Lance O'Sullivan takes on NZ's poor housing

Doctor Lance O'Sullivan.
Doctor Lance O'Sullivan. Photo credit: Newshub.

Poor housing is sending people to hospital with chronic lung problems, Doctor Lance O'Sullivan is telling the ministers of health and housing.

Dr O'Sullivan told Newshub he's recently moved from Northland to Auckland, and says he's still seeing patients with health problems caused or exacerbated by poor housing.

He's posted a video to Facebook showing water pouring down the inside of a window frame inside a children's bedroom at a Housing NZ home. A four-year-old child who sleeps in the room was brought to see him, "chronically unwell and sick with asthma and respiratory problems."

He said he's seen the impact of similar poor housing "again and again."

The children's mother told Dr O'Sullivan she'd complained about the leaking and Housing NZ sent someone to look at it. They told her there was an issue with the guttering, they didn't have the equipment to fix it and would be in touch, Dr O'Sullivan said.

The Government's been swift to move into gear on the specific case Dr O'Sullivan highlighted, sending Housing New Zealand to the home.

Dr O'Sullivan says it's a much wider problem than the one story he's shared.

"This young mother had the right idea but no one listened to her," he said.

"It shouldn't take someone like me to highlight the problem because my question is, what is happening with the hundreds of other households that have the same problem?"

The Acting Minister for Housing Carmel Sepuloni told Newshub housing in the condition Dr O'Sullivan shared is "not acceptable".

"It's disappointing this family hasn't been given the care and attention they need," she told Newshub.

Ms Sepuloni said anyone with a Housing NZ home that needs repairs should get in touch with Housing NZ. She said there is money set aside to make existing state homes warmer, drier and more liveable.