The Government announced today that grants of up to $2,500 for energy efficient heaters are now available as part of the Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
“We have discovered that these grants are available to people in lower-income areas or Community Services Card holders, but only if you are a home owner,” says Andrew King, Executive Officer of NZ Property Investors Federation (NZPIF).
While this move is great for low income home owners, it is disappointing that a promised grant of $2,000 for insulation and heating in rental properties has been scrapped.
Labour’s election promise in 2017 was to “assist homeowners and landlords to make their houses warm and healthy to live in with grants of up to $2,000 towards upgrading insulation and heating”.
Labour passed the Healthy Homes Standards soon after the election in 2017 and Minister Phil Twyford confirmed that for landlords who needed to upgrade their properties to meet the standards, “government grants for installing heating and insulation will be available."
In 2017, Phil Twyford said “We think between $3000 and $5000 is what it will cost landlords, if you have to insulate from scratch and put in a heat pump. But we’re going to be providing grants of up to $2000 per property to assist with that.”
However, in February this year, Twyford said the average three-bedroom home which did not meet the standards would now cost about $7000 to upgrade.
“There does not appear to have been any public announcement that the tenant grants had been cancelled” says King. “We only found out when asking policy advisers when the grant was coming into effect and were then told that the promised grants had been cancelled”.
“It is really disappointing as everyone knows that when the costs of running a business increase, it is the end customer who ends up paying more..”
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says the grants to home owners will cover two-thirds of the cost of efficient wood burners and heat pumps, up to a maximum grant of $2,500. Home insulation has also been funded through the programme since July last year.
To be eligible for insulation and heater grants, home owners must have a Community Services Card or live in a lower-income area.