Why are New Zealand homes so unhealthy?

I wrote this article on unhealthy homes three years ago and it is so frustrating that nothing seems to have changed – in fact it seems to be worsening, especially with the housing bubble in Auckland. Houses simply aren’t being upgraded, and with more and more people renting, it is unlikely to change. Landlords tend to go for the cheapest possible option, and with no pressure or incentive to insulate houses, why would they bother. Until there is a mandatory WOF, I doubt that much will change. But how to achieve that? How many children will have to die from respiratory illnesses caused by poor housing before the government acts?

Research has been ongoing for the past 20 years about the shocking state of New Zealand’s housing stock, especially pre 2000 buildings.

“The Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington research group, led by Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, has also undertaken extensive research into the links and associations between housing and health over a number of years. This work has underpinned national and local policies for healthy homes. The research showed that 14 percent of children between two and fourteen years old, and 11 percent of all New Zealanders aged fifteen years or older have been diagnosed or had symptoms consistent with asthma. These are some of the highest rates in the world.”