Thursday, June 4, 2015
Mike Butler: Cold housing and the poverty pimps
One minute in, reporter Max Bania said that the house had a heater provided by Housing New Zealand but the family seldom used it because they couldn’t afford the power bill.
Coroner Brandt Shortland wrote "It is entirely possible the condition of the house had contributed to the pneumonia-like illness that Emma-Lita was suffering at the time of her death."
But the Children’s Commissioner shifted the link between Emma-Lita’s housing and her death from the coroner’s “possible” to a definite by saying: “If Emma-Lita lived in a warm dry house it’s very unlikely she would have got pneumonia. She wouldn’t have died.”
Housing providers are blamed for cold houses but the real villains are the electricity generators, mostly owned by the government, and the soaring price of electricity that has doubled over 10 years.
Any insulated house with a warrant of fitness would remain cold if people don’t turn the heater on.
The clip also showed a mouldy wall and ceiling. The reporter did not say that the mouldy wall and ceiling belonged to the house Emma-Lita and her family lived in. The reporter did not say that mould can be cleaned away.
He did not ask whether a portable gas heater had been used in the house, which is the second question to ask after the first question, whether the occupants ventilate the house and wipe away damp.
A bottled gas heater produces around 200mls of water vapour for each kilowatt of output, each hour it is operating, as well as well as emitting dangerous gases and particulates, causing feelings of fatigue, and worsening heart and respiratory problems, especially in asthma sufferers.
Unfortunately, the hype about housing killing people has shifted the focus away from the actual problems of overcrowding, use of portable gas heaters, failure to ventilate, and poor hygiene.
It's winter and the poverty pimps are back with their cold-housing hype.
at 8:53 PM