More Housing New Zealand properties in Oamaru will get driveway safety improvements that can potentially save lives.
The programme aims to reduce the risk of children being run over in the driveways of state homes and its positive benefits have already been noticed with parents and caregivers appreciative of the newly defined safe play areas.
Housing New Zealand’s Otago-Southland Area Manager Kate Milton said the programme had already started in Oamaru where five properties have had a variety of driveway safety improvements made. Housing New Zealand owns 118 properties in Oamaru.
The work can include fencing, self-closing gates with child-resistant latches, speed restriction signs, speed humps and convex mirrors where appropriate.
Ms Milton said Housing New Zealand takes the health and safety of its tenants and their families very seriously.
It has checked nearly 13,000 of its properties where there are children under five to see if they have play areas separated from driveways.
In the coming months, another three Oamaru houses will have a variety of driveway safety improvements made.
Ms Milton said this was an important investment as it improved the safety of young children living at a Housing New Zealand property.
"I’m really thrilled we have identified more Oamaru properties where we will be making these kinds of safety improvements. This kind of work really does have the potential to save the lives of children and, as a parent, I think that is a wonderful concept which I really believe will give the tenants at those homes peace of mind.’’
Housing New Zealand provides driveway safety advice to people when they move into a state rental home and regularly includes driveway safety information in its tenant newsletters.
Ms Milton said Housing New Zealand also supports driveway safety education campaigns as it is aware educating parents and caregivers is as important as good design to help prevent accidents on driveways.
"Our priority is firstly to make improvements to properties where children live but our overall goal is to eventually inspect all our remaining properties in Oamaru and around New Zealand and make any necessary safety improvements,’’ she said.
Ms Milton said some simple safety behaviours could also help reduce the risk of accidents on driveways.
"Know where your children are before getting in the car, check for kids before driving off and always supervise children around vehicles. Following these tips and making driveway safety improvements can definitely help save lives.’’
Some Questions and Answers
How many properties will be done in the Oamaru area? In Oamaru, Housing New Zealand has 118 properties.
Of those we have studied, five have had driveway safety improvements completed while another three properties have had work approved to happen.
More properties will be added to the Oamaru list in the future.
Why were properties prioritised in the programme? Properties with children at the highest risk age, ie: 2-3 years, where play areas are not separate from play areas, with the worst fencing conditions (either no fencing, or inadequate fencing) and where vehicles can access play areas.
How much is the driveway safety programme costing? Housing New Zealand is investing up to $10 million per year in the programme, so $30 million over three years.
How are you communicating with tenants about what you are doing? We write to all tenants whose properties are scoped and approved for work and include a factsheet about driveway safety. We include stories in our tenant magazine, Close to Home, and include information in our tenant welcome packs, and on our website. Driveway safety messaging is included on the call waiting queue for our 0800 number.
For more information, contact:
Glenn Conway Communications Manager (South Island) Housing New Zealand DDI: 03 375 0117 CELL: 021 823 308 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org