CEO update: Collaboration, bravery and equity will help us scale the summit

29 September 2022

Amidst the panoply of presentations, the keen conversations, and the forging of friendships, three key themes chimed loudly throughout the day at the packed Housing Summit held just days ago.

These themes were repeated by several speakers, and echoed outside the main room over coffee by the hundreds of healthy home advocates in attendance.

Be brave. Be strong. Kia kaha. This was the first theme. I talked to this early in the day, and it ran through until the final panel discussion. If we want to achieve real change, and ensure low carbon, warm homes for all New Zealanders, we must be brave.

We must ensure our masterplanned communities are designed to be resilient to our changing climate, to be livable places that are less car dependent that provide diverse, affordable, inclusive and healthy places to live, work and play. It was great to hear of the projects such as Peacocke and Kiwi Property Drury community projects that are targeting 5 Green Star Communities.

The transition to a low carbon economy must be a just and equitable one. This was the second theme that emerged. Eloise Blewden, the Future Thinker of the Year, Caroline Lambert from the European Union, and Paul Stocks from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment all touched on this key theme. Thirty percent of our homes are damp or mouldy. If we are to take NZ with us, we need to ensure we work to improve the health of Kiwi homes throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Collaboration was the third key theme that coursed through the Summit. Speaking in the morning, Megan Woods, the Minister of Housing, Energy, and Building and Construction, spoke of the necessity for collaboration. Emily Braham from Energiesprong UK said that collaboration is key, as did Eloise Blewden. Working together, alongside others who want all homes to be happy, warm, low carbon places, will be more impactful than doing so individually.

Besides the themes, one of the big issues of the day was the need to ambitiously retrofit thousands of homes in Aotearoa, to make them cleaner, less polluting, healthier, warmer places.

But, as the excellent Nadine Higgins said at the beginning of the day, events like the Housing Summit are only as good as what happens afterwards. What are each of us going to do, she rightly challenged us.

We’ll be concentrating on doing, using the themes to guide our work over the next year, and prioritising an ambitious, far-reaching campaign to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes.

Thanks to you, we’ll be brave. We’ll collaborate authentically and with intent, and we’ll be driven to make sure the outcomes of our work are fair, and just.