Insulation Association supports call for new Grants to protect vulnerable New Zealanders from COVID-19
The Insulation Association of New Zealand (IAONZ) has grave concerns for New Zealanders in poor housing heading into winter living in cold damp homes. Additionally, the potential for significant insulation sector job losses may result in less houses being insulated this year.
While the Residential Tenancy Act and the Healthy Homes Guarantee’s Act focuses on rental properties, there is no Government focus on what will happen to privately owned homes if the owners are suffering income reduction or job loss.
IAONZ President, Wade Maurice states “Insulation for New Zealand is a proven life saver helping to keep houses warm and reduce expensive power bills during winter. We are calling on the Government to make Insulation grants available for all homes owned by New Zealanders who are affected by COVID-19 job losses or income reduction”
Mr Maurice continues “The Government is seeking “Shovel ready” projects to assist the country back out of lock-down. The Association cannot think of a project with such proven benefit than to insulate private houses for those who are going to be affected by the economic fall-out. To have a large number of people in homes that are cold and damp continues to create an ongoing issue for further illness and for COVID-19 to further spread.”
Otago University public health professor Philippa Howden-Chapman said people living in cold, damp and overcrowded homes were more vulnerable to Covid-19.1
640,000 homes need insulation
The latest BRANZ House Condition Survey2 states that the number of private homes that could benefit from retrofitting insulation in the ceiling and / or subfloor totals approx. 640,000 homes.
The Government should be considering a “Shovel ready” grant which provides more warmer drier homes, assisting with reducing further illness or repeat flare-ups of COVID-19 and in turn increases employment in the sector.
Mr Maurice continues; “The last thing New Zealand needs is bouncing between Alert levels. While the Government is right to be focusing on business and community spread of Covid-19, we need to look further into reducing the source in the home. Hearing that Covid-19 could survive for between nine and 28 days on plastic or hard surfaces at 4C which can occur in uninsulated homes is troubling, so let’s get New Zealand homes warm and healthy sooner rather than later.”
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