Ministry Of Defence Houses “Freezing”

This news item may be of interest to people thinking of emigrating to New Zealand and working for the NZ defence force. Defence housing appears to have exactly the same problems with lack of insulation, damp and heating that other homes have in New Zealand

Freezing Cold Houses anger RNZAF Mums

“Some of the women living at RNZAF Base Woodbourne are waging war with the Ministry of Defence over freezing temperatures in the houses where they are raising families.

Two partners of air-force servicemen said they were desperate for action after going through all the right channels and having their complaints ignored. One was so fed up she said she was leaving Marlborough to bring her family up in Christchurch, leaving her husband behind. Splitting the family was a last resort, but her children’s health came first, she said.

Air Force spokesman Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki said military housing throughout New Zealand was in poor condition. “I understand where the Woodbourne women are coming from,” he said. Any complaints would be listened to if they went through the correct chain of command, he said.

The women opted to go public, because they were no longer willing to tolerate the barking coughs, asthma, ear infections, chest infections and allergies suffered by the young children living in many of the houses. Mothers at the base talked of little else but the shocking conditions, they said. But none would be identified because of the possible backlash for their husbands. Their examples included a mother whose preschoolers splashed water on the bathroom floor. Exhausted, she left the clean-up until the morning then slipped on the linoleum because the water had turned to ice.

The complaints included homes with no insulation and no carpet, where fireplaces had been boarded up, damp crept up the walls, mould grew and window frames were rotten, with paint holding the glass in place. Heat escaped through gaps between the floorboards and around the windows. Water from a leaking roof ran down the walls of one house. Each home had a heat pump, but even with it on all day, one woman said they had to wear down jackets and scarves.

One woman had a power bill for June of more than $580, saying she also ran an oil column heater in her preschool son’s bedroom with a dehumidifier. Another paid $640 for electricity one month. The women said while their rent was subsidised, at about $290 a fortnight, any advantages were lost in high power bills and health costs. Adding to the frustration, insulation was being installed in vacant houses. Some families who asked when it was their turn were told their houses would be sold in five years, so no improvements would be made.

“This Government is supposed to be pro-defence and looking after our guys. Our husbands are away for weeks at a time and their families deserve better,” one woman said.”

For more about winter living conditions in New Zealand please read:

NZ’s High Winter Death Rate and Burning Wood to Keep Warm

Leaky Homes

“Most People Consider Hypothermia a Symptom of Being Cold, Rather an Expression of National Identity

The Problems Migrants Encounter with Housing

Immigrants Caught in Cold Poverty Trap

$380 a Week Gets You What?

How to go to Bed New Zealand Style


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