The government's home insulation policy - initiated under an agreement with the Greens - has been a resounding success, delivering a fourfold return on its funding in health benefits alone. So naturally, the government is downsizing it:
The Government is winding down its home insulation programme as part of Budget cuts leaving 600,000 homes across New Zealand uninsulated, including 300,000 homes of low income kiwis, Labour says.
Labour's energy spokesman David Shearer said last week's Budget confirmed the Government had "virtually abandoned" its home insulation scheme and as a result, a fifth of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority's (EECA) staff would be cut.
While $30 million a year would still be allocated to home insulation, "this means a meagre 15,000 homes will be insulated", Mr Shearer said.
The government's response is to trumpet that $30 million a year as a better-targeted scheme. But even then, it will take them twenty years to insulate the homes it is targeting, and in the meantime we will incur billions in additional health costs. It seems like a perfect example of short-sighted cuts to meet an arbitrary budget target, when spending more would actually save us money (and in a very short timeframe too).