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Two hundred healthier homes in Ngâti Kahungunu

8 March 2006

Two hundred healthier homes in Ngâti Kahungunu

The occupants of 200 homes from Wairoa to Wairarapa will soon be warmer and healthier thanks to a community partnership project to improve the energy efficiency in older homes.

The project, involving Ngâti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Housing New Zealand Corporation, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Contact Energy, will target inadequately insulated households where residents suffer repeat occurances of respiratory complaints.

The project includes people in the region who have bought a home with help from Housing New Zealand Corporation’s Low Deposit Rural Lending programme, which targets lower income earners.

“Insulating ceilings, draught stopping and putting in under-floor insulation is expensive, and often put aside as an unnecessary expense,” said John Holyoake, Housing New Zealand Operations Manager.

“But the long-term benefits are significant, particularly for people living in older, cold homes. Supporting this energy efficiency community initiative is one way we can help modest income earners get a head start,“ he said.

Households to be included in the project will be selected with the help of iwi networks and iwi health providers over the next six months.

“Iwi health service providers are dealing directly with communities and are best placed to educate and inform people on making the most from an energy efficiency upgrade,” said Nikki Harrison, Ngâti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated project manager for the scheme.

“The project will also provide increased local employment and training opportunities for the people undertaking the insulation retrofitting.”

Contact Energy is meeting the project management costs of the $400,000 project.

Contact’s Chief Executive, David Hunt, said the Company was delighted to be part of a project that will lead to warmer, drier and healthier homes in the Ngâti Kahungunu region.

“This is the seventh regional retro-fitting project that Contact has supported since launching
Contact Energy’s Healthy Homes initiative in February 2005.

“These community insulation projects are tangible expressions of Contact’s commitment to ensuring that New Zealanders get the most from the energy they pay for,” said Mr Hunt. “That especially includes the health benefits of a warm, dry home.”

Recent research by the Wellington School of Medicine’s Housing and Health Research Programme, which Contact sponsors, found that people living in well insulated homes experienced fewer visits to the doctor, fewer admissions to hospital for asthmatic or respiratory conditions, fewer days off work or school and reduced power bills.

The Ngâti Kahungunu region extends from the Wharerata ranges in the Wairoa district to Cape Palliser in South Wairarapa and includes the coastal boundaries of Paritu in the north to Turakirae in the south.


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