Editorial: Having a home is essential

By Andrew Austin -
7 comments
Andrew Austin, editor of Hawke's Bay Today.
Andrew Austin, editor of Hawke's Bay Today.

They say that a home is a person's castle.

It does not matter if that home is a rental or possibly even a Housing NZ house.
All that counts is when a house, or probably any structure, becomes a home. Driving down any residential street in the Bay, you can tell which houses are loved and cared for.

It does not matter if the house is a one-bedroom unit or a multimillion-dollar mansion, one can always tell if if a family have spent time to maintain it and give it a unique character, it is like a beacon of homeliness.

I am sure some people will form a certain opinion about the story in today's paper about a woman who says she has been forced out of her Housing NZ house of 10 years because of methamphetamine (P) contamination. Lorraine Ferrall, of Onekawa, said HNZ's behaviour in not telling her about the testing of the contaminated house made the situation worse.

However, the corporation is standing by its decision to not contact her and says the testing of her home was not done sooner because of the holidays.

Ms Ferrall, her two daughters aged 15 and 7, and boarder Bryce Christoffersen were living in the two-bedroom unit when the adjoining unit was tested for P contamination in October.

Whatever subtext there is to this story, I reckon it is reasonable for anyone to expect to live in a house that is safe and does not have a potentially serious impact on ones' health.
If you own your own home and you discover it has mould or asbestos, you do everything you can to have it removed. Equally so if you rent a house it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the house is liveable.

Housing NZ is very quick to find complicated reasons why something is not its fault and I have no doubt that in many cases the right decision is made.

I don't think this is one of them. More could have been done to ensure that children were not being exposed to P.

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