$36m for warmer, healthier homes

  • Simon Bridges
  • Jonathan Coleman
Health Energy and Resources Budget 2016

The Government is investing $36 million to ensure more New Zealand families live in warmer, drier and healthier homes, Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman and Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges say.

The investment includes:

  • $18 million of operating funding over two years to extend the Warm Up New Zealand programme to insulate rental houses occupied by low-income tenants, particularly those with high health needs.
  • $18 million over four years to expand the Healthy Homes Initiative to reduce preventable illnesses among young children (newborns to 5-year olds) who are living in cold, damp and unhealthy homes.

“These initiatives are part of the Social Investment package. We want to give vulnerable children the best start in life and reduce exposure to preventable diseases such as respiratory conditions and rheumatic fever.

“Early intervention is a key part of the new Health Strategy which aims to ensure all New Zealanders live well, stay well, and get well,” Dr Coleman says.

It provides families with insulation, curtains, heating, beds, maintenance and repairs, and advice on ventilation, mould removal and sleeping arrangements for children.

Mr Bridges says the extended Warm Up New Zealand programme will have a new focus on insulating rental houses occupied by low-income tenants, particularly with high health needs.

This is expected to see an additional 20,000 houses insulated, taking the total number since 2009 to well over 300,000. 

Insulation reduces health risks such as respiratory illnesses and serious diseases like rheumatic fever, which can be caused by cold, damp housing.

“Since 2009, the Government has delivered more than 290,000 insulation retrofits through our two Warm Up New Zealand programmes. This investment continues that valuable work by targeting those most in need,” Mr Bridges says.

The Government’s investment will be matched by funding from trusts and other third parties. Warm Up New Zealand provides incentives for landlords to insulate, including 50 per cent financial assistance, to support them in meeting requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act.

These initiatives complement Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill that requires all rental properties to be insulated by 1 July 2019.