The Green Party has negotiated an enhanced home insulation programme with the National-led Government.
"The Green Party is delighted that its agreement with the National Party has borne fruit that is good for the environment, good for people's health and good for the economy," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.
Budget 2009's announcement of $323.3 million over the first four years for home insulation, clean heat and other energy efficiency measures will make a dramatic dent in the number of cold, damp homes across the country.
The fund is made up of $243.7 million of new funding, on top of EECA's existing $79.6 million Interest Subsidies and Grants and Home Grants programmes, to provide $323 million for the New Zealand Insulation fund over the next four years.
The Greens have campaigned for years on the economic, social and environmental benefits of such a programme, and recognise it as a key plank in any Green New Deal as it addresses both the climate crisis and the economic crisis at the same time.
"This is an investment in the future health of New Zealanders. We estimate that the country will recover this investment four-fold in 20 years through energy and health savings," Ms Fitzsimons said.
"While this package differs in some details from last year's agreement with Labour, it will deliver the warm houses New Zealanders need and we are very happy with the level of funding. If funding is extended beyond the four year commitment made here as we expect it to be, all of the approximately 900,000 homes in need of remedial action will receive assistance and in less time than the plan the Greens agreed to with the previous government.
"Research indicates that insulated homes use on average 20 percent less energy than un-insulated homes. People report health improvements, including half the number of respiratory symptoms. Children in warm houses have half the number of days off school.
"This new programme will have significantly more money for clean heat devices, completing the package that insures warmer winter homes and locks in the health benefits.
"This is an example of how two parties who differ fundamentally on much of their political agenda can work together constructively on matters of common interest for the benefit of New Zealanders. I look forward to continuing to work constructively with Gerry Brownlee on further energy efficiency measures," Ms Fitzsimons said.