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Flexible funding good, but quality counts too

20 November 2009 Media Statement

Flexible funding good, but quality counts too

The Labour Party has welcomed today's announcement that funding for the Warm-Up New Zealand Heat Smart home insulation scheme has been changed, but questions whether other changes are needed, Labour's Associate Energy spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

The government urgently needs to address concerns about quality of some insulation and the unfairness in the way insulation providers are accredited to the scheme, Chris Hipkins said.

"The Labour Party fully supports moves to get more Kiwi homes properly insulated. Warmer homes are healthier homes and proper insulation can also save households hundreds of dollars a year in power bills.

"However we also believe that if the taxpayer is going to subsidise home insulation we need to make sure it is done properly. Quality matters. I'm concerned that the government has recently lowered the standards insulation providers need to meet.

"Foil under-floor insulation has been shown to be far less effective than other products such as polystyrene. The Government’s directive that the foil be repaired rather than replaced can only be driven by a desire to insulate more homes to a lower standard for the same amount of money.

"This kind of penny-pinching is incredibly short-sighted. It makes no sense to subsidise heat pumps for homes that will lose much of the extra heat because of poor insulation.

"I've also had a stream of complaints from insulation providers who had scaled up their businesses anticipating increased demand due to the scheme only to them find their eligibility for the subsidies pulled out from under them. In many cases these providers had previously been able to access subsidies and many have been left wondering why they have suddenly been left out in the cold.

"These are people's jobs and livelihoods we are talking about here. It's just not OK for the government to pull the rug out from under fledgling businesses and not tell them why," Chris Hipkins said.


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