5 Jun 2015

Mother says she'd asked for help for years

8:11 pm on 5 June 2015

The mother of a toddler whose death has been partly blamed on her living conditions says she'd been asking Housing New Zealand for help for years.

The Housing NZ property in Otara.

Emma-Lita Bourne was living in this state house in Otara when she became sick. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

A coroner ruled yesterday that the cold, damp condition of the family's state house in Otara may have contributed to the death of two-year-old Emma-Lita Bourne, who was suffering from pneumonia when she died from a brain bleed.

Housing New Zealand has accepted the house was not up to standard and has apologised in person to the family.

Latisha Bourne said in 2009, about two years after they moved in, the house started to get mouldy and she asked Housing New Zealand to at least carpet it.

She said it was not until her daughter died that they were fast-tracked on the waiting list to change houses.

"We were offered a place in December but I had to decline it because - I declined it first because it was too far [away]."

Ms Bourne said she moved to her new home, around the corner from her mother's place in April, and both she and her children were happy there.

Housing New Zealand said yesterday that the family's old house was now vacant, and would undergo an upgrade to meet health and safety standards before it was let again.