New Zealanders living in cold, damp homes are toughing it out during winter to save money on their power bills, according to a new survey.
The latest State of the Home Survey for the Auckland University of Technology and HRV home ventilation company, found four out of 10 people tried to reduce their power bills during winter by using as little heating as possible.
And almost half of the 1040 respondents said that cold, dampness and condensation increased the cost of heating their homes, the survey conducted by research company Buzz Channel showed.
More than a third believed these cold and damp conditions were responsible for worsening their health and that of children, which had increased doctors visits and medical costs.
The knock-on effect was that people uprooted their lives to move out of mouldy, damp housing, while about 230,000 people are taking 10 sick days each year, with renters taking more.
Commissioned by HRV and carried out in association with AUT Professor of Sociology Charles Crothers, the survey showed only 60 per cent of respondents had insulation in their homes.
Crothers said people were being forced to live in colder conditions to combat high power bills with 35 per cent of respondents saying their winter power bill was "excessive" during colder months.
"New Zealand's housing stock is substandard and while rentals need bringing up to standard, it's key for existing houses to be brought up to standard and that new builds are made to a high quality."
Crothers called for urgency around the Health Homes Guarantee Bill which was still at Select Committee stage.
"Housing is a leading issue coming into the election and while for some it is housing affordability that is an issue, for many it is the standard of housing we are living in that is most pressing."
HRV chief executive Bruce Gordon said only 36 per cent of renters had insulation and they were less likely to have double glazing, a heat pump, or a ventilation system.
"Kiwis realise the importance of living in a warm dry home but the reality is many aren't, which means more still needs to be done to help people bring their homes up to a high-quality standard."