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Govt Launches `Warm Up New Zealand' Programme

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, June 18 NZPA - All the major banks have agreed to participate in a home insulation programme which starts next month, Prime Minister John Key said today.

The Government announced in May's budget $323 million over four years to retrofit 180,000 homes with insulation and clean-heating devices.

The scheme provides government grants of up to $1300 towards a third of the cost of insulation and a $500 grant for clean heaters. Loans would be available for the remaining cost.

"All main trading banks have agreed to join the Government's insulation and heating scheme, and all have agreed to waive their fees for top-up loans homeowners get as part of insulation retrofits," Mr Key said, launching the scheme in Christchurch today.

The Warm Up New Zealand scheme, developed with the Green Party, starts on July 1 and will be run by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

"Half a million New Zealanders will benefit from the scheme, and there has already been a great response," Mr Key said.

EECA had 30 providers available and was taking new registrations from today.

In the first year, 27,000 homes are to be retrofitted, building to more than 60,000 in the fourth year.

In Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English told MPs the insulation programme would reduce health risks, particularly for children and older people.

"It will provide jobs for those installing it and provide substantial energy efficiency gains," he said.

Mr English said he already knew it was going to be very popular.

That was confirmed by Community Energy Action (CEA), a provider approved by the Government.

"The phone hasn't stopped ringing here," said CEA chief executive Bede Martin.

"We have 600 people on our list to have their homes assessed ... we will do our best to meet the demand as quickly as possible."

Homes built before 2000 are eligible for the grants for ceiling and under-floor insulation and clean heating devices like heat pumps.

Those that already have sufficient ceiling and under-floor insulation will have access to $500 grants for clean heating devices.

Labour's energy spokesman, Charles Chauvel, asked Mr English to confirm that of the $323m allocated to the programme, $100m had been taken from the health budget and $80m was from existing EECA funds.

"The only new money is $143m ... the grants will provide only 20,000 refits a year when the EECA estimates that 900,000 homes have substandard insulation," he said.

"Labour just can't get out of the habit of complaining about anything that's positive," Mr English replied.

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