Living Accommodation: Housing Issues In New Zealand
Quotes from the leaked Draft New Zealand Energy Strategy, April 2011
“Many of our homes are cold and damp and are inadequately heated, contributing to health problems, days off work and school, hospitalisations and premature death.
People are encouraged to replace polluting fireplaces and old wood burners with clean heaters to reduce air pollution…
…Many New Zealand homes are inadequately insulated and have inefficient space and water heating systems. This means they are difficult and expensive to heat and as a result are often cold and damp.
Cold and damp homes cause health problems, particularly respiratory illnesses that result in days off work and school. There has been a market trend to build newer homes to be bigger and better heated. This has contributed towards a reported 10 percent growth in energy demand from the residential sector since 2001.
Householders often want to make improvements but lack access to capital and credible information to make informed energy efficiency investment decisions. Property investors lack the incentive to invest in improvements when they themselves do not realise the benefits of reduced energy costs.
A lack of information and expertise often results in decisions at the design and build stage that lock future owners and occupiers into higher energy costs...”
Low Standards of Living Accommodation
- “Insulation has only been a requirement since 1977, and much of New Zealand’s largely wooden housing stock remains uninsulated. It requires frequent maintenance, and its longevity has not been tested compared with housing overseas that has been in continuous use for several hundred years” source NZ Human Rights Commission
- The ‘Leaky Building’ epidemic is estimated to cost NZ$11 billion in repairs. This equates to about 10% of its GDP. It is so high it could adversely effect the country’s credit rating.
Expensive /Unaffordable Living Accommodation
- “Housing costs are usually the largest part of many people’s spending and determine what is left over for food, clothing, transport, recreation, sport, educational, and medical costs” source NZ Human Rights Commission
- The 2012 eighth annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Surveylooks at housing affordability in 325 urban markets in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Hong Kong and New Zealand.A market is considered unaffordable where the median house price exceeds three times the gross annual median household income. New Zealand as a whole had a figure, known as the median multiple, of 5.4. Auckland had 6.4, Christchurch had 6.3, Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty had 5.9, Dunedin 5.2, Wellington 5.1, Palmerston North 4.1, Napier-Hastings 4.8, and Hamilton 4.8.The survey described all of New Zealand’s main centres as “severely unaffordable” and supports more relaxed land use planning rules than those prevailing in many of the cities it covers.
Co-author, and Christchurch resident Hugh Pavletich, said that for metropolitan areas to rate as affordable and ensure housing bubbles were not triggered, housing prices should not exceed three times gross annual household incomes.” source
- The mental and physical costs of poor housing cost $26 million a year. There is also a misconception about the indoor/outdoor lifestyle balance – in NZ people spend 75% of their time in their own house.
- “Financial tensions exist between income levels and housing costs. One in six New Zealand households in 2002 were recipients of the state-funded Accommodation Supplement (Human Rights Foundation et al., 2003). Entitlements to the accommodation supplement and other benefits under the Social Security Act 1964 are administered by Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ), an agency of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).” source NZ Human Rights Commission