Press Release From New Zealand Medical Students Association
and Medical Students for Global Awareness
New Zealand medical students are calling on the country's
political leaders to tackle unhealthy homes in New Zealand by
implementing a warrant of fitness for private rental housing.
"My classmates and I see children admitted to hospital with
respiratory illnesses every day. Many of these cases could be
avoided if children lived in warm and dry homes," said Rennie Qin,
a 5th year medical student. "Doctors are using their training and
time to deal with illnesses that could be easily prevented."
The New Zealand Medical Students Association and Medical
Students for Global Awareness have written a joint letter to the
leaders of political parties to draw their attention to the issue,
and are planning further advocacy efforts in the lead up to the
"Political parties must commit to a warrant of fitness for
private rental housing, not just state housing," said Marise
Stuart, a final year medical student and president of the New
Zealand Medical Students Association. "There have been a range of
incentive programmes recently, but they're not enough. Unless we
improve rental housing, we'll still be dealing with these
tragically preventable cases when we graduate as doctors."
The proposed warrant of fitness scheme would require rental
properties to meet certain standards that research has shown
significantly impact upon health and safety. "There is robust
evidence behind the worth of WOF," said Rennie.
A recent trial conducted by six city councils, the Green
Building Council and the University of Otago gathered data on a
range of issues that would help guide implementation of a warrant
The medical students are challenging political parties to
prioritise the introduction of a rental housing warrant of fitness
scheme during the next parliamentary term, and calling on New
Zealanders to vote for healthy homes this election.
Medical Students for Global Awareness is a nationwide network of
medical students who are passionate about addressing health
inequalities on a global and local scale.
New Zealand Medical Students Association is the national
representative body for students studying medicine in New