More insulated homes would improve health of Northlanders

  • Northland

Northland’s Healthy Homes Te Tai Tokerau programme has seen around 8000 of Northland’s most at need homes insulated since 2007.

Manaia PHO boss Chris Farrelly says, “The project has made a huge difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable people in Northland – it has been a thrill to see it happen.”

Insulating a further 7000 will complete the programme but that will require around $20 million more in funding.

Farrelly says, “The cost to insulate a home is around $3000 and in the year to the end of June 2016, a further 900 homes will have been insulated alone. This programme is critical for a region for Northland where we are still contending with rheumatic fever which has actually shocked us into a whole lot of actions.”

Farrelly says more local funding would be welcomed by the governance group behind the project.

“We feel it important to flag to other Northland businesses an opportunity to contribute funds to continue the programme in some form. Lots of small amounts will ensure we keep moving Northland ahead."

The flow on effect of this is in employment. This home insulation programme has created jobs for 20 men in the insulation teams, many of whom have come from long-term unemployment. That’s another positive for the North.”

So far around 4500 Far North homes have been insulated, more than 2500 Whangarei homes and over 800 Kaipara homes.

Retro-fitting in Northland homes with insulation has dramatically improved health and educational outcomes for thousands of Northland children.

Studies on insulating homes have pointed directly to improved health outcomes including fewer exacerbations of respiratory illness; fewer general practitioner visits; less time off work and school; improved self-rated health; reduced hospitalisations for respiratory and coronary conditions.