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Greens secure warmer, drier State homes

15 May 2008

Greens secure warmer, drier State homes

The Green Party has ensured that five years from now all State House tenants will be living in insulated homes.

A Budget bid secured by the Greens will see a total of $53.4 million spent over five years on a variety of renovations that will make State houses warmer, drier and more energy efficient, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

In addition to insulating the remaining 21,000 uninsulated houses, the package includes draft-proofing windows and doors, wraps for hot water cylinders, efficient shower heads, lagging of pipes and, if appropriate, new energy efficient home heating.

This is double the current rate of progress.

"The Greens see this as an investment in the future health of New Zealanders. We estimate that the country will recover this investment four-fold in 20 years in energy and health savings.

"Research indicates that insulated homes use on average a fifth less energy than uninsulated homes. People report health improvements, including half the number of respiratory symptoms. Children in insulated houses had half the number of days off school," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"About three-quarters of the money will be spent in the first two years, meaning that by the time electricity is brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme most tenants will be paying lower electricity bills.

"The Greens believe the Government should be a good landlord and set an example for private landlords to follow. We can't expect private landlords to meet standards that State houses do not meet.

"Those living in rental properties are the most likely to be living in cold, damp houses as landlords often don't want to invest in insulation.


Ms Fitzsimons appreciates the support of Housing Minister Maryan Street in developing this initiative.

"This initiative will have a significant impact on the quality of life of many of New Zealand's most vulnerable families, and the environment," Ms Fitzsimons says.


ENDS

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