A 'decent home' is located near schools, employment and healthcare

Housing which does not have easy access to facilities means that people may struggle to access employment or schooling and may be forced to spend more of their income on transport. Poorly located housing may also contribute to climate change if people need to travel further to access work or education, and key services. The suitability of location of homes will also become more important as we become more exposed to climate change, for example, exposure to flood risk. 

Our indicators show that overall progressive realisation has not been met for this dimension. Certain groups such as Pacific peoples and Māori are less likely to rate the location of their home as suitable as well as experiencing inequalities in the ease of access to key amenities. Air pollution continues to affect health, and while overall premature deaths for from human-made air pollution have decreased between 2006 and 2016, hospitalisations had risen slightly.

Indicator 1: Suitability of location of dwelling

In 2018, over half of people (56 percent) said their housing was very suitable and a further 37 percent said the location was suitable. Reasons for a house being unsuitable included being too far from friends or family, employment, or education, services, or quality of the neighbourhood. Māori, Pacific peoples, people with Asian ethnicity, and people were less likely to say the location of their dwelling was very suitable.


Indicator 2: Access to public amenities or services

Access to services such as food, and health care, is an important aspect of the right to a decent home. People in the 2018 GSS were asked to rate ease of access to some key public facilities in the area or neighbourhood they lived in. We do not have a time series for this data, but we can look at inequalities of access. People in rural areas or small towns, and disabled people rated their ease of access to amenities lower. 


Indicator 3: Deaths and hospitalisations from air pollution

The Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand looked at a range of health effects associated with human-made pollution and found that overall rates of premature deaths for people aged 30+ from air pollution fell between 2006 and 2013 – from 123.6 per 100,000 people in 2006 to 118.8 per 100,000 people. However, rates of hospitalisations increased slightly, from 271 people per 100,000 to 279 people per 100,000.



This change was driven by a decline in premature deaths due to PM2.5 human-made air pollution (largely due to domestic fires), however, premature death rates for NO2 had increased in all regions except Gisborne. Rates were highest in Nelson and Canterbury but lowest in Tasman and West Coast.

Estimated rates of exposure were higher for Pacific people who are some of New Zealand’s most urbanised peoples. Around half live in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest urban area.

 Read the full commentary here