Is NZ in cold home denial?
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.