Green PartyMonday 15 November 2010, 4:09PM
Media release from the Green Party
High rates of rheumatic fever due to overcrowding can be brought
down by providing the essentials for every New Zealander, the Green
Party said today.
Researchers at Otago University today released a study which finds
rheumatic fever infection rates in areas with the most crowded
households are nearly 90 per cent higher than areas with the least
"This research shows the drastic need for more, high quality,
state housing where it is most needed," Green Party Health
spokesperson Kevin Hague said.
"Rheumatic fever is a disease of overcrowding and poverty. The
simple solution is to build more houses where they are needed and
ensure housing is affordable.
"Public health interventions, such as throat swabs and monitoring,
are good but are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.
"Earlier in the year I challenged the Minister of Health Tony
Ryall about rheumatic fever. It seems this he has done nothing to
make the situation better.
Mr Hague said that the Green Party's Mind the Gap package,
launched earlier in the year, would be a good starting point for
the Government to address overcrowding and other poverty related
"Access to affordable housing means families will be able to
afford rents, take their children to the doctor, and heat their
houses sufficiently during winter," Mr Hague said.
"We have a major income inequality gap which puts these things out
of the reach of a lot of New Zealand families.
"Introducing an In-Work Tax credit for all low-income families and
a tax free $10,000 would free up some money to allow families to
afford to go to the doctor, buy healthier food, and heat their
houses adequately," Mr Hague said.