The Homes We Deserve

The Homes We Deserve is an alliance, backed by a vast and diverse range of New Zealand organisations committed to creating change and improving the state of our homes.

Architectural Designers New Zealand is one of these organisations and we are proud to put our voice and support behind this imperative movement.

Last week, ADNZ talked to Andrew Eagles Chief Executive from NZGBC, the organisation coordinating the alliance, to talk about the issues and why the alliance is important.

Andrew Eagles

Pictured above: Andrew Eagles

There are many organisations involved in the alliance, across many sectors, why was important from your perspective?

This is a vast, broad and unprecedented alliance of business, health, sustainability, environmental, consumer, building and housing organisations. The sheer breadth of the organisations who have joined – from Bayleys to the Child Poverty Action Group, from Greenpeace to Vector, from Lawyers for Climate Action to Consumer NZ to name just a few – shows the high level of concern that New Zealanders have for the poor state of our homes. For far too long, political parties of all hues have failed to deliver the homes we deserve. It’s time for that to change. The wide range of organisations represented in the alliance shows not only the widespread dissatisfaction with the state of our homes but also the many benefits of tackling the problem, which would be huge, transformational. We’d be seeing fewer children in hospital. Household bills would be lower – a real boon during a cost-of-living crisis. And carbon pollution would be cut – maybe even to the point where we wouldn’t need to burn coal at Huntly sometimes.

Tell us more about what the pollution-busting home reno programme would be and why it’s important.

At the moment our homes are mouldy and damp and are sending children to hospital. They use too much energy, saddling already struggling Kiwi families with high household bills, and fuelling greater carbon pollution, stoking the damage caused by worsening floods and storms. We in the industry, talk about deep retrofit programmes which translates widely to a pollution-busting home reno programme that tackles all of these hugely important issues. It would have massive benefits for New Zealanders, including cutting household bills, improving health, slashing carbon pollution, and creating thousands of jobs and helping a just transition.

All the political parties and their policy wizards are sitting down right now and deciding what their big issues and solutions will be at the election. Frankly, they’re all going to need to be speaking housing, health and wellbeing, costs of living and carbon pollution. Those are the big issues facing Aotearoa.

Our ask is simple: we’re asking the political parties to come up with a plan that tackles all those issues – a fully funded ambitious plan to roll out a pollution busting home reno programme for at least 200,000 homes within nine years, which will slash carbon emissions and household bills, and improve the health of thousands of New Zealanders, young and old, and create tens of thousands of jobs.

As for the specific measures to give Kiwis the homes we deserve, again it’s pretty simple. Decent heat sources, decent insulation and decent ventilation.

What are some of the more practical ways you would like to see homes improved?

All the ways we’d like homes to be involved are practical! It’s impractical and unacceptable how poor New Zealand homes are right now. They’re not the homes we deserve. A pollution busting home reno renovation, often called a deep energy retrofit by building experts, includes measures such as improving insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors, which help keep a comfortable, healthy temperature with less need for constant heating and cooling, alongside installing heating and cooling appliances, like heat pumps, that are energy efficient and suitable for the size of the home. It can also include making sure hot water is heated efficiently and keeps its temperature through the pipes. The Irish government are already streets ahead of us here: they’re rolling out a scheme for half a million homes, bringing benefits to millions of people.

There will be many benefits to this programme, can you provide a couple of tangible benefits you envision?

There are so many benefits, and they hit the topics that Kiwis are most concerned about: climate change, the cost of living, health and wellbeing and housing. A successful pollution busting home reno programme would see lower household bills, less carbon pollution, and have real health benefits, including for the youngest and oldest members of our whanau.

The NZGBC ask all organisations who want better homes for everyone in Aotearoa to add their voice to this growing coalition. How can they do this?

It’s too easy. Just hop along to