More than one in three Kiwi households face a cold winter under National, highlighting the need for lower power prices and better insulation of homes, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
A Canstar Blue survey shows that 36 percent of Kiwi New Zealand households can't afford to heat their homes adequately in the winter. Cold homes are a leading source of ill-health including third-world diseases like rheumatic fever that are becoming more prevalent in New Zealand.
"This winter, over half a million Kiwi families will shiver needlessly in houses that are too cold. We will all pay the price through higher health costs, workers taking sick days, and kids missing school. It doesn't need to be this way. The Green Party will ensure that every New Zealander has a warm and healthy home," said Dr Norman.
"Under National, the average power bill has risen by $300 a year. That is an enormous burden on families in tough economic times. The Greens' NZ Power plan will tackle the excessive profits of the electricity companies and pass on the savings to families in the form of a low-price block of electricity, saving $300 per household a year.
"Electricity costs too much in New Zealand. There is no reason for power prices to be rising at six times the rate of inflation. The Greens will fix that so families can afford to heat their homes and create, in NZ Power, a major player in the electricity sector that has an inherent interest in improving energy efficiency.
"Homes need to retain heat better, too, so that families get more warmth for their dollar and don't increase electricity demand. That's why the Greens have successfully pressured the government to fund the home insulation scheme.
"More needs to be done. More funding is needed for the home insulation scheme. Rental properties need to be required to meet a warrant of fitness over a five-year period and landlords need support to improve insulation of their properties. Families will have a path to owning a modern, warm, affordable home under the Greens' Progressive Ownership scheme.
"Every Kiwi family should have a warm, healthy home that they can afford to heat. The smart, green plan that the Greens have outlined will achieve that goal," said Dr Norman.