The housing crisis and the diseases of poverty

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, August 15th, 2016 - 122 comments
Categories: class war, health, housing, national, poverty - Tags: , , , ,

One of the consequences of poor, overcrowded housing is an increase in the incidence of preventable “diseases of poverty”. This was highlighted as a national issue in the run up to the 2011 election with the Inside Child Poverty documentary:

Shock look at NZ’s child poverty

More than 100 New Zealand children who died last year would probably have survived had they lived in Japan, Sweden or the Czech Republic, a new documentary shows.

In Inside Child Poverty: A Special Report, set to air this week, Wellington documentary maker Bryan Bruce shows a Swedish doctor footage of sick, scab-ridden schoolchildren suffering from preventable diseases in Porirua and asks if he saw similar situations in his country. The doctor shakes his head: “In the 70s, maybe.”

Last year, more than 25,000 children were admitted to hospital for respiratory infections. Doctors routinely treat cases of rheumatic fever and scabies – diseases now rare in Europe. The reason behind these preventable diseases were appalling rates of child poverty that New Zealand could not afford to ignore, Mr Bruce said. …

Since then the housing crisis has worsened, with record numbers living in cars and garages. This can only be making matters even worse. For example, although significant interventions had been reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever, it is on the rise again:

Housing crisis linked to spike in Auckland rheumatic fever cases

The housing crisis is being blamed for a sudden rise of rheumatic fever cases in the Auckland region after years of decreasing rates.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service statistics show that overall numbers of cases are 36% higher for the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

In the 0-19 year olds group there have been 33 cases to the end of June compared with 28 for the same time last year.

Medical Officer of Health Catherine Jackson says there could be a number of reasons for this including crowded housing and the prevention programme could have reached its maximum effectiveness and chance.

Dr David Jansen, clinical director of the National Hauora Coalition, says as a south Auckland GP he is seeing more families at the extreme end of homelessness and this could undo all the good prevention work that’s being done.

“I was really disappointed that we had a state agency that was actively putting families in harm’s way by referring them to completely substandard housing,” he says. …

It is likely that other diseases of poverty are also or will also increase as the housing crisis drags on under National.

122 comments on “The housing crisis and the diseases of poverty ”

  1. Michelle 1

    We will not only see an increase in preventable diseases under National we will see more crime and social issues come to the fore we are already seeing it. Poverty related issues.

  2. The Chairman 2

    And last week Auckland councillors voted to reject an affordable homes quota being included in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

    Councillors voted 13 to seven against the quota.

    • jcuknz 2.1

      Since ‘affordable homes’ is a false target there is no point in having a quota and CV was correct in their assertion that many would start with apartments at much less.
      Cutting their cloth to suit their income and means. The true meaning of affordable rather than a financial standard of un-affordability for many or most.
      Dicken’s writing of 19/6d meaning a saving of 6d is rather out of our current world.
      [younger readers read 95 cents and 5cents in today’s world.]

      • The Chairman 2.1.1

        Since affordable homes are the objective, it would be a sham pushing the plan through without a target. Albeit, I concur the target being set as affordable is far too high compared to incomes.

        • Anne

          Penny Hulse voted against the inclusion of affordable homes because she said the target is unattainable. Well, why not change the ‘affordable’ criteria so that it IS attainable. To include no target for affordable accommodation – be it stand alone or an apartment capable of housing a family – seems, on the face of it, a tad irresponsible.

          But then again, I don’t know much about these things so the powers that be would say… go back to your hidey-hole cos you know nothing. Only us clever clogs know what we’re talking about. Still, common sense says…

          • The Chairman

            “Seems, on the face of it, a tad irresponsible”

            Disingenuous is how I would sum it up, Anne.

            Affordable housing is being touted as the objective, yet the Independent Hearing Panel predicted only 15% of new homes under the Unitary Plan will cost less than $800,000.

          • Chooky

            +100 Anne…re “Penny Hulse voted against the inclusion of affordable homes because she said the target is unattainable. ”

            …this is the whole point of the housing issue…affordable homes for the most poverty stricken

            …it should be the priority, instead the government sells off State Houses

      • Sure, you can fiddle with the definition of affordable, (and I think including apartments as affordable homes is absolutely reasonable, an apartment can be a home) but that’s no reason not to include a target.

      • North 2.1.3

        What unintelligible shit you write JunkNZ! I’ve read your crap comment several times and still can’t make any sense of it. What are you really trying to say?……that these lowly homeless mums/dads/kids just don’t/won’t understand the stuff about 6 pence. And that actually you don’t give a fuck but don’t have the balls to say so outright. What a dog! May Mr Micawber penetrate you brutally!

    • And last week Auckland councillors voted to reject an affordable homes quota being included in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

      That always sounds weird to me – what developer would trouble themselves to build unaffordable houses? I guess it’s shorthand for “affordable by people other than foreign property speculators and locals with more than house-worth of equity,” but wouldn’t it make more sense to deal with the property speculators problem rather than trying to build ultra-cheap houses?

      • The Chairman 2.2.1

        I concur local and foreign speculation requires to be curtailed. However, we also require more diversity, creating a better balance of the selection of homes on offer.

        • Chooky

          +100 The Chairman…that is the nub of it!

          ….and I do like the way the old State houses were intermixed in with wealthy suburbs…it added to the richness and egalitarian nature of New Zealand society

          …but of course jonkey is selling them off ( maybe he is ashamed of his roots?)…and the real estate is too valuable

  3. Chooky 4

    re “with record numbers living in cars and garages.”

    ….this makes me query the Greens policy and stand on penalties for not providing high quality rentals, which in itself sounds fine and rentiers making huge profits from many rentals should be held to account no doubt about it

    …however what about the ‘poor’ helping the poor? eg. if someone has a renovated garage or old cottage which could be rented for a small price but lacks insulation(because the owner can not afford it)…will they be barred from helping someone who is sleeping in a car or under a bridge

    …to me the Green stance on this lacks on the ground existential realism…in fact to be rude, it is middle class ignorance of the realities

    if I were sleeping under a bridge or in a car I would welcome the offer of a converted garage or draughty cottage for a small affordable price

    (btw that picture of a converted garage or sleepout doesnt look too bad to me….certainly better than sleeping on the street )

    • The Chairman 4.1

      “To me the Green stance on this lacks on the ground existential realism…in fact to be rude, it is middle class ignorance of the realities

      if I were sleeping under a bridge or in a car I would welcome the offer of a converted garage or draughty cottage for a small affordable price”

      Indeed. A concern is the Green’s stance will rob people of the opportunity of opting for a cheaper alternative.

      This is why the implementation (of a housing WOF) should be deferred until housing numbers have been increased. A warranted house is no good to someone staying in a car that can’t afford to rent it.

      • jcuknz 4.1.1

        When I was found a building which had previously been a stable with outside loo and just power and cold water I was very happy to take it …. I had been living in the darkroom of the firm I worked for at the time and the husband and wife had found better accommodation. In due course I moved on to share a flat with most mod-coms for the period …. so while I think the Greens have a point it is rather middle class paternalism. I fully understand and practiced ‘living in what was affordable to me at the time’.
        Latter I found the cash to buy an ex-school bus and converted it to live in a motor-camp …my first step to home ownership. Old camp bed to sleep on and newspaper over window bars for privacy for the first few nights.

        • Chooky

          +100 jcuknz…thanks for sharing that evocative description!….

          many New Zealanders find the space of making a house in a stable or a shearing shed or in something tin or in an empty warehouse …an exciting and enriching experience even although it doesn’t have all the mod cons and is not insulated

          …architecturally it is in keeping with our colonial heritage , modest and in tune with nature…it adds to the tapestry of life and should not be scorned or ridiculed

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2

      “The Greens” no more decide whether to prosecute than any other politician. Police and courts have a wide range of discretionary options.

      So your fears, which I’m sure are completely sincere, seem a little overstated. Meanwhile, the Greens’ housing policy is more than a single legislative change introducing fines for slumlords.

      • The Chairman 4.2.1

        “The Greens no more decide whether to prosecute than any other politician”

        Indeed. However, the Green’s Bill initially opens the door to prosecutions/fines while preventing failed properties from being tenanted, hence the concern remains.

        Which is something the Greens need to acknowledge and rectify.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          They could rectify it by, for example, ensuring “that the Housing New Zealand Corporation has resources to increase its rate of acquisition and building of state houses, as well as maintaining and upgrading existing houses.”

          Or they could “Legislate and advocate for the development of secure and affordable long-term rental accommodation.”

          It’s almost as though they’ll need an entire housing policy. Gosh.

          • The Chairman

            “They could rectify it by, for example, ensuring that the Housing New Zealand Corporation has resources to increase its rate of acquisition and building of state houses, as well as maintaining and upgrading existing houses”

            Indeed, but as I highlighted above, the implementation (of a housing WOF) should be deferred until housing numbers have been increased. One has to put the horse before the cart, thus it would be good to see their policy acknowledge this.

            • weka

              I think it’s a bit hard to quantify that because as far as I can tell the state of NZH housing that will be avalable and liveable in by the time the govt changes is a big unknown. It’s a clusterfuck, and I’m sure NACT will leave a bit mess. Short of deferring the WoF until a second term or longer, I think they’re wanting to attack the problem from multiple angles immediately, because of the urgency.

              The policy says there is a 2 year lead in time. They should be able to get other solutions in place in that time.

              I’m also mindful that they went and talked to the people most affected and that’s been part of the policy development.

              • The Chairman

                While it may be difficult to quantify before the election, their policy should have a target where they expect to see their wider policy have an impact. Thus, they should have their WOF plans deferred till then.

                2 years seems a little shortsighted for housing supply to meet current demand.

                As taxpayers are largely going to benefit (health savings etc…) more subsidies (and perhaps interest free loans) also need to be considered, reducing the fiscal burden on landlords, thus costs being passed on.

                • weka

                  So basically you are arguing that people with kids and illness living in cold, damp and /or mouldy houses should carry on living there indefinitely until a L/G govt can build more houses?

                  • The Chairman

                    Opposed to being evicted (the likely outcome of WOF’s being implemented before housing supply has been increased)?

                    Unfortunately, yes.

                    Additionally, those that can afford higher rents can afford to move on to better quality homes now. And others can consider shifting to a cheaper location.

                    • weka

                      Yeah well, the Greens went and talked to the people directly affected, so maybe they know what they are doing.

                  • The Chairman

                    On further thought, there may be a way to overcome the concern.

                    Seeing as the state would be the largest fiscal benefactor (health savings, improved education outcomes etc…) of better quality homes. And considering improvements required would generally be modest, why not get the Government to foot the bill? Allowing WOFs to be implemented now, without the concern.

    • DH 4.3

      Them’s good points Chooky, echoes my own thoughts on it. I’ve rented a crap house before and had no problems with it, we knew what we were doing & we chose cost over comfort. Wouldn’t do it with a family but when young & single, or other such circumstance – not a problem.

      Unless they create some sort of exemptions WOFs would remove a lot of properties from the market and make the housing situation even worse.

      There’s a lot of reasons why a rented property would fail the proposed WOF and not all of them are bad. We’ve become over-regulated and it’s the needy who tend to suffer the unintended consequences.

      • weka 4.3.1

        “Unless they create some sort of exemptions WOFs would remove a lot of properties from the market and make the housing situation even worse.”

        Only if you don’t do anything else about the housin situation. Fortunately the Greens have a range of polices. Look at them as a whole to get the picture.

        The WoF standard isn’t that high. I don’t think a huge number of homes will be taken off the rental market.

        “Wouldn’t do it with a family but when young & single, or other such circumstance – not a problem.”

        The problem is that people with young kids, or people who are unwell, aren’t getting a choice. They’re already living in substandard housing. The Wof aims to help those people.

        • DH

          Can’t see how WOFs would give them a choice either. There’s no question it would lead to increased rents, the slumlords forced to upgrade their properties will boot the poor families out and rent them to people who will pay more.

          The concept of a WOF might sound reasonable but only in isolation IMO.

          • weka

            “Can’t see how WOFs would give them a choice either.”

            Because they will live in better housing.

            “There’s no question it would lead to increased rents, the slumlords forced to upgrade their properties will boot the poor families out and rent them to people who will pay more.”

            Do you have any evidence for that assertion? Because the Greens did the legwork on this, which included talking to the people affected as well as landlords, and there was a trial scheme run in Dunedin. I’ll put that up as evidence backing my assertion that I think you are grossly overstating the problem and out of context.

            From memory, the Dunedin trial found that 1/3 of properties will pass, and that of the rest, most need minor or uncomplicated upgrades. Most landlords said they wouldn’t need to increase rents.

            • DH

              Thanks but you’re just being obtuse now, deliberately so I’d think.

              If you really believe that a WOF won’t remove some rental properties form the market then there’s little point in discussing with you any further.

              A percentage of rental properties are only available short term – due to change of owners, absentee owners, awaiting renovation or even demolition… and so on. If you’re only renting your proeprty out for a short term, and it requires work to make a WOF, it’s often not economic to do it. The cost of remedial work would often exceed the rental return. You’d just leave the house empty instead.

              It becomes basic economics – fewer house for rent equals less supply which creates increased demand which equals higher price

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                If the housing WoF were the only policy you’d have a point. It isn’t: your point is moot.

              • weka

                I’m not being obtuse, I think you are grossly overstating the case (plus what OAB said). How many houses do you think will shift from being rentals?

                • DH

                  A lot more than you seem to think. A WOF will affect every property from Stewart Island to Cape Reinga. You strike me as a city boy. You don’t appear to have any clue, or care about, what the state of housing is like in many of the poorer parts of NZ.

                  • Chooky


                  • One Anonymous Bloke


                    You do lash out when you’re wrong.

                  • weka

                    “A lot more than you seem to think. A WOF will affect every property from Stewart Island to Cape Reinga.”

                    That’s not what I asked. I asked how many houses do you think will shift from being rentals under the wof scheme? If you can’t answer that, then I’ll assume that you’re just making shit up. It’s a pretty straight forward question.

                    “You strike me as a city boy. You don’t appear to have any clue, or care about, what the state of housing is like in many of the poorer parts of NZ.”

                    I don’t have a penis, and the last time I lived in a city was over 20 years ago. I currently rent a house that would fail the wof. I have friends that have been homeless, some of them long term and some of them especially vulnerable due to illness or having kids (all currently homed thankfully). I’ve lived in houses that fit the category that you are worried about (so far gone the landlord would flick it rather than do it up). I have friends that live in houses that would fail the wof, and some that live in houses that would pass. Just wanted to clear up some facts so you can inform your prejudices a bit better.

                    Unlike you I have read not just the Greens wof policy, but a range of their policies, housing and housing related. I think that there will be people who will have to move as a result of this policy. But on the evidence (as opposed to making shit up) I believe that the net result will end up more people permanently housed and in better housing than we have now, and that the worst off will be better taken care of than now.

                    As adam says elsewhere there is a moral bottom line here and it’s bloody weird seeing apparent lefties argue against improving housing especially given the worst housing is used by the most vulnerable people.

                    • DH

                      No-one here is arguing against improving housing, which is why I accused you of being deliberately obtuse.

                      The core argument against you is that a WOF should not be considered UNTIL AFTER the housing shortage has been addressed. And that is not what’s happening is it? The WOF is being heavily pushed right now, right while we’re in the middle of a severe housing shortage.

                      Implement your WOF today and you won’t be improving housing. You’ll be making it worse!

                      Your priorities are wrong and instead of showing you’re prepared to accept that might possibly be the case you jumped on your moral high horse.

                    • weka

                      “Implement your WOF today and you won’t be improving housing. You’ll be making it worse! ”

                      FFS, this is getting stupid. The Greens aren’t even in govt yet, their wof scheme has a 2 year lead in time, and they have a raft of other policies to improve housing in NZ that Labour are generally mostly supportive of.

                      I haven’t seen anything to suggest that the Greens want to implement the wof in isolation before other measures are in place. You just made that up. On the contrary, I’ve seen the Greens release multiple policies and doing their usual direct work over time this year, in regards to the whole spectrum of housing issues facing NZ.

                      Here’s what’s happening in the meantime,


                    • DH

                      Yeah it’s getting silly weka, we’re just going round in circles now so I’ll leave it there.

                      In retrospect I was in the wrong to associate it with just the Greens, mine is a more general criticism of the wof which has been pushed by all & sundry and is, IMO, very poorly thought out. But Chooky did focus on the Greens & I should have enunciated my own words better to encompass the broader picture.

                    • weka

                      Ok, thanks for clarifying, that does make more sense.

                • Pat

                  I suspect more than you think……the sudden appearance of a lot of older (non complying?) properties have recently appeared in our local market….the timing could be coincidental….or it may be an attempt to beat a correction…or elements of both.

                  • weka

                    “the sudden appearance of a lot of older (non complying?) properties have recently appeared in our local market”

                    The wof policy has been around for a few years.

                    • Pat

                      yes that proposal has been…..but this came in this year and is a watered down version.


                      “All residential rental homes in New Zealand will be required to have insulation to keep a home warm in winter and cool in summer. Social housing (where tenants pay an income related rent) must be insulated by 1 July 2016 and all other rental homes by July 2019.”

                      the timing is too coincidental…..the effect was very noticeable as I have been watching the bottom end of our local market fairly closely for my children….this type of property very rarely appeared in the last couple of years here and now suddenly around June (onwards) the market could be described as swamped

                    • weka

                      Why would they be selling now if they don’t have to insulate until 2019?

                      That bill has been in process for quite some time too (from last year?).

                    • Pat

                      “Why would they be selling now if they don’t have to insulate until 2019?”

                      believe its called anticipating the market……quit early before it becomes common knowledge and even more sellers enter and buyers either exit or price out additional costs…..and as said it may be combined with an anticipated market correction.

          • Chooky

            +100 DH….”There’s no question it would lead to increased rents, the slumlords forced to upgrade their properties will boot the poor families out and rent them to people who will pay more.”

        • The Chairman

          “The WoF standard isn’t that high. I don’t think a huge number of homes will be taken off the rental market.”

          It’s not only the loss of available rentals that is a concern, it’s also the upward pressure on rents reducing the overall pool of cheap rentals. Therefore, a housing WOF should be deferred until the increase in supply has had an impact.
          “The problem is that people with young kids, or people who are unwell, aren’t getting a choice”.

          The quality of a rental home is largely reflected in its rental price. Therefore, people largely decide to reside in poorer quality homes generally due to their cheaper price.

          Improving the quality of a home in a heated market allows landlords far more scoop to increase rents, robbing those on lower incomes of those current cheaper alternatives.

          • adam

            Your argument seems to me The Chairman, just a thinly disguised defence of slum lords. The Greens policy to insulate home has always generated this response.

            But what is worrying from you argument, is a utter lack of understanding of what some laws should do, or how they should operate. And indeed the whole hierarchy of law.

            For example, the removal of the reasonable force defence from the crimes act in relation to beating children. The idea was never to go running around prosecuting parents – no matter how much frothing at the mouth the Tory cable claimed that was the intent. It was to remove a defence of beating one’s children then calling it reasonable. Also it was about creating a cultural shift – which was the most important aspect – this has not happened as it should – because of the alarmist Tory crap.

            The same is with the housing WOF – it’s not about punitive measures. It’s about improving the stock we have – it’s not about an instant fix. It’s about not leaving houses sub-standard because you can. It’s about a cultural shift to what is an acceptable house, particularly in a world fast moving to climate change. And most of all it’s about having a moral bottom line – rather than a amoral process which enables slumlords to actually exist.

            • weka

              Well put adam.

              Re the culture shift, the Dunedin study showed that most landlords thought the wof standards were reasonable. It’s not a radical proposal.

            • The Chairman

              I’m not opposed to improving the quality of the housing stock. It’s the manner in which it is being proposed that is the concern.

    • weka 4.4

      “…to me the Green stance on this lacks on the ground existential realism…in fact to be rude, it is middle class ignorance of the realities”

      I suggest that you follow the work of Green MP Marama Davidson, who is Māori and working class. Your politics on this issue are a form of bigotry in themselves. The Greens have a big online presence, there’s not need to not be informed about what they do. As OAB points out, look at the policies and actions as a whole.

      “if I were sleeping under a bridge or in a car I would welcome the offer of a converted garage or draughty cottage for a small affordable price”

      I lived in a semi-converted garage one summer when I was in my 20s. It regularly smelled of car fumes from the road outside. sometimes to the point where I would need to leave. You want to put young kids or babies into those kinds of situations?

      NZ can easily afford to house everyone well. If you think that the state should support poor people to live in substandard and dangerous housing because it’s better than other substandard and dangerous housing, then you should vote NACT.

      • Chooky 4.4.1

        sorry…still think the Greens are being middle class and precious and pompous ( more so as seeing the arguments put up here in defense of the Greens WOF policy)

        ….agree with the Chairman and others on this…it will reduce housing stock for ‘heart of gold’ cheap rentals eg $25- $50-$100 per week

        people who are not rack renters or unethical will be reluctant to help those living on the street or in cars or in petrol fumed garages ….because their extra house or cottage or caravan or garage or add- on room is not up to standard as regards insulation and they do not wish prying bureaucracy for a wtf WOF

        ….so nice one …back to sleeping in cars, under the bridge or sleeping rough in parks or in building foyers …( next step…maybe the homeless and renters should be given a WOF character and dress code and IQ test as to why they need really cheap rentals)…maybe they should be housed in nicely insulated WOF prison barracks?

        (btw…NZ because of its temperate climate has a tradition of sleeping in Maori whare, in draughty houses ,tin sheds, shearing sheds, mountain huts…and I would bet many family- owned, family lived- in houses in Northland or rural NZ would not come up to the Green wtf WOF code…)

        (btw I am sure you would love it if I voted Nact…but I won’t)

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          While I’m convinced that you would have no clue as to the solutions to your panic, they do exist, I assure you. All the information you need can be found by reading Green Party housing policy.

          Seriously; perhaps it might help you calm down 🙄

        • weka

          I have to agree with OAB. You seem to have a lot of concerns coming out of your thinking but you don’t seem to be doing anything useful with them.

          I expect that there will remain a certain level of makeshift housing in NZ, and that people will still live in those and some will even pay rent. Some of that will be informal (i.e. under the radar of the state, no bond filing etc). For more formal tenancies, if a sitting tenant doesn’t complain about their house, how would the government or local council know to do anything about it?

          What is being targeted here is the investor culture where people are making a decent whack of money from substandard housing. Those tenants can complain, and because the Greens have a range of policies, those tenants will have more protection than they do now. Not absolute, but better. Will there be some people who have to move, or whose lives get disrupted by arsehole landlords? Yes, but I don’t see any evidence that this will be largescale. It’s virtually impossible to design legislation that doesn’t negatively affect a proportion of the people you are trying to help, but that doesn’t mean everyone should be held back.

          Meanwhile, out of your fear, you appear to be arguing that the most vulnerable people in the country should put up with their lot.

          I don’t expect any kind of reasoned analysis from you, but later I’ll drop some links that show the work that the Greens have been doing with low income people. You can still call it middle class wankery if you like 🙄

          • Chooky

            sorry not convinced that there won’t be a decrease in the most affordable rentals and rental housing …not good well thought through policy, as others have pointed out

            …and the “fear” is all yours…

            ( some old character houses that students used to live for example may even be destroyed …remember Cave Creek platform collapse and how DOC decided to destroy all old huts not up to scratch for health and safety reasons…really it was a pretext for user charges to be implemented …and it left trampers and hunters out in the cold when any shelter would have been preferable)

            • weka

              lol, that’s out and out fearmongering.

              But hey, let’s have substandard and dangerous housing because some people with an inability to look at policy holistically are convincing themselves there is a problem despite there being no evidence.

    • North 4.5

      You clearly don’t understand the reality of a garage for a family of six. I’ve witnessed that reality. My best mate did that for his nephew, his wife, two kids and two others. One toilet, one shower, seven, sometimes nine people. Yes it’s better than a car but it’s still bloody hard. It’s still poverty circumstances. It still makes family relationships ‘edgy’.

      What you say is simply a charter for the Brighter Future bastards to blame others in the face of their shocking failure and couldn’t give a fuck tones. Fucking John Key’s got three grand of water in his fucking swimming pool for Christ’s Sake !

      Reality is there’s already a huge number of people who look after nga whanaungatanga/aiga in the way you ‘suggest’. Lay off heaping imperatives on them and stop letting pigs like The Ponce Key and his Cabinet off the hook. Surprises me in you Chooky.

      • Chooky 4.5.1

        I suggest you read my arguments and those of others here properly!!!

        …i am not defending Key and I am not undermining the reality of those living in garages and how hard it is!!!…very far from it…!!!!

        …”Surprises me in you” North ! (suggest you don’t get swayed by Weka’s and AOB’s bullying)

        I am concerned that many tenants live in housing which does not meet the Greens WOF ….will end up worse off!….( their rents will rise).

        I am concerned that many , many houses in New Zealand will not meet the Green WOF ( whether lived in by owner families or rented for nominal rents )and they will be bought up by developers and destroyed

        I would like to point out to you that my grandparents lived in a rundown rural house , uninsulated and with only a cold water tap outside. They lived to be in their 80s and 90s….and in good health…there are many factors that contribute to ill health…stress is one of them and lack of a stable house with affordable rent

  4. AB 5

    They’re predominantly brown so hardly anyone is this appalling country cares.

    • BM 5.1

      This appalling country 🙄

      Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.

      • Leftie 5.1.1

        Well, it’s certainly not a paradise with a brighter future for most BM.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2

        We’ll say the same to the rich when we put in place a 100% tax @ $100k and capital taxes.

        • TheExtremist

          100% tax at $100K?

          A) 100K is fuck all in this day and age. I live in Auckland and earn ~$120K (it varies due to commision payments) and it barely covers the nut

          B) If you instigated that watch the flight of skilled people overseas. Straight over to Australia

          • Anno1701

            B) If you instigated that watch the flight of skilled people overseas. Straight over to Australia”

            have you not been paying attention mate, we are not welcome in Australia

            They treat immigrants from basically ANYWHERE better than Kiwis…

            • TheExtremist

              If you’re a highly skilled surgeon wanting to move overseas after having your pay slashed and capped to 100K NZD then any country would be pleased to have you. Aussie, the UK, the States, Cananda etc etc.

              Aussie was just an example.

              • Anno1701

                If you’re a highly skilled surgeon wanting to move overseas after having your pay slashed and capped to 100K NZD then any country would be pleased to have you”

                “Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.”

                • TheExtremist

                  I would have assumed we WOULDN’T want our highly skilled workers to leave. But you seem to be telling them to just fuck off.

                  Hope you don’t need any life saving surgery…

                  • Sabine

                    considering the current waiting lists of people needing surgery, non of us without private insurance and enough money to fly out of NZ for said surgery are going to live long enough to get surgery in NZ. So it does not matter if these surgeons are here in NZ or not. 🙂

      • AB 5.1.3

        “Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out”
        Oh just go away you one-dimensional mouthpiece for the indefensible. I’ve lived here 60 years and love it intensely enough to be appalled at what I see.

      • Anno1701 5.1.4

        “Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.”

        CLASSIC low brow Kiwi response to criticism of “godzone green country”

        small minded parochialism at its finest …

  5. Jono 6

    Rheumatic fever killed my dad. He contracted it as a four year old during the depression and finally took him 70 years later after a lifetime of trouble from the leaky heart valve the disease caused. It makes me so, so angry that this third world disease of the poor is still with us, causing so much misery now and that it will continue to do so for the rest of many of these kids lives, and that it took my father way way to soon. It’s a bloody National disgrace.

    • Siobhan 6.1

      My Grandmother also. She lived her life thinking that what she suffered from was a disease of the past, best forgotten, and certainly never to be talked about. I think she would be totally bemused to find that such diseases are being allowed to flourish once again as an unfortunate by-product of our glorious housing market.

    • joe90 6.2

      Both my grandmother and MIL were afflicted with rheumatic fever as youngsters and struggled through most of their lives with heart problems to die at 59 and 60 years old respectively.

  6. stunned mullet 7

    Oh the irony.

    An author with an anti-vaccination history railing against preventable diseases of poverty.

    • joe90 7.1

      This author with an anti-vaccination history – do tell… ?

    • Are you confusing Anthony with someone else? I don’t recall any anti-vaxxer blather from him.

    • reason 7.3

      oh the irony …. a right wing troll attempting a derail on a thread about New Zealand and the 3rd world preventable diseases we let ‘market forces’ inflict on the poor and their children …….

      “Andrew Little: Does he agree with Nick Smith that the costs of modern insulation and heating standards are not worth the benefits—[Interruption] Listen, Nick—[Interruption]

      Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the member the Hon Dr Nick Smith continues to interject and cause disruption when the question is being asked, I will be asking him to leave. Would the member please start the question again.

      Andrew Little: Does he agree with Nick Smith that the costs of modern insulation and heating standards are not worth the benefits, given that the benefits are preventing Kiwi kids from getting sick and from dying?

      Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I agree with Nick Smith in the context of the statements he would have been making.  ” ……….


      Tax haven john has sub prime answers …… because like our trolls he does not care about the children of the poor.

  7. Dave 8

    21 century nZ this government must go iits got go

  8. weka 9

    One of the really appalling things about this situation is that ill health from overcrowded housing, including significant public health issues, has been well known for a very long time. This is not something that couldn’t have been predicted or prevented. National and their partners are completely and utterly responsible for this.

    • Barfly 9.1

      Yes we know this, they know this…they don’t give a shit…and so what BM knows this, Fisiani knows this et cetera…so how do we rub this in this the face of the “average” NZ voter until they scream “FFS stop this crap!”

    • Justathought 9.2

      “National and their partners are completely and utterly responsible for this”.

      Are you sure? Both the incidence of rheumatic fever and the incidence of homelessness increased during Helen Clark’s long government, in the happy days of budget surpluses and higher taxation, and before the GFC and the quake brought new pressure to bear on government finances.

      The underlying causes for outbreaks are clearly more complex than governments of either the centre-left or centre-right have been able to fully identify and completely contain.

      • weka 9.2.1

        Labour did it too is hardly a convincing argument. You assert the two governments don’t understand. Or are you suggesting that there is no causitive correlation between overcrowding and illness?

        • Chris

          I agree that “Labour did it too” isn’t an argument to say it’s okay, but it is true that Labour’s atrocious record of benefit cuts and other changes to social security between 1999 and 2008 had a huge impact including giving Key and National the green light to continue down the same path. We know, for example, that Labour’s not opposed to voting with National to support war on the poor legislation like its most recent display in 2014. What’s worse, though, is that Labour’s at no time renounced its position or apologised or provided any assurance that it’s not going to do anything differently. If they had then maybe we could begin to think about whether we may be able to trust them but they haven’t so we can’t. Everyone thought 1999 was the end to the Richardson/Shipley razor gang approach but it wasn’t. Labour’s said nor done anything since its nasty 2007 amendment to suggest things will be different and has provided strong evidence in 2014 that it’ll be more of the same. This means we need to do two things: (1) talk very openly about how that at the moment Labour is not a friend of the poor; and (2) convince Labour that it needs to renounce its nasty approach to welfare displayed since 1999, apologise for it and be clear about what it will do if it becomes the government in 2017.

          • weka

            I have no problem holding the Labour party to account. Not sure to what extent the current one can be held accountable for Clark’s years. I agree they need to make a clear statement and then shift in attitude and policy direction re beneficiaries. I’m watching small incremental changes and wondering if much will happen before the election (the Greens appear to be breaking their freeze on not mentioning beneficiaries).

            • Chris

              I agree with all of that, Weka, hence my point about the Clark years. The importance of the history of that time is two-fold: Labour’s done nothing to suggest things will be different if in government in 2017; and (2) they’ve gone so far even as recently as 2014 to provide positive indication that indeed nothing will change if in government in 2017 (i.e. voting with the nats for anti-poor legislation). It’s these two things combined which make it even more of an imperative that Labour as our main opposition party display a shift in attitude and policy direction regarding beneficiaries.

              • weka

                Who was leader in 2014?

                One thing I’ve seen is Little say that Labour wants to support ALL NZers. That was in the context of beneficiaries. I took the subtext to be a rejection of Shearer’s painter on the roof fuck up, but that Labour don’t feel politically able to speak out directly yet. Whether that’s because of the bullshit from part of the public (voters) and the MSM, or whether it’s because of the internal left right split I don’t know. I also don’t know if or when Little’s statement will translate into anything useful. I’m not holding my breath but am open to being optimistic should the opportunity arise 😉

                The Greens have been similar. Don’t mention welfare unless it’s about the kids. I see that changing now. I also see quite a few stories in the MSM that are sympathetic to beneficiaries. I think something is changing in the culture. The middle classes getting to experience WINZ first hand, or hear about it more directly affecting people they care about, esp ill people, is part of that.

                • Chris

                  Every leader has said they want to support all New Zealanders – no leader has said anything markedly different so I don’t think that’s any indication. I hope something’s changing in the culture, too, but we get that feeling before every election or after every leadership change. Without anything more, perhaps like as you say “a clear statement and then shift in attitude and policy direction”, we cannot trust that anything will change. Recent history’s proved that. I am also open to being optimistic but, also like you, will not be holding my breath.

                  • weka

                    “Every leader has said they want to support all New Zealanders – no leader has said anything markedly different so I don’t think that’s any indication.”

                    It was something more specific than that, I’m trying to find a link (it was on the standard).

                  • weka

                    Little did this Q and A on ts 2 years ago, during the leadership campaign. This is the question I asked (unfortunately ts didn’t put all of the question in, which included direct bits about rolling back the Bennett reforms).

                    (5) Do you intend for Labour to develop policy specific to Work and Income beneficiaries? (as opposed to policy directed towards low income people in general). Do you recognise that many WINZ beneficiaries have vulnerabilities not being addressed by other Labour policy?

                    There’s a really sad irony that when workers lose their jobs – as far too many have under this government – they get sympathy. But as soon as they start receiving the unemployment benefit, they’re vilified.

                    New Zealanders are better than that. We know that when other members of our communities are having a rough time, we have a responsibility to help them get through. But we’ve got a nasty, narrow-minded government which keeps whipping up antipathy towards people who, for whatever reason, are relying on government support.

                    I care about every member of my community, whether they’re in work or not. And a government must be there for every person in its jurisdiction, whether they’re in work or not.

                    We also have to acknowledge that many people aren’t able to be in “normal” full-time, paid work, whether because of illness or injury or other important responsibilities like parenting. They shouldn’t be harassed and treated like second-class citizens just because they need a little extra support.

                    In the future world of work, people are going to move in and out of work a lot more, and we have to make sure that the income support system helps them do that as smoothly as possible. That will mean reviewing many of the systems we currently have. We really need to look at a universal basic income and stop stigmatizing those who find themselves out of work against their wishes and for reasons beyond their control.


                    Myself, I believe Little was sincere in his answers.

                    Rest of my questions are here,


                • Michael

                  “One thing I’ve seen is Little say that Labour wants to support ALL NZers.” Little’s reported statement is vacuous and cannot be relied upon as evidence that Labour has rediscovered its principles. Instead, judging from its actions, it is completely indifferent to the welfare of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people. In that respect, I suppose it is a bit better than NACT, which is actively hostile to this group of people (again, judging from its actions), but indifference is hardly a rallying cry for New Zealanders who don’t want to live in a neoliberal dystopia.

                  • Chris

                    “I suppose it is a bit better than NACT, which is actively hostile to this group of people (again, judging from its actions)…”

                    Which is my point entirely. The latest “action” from Labour was voting with National’s last lot of anti-poor legislation, so we have no choice but to be cynical. I also think that given the responsibility Labour has as an opposition party of the left the bar must be set higher which means they’re in fact not better than Nact at all. We must also acknowledge that a lot of what Labour did provided the platform for Key et al to get away with more than they would’ve hadn’t Labour done the spadework. Labour handed National the baton not only in 1990 but again in 2008.

                    That doesn’t mean we must give up hope. If Little is serious about what he says – and that what he says is what we hope it means – then that’s great. It’s not a matter of being right or wrong. It’s just that my take on recent history and on the evidence leads me to a cynical conclusion. It’s not inconsistent given such a conclusion that I want to be wrong.

      • Barfly 9.2.2

        Hmmm…lets complicate, obfuscate and distract….. poverty and piss poor housing have greatly increased during this last National led government this has lead to the obscenely high level of third world diseases that “Planet Key” espousers seek to distract us from. Shame on you

        • Leftie

          Well said Barfly, that’s exactly right, and Justathought is not the only one to complicate, obfuscate and distract, according to Chris above, what’s happening under the National government of the last 8 1/2 years, is all Labour’s fault.

    • Garibaldi 9.3

      If it hadn’t been for Venezuela none of this would have happened, eh Gosman ?

  9. Michael 10

    The relationship between poverty and poor-health has been studied exhaustively and a causal relationship clearly established. However, there’s no political will to do anything to fix the problem, even though the solutions are fairtly evident too. Why not? Because politicians know the middle classes don’t care about the poor any more, even though they are secretly terrified of joining their ranks if they lose purchasing power for any reason (such as displeasing a fatcat). And the middle of the middle class is where mainstream politicians limit their attention these days because this sliver of the electorate decides the outcome of MMP-style elections. As for doing the right thing – not so much in 2016 (the centenary of the Labour Party).

  10. Muttonbird 11


    A year or so ago National’s court jester, David Farrar, was congratulating the government for the decrease in rheumatic fever over recent years. As one of a stable of poverty deniers associated with John Key and the National party he used the then decrease as a major plank in his argument that government policy is reducing poverty in New Zealand.

    Wonder what Farrar has to say about the current “spike” in poverty related illnesses. And increased homelessness among working families for that matter.

  11. Rae 12

    Left to the private market there will be no such thing as an affordable house built, there might, just might, be a smattering here and there of some less unaffordable, but I wouldn’t put money on it.
    And building lots of houses won’t do it either, you want to take a quick look at what is going on in Hamilton, houses springing up like mushrooms, another city taking shape between River Road and Horsham Downs Road ending at Kay Rd that connects the two. It’s phenomenal, and guess what is happening to house prices in Hamilton. There are already McMansions on pocket hanky sized sections selling for around the million mark.
    There is only one way that can be happening, for my money, and that is foreigners having carte blanche in our market. I do not believe our house prices would hitting such ridiculous heights if the market value of them relied only on the NZ economy. You will struggle to change my mind about that.
    There are three parts to a solution for the disaster unfolding before our eyes that I can see.
    1. Get foreigners out of the housing market.
    2. The state must build mass affordable housing as we have done in the past, and some of it could even be sold to tenants on a rent to buy basis, or something along that line.
    3. Change our tenancy laws to be better cater for the need for lifetime rentals for people, affordable, secure and decent standard, with long term leases, more like those in Germany, so that even tenants have some place to actually call “home”.

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