Whanganui's state houses will be safer with the installation of new smoke alarms and measures to keep children clear of driveways, Housing New Zealand area manager Keith Hilson says.

Housing New Zealand (HNZ) has spent about $200,000 in the 2016-17 financial year on safety measures in the district's state houses.

There were photo-electric smoke alarms installed in 502 houses. They're the kind Fire and Emergency New Zealand recommend and cost an average of $140 per house.

"They provide up to 10 years' smoke detection and they remove the frustration of fixing the 'flat battery bleep'," Mr Hilson said.


An average of five children are run over in New Zealand driveways each year, often by members of their own families. In Whanganui 89 HNZ houses have had changes made to their driveways to prevent such accidents.

Often the children injured are toddlers out exploring, and often the accidents happen in summer when routines are changed and people are outdoors. Changes to prevent this include fencing, self-closing gates with child-resistant latches, speed restriction signs, speed humps and convex mirrors.

It helps to separate the places children play from driveways, and make sure the play area is visible and accessible from the house's main living area.

The Driveway Safety programme started in 2013. The measures taken have varied and the average cost per house has been $1358.