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'This is an issue' - Number of Māori, Pasifika living in damp homes worries Dr Bloomfield

More than 1 in 3 Māori and Pasifika people are living in damp houses according to new numbers released by StatsNZ. 

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Dr Ashley Bloomfield says there is "still work to do" but the Government as making "good progress". Source: 1 NEWS

According to information collected in the 2018 Census, 35.3 per cent of Māori and 37.3 per cent of Pasifika are living in damp private dwellings.  

During the Ministry of Health's Covid-19 update today, Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield said he was "bothered" by the statistic. 

"This is an issue over winter and part of it is the damp and coldness. It is also for people to be able to heat their homes for children and older people, so that they're not in these conditions which make them more susceptible to respiratory illnesses." 

While it is an ongoing issue, Dr Bloomfield said the Government was making "good progress" after introducing regulations last year for landlords which require rentals to be properly insulated. 

"So I think we are making good progress with those issues but I’m still bothered by the fact that there is still cold houses in New Zealand. Clearly there is still work to do," he said.  

The Māori and Pasifika numbers are well above the national average of just 22.3 per cent of people living in private dwellings which are damp with mould.

Counties Manukau, Waikato, Northland, and the Lakes District had the highest proportion of Māori and Pasifika communities living in damp housing.  

Northland has the highest number of people residing in damp homes with 42.9 per cent of Māori and 43 per cent of Pasifika people there residing in damp dwellings. 

Within Auckland it was local boards in Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki, Manurewa, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu, and Puketāpapa which recorded the highest number of Māori and Pasifika in damp homes. 

Nationally, approximately a third of Māori and Pasifika were found to be living in homes with mould present which was larger than an A4 piece of paper. 

Infants and young children as well as teenagers and young adults were statistically higher than other Māori and Pasifika age groups found living in damp homes.  

Last week’s Budget saw a $56 million boost to New Zealand’s insulation and heating programme. It meant the grant for low income households to install insulation and/or heating increased from 67 per cent to 90 per cent.