Housing in New Zealand

A safe and healthy home for every child

Every child has the right to a standard of living adequate for their physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

Kids need healthy homes

Not all children in Aotearoa have access to a healthy, warm home. Too often, too many of our children are going to sleep in homes that are likely to make them sick. They may be damp, cold, or overcrowded.

Without insulation in these homes, our poorest children aren't getting a fair start at life. Children are living in houses filled with viral pathogens and bacteria, and are being crippled by sickness such as rheumatic fever, skin infections and respiratory illnesses. Every night, 90,000 New Zealand children sleep in homes like this.

Inadequate housing means kiwi kids are struggling to cope with preventable illnesses instead of thriving like they should be.

What's the cost?

The cost to the New Zealand healthcare system, as a result of kids living in unhealthy homes, is immense. Over 40,000 New Zealand children are admitted to hospital every year due to income poverty and inadequate housing, and the cost of this hospitalisation to the tax system is around $1,500 per patient, per day. When these children go back home to the same cold houses, they get sick over and over again. The cycle repeats itself.

This poor standard of New Zealand housing exists largely because of a lack of regulation around acceptable housing standards. UNICEF NZ is calling on the Government to introduce and enforce a WOF for housing and Provide subsidies to get private housing rentals up to a healthy standard

What are the facts?

New Zealand's waiting list for social housing is currently more than 7,000 people.
Pacific, Māori and Asian children are significantly more likely than European children to live in crowded housing.
At least 13% of New Zealand children live in crowded homes.
38% of children live in households that spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
86% of children who regularly experience feeling cold are from households with high levels of hardship.
Read more about housing rights that every child has.
child rights

We're for every child in Aotearoa

"It's time to acknowledge the urgency for families on low incomes for warm, secure, and affordable housing. It's time to involve these families in designing the solution.  How much money do people have to spend on rent? What’s the reasonable expectation? What are the ways that better housing can be delivered in the very short term, and over time?" 

- Vivien Maidaborn, UNICEF New Zealand Executive Director

From homeless to a record deal

Less than a year ago Mitch James​ was busking for a living in Europe, but he was also homeless and living on the streets. Now, the 21-year-old Kiwi singer-songwriter is riding high in the charts with his hit Move On. He's signed with Sony​ records and is using his experience in Europe and New Zealand as inspiration for his music.