(there has to be some rich irony in reading this expose given the media (PRESS and STAR) knowing that this mayoral candidate has been warning on the public health implications since Garry Moore took over the governance of Christchurch city.)
A teachers' union is calling for urgent air quality testing at dozens of Auckland schools following revelations a daycare centre can't open because of poor air quality. The Jump & Jive centre in Manukau remains empty, despite being opened six months ago, after chief medical officer Denise Barnfather stopped it from taking children. The Herald on Sunday reported that the centre, on Great South Rd near the Southern Motorway, could not pass air quality health checks. Dr Barnfather cited research showing children suffer lung damage and respiratory problems, including asthma, from being housed within 500 metres of a busy road or motorway. New Zealand Educational Institute vice-president Frances Nelson said today dozens of other schools and education centres were near urban motorways and staff and pupils could be affected. "What is needed is mandatory air quality testing at schools which could be at risk," Ms Nelson said. "Pressing the panic button and scaring the life out of parents and children is not going to solve the problem." The union believed congestion and pollution was becoming a serious problem for schools -- particularly in Auckland -- and urgent attention was needed. Ms Nelson said air quality should now be part of the Ministry of Education's equation when considering where new schools and centres should be built. "The ministry will now also have to take action at certain schools to find out what is really going on." The Jump & Jive centre, owned by Kidicorp, has space for 150 children and was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark six months ago. Three government departments are due to meet this week to discuss the impact bad air is having on early childhood centres and schools.