Govt shares Dr O'Sullivan's concerns for state of public homes

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Auckland

Government says they share Dr Lance O'Sullivan’s concerns about the state of public and private homes in which New Zealand children are living. This comes after O’Sullivan issued a challenge to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development on Facebook after witnessing the shocking living conditions of a 28-year-old solo mother and her two children living in an Auckland state house.

Acting Minister for Housing and Urban Development Carmel Sepuloni said safe warm homes were the Government's priority.

“We have already built over 740 state houses since we came into office and we are investing over $4 billion to build thousands more and renovate existing one."

"The state of this particular house is unacceptable and Housing New Zealand will be visiting the family this afternoon.”  

"As a Government, we are working hard to build and fix more houses caused by a decade of neglect by the previous Government."

This comes after a video uploaded on Facebook by O’Sullivan alluding to the poor conditions of an Auckland state house were to blame for chronic asthma and respiratory problems of his four-year-old patient, as well as his nine-year-old brother.

Shocking footage recorded inside the home show water running through the house while mold can be seen on the ceiling and walls of the boy's bedrooms.

In the video, O’Sullivan says the boys’ mother believed the house was “making my kids sick.”

"Poverty related diseases are occurring under the watch of our Government agencies that shouldn't allow that to happen."

O'Sullivan fears other families could also be at risk. He has created a Facebook page in response, called 'My house makes me sick' for others to come forward. "It's highlighted the problem I guess the question is now is what's the action to address it."

"There should be a question that the health minister should be asking that every child who has been admitted for pneumonia and asthma and the like and asking what contribution poor housing is having to these children presenting to hospitals."

Minister Sepuloni says tenants living in houses that need repairs should contact Housing NZ for help.