TPA Mayoral Debate Speech

Good afternoon all, 

As you may or may not be aware, I am a social housing tenant. 

I stood in front of our council on the 22nd of August, and stated what it was like living in one of these units. How in summer it only gets to about 8 degrees, and in winter it only gets to 0 degrees without heating. My winter power bills are currently $350 a month in a 50sq metre uninsulated unit. 

Now it was announced from Council Head of Facilities, Property and Planning Bruce Rendall on the council’s own website last night, that they are estimating $16 million on upgrading their units but only seeking a loan of $10 million at the sacrifice of “internal decorating”. 

I currently work in a hardware store, I’m sure I can get some paint brushes to help with this, and I am also sure I can get some paint from the same store. 

The website continues to say and I quote. “We want our tenants to live in healthy homes so we’ve done such things as install insulation, upgrade their heating, put in curtains, draught stopping, pipe lagging, and stick-on double glazing” 

I have had bubble wrap on the bedroom windows, does that count as insulation or stick-on double glazing? Updated heating, does a Skope wall mounted fan heater from the 80’s count as updated?  

The standards that we have in New Zealand are currently not the best. The sub-standard conditions of some of the rentals can have a major effect on every tenant. 

This can impact on the local economy, costing millions of dollars a year in lost productivity. It also impacts on the health of the tenants costing tax payers millions of dollars a year in medical assistance. What’s more important is the mental health of our tenants. We don’t know the cost of people who end up having a mental issues from sub-standard housing, but I am guessing millions of dollars a year. 

Recently, in fact on the 24th August, I ended up with another severe chest infection and I am just seeing the end of it. My son has had 3 weeks off from school that he will never get back, due to the sub-standard housing we live in. 

I personally believe that Central Government Healthy Homes Initiative starts the process but I believe it doesn’t go far enough. If I am elected, I will push for a higher standard of new housing stock in Christchurch as we move forward, including but not limited to, higher R value insulation, more energy efficient heating, better ventilation systems. 

What may cost us a few hundreds of dollars now will save us thousands, if not millions, later. 

Thank you. 

22nd August Council Deputation

Good morning Councilors; 

My name is Stephen McPaike and I currently reside in Haast Courts. 

I moved into my unit in July 2016 due to unforeseen circumstances in my life. During my time in this unit, I have lost 2 queen size beds, clothes, linen due to mold.  Unfortunately, it’s not the only thing I have lost. I have ended up quite ill on average two or three times per winter season and have been unable to go to my place of employment for up to a week at a time, thus losing income. My son has also been sick for three weeks and has not been able to attend school due to this. 

I come to you today to see an improvement to Council owned Social Housing Units. 

The 2017 Christchurch Housing Accord, that ended on 31st December 2018, states under section 22, that “The Government and Christchurch City Council agree to: Improve the supply and quality of social and affordable housing.” It also states in section 32 “The Accord identifies the intention of the Government and Council to work together to address issues affecting social and affordable housing in Christchurch.” 

In the Christchurch City Council Long Term Plan dated 2018-2028 it is mentioned that “adequate housing is a basic requirement… people must have access to adequate housing to meet their need.” This document continues to say “Good quality housing is required for healthy communities” which tenants in some of these units are still waiting to see. 

Recently, OCHT and City Council have been getting a lot of bad media attention starting in 2018 with the following articles: 

All articles are from as of 12/08/19 

When I moved into Haast Courts, I notice that there is a power hungry Skope wall mounted fan heater. To change this, I (and all tenants) would have to buy a heat pump, pay for the installation of the device, and to pay for the removal of this device as well as repairs to the unit when our tenancy ends. 

How is this possible for low income tenants to afford this? I have sort information on assistance from Ministry for Social Development (also known as Work and Income) and was told that they will not assist for a heating device for my unit as it falls under the land owners responsibility. 

I am sure that you, the Council, will ask how are we going to insulate the approximately 43% of our social housing stock without costing rate payers too much. Here is an idea, stop spending millions of dollars on (currently unwanted) cycle lanes and use the money to insulate and double glaze these units. 

It has also been announced that CCC will be giving a loan to OCHT of $30 million to “build an additional 130 social houses for Christchurch. The Trust will also replace 50 existing ‘old and cold’ units with 50 new, warm, dry units.” This is a small step but it is defiantly not enough. 

Pink Batts have insulation available for ceilings, skillion roofs, mid floors, floors and walls. Other than Pink Batts the following hardware stores have other products that can be intergraded into the social housing units. 

  • Mitre 10 has Bradford Gold insulation. 
  • Placemakers has GreenStuff insulation. 
  • Bunnings has GreenStuff and Earthwool. 

If you think that we should continue to live in these units, when both Local and Central Government are pushing for healthier homes, maybe we, as tenants, should ask you the question, “Are you willing to live in one of these units?”  

I believe not. So, what will you, the council do to help, and how will you inform your tenants? 

Thank you for your time 

Stephen McPaike