Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Healthy Homes Bill passes first reading

Labour leader Andrew Little's Health Homes Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour leader Andrew Little's Health Homes Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A bid by Labour Party leader Andrew Little to make it compulsory for all rental properties to have insulation, heating and ventilation has passed its first hurdle.

Mr Little's Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed its first reading by one vote this evening with support from the Greens, New Zealand First, the Maori Party and United Future. National and Act voted against the bill.

Speaking to Parliament, Mr Little said his bill would go some way to preventing children from getting sick in cold, damp, mouldy rentals.

He emphasised the difference between his own bill and changes proposed by the Government.

Parliament is already considering a Government bill which would require rentals with no insulation to upgrade to 2008 standards by July 2019.

Mr Little said there was no point in having an insulated house if it was not heated properly.

If his bill passed into law, landlords would have to upgrade underfloor and ceiling insulation to 2008 standards within five years for existing leases, or within a year for new leases.

The changes in Mr Little's bill would increase rents by an estimated $6 a week if the costs were spread over 20 years, the Labour Party estimated.

That estimate was based on costs for landlords of $3300 for retrofitting insulation, $2500 for installing a heatpump, and $500 for fixing draught and ventilation problems.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said Mr Little's bill was "too little and too late".

Some rentals would not be upgraded for five years under Labour's plan, he said, compared to three years under National's proposals.

Dr Smith said there was only a 5 per cent different in heat loss between the 2001 and 2008 standards, and it did not make economic sense to force all landlords to upgrade to the higher standard.

The Government estimated that its own proposed changes would raise rents by $3.20 if spread over 20 years.

- NZ Herald

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