Is NZ in cold home de­nial?

South Waikato News - - Property - COLLEEN HAWKES

When An­drea em­i­grated from Canada to Dunedin she was stunned at how cold some Kiwi homes are in win­ter.

Bring­ing up a fam­ily with Kiwi hus­band Matt in a large old Dunedin villa, she says she found it hard to heat the house, de­spite the fam­ily’s best ef­forts.

‘‘I come from Canada where houses have cen­tral heat­ing and are much warmer,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s dif­fi­cult to find any­thing like that in Dunedin.’’

And in Canada there is of­ten deep snow for months on end – the av­er­age out­side tem­per­a­ture in Cal­gary in Jan­uary is mi­nus 15 de­grees Cel­sius.

This fam­ily is not alone. The lat­est State of the Home Sur­vey for the Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (AUT) and home ven­ti­la­tion com­pany HRV shows, not sur­pris­ingly, that skyrocketing power bills and poor in­su­la­tion mean more than a third of Ki­wis are not us­ing their heaters this win­ter.

Al­most half of the 1040 re­spon­dents said cold, damp and con­den­sa­tion in­side their home in­creased the cost of heat­ing it and 40 per cent said they chose not to have the heater on to save money.

AUT Pro­fes­sor of So­ci­ol­ogy Charles Crothers says the sur­vey shows NZ homes are still sub­stan­dard dur­ing win­ter. And the Health Homes Guar­an­tee Bill, cur­rently be­fore MPS in the Se­lect Com­mit­tee stage, needs to be han­dled with ur­gency.

The sur­vey showed heat­ing costs hit renters harder than home own­ers and al­most half say their power bill is ex­ces­sive in win­ter. Over half use as lit­tle heat­ing as pos­si­ble to re­duce costs.

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