There is a strong relationship between housing and health:

  • Cold and damp housing contributes to respiratory disease, poor mental health and an exacerbation of chronic conditions. 
  • Overcrowded housing is associated with the spread of infectious diseases such as meningococcal disease. 
  • Housing size, location, structure, and materials also affect occupants' health, as does the way people heat, ventilate and generally use their homes.

New Zealand has very high rates of asthma and respiratory infections – with children, the elderly and those on lower incomes being worse off. New Zealand research into housing and disability shows that inappropriate housing is detrimental to disabled people's independence, social opportunity and safety. 

The WHO recommends that improved housing conditions can save lives, prevent disease, increase quality of life, reduce poverty, and help mitigate climate change. Housing is becoming increasingly important to health in light of urban growth, ageing populations and climate change.

Warmer Kiwi Homes is a government programme offering grants towards the cost of getting insulation or a heater installed. Grants increased from May 14 2020; they now cover 90% of the cost.

Insulation grant

In Nelson/Tasman and Marlborough, funding for ceiling and underfloor insulation is accessed through Warmer Healthy Homes Nelson Marlborough. The insulation programme is funded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the Rata Foundation, Nelson City Council, Marlborough District Council, Nelson Marlborough Health, Port Nelson, Network Tasman and the Mainland Foundation.

Eligibility criteria:
  • you live in your own home
  • you have a current Community Services Card (CSC) or a Gold Card (endorsed CSC)
  • your home was built before 2008
  • you live in a designated grant area.

How to apply

People who fit the above criteria can ask for a free no-obligation quote from Absolute Energy. Phone 0800 423 454.

Heating appliances grant

Eligibility criteria:
  • you live in own home
  • you have a current Community Services Card (CSC) or a Gold Card (endorsed CSC)
  • your home was built before 2008
  • you live in a designated grant area
  • you do not have an existing fixed heater in the main living area, eg: a heat pump, wood or pellet burner, flued gas heater or central heating system
  • you already have ceiling and underfloor insulation installed to EECA standards.

Grants are available for up to $3000 including GST.

How to apply

For more information on heating or to apply for a heating grant, visit www.energywise.govt.nz or phone 0800 749 782.

Ceiling and underfloor insulation was made compulsory in all rental homes from 1 July 2019. Landlords who don’t comply with the regulations will be committing an unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $4,000.

Related information

Repairs and maintenance

A well-maintained house is essential to older people's health and wellbeing, but older people may find home maintenance difficult.

The Good Homes: Repairs and Maintenance Assessment and Solutions checklist is available to help prioritise maintenance work. Download the guide here.

Downsizing

Older people are frequently told downsizing is the best pathway to a comfortable home in older age. Many people want to stay where they are or want to consider a range of options. Finding the best size home for you may be more important than downsizing.

The My Home, My Choices Ngā Kete o te Whare website includes online tools to help you make decisions. Go to the website here.