Does he agree with the Community Energy Action charitable trust that a household is living in fuel poverty when essential energy services such as heating and hot water are unaffordable to the residents, and what actions has he taken to address fuel poverty, particularly for low-income New Zealanders?
Broadly, yes. The biggest action the Government has taken to address fuel poverty is to introduce the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme. Those with community services cards are entitled to 60 percent off the cost of home insulation and $1,200 towards a clean-heating appliance. Recently the Government also announced that the scheme would be expanded by an additional $24 million over the next 4 years to enable an extra 8,000 guaranteed low-income households to have their homes retrofitted.
What can the Government do to ensure that landlords comply with the direction of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 in terms of all requirements in respect of buildings’ health and safety so far as they apply to the premises, and specifically section 15 of the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947, which state that every house should be free from dampness?
It is interesting to note that the years 1986 and, particularly, 1947 are quite some time ago, and there are a number of residential properties—
I offered that to Clayton Cosgrove as he is a young man who is not very good with his numbers. Under the programme that the Government has instituted, nearly 3,000 rental homes have been retrofitted with insulation and with a clean-heating device. I think that encouraging landlords through that method will see some of that long-term neglect being rectified.
What progress has been made in working with Māori home insulation providers and installers, and with Māori community groups and iwi, to provide targeted support to low-income households in order for them to benefit from the home insulation scheme negotiated with the Māori Party?
Good progress has been made by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority in working with iwi to assist young Māori families through the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart scheme. Iwi are coming on board in a variety of ways to support the scheme, most notably in recently times as third-party funders, and that is very good for all of those families.