Budget must give New Zealanders healthy, warm homes and tackle climate change pollution

28 May 2019

Until all New Zealand children are living in healthy, warm homes, the country’s economy cannot be called a success, said the Green Building Council today ahead of Thursday’s world-first Wellbeing Budget.

The not-for-profit group, who campaign for all New Zealanders to live in warm, healthy homes, and to clean up building and construction pollution, also called for measures to slash climate change emissions to be included in the Budget, and for any new infrastructure projects such as schools or hospitals to deliver healthy, green buildings.

Economist Andrew Eagles, head of the Green Building Council, said: “Far, far too many New Zealanders live in homes that just aren’t good enough, that are unhealthy. Too many of our children are ending up in hospital due to terrible, unacceptable housing.

“Thursday’s Wellbeing Budget could be a great step forward to fixing this, and make all our homes healthy, warm and dry places to thrive in, to build lifelong happy memories in.

“The Government’s healthy homes standards were quite rightly warmly welcomed, but there’s still lots of work to do to make sure all our homes are fit for New Zealanders to live in.

“Any further measure to achieve this in the Budget would be an important shift towards a better, kinder New Zealand that would be applauded from the rooftops, across Aotearoa.

“And if all New Zealand homes were warm, dry, and energy efficient, New Zealanders would save hundreds of millions of dollars every single year, providing a huge financial boost for the country.

“The Prime Minister has identified a shift to a low-emissions and sustainable economy as a key priority for Budget 2019. Any new infrastructure projects announced, like new schools or hospitals, must be highly energy efficient, healthy, green places.

“Beyond this, we’re hoping to see some much needed and significant measures to tackle climate change on Thursday.”

Around half of New Zealand homes have visible mould. Half of New Zealand adults say they live in a cold house, and over 60 percent of Kiwis say their homes need repairs.

Cold and damp New Zealand houses have been linked to asthma, rheumatic fever and respiratory infections. Respiratory disease affects 700,000 Kiwis, is responsible for almost 80,000 hospital admissions, one-third of which are children, and costs New Zealand $6billion a year, according to the Asthma Foundation.

The New Zealand Green Building Council is a not-for-profit organisation, working to make sure that all New Zealanders are safe, healthy and happy at home, at work, wherever they are, because better buildings mean healthier, happier Kiwis.