Budget 2021 | Our response

20 May 2021

Today’s Budget could have done more to tackle the key issues of climate change and unhealthy, cold homes, the Green Building Council said today.

Jennifer Whittle, director of the Green Building Council, said: “Buildings and construction make up 20% of New Zealand’s carbon footprint, but today’s Budget announcement of an extra $15billion for infrastructure including schools, hospitals and roads contained no commitment for this money to be spent in ways that will reduce our carbon pollution.

“In contrast, there was just $300million allocated to Green Investment Finance to focus on cleaning our public transport.

“This just isn’t good enough, especially for a government that has declared a climate emergency.

“Too many New Zealand homes are cold and damp, and too many households must spend high proportions of their incomes heating cold, inefficient homes. If we are serious about tackling poverty and improving the lives of all Kiwis, we must ensure our homes don’t shackle New Zealanders to high energy bills.

“That’s why it’s welcome to see $120million put into the Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme for an extra 47,700 homes to be insulated and heated.

“But this will still leave too many unhealthy homes. The government could and should have gone much further, for our children and for our efforts to tackle climate change.

“If government had made a commitment to improve the health of 120,000 New Zealand homes, it  would give the country a benefit of over $3billion, improve the health of New Zealanders, lower carbon emissions, and create over 1,000 new jobs.

“The $3.8billion funding of a Housing Acceleration Fund should help speed up the supply of new homes, which is absolutely necessary. This makes the need to improve our woeful Building Code as soon as possible even more important, to ensure these new homes are healthy, warm places, that are cheap to heat and cool, and are low carbon too.”