Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Greens unveil $327m home insulation scheme

The Green Party wants to spend $327 million to revive a nationwide home insulation scheme - with $60 million earmarked for Canterbury.

The subsidy scheme would see another 200,000 poorly insulated homes getting floor and ceiling insulation and clean heating devices over a three-year period.

Of that, $35 million would be ring-fenced for the Canterbury region insulation as the post-earthquake rebuild steps up.

It would also set up a separate $25 million fund to enable up to 10,000 Canterbury homes under repair also get wall insulation as well as floor and ceiling insulation.

And it would fund an advice service to the tune of $2 million over two years to advise Christchurch residents on issues such as clean heating and insulation.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said the Warm Up Christchurch policy "will give the people of Christchurch a warmer home, instead of the National Government's cold shoulder."

"Warm Up Christchurch is about turning crisis into opportunity by making insulation and clear heating devices affordable for thousands of Christchurch residents," she said, launching the policy in Christchurch today with local MPs Eugenie Sage and Mojo Mathers.

The Government, under an agreement with the Green Party, has allocated $348 million since 2009 in home insulation schemes which covered 235,000 homes.

The main scheme finishes in June this year and the remaining scheme, called Warm Up: Healthy Homes, is targeted at 46,000 low-income households - and $100 million is budgeted for it.

Mrs Turei said the general scheme was a success and led to an estimated $1.3 billion in benefits including through health and energy savings as well as providing job creation.

"Unfortunately the National Government cut the scheme when it was just getting started," she said.

The general subsidy scheme contributed one third to the cost of insulation and 60 per cent for low-income households.

A policy paper released by Mrs Turei said the scaling back of the programme was a huge missed opportunity for the whole country and for an estimated 600,000 households that would benefit from insulation and clean heating.

"It destablises the budding energy efficiency industry which Government should be promoting as a key part of our transition to a clean, green economy."

The paper says an estimated 20 per cent of heat loss is through the walls of a house.

For 10,000 Christchurch homes still undergoing renovation, the Green policy would give an extra subsidy to cover half the cost of wall insulation, on top of the revived Warm Up grants.

The estimated cost of wall insulation in Christchurch was about $4800.

The party has also promised to work with local Government to allow homeowners to put their share of the cost of insulation on their future rates bill rather than having to pay it up front.

- NZ Herald

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