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Insulation fund to help Maori, Pacific communities

4 September 2008

Insulation fund to help lift Maori and Pacific communities

The health of Maori and Pacific Island communities will get a big lift from the $1 billion home insulation fund secured by the Green Party in the ETS negotiations, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

The fund, which will provide home insulation and clean heating technologies to homes around New Zealand, will be distributed on the basis of need and income.

"While ethnicity will not be a criterion for funding, Maori and Pacific Island communities are over represented in asthma and other illnesses related to living in cold and damp houses, and insulating the homes of those most in need will be a priority," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"The recently released New Zealand Health Survey shows that the prevalence of asthma in Maori children aged between two and 14 years is 20.3 compared to European children at a prevalence of 14.9.

"Health research shows that hospitalizations for asthma and winter flus drops by more than half once a house is insulated warm and dry.

"On the basis income, Statistics New Zealand figures show that average weekly incomes for Maori - at $526 and Pacific Island people at $477 are far lower than for Pakeha who earn on average $723.

"This fund will benefit New Zealand in many ways. Warmer, drier homes will help people keep their power bills down, leaving more money for other things. Needing less power also means reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power stations.

"People will be healthier meaning less time off work, which will help productivity and children will be taking less time off school helping them get a better education. In addition, the fund will provide many jobs for those tasked with completing the retrofits.

"It's a win, win for all kiwis."


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