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Economic analysis cold comfort for families

Spokesperson for Housing

12 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Economic analysis cold comfort for families

Dry, warm homes improve health. That’s not conjecture, it’s fact, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Annette King.

Her comments are in response to the Government’s decision to cut funding for heat pump subsidies after a study found they had no clear economic benefit.

“Now is the time to turn up the dial on improving home insulation and heating,” Annette King said. “There is no point in gloating about knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

“I’m told the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) have already stopped giving out subsidies in some areas, meaning those wanting to warm up their homes will be scrambling to find providers with allocations left.

“Insulating a home is one of the most important measures we can take to warm up our families. But I know when a southerly storms in, like it did last night, we not only need homes to hold heat, that heat needs to be generated in the first place.

“Many low income families resort to using ovens, or other dangerous measures to keep warm – that shouldn’t have to be an option for New Zealanders.

“National’s single-minded economic arguments perplex me. It is estimated that the health benefits of this $330 million clean heating scheme are around $1.2 billion – that is worthwhile.

“This government is quick to trumpet its investment in health initiatives, such as the millions it is spending swabbing throats to detect rheumatic fever, but it can't seem to connect the dots on the environmental impacts of poor housing on family health.

“The recent report from the Children's Commissioner on child poverty identified housing as a key health issue – do those findings not count?

“The benefits of the Warm Up New Zealand scheme are backed up by real evidence, not just an economic assessment.

“I would like to talk to Ministers in this government after a few weeks living with inadequate heating. I am sure economic analysis would be a cold comfort,” Annette King said.

© Scoop Media

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