Kerri Nuku is NZNO kaiwhakahaere. Eseta Finau is the chair of the Pacific Nurses Section. Today they got together to discuss the unfair treatment of our most vulnerable children.
When we heard yesterday that the Coroner has said that a cold damp house contributed to the death of a beloved two year old girl in Auckland, we couldn’t stay quiet.
It’s only a couple of months since a similar finding was made in the case of a Porirua baby whose housing conditions contributed to his death.
Our hearts go out to their whānau.
Our children, our precious taonga are getting sick and dying because of poor housing conditions. It’s not acceptable!
We both know, from first-hand experience how many of our mokopuna end up in hospital with preventable respiratory illnesses. In some communities it’s considered normal. In other communities it’s less likely to happen.
40,000 children are hospitalised each year with poverty related illnesses. That’s 40,000 too many! It’s a heart-breaking number.
As nurses, we understand how health is affected by many factors; housing, income, education, the environment, to name a few.
We strive for a healthy New Zealand and that means we must advocate for change across many sectors.
That little girl in Auckland, that little boy in Porirua – we have failed them and their families. New Zealand has failed them.
Cold, damp, mouldy, unhealthy houses that families can’t afford to heat are a shame on all of us.
It’s time the Government got serious about preventing all this illness and death.
We want to see a rental warrant of fitness scheme.
We want to see power and heating solution that every family can afford.
We want to see our communities having equal opportunities to participate in our society.
Those 40,000 kids deserve to be warm and healthy! So do their mums, their dads, their brothers, their sisters…
We’re speaking out. We want change. And we’re not going to stop until we achieve it.
Together, we can create a healthy New Zealand.