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Healthy homes deserve decent investment

Phil Twyford
Housing Spokesperson

2 August 2013

Healthy homes deserve decent investment

National’s targeted insulation scheme, announced after it cut the hugely successful Warm Up New Zealand scheme in May’s Budget, will see thousands families continue to suffer in cold, damp homes, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

A report published today in The New Zealand Medical Journal has underlined the importance of well-insulated, warm homes for good health.

There is broad consensus that ensuring homes are warm and dry is the most urgent priority for New Zealand’s housing stock.

“Yet, Labour has revealed the Government’s ‘retargeted’ insulation scheme, said to focus on 46,000 high-need homes, will not go near far enough.

“The funding the Government has allocated will only allow for the insulation of 1/6 of houses that are currently damp, cold and unhealthy,” Phil Twyford said.

Treasury documents reveal that the funding allocated will fall well short of addressing this need, especially given the low uptake of the insulation subsidy in the rental sector.

“Treasury states; ‘insulating all low-income households with children would require significantly more than $150m in total and is unlikely to be achieved by the current scheme design’.

“Today, too many low-income families with children are living in unhealthy homes that are making them sick. National’s piecemeal approach is not good enough. By Treasury’s own calculations it won’t achieve its desired results and cutbacks will see over 1000 jobs in the sector slashed.

“Labour’s comprehensive Healthy Home Guarantee will ensure every rental property in New Zealand is warm and dry. Under Labour’s policy all rental housing (state, social and private sector) will be required to meet minimum health and safety standards based on the ‘warmth and dryness’ component of the Healthy Housing Index.

“New Zealanders want a Government that takes healthy homes seriously. For Labour, warm, dry homes are an urgent priority,” Phil Twyford said.

ENDS

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