In recent weeks I’ve been getting a constant stream of complaints about how shoddy the government’s Warm Up NZ home insulation scheme is becoming. To be clear from the outset, the Labour Party has been campaigning for better home insulation all year and we’d committed to a $1b investment before the last election. But it has to be done properly and all evidence suggests the National government are cutting corners.
One of the most common complaints I’ve been getting has centred on changes the Nat govt have made to the standards insulation providers have to meet to get the subsidy. For example, before October homes that had been previously fitted with foil insulation under the floor were having it replaced with cavity insulation (eg. polystyrene). The Nats have changed that so that now the foil will just be repaired, despite the fact that studies have shown foil to be a lot less effective.
Seems a waste to put heat pumps into homes that will lose a lot of that extra heat because they are poorly insulated (not to mention the huge power bills that could be racked up).
I’ve also had a lot of complaints from insulation and heating providers who have had their contracts abruptly ended. In some cases these firms had scaled up their business to meet increased demand, investing in capital and more staff, only to find the funding tap suddenly turned off. If they were getting the subsidy before the govt’s big push to warm up kiwi homes, why are they left out in the cold now?
I challenged Gerry Brownlee on some of this in the House this week. His response, as usual, was to attack me and deny everything. Gerry ‘Details Man’ Brownlee clearly has no idea what is going on in his own portfolio. It’s such a shame. What a waste to be insulating all these houses poorly rather than doing it right the first time.