26 May 2012

Greens fear home insulation scheme may end

4:47 pm on 26 May 2012

The Green Party says the future of a Government scheme to help homeowners insulate their properties is in doubt.

More than 150,000 homes have so far had subsidised insulation and energy efficient heating installed under the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme.

The programme will fund 230,000 homes in all, including an extra 41,000 announced in Thursday's Budget that are being included because home insulation has become cheaper to install.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the programme is funded only up until the middle of next year, and the Budget made no provision to extend it.

She says the National Party was not interested in discussing an extension to the scheme when it held post-election talks with the Greens.

Ms Turei says insulating houses makes environmental and economic sense.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says the scheme has already been extended from three to four years, and any future funding will be considered by the Government next year.

Healthy Home funding welcomed

A Northland health advocate has welcomed the allocation in the Budget of further funding for the Healthy Homes programme, which pays for the insulation houses in the region.

Manaia Health chief executive Chris Farrelly says cold, damp housing is one of the leading causes of hospital admissions and ill health for poorer people.

Mr Farrelly says that more than 4000 Northland families have had homes insulated for free, the eventual aim is to have insulation installed in 12,000 homes occupied by high need people.