

            • john

              What a load of nonsense.

              We have a well insulated house, and it goes mouldy very quickly if we keep everything shut up.

              The average family produces 8 litres of moisture every day, so if you don’t ventilate, that’s like tipping a bucket of water into your house every day. That’s 30 buckets a month. Even well insulated houses go mouldy with that much dampness.

              The problem is ignorant people who don’t even know you have to ventilate.

              They make their houses mouldy, then blame their landlord.

              • RedLogix

                And from direct experience I’m afraid this is true. And the bit about major repairs as well.

                Some tenants have no idea. Or if they do – the problem is that there is no-one at home during the day, or they have all sorts of security concerns about open windows.

                Older houses generally leak so much air that ventilation really isn’t much of a problem, but newer ones don’t and really do need it. As a result I’ve installed some form of active ventilation in most of our units.

                Problem then is getting regular access to clean the filters. Or they turn them off because they imagine they gobble up power when they don’t.

                Personally I’d not be rushing into blaming any one party here. There is plenty to be spread around. Some landlords do just avoid any maintenance or improvements because from experience it just does not pay. The landlord forking out the capital while the tenant gains all the benefit is just not a sensible economic model. It creates an inherent tension between the two parties which is counterproductive.

                The building industry in this country has a lot to answer for with it’s generally unintelligent, grossly expensive and shoddy products.

                A privatised power industry gouging profits.

                A food industry responsible for too much low value food, obesity and poor health.

                A lack of leadership and vision around housing policy from both local and central government.

                A large cluster of poorly educated and dysfunctional people who form a big portion of state housing tenants.

                And so on. It’s a complex problem with many factors feeding into it. At the same time – there is no question most tenants we’ve had are great. They look after the place better than we would and have no problem.

                But some – well yes a spot of personal responsibility would go a long way to helping as well.

                • Tracey


                  It can’t just be about opening windows every day or HNZ wouldn’t have just announced it is heading down that whole street to effect a works programme…

                  It’s classic cost/benefit ananylis at work. Cheaper to do nothing and wait until you really have to. A child dying being a political catastrophe for example. And so, hey presto resources now going into the home sin the street. Not last week, or last year, or 3 years ago or ten years ago… but today.

              • Paul

                John people like you are the problem in NZ society.
                Look it up.

                • john

                  The bigger problem with society is all the people who think no matter how little personal responsibility people have, it will always be the governments fault for everything.

                  • McFlock

                    So what’s your solution to stopping poor housing being associated with the deaths of children?

                    • john


                      With the average family producing a bucket of moisture every day, houses have to be ventilated.

                      Many people add litres more moisture every day by drying their clothes inside, boiling food with the pot lid off, letting bathroom steam come back into the rest of the house etc etc

                      Add to that insulation, which Housing NZ has done with every house practical. They’re spending $3,000,000,000 on upgrades in the next three years so that will bring a lot more heat pumps, so people can get three times more heat for their dollar.

                      And I think the Warrant scheme for rental housing has merit. It needs to be balanced though. A full on scheme will have huge costs including expensive inspection costs.

                      And ultimately, people paying rents are those who will pay for all of it.

                      Some people forget a basic fact. Better housing costs more.

                    • vto


                      That is classic – next you will be advocating education for taking a dump. John, people know how to look after themselves in 95% of cases. The fact you think they don’t speaks volumes about you only.

                      Warrants of fitness are the best and essential solution. The crappola that landlords get away with is criminal – and morally bankrupt. But that is the nature of the underlying philosophy of this government and its supporters such as yourself. It is all about “winning no matter the cost”. Your lot have completely and utterly lost the plot.


                    • McFlock

                      …because “education” is free /sarc

                      Not if you want it to work.

                    • john

                      We’ve got people here arguing you can’t use one of the most common mould removers – bleach – to get rid of mould.

                      And others arguing the best method for avoiding dampness and mould – ventilation – shouldn’t be used to prevent dampness and mould.

                      Then after all that ignorance, vto pipes up and says education won’t work because people know how to look after themselves.

                      Which is even more proof of how ignorant people can be.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, the more ignorant people can be, the more expensive they are to “educate”.

                      Might be cheaper and more effective to just make homes that aren’t so prone to damp.

                  • Tracey

                    It’s what I call the John Banks Syndrome. Personal responsibility is for everyone else.

                    • john

                      Exactly – If I fail to air out my house, don’t bother letting the steam out of the bathroom, dry clothes inside, don’t bother cleaning any mould, cook with pot lids off, and turn my house into a damp mouldy unhealthy hole, it’s all the governments fault.

                    • vto

                      john that is not the issue.

                      the issue is crap housing that kills children.

                      deal with the issue.

                    • Tracey

                      and John, will all of that fix the leaking roof and put carpet on the floor?

                    • john

                      It was in the news that Housing NZ had actually fixed the leaky roof straight away – as soon as it was reported to them.

                    • Tracey

                      and the carpet? And the money to pay for heating?

                      Funny how this week HNZ is going to the street to address the issues with the houses in the street. I guess they are dropping off the bleach themselves.

                    • john

                      You’ve got your government departments mixed up.

                      Housing NZ aren’t in charge of handing out benefits.

                      After you were embarrassed by argueing that bleach can’t be used to get rid of mould, I’m surprised you’re reminding people of your ignorance.

                    • Lanthanide

                      john, mould is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself.

                      Cleaning mould off with bleach won’t achieve much when the mould just comes back 2 weeks later.

                      That ends up costing a lot of bleach, and a lot of time and effort that *no one* should be *expected* to put up with constant work to clean mould off their walls/ceiling, I don’t care if they’re living in state housing. I’m sure the average middle class person would not tolerate such a condition for their house, and neither should anyone else.

                      The solution is to address the root cause of the problem – the crappy quality of the housing and insulation. This is expensive. But it’s the only way to truly do it.

                    • john

                      Lanthanide – a lot of houses get mouldy NOT because there’s anything wrong with the house. In fact EEC says “most of our houses have mould”.

                      My current house is well insulated and gets very mouldy if it doesn’t get ventilated.

                      In fact it is worse SINCE we insulated it than before when it was a bit draughty.

                      As EECA says, “As houses get more airtight, they become easier to heat. However this improved airtightness means it’s even more important to make sure you have good ventilation to stop the air in your home getting stale and damp.”


                    • Lanthanide

                      “a lot of houses get mouldy NOT because there’s anything wrong with the house”

                      That’s an oxymoron. If the house is getting mouldy, then by definition there is something wrong with the house.

                      The ‘something wrong’ in this case is inadequate ventilation. There are other solutions than “open up all the windows and make the house freezing” which is what you’re advocating people do.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Passive House

                The interesting thing about that standard is that the houses are, quite literally, sealed. The ventilation is controlled in such a way so as to keep the house warm/cool and dry.

                Having warm, dry houses is a design function and NZ’s houses don’t meet that sort of standard. This is the problem that you’re ignoring.

                • Lanthanide

                  “The ventilation is controlled in such a way so as to keep the house warm/cool and dry.”

                  With a mechanical ventilation system that costs electricity to run, requires maintenance and proper design and installation (which also costs money).

                  I don’t think passive house standard is an appropriate standard to aim for, for state housing in NZ – we simply don’t have a climate (or energy supply problem) to warrant it. But the standard building code is too often used as a target and “jobs done”, instead of the barest minimum acceptable quality for a house.

                  Updating the building code to require 2x the current insulation, and also building methods that minimise thermal bridging, would have minimal cost impact but would make a big difference.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Passive housing is a great idea and you’d change the standard to fit NZ conditions. With solar panelling each house could more than supply it’s own power. Feed the excess into the grid and it builds up enough to cover the extra required to run buses, trains and high draw factories.

                    • Lanthanide

                      If you “change the standard”, then it is no longer the Passive House standard, by definition.

                      It seems problematic really. There are 3 aspects crucial to passive house design:
                      1. Super-insulation
                      2. Reduction of all thermal bridging where possible
                      3. Air tightness

                      All 3 go hand-in-hand to give very low energy requirements. But the air-tightness one means some form of active mechanical ventilation is required, and that’s the key point that I think is difficult to roll out en-masse to state housing. I guess with economies of scale, and if it is “just how all houses are”, then people would understand how the systems work and not be distrustful of them (see RedLogix saying some of his tenants don’t use the ventilation systems he installs due to worries about energy use).

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      If you “change the standard”, then it is no longer the Passive House standard, by definition.

                      Yeah, got that bit wrong. Should have said that you’d change the parameters of the building to suit NZ conditions while maintaining the low power usage standard. A house in Northland probably won’t need 300mm insulation but Stewart Island probably will.

                      The whole point of the Passive House standard is that it uses less power to run than the standard house while being warm and dry.

                      It’s one of the uneconomic aspects of our houses and how they’re built today. They’re cheap to build but very costly to run. The Passive House switches that around to being somewhat more expensive but with a negligible cost to run. Over its lifetime time the Passive House is cheaper than a conventional house.

            • Tracey

              John thinks bleach can cure

              leaks in roof, no carpets, insufficient money to heat the children… little or no sunshine into house…

    • …Milt has the temerity to say, “Open some windows,” …

      Closely followed by:

      And yes, I do keep my windows open a crack.

      Do you read this stuff before you post it, Millsy?

  10. This is truly a tragedy. However, this point, buried in the middle of one long stroy, must be noted:

    “In December 2014 the family was confirmed as eligible by the Ministry of Social Development for fast-track priority due to the rheumatic fever risk to the family.

    The coroner’s report said one of the other children in the house was taking medication for rheumatic fever when Emma-Lita died.

    Read said within four days of the family being prioritised they were offered another home by HNZ that met their needs.

    However, the family declined to take the house offered in December and waited until April this year to move to a four-bedroom home in Otara.

    The property where the family now lives is insulated, carpeted in the bedrooms and hallway, has thermal quality drapes throughout the house and a heater in the lounge.”


    In fact, what HNZ decided met the family’s needs might be arguable. But it is crucial to a fair report.

    • weka 10.1

      I’m not sure what your point is. The child died in August.

    • Tracey 10.2

      Who would have got the house they were being moved from do you think?

      • The trail isn’t quite clear to me, plus of course why they refused the other house on offer (at the beginning of summer), then moved to a house which might have contributed to the child’s death over winter.

        I guess my point was that HNZ were actually trying to do something, but their housing stock (as generally agreed) is a choice of shit, shittier and meth lab. Except for the model house with insulation, carpeted bedrooms and thermal drapes.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I guess Tracey’s point was that HNZ did fuck all until Right Wing policy killed Emma-Lita, and then they swung into action.

          I think you deserve to suffer the consequences of the policies you support.

        • gnomic

          Housing NZ stock is quite a mixed bag. Some of it is fairly new and leased from private landlords, obviously not the primo stuff, but approximating to the acceptable for shacks in the Godzone of today. There are also leased flats within mainly privately rented appartment buildings.They have disposed of much of the older estate of decently built houses by 1930’s standards, especially where the local developer and landlord classes were slavering for mad profits. Also a bit of social engineering going on as seen in the GI zone in Auckland. Maintenance of the owned housing stock is pretty haphazard, and seems to vary as the regime of the day doles out more or less (mainly less) money, and as the mad directives come down from Lizardland. The work is contracted out of course with a principal contractor and subbies per region. Someone could write a good story on how the contacts for this work are assigned. Tender me, tender you. Who you know and that kind of thing. Make an appointment for work to be done at a certain time? Nope, sorry.

          But perhaps the main problem with Housing NZ is that they hate and despise their clients in my humble opinion and any erstwhile benign corporate body of knowledge is progressively being destroyed by repeated purges of staff, meanwhile the ideology is being transformed by the advent of the airhead executives programmed to obey the lizardlords whose aim is to smash the state. Billizard for example, Minister for Housing NZ under the current regime.

          Of course the problem for the lizards is that if there is no quasi-social housing there will be tent cities and cardboard shelters under the bridges (aka “obvious signs of poverty” as per the smirking weasel aka PM) and that won’t look good in a first world country like ours. But luckily we can offload to private providers who will of course do a sublimely excellent job.

          • Tracey

            its a simple cost-be benefit analysis. a kind of actuarial analysis. since 1984 we have our levels of govt compassion towards our vulnerable measured accordingly.

            how many homes could be repaired with

            27m from flag curiousity
            20m to foreign investors in scf – no legal right to payout u der bill english extension to scheme


            so no one tell me there is no money. there is little will.

  11. gsays 11

    we are judged by the way our society treats the most vulnerable.

    ok, (alledgedly) the state has insulated most of the state houses, the next step would be to install some heat recovery system from the ceiling cavity.
    i have friends living in a house built in the 1930s that gets a lot of shade, damp was a problem and was cold.

    the single biggest difference was the dry air from the ceiling cavity moving thru the rest of the house.
    voila! mould stops growing, annoying coughs disappeared, sinus issues gone.

    BTW i am not in anyway associated to any of these hrv, drv systems.

    if a bailout of scf can be done, if a saudi farmer can get sheep and such for free, then this retro fit for the most vulnerable can be done.

  12. vto 12

    Recent thoughts on the housing problems of late made me think that if I was Prime Minister I would be making this first priority every morning – to ensure that the members of the community I lead are well housed. It is the most basic of starting blocks for people – nothing is more basic. Does our leader do this? What actually is Key’s number one priority when he sits at his desk each morning?

    • john 12.1

      Time for you (the person who says the ignorant don’t need to be educated) to get better informed.

      After previous govts did nothing to insulate state houses, this govt has insulated 49,000 state houses.

      On top of that they’re spending $3b over the next three years upgrading state houses.

      • Colonial Rawshark 12.1.1

        Before selling them off at dirt cheap prices to private developers.

        But more to the point – the National Government has done the bare minimum which it thinks it can get away with politically. Time to force them to do much more.

    • gnomic 12.2

      Reading the latest instructions from his controllers abroad? Checking on the current polling surveys conducted by local and overseas agencies? Checking his portfolio of shares and bonds? Obviously such a nice guy wouldn’t have any accounts in Switzerland or the Bahamas. Reading reports on the current vintage at the vineyard(s)? Chatting with minister of most things Joyce? A few minutes with the chief spook? Checking in with buddies in Hollywood?

      Crucial issues for the NZ population? Don’t make me laugh. Ordinary people don’t deserve to live, or at any rate live well. Especially now we don’t need them any more with the magic of IOD = Immigration On Demand.

  13. Old Mickey 13

    Can we get a WOF for tenants of rental houses ? Maybe a WOF before having half a doz kids and expecting the state to be responsible ?

    [This isn’t Whale Oil or the Eugenics Society. Keep your bile under control. TRP]

    • McFlock 13.1


      But even children dependent on the state for housing can grow up to be prime minister.

    • john 13.2

      Finding a solution to child poverty, and related health issues, overcrowding etc, without addressing that issue, is like trying to bring the road toll down without allowing anybody to talk about drink driving, speeding etc.

      40% of children are unplanned. (See

      And while people who are not financially and emotionally secure enough to have children (and people who don’t really want then) keep having them at such a rate, there will never be a solution to the problems.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 13.2.1

        people who are not financially and emotionally secure

        Why are there always so many more of them under National, is what I keep asking myself.

        • john

          How come under Labour at the peak of the economic boom with low unemployment etc, was the child poverty rate 22% – the same as in the depths of the recession?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Because they failed to reverse enough of the right wing policies that are causing the problems. Left to itself, the market always fails.

            I note that child poverty is now ~27%. Personal responsibility means it’s always someone else’s fault, eh.

            • john

              And if at midnight tonight, all wages and benefits went up by 300%, the number of children living in poverty wouldn’t change by one.

              Or to use the deprivation method, both of my kids are officially living in poverty because one of them currently only has one pair of good shoes – not the required two.

              And the other is as well cause they lost their raincoat a few weeks ago and we haven’t replaced it yet, so officially they can be considered living in poverty because they don’t have the full list of material possessions needed to be considered as not be living in poverty.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Ahhhh john, keep fooling yourself with your intellectual sleight of hand and fake definitions, but do you truly believe that you are fooling many other people?

                Put it this way, when you are a decrepit useless old prick with a dimming memory, the younger kids of today whom you so willingly treat like dirt will still remember attitudes like yours well, and are likely to be very unforgiving.

                • john

                  I agree with you about something – the definitions used for child poverty are fake.

                  The material deprivation definitions used today would mean pretty much everybody I knew grew up in poverty, despite being in average households in average neighbourhoods.

                  Similarly the 60% of median method is ridiculous when poverty levels can go up an down, judged NOT on deprivation levels, but on the pay of those in the middle and top.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Innumeracy and right wing Mathematics.

                    You really have a limited grasp on the meaning of median, eh John.

                    I don’t think we should be charitable enough to let you make public policy decisions. Your innumeracy disqualifies you, not to mention your mendacity.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      John’s been cleverly using his climate denier training in new areas

                    • McFlock

                      indeed, CR.

                      Hardship measures use multiple instances based on financial restriction, not one category fulfilled because his dad forgot to buy a new pair of shoes.

                      Liar john probably knows this.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    John your clever arguments are the intellectual equivalent of driving around Remuera, Newmarket, Mt Eden and Ponsonby, while avoiding all the poorer suburbs of Auckland.

                    Good luck with that.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “The material deprivation definitions used today would mean pretty much everybody I knew grew up in poverty, despite being in average households in average neighbourhoods.”

                    Are you saying that when you grew up as a child, you and everyone you knew didn’t have shoes, jackets, breakfast…?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I think John is saying that John is a centre-right sociopath, who ought to be included on the sociopaths’ register.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                No John, you are innumerate.

                The median wage does not have to change one cent and we can still bring everyone over 60% of it.

                At least I can now charitably assume that you are stupid rather than mendacious.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.3

      I think Old Mickey should be given just enough opportunity to incite violence so that the case against him for inciting violence becomes rock solid.

  14. Tanz 14

    Many private rentals are also an insult, damp, mouldy and in disrepair. Slum landlords don’t care, they just raise the rent and collect the dividends. There needs to be more rights for renters; right now the landlords are having their cake and eating it too. tenants are being exploited bigtime, especially in many parts of Auckland. Two bedroom shacks collecting very posh prices!!

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