Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


30 Timaru families set to snuggle up to clean heat

Hon David Benson-Pope, MP
Minister for the Environment
Member of Parliament for Dunedin South

08 February 2006 Media Statement

30 Timaru families set to snuggle up to clean heaters this winter

Thirty Timaru families will receive a free heat pump or wood pellet burner for their home over the next month, as part of the government's Warm Homes trial, Environment Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

The Timaru initiative is the second trial of the government’s Warm Homes project and is being run by the Ministry for the Environment and Environment Canterbury, and is supported by the Timaru District Council. The Ministry for the Environment has contributed $50,000 for the new heaters.

More than 50 per cent of Timaru houses are currently heated with open fires or old wood burners. These release soot into the air which causes air pollution and health problems, particularly during winter. With new heaters, residents will not only save energy but will also enjoy a clean, warm and healthy home.

Homes will be selected in the next few weeks based on the type and age of their heating appliance, with open fires and old wood burners at the top of the list.

"Timaru has a serious air quality problem," said Mr Benson-Pope. "The town exceeded the fine particles National Environmental Standard 40 times last year. The main contributor to this problem – over 80 per cent – is home heating, open fires and old wood burners.

"There are heating alternatives for residents of Timaru, which are healthier, more comfortable and may be even cheaper than an open fire or wood burner," he said.

Environment Canterbury chairman Sir Kerry Burke says Timaru has a serious air pollution problem, with 34 to 53 high pollution days a year over the past seven years.

"The National Environmental Standards for air quality say that we can’t have more than one high pollution day a year by 2013," said Sir Kerry. “We are about to consult with Timaru ratepayers about a subsidy programme to help residents convert to clean heat, so we are very pleased to be have this government-sponsored trial take place first."

The trial will build on the existing South Canterbury ‘Healthy Homes’ programme which has been insulating and adding energy efficiency measures to older houses in Timaru. A similar successful trial was run in Tokoroa in the North Island last year.


Background: The Warm Homes project

New Zealand has clean air most of the time in most places. There are some problems in some areas, however. Air pollution causes a range of significant health problems, including respiratory diseases, asthma attacks, reduced immunity and even premature deaths. Many of these problems are preventable.

The Ministry for the Environment has introduced National Environmental Standards to improve the quality of our air. Research shows that these new standards are expected to save 625 lives and reduce hospitalisations by over 570 cases by the year 2020. They will also significantly improve the ability of New Zealanders to participate fully in work, recreation and education.

The majority of air pollution comes from domestic heating. Domestic solid fuel burners are the main source of fine particles or soot in most urban areas. That is why it is important for New Zealand families to install cleaner heating and make their homes more healthy and energy efficient in an affordable way. Insulation and more efficient forms of heating play an important part in this.

To help New Zealanders reduce the effects of home heating while staying warm, the Ministry for the Environment is working with a range of central and local government agencies on the Warm Homes project. The Warm Homes project aims to address the poor quality of heating in New Zealand homes, and at the same time improve air quality, energy efficiency and the health of all New Zealanders.

Responding to the need for local solutions has resulted in the Warm Homes trials. These initiatives are designed in conjunction with local communities, councils and manufacturers. The purpose of the case studies is to raise community awareness around the issue and to trial the Warm Home concept. This model consists of community workshops, the selection of homes, the re-fitting of homes and monitoring of homes after the re-fitting.

From all the information gathered, recommendations can be made to help people make informed decisions on how to warm their homes in ways that help reduce air pollution, improve health, and are energy efficient and cost effective. Recent studies from the Warm Homes project have been published on

Warm Homes trial in Timaru

The Ministry for the Environment and Environment Canterbury, supported by the Timaru District Council, have joined together to lead the Warm Homes trial for Timaru. This trial will bring together energy saving measures with clean and efficient forms of home heating.

The three bodies have approached the South Canterbury Healthy Homes team to ask if any homes they have already insulated may benefit from being included in this pilot project. The South Canterbury Healthy Homes project is sponsored by LineTrust South Canterbury, Timaru District Council, The South Canterbury District Health Board, Contact Energy and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election