Monday, May 26, 2014

A good investment

In the budget, the government effectively abandoned the "warm up New Zealand" home insulation programme, reducing it to a paltry 15,000 homes a year (out of 600,000 that need to be done). Today, the Greens promised to reverse that, boosting funding to $100 million a year with a target of insulating 200,000 homes in three years. They're also offering $25 million specifically for homeowners in Christchurch to install wall insulation during earthquake repairs.

The government will no doubt decry this as "waste". Its not. An earlier phase of the scheme returned $1.2 billion in health benefits from spending of $347 million. This isn't waste, but an extremely high-value investment in the future of New Zealand which reduces government spending in fairly short order. If National doesn't want to make that investment, its a sign not of fiscal virtue, but of stupidity and short-sightedness.