Government to fund research project on landlords with overcrowded properties

Short headline: 
Govt spotlight on slum landlords

The Government could be about to put the spotlight on slum landlords as part of its campaign to combat rheumatic fever .

The Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has called for proposals from organisations that could "undertake research on the drivers of landlord motivation to upgrade and maintain their rental properties, where children in those properties may be at risk of rheumatic fever."

Rheumatic fever is a potentially life threatening condition that occurs mainly in children and young people after they have had a strep (streptococcus) throat infection.

It can affect its victim's joints and brain and in its most serious form can cause heart damage.

It is more likely to occur in households that are living in cold, damp and/or overcrowded conditions and the incidence of acute cases of the disease in this country is 44 times the average for member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

More than 90% of victims in this country are Maori or Pacific Island people.

In its request for proposals on the project,  MBIE said the organisation it engaged to undertake the research would need to have expertise in reaching sectors of society who may be reluctant or unprepared to participate in research.

"We need to reach landlords who may not have English as a first language, may not be primarily residing in New Zealand or may be suspicious or reluctant to speak about their rental properties.

"The researchers will also need to be able to target a specific segment of landlords, – those with rental properties in geographic areas where the rate of rheumatic fever is high relative to the rest of New Zealand and where overcrowding may be present in the household.

"This will require the researchers to have strong stakeholder engagement and a credible on-the-ground presence in the areas of focus," MBIE said.

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