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.