No insulation upgrade for state house

Housing New Zealand tenant Kerry Soroka inspects the condition of her Corstorphine home. Photo by...
Housing New Zealand tenant Kerry Soroka inspects the condition of her Corstorphine home. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
Some state-housing tenants are slipping through the cracks when it comes to getting proper insulation in their homes.

Kerry Soroka's Corstorphine Housing New Zealand house has gaps in the floor and windows of one bedroom, some rot in the weatherboards and only a thin sheet of foil for insulation under the floor.

After being contacted by The Star this week, Housing New Zealand inspected the property and agreed to fix a weatherboard, the cracks in the floor and install an extractor fan in the bathroom.

The insulation would stay though - despite the material used being considered inadequate by government agency the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA).

Housing New Zealand area manager Kate Milton said ceiling insulation and the foil insulation under the floor was installed in 2007, when it was a ''commonly used'' product, and it would not be replaced.

EECA is busy handing out millions of dollars in free or subsidised insulation packages to low-income home owners and private renters, including a promotion being run by Dunedin group Cosy Homes.

Cosy Homes has funding to completely insulate or upgrade the existing insulation on 1500 Dunedin houses, free of charge, over the next few months but has only signed up 200 people in the past three weeks.

If Miss Soroka had been renting privately she would qualify for the Cosy Homes promotion and upgraded insulation.

Housing New Zealand tenants do not qualify for that free insulation scheme but Ms Milton said the corporation had spent $76 million nationwide improving the quality of 49,000 of its houses over the last few years.

EECA subsidies are provided only if the entire house is insulated to at least the standard stipulated in the New Building Code amendments, which banned foil-only underfloor insulation in new, South Island homes on October 31, 2007.

Ms Milton said Miss Soroka was offered another house recently but she turned it down. Miss Soroka said she now regretted not taking it because, with the onset of winter, she was again aware of how cold and damp it was.

She had shifted her 7-year-old daughter out of her bedroom for the winter and into the lounge - for the fourth year in a row - because the damp and cold was giving her asthma.


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