Wednesday 20th August 2014
FOR RELEASE on Friday 22nd August
From: New Zealand Medical Students Association and Medical Students for Global Awareness
Operative care needed for NZ homes
Medical students can normally be found tucked away in a library, but today they ventured onto the streets to perform an
‘operation’ on a ‘sick’ house, taking their call for improved housing standards to unfamiliar territories.
Operation Housing was staged in Queen Elizabeth Square at lunchtime today, as part of a campaign that is calling for the
introduction of a rental housing warrant of fitness scheme. The campaign is run by Medical Students for Global Awareness
and the NZ Medical Students Association.
At the centre of this public demonstration was a skit reminiscent of Grey’s Anatomy. A family, looking forlorn, called
for help and were surrounded by medical students dressed in blue surgical gowns. The students rushed around providing
emergency care, not for a person, but for the family’s house. “This looks bad. Real bad. Damp, leaky, cold…” exclaimed
one student, “Get me some insulation!” called another.
The message was clear – New Zealand homes need serious intervention. Rennie Qin, a fifth year student, explained why.
“Our homes are harming our health. If we do not put our homes on the operating table today, it will be our children
The medical students argued that a warrant of fitness scheme is a logical next step to addressing NZ’s housing quality
issues. “It makes sense, there is good evidence behind it, and it will lead to cost-effective improvements to housing
quality”, said Rennie.
During the demonstration, students called upon the public to consider the issue of healthy housing in their voting
decisions this year, and invited them to support the campaign via the facebook page ‘Healthy Homes for New Zealand’ or
by following @HealthyHomes4NZ on twitter.
Medical Students for Global Awareness is a nationwide network of medical students who are passionate about addressing health inequalities on a global and
New Zealand Medical Students Association is the national representative body for students studying medicine in New Zealand.