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Little detail in Labour bill leaves Government cold

Labour’s so-called Healthy Homes Bill is lacking in detail, slow in timing and unworkable in practise, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The surprising flaw in Mr Little’s Bill is that it has a timetable four years slower for insulating rental properties than the Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. Mr Little’s Bill provides for 12 months before it comes into effect, six months for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to develop an insulating standard and then five years for compliance.

“Assuming the Bill went through a normal select committee process of six months, this works out at July 2023. The Government requires compliance by July 2019.”

“Mr Little’s Bill is little on detail. It simply requires MBIE to develop an insulation standard but is silent on whether it applies to walls, ceiling or underfloor or to what standard. It is dishonest for Labour to claim it provides a higher insulation standard when no insulation standard is specified in the Bill.

“This Bill is unworkable in requiring a landlord to maintain all rental property at a specified minimum indoor temperature – although it does not actually state what the temperature is. The temperature in a home is affected not just by design but by how tenants use a property, including using heating devices, pulling curtains and managing ventilation. In attempting to specify indoor temperatures in rental property, Labour is showing it has learnt nothing from its excessive nanny state policies in government.”

Dr Smith said this Government had a proud record of practical activism in making  homes healthier and safer.

“Our first step was insulating 30,000 State houses, and then providing Warm-Up New Zealand grants for a further 290,000 homes. The current Bill due to be passed this month will require a further 180,000 rental homes to be insulated by 1 July 2019 – a total of 510,000. This compares to just 50,000 homes insulated by the previous Labour government.

“Issues such as ventilation, absence of mould, heating and drainage are already covered in the current regulations. The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill addresses these issues by strengthening enforcement and also covers the important issue of making smoke alarms mandatory on 1 July 2016.

“Mr Little’s Bill is too little too late. It is a poor substitute for the Government’s detailed and practical measures that will make New Zealand rental properties warmer, dryer and safer,” Dr Smith concluded.

Tags: insulation - labour