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Opinion: Brendon Harre looks at the impact of housing affordability on poverty and wonders why local authorities aren't more concerned

Opinion: Brendon Harre looks at the impact of housing affordability on poverty and wonders why local authorities aren't more concerned

By Brendon Harre*

Addressing poverty is generally seen as a central government responsibility.

But in truth a significant cause of poverty is local government regulations that result in expensive housing.

Here are some of the effects unaffordable housing has on poverty.


In the this link you can see from the charts that hospitalisation rates for infectious diseases (P.25) tracks housing affordability (P.27).

These infectious diseases are really third world diseases associated with poor housing and deprivation.

Bryan Bruce based a good part of a child poverty documentary on this issue. This documentary was first screened just prior to the last election and I would guess there will be an updated version coming out before the next election.

There are not many examples of central government institutions co-operating with local government with regard to regulatory reform. But there is the following example of the Canterbury District Health Board assessing and making recommendations for Christchurch's and surrounding local government's Greater Christchurch urban strategy.

This process occurred under the previous Labour Government and the Health Impact Assessment was released in April 2006. On page 50 the report states that the recommended option of increased concentration will likely lead to increased land prices and therefore higher house prices.

Renting is statistically linked to a shorter life even after taking into account other socio economic factors p.49 and on the same page stated there is growing evidence of poor health related to high housing costs due to poor nutrition etc.

But the assessment chose to downgrade these real problems and up grade wishful thinking claims that the plan will lead to more people exercising by cycling, walking etc and therefore improved health, so the Health Impact Assessment went in favour of more concentration. (Sorry the internet link to the report has degraded.)

This Plan is still in place after the earthquakes and supported by committees, planners and political patrons such as Mayor Bob Parker. He discusses co-operating with the government for what land will be made available for displaced earthquake residents, using the Greater Christchurch Urban Strategy framework.

What the Plan does not acknowledge is by identifying specific areas for residential development, allows that the identified land to gain monopoly pricing power. It has been discussed on this website that these sort of urban containment plans lead to unresponsive supply and actually do not achieve there purpose as people go even further out looking for affordable homes.

For example the building consents in November 2012 for Christchurch City Council were 141 compared to 214 for the Waimakariri and Selwyn councils (Statistics New Zealand).

What is not discussed is how unaffordable housing causes poverty.

Child poverty:

The recent report Solutions to child poverty in New Zealand evidence for action has a whole section on housing (P. 45-49).

Of interest is how important housing affordability is seen by the public in general, as indicated by the following quote, "Overall, addressing the housing situation for children living in poverty was the top priority expressed by New Zealanders who provided feedback ..." (P.45).

Unfortunately none of the recommendations specified what local government could do to remedy this issue.

Most of the recommendations stated 'the government should ...'; maybe the authors implicitly assumed 'the government' includes local government but this sort of language is confusing, because it can easily be read that addressing housing affordability is not a local government responsibility.

Elderly poverty:

The outgoing Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan has this to say. "Housing affordability woes present a looming crisis for New Zealand's retirement income framework. ... Rates of poverty amongst retirees who own their own home outright are much lower than those who are still paying a mortgage or rent. ... Unfortunately, housing affordability has declined to a point where, now, a house costs five times a salary, compared to two-and-a-half times a salary in the 1990s, and rates of home ownership are declining."

What unaffordable housing costs the taxpayer:

"That accommodation supplement costs about NZ$1.2 billion dollars a year, and state housing rent subsidies cost about NZ$600 million, so you you're close to the NZ$2 billion mark, and that is of a serious concern to us," Heatley the former Minister of Housing said

If you add in Working for Families tax credits being a further $2.8 billion, which was implemented at least in part due to concerns about child poverty and stretched household budgets by high housing costs then the total cost is about $4.5 billion.

As house prices are rising faster than inflation and even wages, then central government expenditure on housing will also rise faster, sucking expenditure from other areas.

Housing costs of $4.5 billion are not insignificant costs when you compare it with the three main areas of central government expenditure:

Social security and welfare: $25.5 billion
Health: $13.7 billion
Education: $12.4 billion

Or total local authority spending of $7.8 billion.

And there is pressure to spend more taxpayers money on housing with the Labour Party proposing another billion be spent on their Kiwibuild proposal, while the Green party are proposing a Homes for Life policy, where Central Government uses its access to cheap borrowing to get into the business of providing housing.

Note these proposals amount to something like 1,000 houses a month depending on how large the Green party's scheme is, while the current local government dominated market place provided 1,658 dwellings last November on an increasing trend.

Alan Johnson, who is a policy analyst for the Salvation Army, has been following developments with the Accommodation Supplement since the early 1990s, summarises the situation well.

“The subsidy rate that we’ve got is designed to encourage people to economise on their housing costs. But it does mean that any rent increase ahead of household income increase still leaves the household with less disposable income, which can cause real hardship.... They haven’t really addressed that issue, and the way they are addressing it is through supplementary benefits – Working for Families – which doesn’t help. What it does is turn working households into beneficiary households.... Really the only way is a supply response. Build houses, or make certain affordable houses are built."


The current regulatory framework and co-operation between central and local government is unsatisfactory.

The decisions that determine the supply response to housing demand and hence the market price are made by local government. But the responsibility for addressing the poverty issues resulting from unaffordable housing is a central government problem.

This split between decision making and responsibility with no acknowledgement how one affects the other is causing serious difficulties for New Zealand.

This whole area is highly dysfunctional and long overdue for reform.

The National Party is proposing reforming the Local government regulatory framework to improve the supply response, while the Labour and Green parties are proposing Central government provide those houses directly.


Brendon Harre is a reader and commenter on "I studied some university economics but my career was in psychiatric nursing, I have lived in Finland until recently where I retrained as a cook. Currently I am at home in Christchurch looking after two preschool boys."

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There are many causes of poverty, unaffordable housing is just one of them. Poverty means different things to different people.
No arguments that the cost of housing in NZ is stupidly inflated....but the economy is dependent upon the bank credit creation mortgage lending property bubble farce developed over many decades and fully supported by politicians of all colour...indeed a farce many of them participate in and grow fat with wealth on.
It is also true that many people waste much of their income on 'stuff', leaving them with too little to 'get by on'.....



You have to basic conditions to stay out of the poverty swamp:
1. a healthy and fair institutional system (economic, education etc)
2. Youself
In NZ, the first bullet point is of course not perfect but better than many other places.
So, my view is that there must be something wrong with 'Yourself'.

Be careful X.....when you raise the 'attitude' flag....people spit tacks....not allowed....not PC.

Good summary, Brendon. My main theme  (yes, play the record again) is that LG is, in general, economically clueless in terms of its operations and policies:  it inflicts real costs on real people. 
But as your article notes, because of the historic division of duties between central and local (central handles income redistribution, local thinks it handles only rates and levies), the consequences of dopey local policy are not worn locally.  So no learning takes place and the cycle - (bad policy, local costs, CG covers up, populace placated, elects another set of LG plonkers who create....) repeats ad inifinitum.
Where's the Precautionary Principle when ya need it?

Well said Brendon.  It’s amazing to see that some people think that ‘bailing’ is the only permanent way to stop a boat from sinking, rather than fix the hole. Solving the underlying issue of housing affordability would also solve (for a large part) many other social ills.
And Waymad, as you noted about councils only seeing their responsibilities as collecting rates and looking after sewerage. Look what has happened when they were given more opportunity to show what they could do a la the four well-beings, they built Stadiums etc., instead of building a council infrastructure that enabled affordable housing to be developed. They had their chance, but failed.

Excellent article thanks Brendon. Here is why housing affordability is the leading cause of poverty. Housing is the single biggest cost for households. See link below to Statistics NZ household expenditure surveys.
If you drive that cost up, it throws large numbers of the population into poverty...whether they are getting a mortgage or renting. Then you get the detrimental health outcomes you're talking about coming along with it. Also you get people leaving the country...all of which has been happening in NZ for 10 years.

good article Brendon
I've often argued here that if housing was properly addressed in the early 2000s then the costly WFF would never have been needed 

i think you're right Matt

"The housing crisis in Christchurch has left mother-of-two Amber Breiter with no choice but to live in a single garage" press
Where is/ are the fathers?
No worries right...taxpayers will foot the cost of this lifestyle choice...when does it end...when ?

Someone may write a research article with title 'What if there were no single parents in New Zealand?'.
Since when stable family structure, life-time committed marriage and self-responsibility had stopped being advocated by mainstream media?

Since extensive and unconcerned welfare provisions made it economically rational to Marry the State...

Marriages fail,  staying in a failed marraige or an abusive one is not stable. B or good for children.  Brain washing of course takes many forms.  Being told by the media that because your marriage has failed you are a failure isnt helpful. Maybe with a name like yours you are used to propaganda from your beloved and male dominated communist party?

U like to accuse people based their names, origin, nationality, or perhaps ethnicity, right?
Why do you associate the 'party' with me when I have never ever even voted for them?
Talking about 'propaganda', I was educated by my family that I should be responsible for my marriage, and treat my marriage as a life-time commitment.
I do not want to think of you as a close-minded person. But, I need to ask whether you have ever gone anywhere from NZ or OZ. Go somewhere different, please. It will help you to think differently.

Wrong, very much the opposite, considering my other half's family is mostly chinese and my children are  1/2 chinese Im merely aware of the propaganda of the communist party and its mouth piece the media.   Sure marriage is a lifetime commitment, my one has been so far  and after this long will be, but I am a firm believer in teaching by example and not dictatin and especially I dont believe in listening to the media for how to lead my life.
I have traveled al over the world, travelling around it by ship as I was in the merchant navy, so Ive seen quite a bit, some I wish I had not. 
I think maybe between your english being a second language and my english being not the best we are mis-understanding each other.
I certainly meant no offence, except if you turned out to be a fanatical type, then I can live with that...

Steven - Self-responsibility may mean removing yourself from a bad situation, however the obligation of self-responsibility for children etc should still exist. 
It is completely unhelpful to start slurring people based upon their name, ethicity, religion, politics, gender etc.  Get a life.

So being told by the media to be happy all is well the Govn says so is OK by you?  Or have morals dictated to you by someone else through the media they control is OK?
Because that is what his comments reaked of....
"may" indeed, lets see the clarification, but funny thing is as a libertarian I would have thought you wouldnt like being dictated to by anyone, I certainly do not.
Im not sluring, Im tryting to point out that I for one do not wish to be dictated to by others based on their religion, politics or sex.

Wolly asks "where is or are the fathers"?
Here's most of your answer. Ya gotta wonder about the whole thing. This article in the NZ Herald summarises all the ingredients. This guy molests his daughter. Held on remand. Then given electronic bail with a bracelet to an address in Pages Rd, Christchurch. Work and Income paid the $1500 bond and rent of $300 a week (pretty good huh), but the CLOWNS didn't confiscate his passport, didn't put him on a "prohibited departure list" so he did a runner. TOO EASY. They are that stupid.

Thanks icono...nice to be reminded of how stupid some judges can be..and how gutless Ministers of the Crown usually are..."Clowns" does not do it..!
I prefer a version of the ancient British village 'outlaw' policy...drop swine like that on the Auckland Islands with a blanket and fishing kit. No wardens food or housing....survive or cark it....returned to mainland if they do, at the end of the sentence.

State housing Max $50 per week on condition that they only buy food from Supermakets and no junk food ie KFC, Burger King, MacDonalds, pizza hut, Dominos is banned.  Additionally no Sky TV allowed on state houses as part of government state house initiatives.  This would creates a healthy livestyle for poor or very low income workers and reduce the health costs of Obesity, heart attacks etc and costs on the health system .  Cheap rent on condition of staying healthy.  Additonally the government needs to crack down on Churches taking 10% of their wages or 10% of wealthfare benefits to line the pockets of the church trustees or priests. Churches pay an important part in the community but some taking advantage and particularly the poor are the ones who are suffering as a consequence of this. Donations by Welfare benefit society to be set a 10 cents per week only. Any Church found to be taking more will be hit with a $100,000 fine.  Less money to the churches will mean more money to the real economy.  there should be a programme on TV that goes undercover to see how big the problem is with the poorest members of our society giving more to the churches than feeding their own kids.  High house prices are one cause of poverty and a sense of going nowhere for many families in NZ and other contributing factors that compound the problem.

The lie of regulation
Regarding the Page One story on Jan. 8 "Lanier puts his weight behind builders / Ex-mayor joins campaign against development regulations he says hurt city": As I have asked different builders and developers time and time again: How much money do you need?
For 14 years, I have had to listen to the frustration and disbelief of professionals with major companies who are transferring to Houston ask me, "What do you mean you don't have zoning?" Incoming homebuyers have become increasingly cautious about their purchases because our regulations are weak. To suggest that Houston is in danger of overregulation in development is laughable if not an outright lie.
When potential buyers see three- and four-story town-homes and four- to five-story midrises adjacent to and crowding one- and two-story single-family homes, they take a pass. It then becomes a challenge to find a relatively "safe" neighborhood with deed restrictions, or a separate city such as West University or Southside with a property that meets my customers' needs.
Unregulated residential construction on top of active railroads, freeways and busy commercial streets is the norm at this time, not the exception.
Excessive regulation is an economic danger? If I may quote the great poet, John Milton, "License they mean when they cry liberty!"
Realtor, Houston


PM says 'no'
    Prime Minister John Key reiterated later a land tax and broader capital gains tax were still off the cards. Asked whether the implementation of one or the other could allow government to reduce income taxes to give people more income to spend, he replied:
    “At the risk of repeating myself from last year, we looked at a land tax, and land taxes, one, reduce the value of land in New Zealand, by definition, and it has an impact on every single homeowner in New Zealand."

Agree, except for the CGT %, good accountants can make a profit = 0.  Also how do you account for improvements?  otherwise you double tax.   So a better way would be a % of the current business tax, say 50% of 30% = 15% mayve allow for inflation so if you have owned a property 30 years at 2% inflation per annum then 15% is only due on the actual gain in real value.  Im sure something fair could be worked out.
I think NZ only ownership will come, Id vote for it tomorrow.  The cook islands for instance only allows cook islanders to own land, so I agree only permanent residents in NZ should be allowed to own property.
Sections at cost, of course not, vested interests or the rent seekers have too big a say, but it looks like that may wain, voters are p*ssed and pollies know that.
Fortunate indeed that we have a 1 person 1 vote system.

Wolly have u heard of agenda 21 its a united nations white paper that is implemented
through local councils its worth having a look on yahoo search most of nz is going that way
scary stuff

Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development
If you think thats scary, then you obviously cant do maths. 

Brendon is barking up the wrong tree.
As proven by having gained the support of Mantra Man.
Wealth is the ability to buy 'bits of the planet'. If you don't limit the number of young folk, and limit the consumption-per-head, then addressing 'poverty' in any other manner is a waste of time - slash - doomed to fail.
And blame-shifting (be it LG, CG, greenies, or anyone else) is ducking the real question of our time.

A Deafening Silence from Radio NZ:
“The big adverse gap in productivity between New Zealand and other countries opened up from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The policy choice that increased immigration – given the number of employers increasingly unable to pay First-World wages to the existing population and all the capital requirements that increasing populations involve – looks likely to have worked almost directly against the adjustment New Zealand needed to make and it might have been better off with a lower rate of net immigration. This adjustment would have involved a lower real interest rate (and cost of capital) and a lower real exchange rate, meaning a more favourable environment for raising the low level of productive capital per worker and labour productivity. The low level of capital per worker is a striking symptom of New Zealand’s economic challenge.
Plenty of Grease here:
“Creating wealth, security and financial freedom is often an investor’s ultimate goal. 90% of millionaires get there by investing in real-estate”
New Zealand has strong population growth due to its progressive immigration policy and birth rates. Many parts of the country are experiencing housing shortages translating into strong tenant demand and price growth. This trend is expected to continue with recent population projections by the New Zealand Department of Statistics forecasting up to 64% growth over the next 17 years. Auckland city is predicted to almost double its population in the next 40 years. For property investors, this represents outstanding potential growth in demand and return on investment. New Zealand’s property prices are also relatively undervalued compared to its closest neighbour Australia.

Fascinating how the New Zealand Property Service logo;
Looks exactly like the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise logo (and the same logo is used by NZ Tourism);
Noting that the NZTE one is Trade Marked.

New Zealanders experience of organic whole milk [Hummer driving] developers:
and the messing of towns and nieghbourhoods goes hand in hand with increasing inequality as wealth stays in the hands of those who rode the property boom and is guaranteed by an enourmous overseas market from (top of the food chain people) who come from places where you can't breath the air.

Great article.
The council staff are almost entirely to blame for the housing affordability problem.

Thanks Davo36. I tried to stay on solid ground that I could find evidence to support my argument. I suspect JH and others who discuss the wider costs to our economy of unaffordable housing are on to something. But it is harder to prove,

Brendon - if you want to stay on 'solid ground', you have to back off to first principles, and build your case with no chinks, from there.
You fail that test. Where is your investigation of what 'the economy' is? You take it for granted? Where is your investigation of what money is? Ditto? What about the stuff that money buys? No good comparing incomes, if there's not enough on the shelves.
There is one valid poverty discussion (the one about everyone getting rich simultaneously is curtailed by ultimate scarcity, obviously) and that is the '!%' vs the rest, one. It's a valid debate, but I suspect even smearing the peanut butter evenly, there wouldn't be enough, now.
Will Catton - in Chch in 1980, wrote 'Overshoot' . There should be a copy in the city still. Homework time.
Don't blame the teller, feller.....

Wiv all due respect, Kilmog Man (we really must meet up one day...), you're letting the Perfect get in the way of the Good here.
Brendon has done a great job with this article, illustrating how blinkered bureaucrats cause wider weconomic ripples.
That's part of the wider effoprt to make our LG's less economically clueless, and sheet home some Consequences.
I think it's called Transparency, Accountability, and even a bottom-up Democracy.
It's the beginning of a Change Process, perhaps?
As Leonard Cohen sings, 'there's a crack in everything, it's how the light gets in'.
Widening these - er - Cracks is shurely to be Encouraged....

Gee Waymad calling PDK Kilmog man sounds so Neanderthal,  – but it raises a good point, and this is more of a question to PDK, as to why he choose to stop his (re)evolution at where he did, instead of continueing a la Amish and in not doing so he (and us all) are falling short of Perfect.
Without everyone being able to, or wanting to live on a small holding on a hill, Kilmog or otherwise,  I would sooner see waste in all its forms removed from the housing system and see the greening of the cities (Greenurbia) which includes the reduction of transport use by the likes of communicating via the internet .
I think it’s great we can all communicate as we do, although I’m sure it’s still not 100% oil free. This is why I agree with Hugh P’s solution to the problem of housing unaffordability based on my experience of property development both in NZ and as luck would have it, Texas.  
It is not about sprawl vs high density. If all the wasted money that is now consumed by land and house development could be returned to its owners, then we could buy closer into the city for the same money, if that is what you wanted. Or further out even cheaper still.
Either way we would have more money, if that’s what it took, to put into passive solar etc. as PDK suggests. And as our financial energy input was less, we need less out the other end, and would also have more time to reducing the dependence on many things (like oil) even further.  
But I get the feeling from PDK replies to most posts, and like to Brendon’s article, it’s all too late and all we can do is wait for ‘the I told you so.’  

You don't have to put money into passive solar - properly done it's cheaper than not doing it. It's not active solar - that's infrastruture. Passive is design.
There is indeed a 'commons' paradox at work, and in my circles it's discussed. It is indeed 'too late', unless everyone goes sustainable together. We have friends who have gone car-less. It's absolutely the right move, across the board. It's absolutely of no use, while someone else will burn the oil. Tragedy of the commons.
I've done what one person can, proactively. Demonstrated that you can build for under $55/sq/m, can get by (legally) without the cavity horseshit, and fully passive-solar. Also demonstrated that you can run perfectly well on 1-2 KWh a day. And that you can supply your own food (insulated-panel g/houses extend the season). Now I focus on raising awareness. No point in urging folk to don lifejackets, if they think it's just a drill - they tend to go back to their cabins.....
And think about 'money' ain't what you think it is     :)

PDK, If you read my article carefully you would realise that the current local government practices are not working for the environment as well as for those suffering from poverty housing.
This means there is a chance for a compromise solution. Say freeing up supply constraints on new housing in exchange for higher environmental standards. Say being self sufficient in heating through good passive/solar heating design.
Do the Greenies have the intellectual capability to do this?
If you think about it the Maori and Pacific Island communities also have the chance to be part of some compromise solution. As you can see in the above graph they are the biggest sufferers from over crowding and have the most to gain from affordable housing.

Brendon - first principles. You cant have both 'working for the environment' and poverty alleviation. Sorry, but what part of that don't you get? It's the getting of wealth (even the communities you mention are wealthy, in sustainability terms) that degrades 'the environment'.
DoC have the same oxymoron - being polite - or lie, being cynical. 'Conservation through Prosperity', is a total nonsense - it's the prosperity is the impact. Seriously, it's a stupid as 'the floggings will cease when morale improves', and everyone gets that.
Yes, good design and clever retro-fits are part of where we should go - but always with an eye on long-term sustainability. Your comments suggest that you might be confusing 'the environment' with the conservation estate. The environment is everywhere and everything - as John Clarke/ Fred Dagg pointed out long ago "oh it didn't damage the environment, we towed it out past the environment". (A smart man who saw it clearly).
I have an 'affordable house', that ain't the problem. Your problem is the ever-increasing encroachment onto the land that feeds the 50% of humanity who live urbanly, forcing the process with fossil fuels. A better deal would be swapping 'the snip after two children' for housing development - at least that way the system would end at some point of our choosing, rather than in uncontrolled collapse.

PDK -Empericalism. What does the evidence say? No that does not mean I do not understand your peak oil/resources argument or that I deny it.
But the evidence shows that in our little part of the world, our current local government regulations are forcing people further out than needed due to unaffordable housing. In Christchurch's case 20 km or further to places like Rolleston or Rangiora. See the building consent stats from Statistics New Zealand.
If we changed the regulations, sections much closer to Christchurch would become available at an affordable price. Commuting distances would fall.
Surely this helps move towards sustainability, especially if those new buildings had to be built to higher energy efficiency standards?
Can a deal be done?
Or is it perfection or nothing?

Steven I can do the maths,are you a school teacher if not u should be

Housing and health articles recently emailed to me.
Homes may be making children sick
“….In the first study of its kind at a New Zealand hospital, a team of medical students found a "shocking" number of toddlers admitted overnight to Wellington Hospital were living in cold, damp houses, and might not have been sick if not for their surroundings.
"It's the scale of this effect that has been a surprise," said lead researcher Michael Baker, a professor at the department of public health at the University of Otago in Wellington.
"The home environment in New Zealand is just incredibly poor for a developed country.”……..
And did we miss this report in the Herald in Feb 2012?
Divided Auckland: Overcrowding a hotbed for infections
By Simon Collins
Feb 9, 2012
“…….Infectious diseases associated with child poverty and overcrowding are approaching a peak not seen since the epidemic of meningococcal disease a decade ago.
Health experts say the latest peak, driven by skin infections, appears to be linked to worsening overcrowding, as extended families unable to afford rising Auckland house prices and rents double up in houses and garages.
"Auckland will be heading for a crisis in this area with its lack of housing and expanding population," says Otago University public health professor Michael Baker……”
Other research:
Philippa Howden-Chapman and Nick Wilson (1999), “Housing and Health”
Note that Philippa Howden-Chapman appears to be quite an expert on this:
Philippa Howden-Chapman is well-known internationally for her work on equity in health, as indicated by her membership of the board of the International Society of Equity in Health and membership of the European Network on Interventions and Policies to reduce Socio-economic Inequalities in Health. She is the editor of "Social Inequalities of Health: New Zealand 1999" which highlighted the growing inequalities in the social and economic determinants of health in the 1990s and the importance of taking action to reverse this trend.
"Helping to make the link between housing and health and developing evidence to show that it can make a difference to families’ health is a very practical way of making an important difference to people’s lives. Being based in the University has helped me to leverage resources in a way that helps people on low incomes to hopefully lead more comfortable lives, while at the same time working to generate knowledge about key policy issues."
Here is a 2002 Editorial she wrote in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health:
“Housing and inequalities in health”
Here’s a 2011 paper:
Does housing policy influence health?
1.     Tony Blakely
2.     Michael G Baker 
3.     Philippa Howden-Chapman
This paper seems to be from June this year:
“Infectious Diseases Attributable to Household Crowding in New Zealand: A Systematic Review and Burden of Disease Estimate”
Professor Michael G Baker
Dr Andrea McDonald
Jane Zhang
Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman
There is more on Stats NZ website:

Severe crowding in New Zealand since 1921: "A challenge to health and decency"
The MOTU people have had a go:
Maani, S., Vaithianathan, R., and B. Wolf (2006), “Inequality and health: Is housing crowding the
Here’s a 2011 one from Aussie:
“Precarious housing and health inequalities: what are the links?”
Here’s an interesting UK one with a slightly different angle:
“Green space, psychological restoration, and health Inequality”

Nice post Brendon........these are the sorts of reports that make me cringe........prevention is better than cure..........
Socialism is a complete has disempowered too many people.......they have fallen through the cracks of Nanny State knows best BS.
When we know what the causes to these health issues are but are unable on a Government  basis to provision adequate healthy homes we must expect the Government to address the wider issues that are the origin of the problem........affordable healthy homes is not a pipe is a basic human right.......we need to empower people so they can make the decisions as individuals not based around hideous rules and regulations that effectively price lower income people from provisioning themselves with the fundamental basics of life.
People can fool themselves that they have achieved and done well......but as a country we are only as wealthy as the poorest person..........Totalitariansim, Fascism and Corporatocracy do not empower individuals it suppresses them. The trickle down effect is a mythical creature garnering false hope.

Thanks notaneconomist. I agree with your sentiment. Especially  ".....affordable healthy homes is not a pipe is a basic human right..... we need to empower people so they can make the decisions as individuals not based around hideous rules and regulations that effectively price lower income people from provisionsing themselves with the fundamental basics of life."
I don't blame something abstract like socialsim I blame the last Labour government and if the current government doesn't fix it then I will blame them too.

Blame the whole lot. Which means blame ourselves - citizens keep voting for less than they deserve. Read more 

amusing - you watch what happens come election time next year ..
Watching politics here in oz play out .. the hoi-poloi were fed up with the gymnastics of Rudd and Gillard .. voted them out .. and the only way to vote them out was to vote the other lot in .. and now just 3 months into the term of this new "nationals" government .. the hoi-poloi are deeply regretting it

So, you watch what happens next year .. the legacy of the previous labour government is still fresh in the minds of the populace .. the nationals will get themselves voted back in because the hoi-poloi wont bring themselves to vote for the other lot just yet
Voters carry a grudge too long .. look at winnie .. still wearing a 15 year old stain

Good link Stephen H

Catherine Cahmore here does a better job than me at looking at the inequality costs of unaffordable housing.

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