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Lost Opportunities for Healthy Homes

11 February 2009
Media Statement

Lost Opportunities for Healthy Homes in Government Stimulus Package

The failure of the Government’s stimulus package to address the requirements of more than 95% of New Zealand homes will end up costing the country considerably more than the total amount of the package”, Labour’s Energy Spokesperson Charles Chauvel said today.

“Any progress to make any home more energy efficient is to be applauded”, said Charles Chauvel.

“But the Government’s stimulus package, as it relates to housing, is restricted to the state housing sector. There are around 68,000 state houses in this country – representing less than 5% of the total housing stock of around 1.6 million.

“The tragedy of today’s announcement is that it ignores the vast majority of New Zealand’s housing, which is owned by the privately.

“As the Business Council for Sustainable Development identified in December, more than 410,000 homes are currently likely to be making their occupants sick. Rectifying that position would be likely to:

• Avoid sending 50 people per day to hospital with respiratory illnesses (saving $54m per year);
• Cut sick days off work by 180,000 per year (lifting production by $17m per year);
• Cut household power bills by $475m per year by using a combination of insulation and double glazing;
• Stop households wasting enough water per year to fill 9,200 Olympic swimming pools.

“The total savings identified in the items just listed is $546m each and every year, more than the total one-off cost of the stimulus package - $483.7m. As far as energy efficiency in the housing sector is concerned, the stimulus package is a major lost opportunity”, Charles Chauvel said.

ENDS

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