The Election Guide published by the New Zealand Herald this week has made a major omission by excluding housing from its selection of the 11 “biggest issues”, says Community Housing Aotearoa, New Zealand’s only peak body for the not-for-profit housing sector.
“Neglect of housing conditions is a major factor in our shocking rate of rheumatic fever just as a lack of housing options is an integral part of the story of child poverty in New Zealand as seen so plainly in this week’s documentary on child poverty screened on TV3,” says David McCartney, Executive Officer of Community Housing Aotearoa.
“When you couple those issues with others such as the current Parliamentary inquiry held into conditions in the nation’s boarding houses, and the fact that we are in the early stages of a major reconfiguration of Housing New Zealand’s housing stock and the biggest social housing reform programme in decades, we believe housing should definitely be in any selection of the top 11 issues facing this country if not the top 5.
“The issue of housing needs in Christchurch alone should push the need for a long-term strategy for housing even further up the agenda.
“Our concern is that all signposts for the future point to a projected growth in the need for affordable social and community housing options, and for that to occur new or redeveloped housing stock needs to both grow in quantity and improve in quality.
“Our concern is that the importance of this issue as a contributor to health and economic well-being will never gain traction if it continues to be depoliticised, downplayed and under-reported.
The 11 “biggest issues” featured in the NZ Herald 2011 Election Guide were health, economy, education, welfare, environment, workplace, KiwiSaver, transport, foreign affairs, ACC and law and order.