Large investment in warmer, healthier homes

  • Jeanette Fitzsimons

Budget 2007 provides $72.4 million over the next four years to help Kiwi families live in warm, dry, healthy homes that are energy efficient and better for the environment.

The new funding builds on existing government programmes such as the solar water heating programme, home insulation and clean heating retrofit programmes, and the review of the Building Code.

“We see benefits for everyone in investing in raising the quality of New Zealand’s housing stock,” Energy Efficiency Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons said.

“Householders will enjoy more comfort and better health. The whole of New Zealand benefits from lowering the nation’s carbon emissions and cutting back the amount of electricity and fuel that gets wasted because our houses aren’t working as well as they could," Jeanette Fitzsimons said.

Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker said that the programme adds to the wide range of work the Labour-led government is doing to help New Zealand families make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives:

“This will be one of the flagship initiatives to be promoted through the household sustainability programme being led by my colleague, the Environment Minister.”

Budget 2007 provides $53.9 million over four years through Vote Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, $5.4 million from 2007/08 to 2009/10 through Vote Health and $13.1 million over four years through Vote Environment. Some of the main elements in the package are:

  • $23 million for an interest-free loans scheme to help homeowners pay for energy efficiency and clean heating upgrades
  • $15.3 million to trial and implement a Home Energy Rating Scheme, a tool to measure the energy efficiency of a house and provide this information to home buyers
  • $14.1 million for the Energy Wise Home Grants scheme, to continue with 12,000 energy efficiency retrofits a year for low-income households
  • $6.8 million to do more research on energy efficient technologies, partner with industry to promote these technologies and develop new funding mechanisms, provide support for businesses that supply or install energy efficient technologies, and provide support for councils to implement the new Building Code and promote energy efficiency to households
  • $3.1 million for an information campaign to provide consumers with clear, practical advice on actions they can take to improve their homes.

David Parker said the main focus of the package is on energy efficiency, but it also tackles other environmental issues such as air quality.

“This package also includes spending $5.4 million more on the installation of clean forms of heating for low-income households in areas of poor air quality.”