Radio New Zealand, 20 June 2017
The government hoped its
two-year $18 million programme would lead to 20,000 more
homes being made warm and dry. One year in, only 3700 homes have
been insulated using the subsidy.
'Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes' programme splits the
cost of providing ceiling and underfloor insulation in rentals
occupied by low-income New Zealanders between landlords and the
government - typically they pay about $1500 each.
Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins told a select
committee the free offer was proving a hard sell.
"We're trying to give money away here, you know, you'd think
that landlords would want to receive some of this benefit," she
"It's not only for their tenants, the fact is we're paying
essentially half the cost."
With new insulation rules on the way, Ms Collins said landlords
would be wise to act now.
"The landlords don't realise, despite all the publicity, that
the law is changing and from 2019 they have to put in the required
standard anyway - it's simply that taxpayer funds may not be
available to help them do it."
Andrew Caseley is the chief executive for the agency that runs
Healthy Homes, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. He
said he suspected many landlords believed their rental properties
were already insulation compliant and they might be in for a nasty
"Well, we'd certainly like them to take it up - we'd like to be
able to give out those grants just as soon as we can," Mr Caseley
"There are a lot of rental properties, so 20,000 is actually not
a great proportion of the total, so you would think it is an
achievable one - and we are doing everything we can to do
Green MP Gareth Hughes said the programme was shaping up to be a
massive failure and the government should be doing more to promote
"There are slumlords out there and it's a tragedy, the
conditions that some people live in ... the government needs to be
so much more proactive making sure all New Zealand homes are warm
Labour MP Clare Curran said New Zealanders were paying the price
with their health for their landlords' inaction.
"The carrot is not enough and certainly the stick is not strong
"We know that there is legislation coming into force that
requires a level of insulation, but the minister today admitted
that people don't really understand what the requirements are, and
they think if there's a bit of insulation in the walls then that
The government's wider Warm Up New Zealand programme began in
2009, and has assisted nearly 300,000 private homes be