Dr O’Sullivan recently moved from Northland to Auckland and he says he thought he knew what poverty was.
“On my second day working as a GP in Auckland I was confronted by something I never thought I would see in this city.
“I met a 28-year-old solo mother who is working hard to bring up her kids and brings in her four and nine-year-old children to see me. She is a working woman raising two children on her own and doing very good job of this. Her youngest child is chronically unwell with asthma and respiratory problems. I asked her why.
“She looked at me and said ‘Dr Lance, I think my home is making my kids sick’. So, I went and looked at her home. Water was dripping inside in the bedrooms where the boys sleep. The home was cold and damp with mould on the walls and ceilings.
“I asked her who was her landlord and she told me it was Housing New Zealand. She told me that over the nine years she has lived there she has asked Housing NZ many times to fix the problems. They have been once.
“They came to wipe the mould off the ceiling and walls but they didn’t fix the problem. There’s still water dripping inside the house, making her kids sick. She told them what the problem was. She told them they needed to fix the gutters. But they said her they didn’t have the equipment. They said they would be back – and they never have.
“Today I am issuing a challenge to the Minister of Housing Phil Twyford to talk to the Minister of Health David Clark. I can’t fix these kids if they don’t fix their homes.
“I know there will be many other people with the same story so I have set a up a Facebook page #Myhousemakesmesick so other people can tell their story to the Minister of Housing.
“From that page people can email the Minister of Housing and tell him to fix their homes. So, let’s all tell the minister to do his job, fix these homes and look after the kids It is wrong to have state sanctioned diseases of poverty affecting children of News Zealand.
“This government has stated its priority around healthier homes and expectations that landlords are to meet minimum standards, but they are failing the people of this country.
“The vulnerable children of New Zealand have been widely announced that government needs to do better. Just over 12 hours since I posted that Facebook page many other people have echoed the same story of unacceptable health problems related to housing,” Dr O’Sullivan says.
Read the story on Scoop here.