27 Sep 2013

Fast-track housing to tackle rheumatic fever

8:14 pm on 27 September 2013

The Government has announced a new effort to fast-track families with children at risk of rheumatic fever to the top of the list for state housing.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says the change is part of the Government's deal with the Maori Party to reduce the number of cases of rheumatic fever by two-thirds by 2017.

And Dr Smith says he makes no apologies to people bumped down the state-housing wait list as a result of the move to tackle the disease.

He announced the new plan as he helped a family of 11 move into their new home in the Auckland suburb of Mount Roskill.

Maori and Pacific Islanders between four and 19 are up to 50 times more likely than the OECD average to contract the disease.

The change will come into effect in Auckland at the start of next month and is expected to affect about 100 families immediately.

The initiative is expected to roll out to other centres, such as Porirua, next year.