Govt urged to deliver on health promise as they celebrate building milestone

Benedict Collins
Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern is being urged by health experts to hurry up and deliver another of her election promises, as she celebrated hitting a state house building milestone today.

Six brand new one-bedroom Kāinga Ora homes have been built in Christchurch, with Housing Minister Megan Woods saying the homes include the 8000 milestone.

“The benefit of those brand-new builds is making sure we're providing warm dry homes for those tenants,” Ardern said.

But National's not toasting the milestone, accusing the Government of hoodwinking the public.

“There are more than three times that number of people waiting for a state house today - these numbers will be cold comfort to them,” National’s housing spokesperson Nicola Willis said.

“Fewer than half of the homes the Government lays claim to are newly built with the majority having been bought or leased from the private market, effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Woods denies that accusation.

“That is simply untrue, if we want to solve the housing crisis, we have to elevate the debate above ridiculous side squabbles like that.

The Government believes it’s well on track now to deliver 18,000 new public homes by 2024, but public health experts are urging them to get on with another election promise - to set up a register to track and treat rheumatic fever.

“A register will help improve care for patients it will assist patients’ whanau to help them get their monthly injections, we'll be able to track patients across different districts,” National Hauora Coalition’s Dr Rawiri Jansen said.

Rheumatic fever is linked to overcrowding and poor-quality housing and mainly affects Māori and Pacific children, leaving them with lifelong impacts.

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall says there will be an announcement on the register but she won’t say when.

“I'm not able to make an announcement on the register, we will have more to say about our rheumatic fever programme soon.

“In the next few months, we'll have more to say on rheumatic fever,” she told 1 NEWS.