Two words, New Zealand…

“Central heating” and “double glazing”.

So, I have had to come back to the UK for a family visit.  I’ve been reminded of the importance of central heating and double glazing to a family’s comfort and health.  When I consider the houses I have lived in in New Zealand, the difference is staggering.

The house I grew up in, in Wales, was a council house.  It had a coal, then a gas fire and single glazing.  It was a good house but it was a house that suffered cold and condensation.  Sound familiar?  Since I have been away the house has been refurbished with both central heating and double glazing.  The difference is palpable.  The houses I lived in throughout my adulthood in the UK all had central heating – perhaps not double glazing (mother memory not serving me well)… The effect of heating on a house is staggering.  The effect of reducing condensation and dampness in a house is equally so.

Now – OBVIOUS POINT ALERT – the state housing in New Zealand – the majority of private housing in New Zealand – have neither central heating nor double glazing.  Much has been made of the government’s attempts to solve the “leaky homes” issue in the land of the long white cloud.  They haven’t been overly successful.

Well heated and insulated houses mean better health and well-being for the families therein.  These houses mean less money is spent on power heating a home.  Less cabling running to electric heaters.  Less money spent on power means more money in the disposable income which can be diverted to, for instance, food and clothing (and or entertainment/education).  Better diet also means better health; better atmosphere in the house means better health – means less money being spent on doctors’ visits or at the pharmacy…means more disposable income…

It’s not difficult, is it?  And yet the approach to actually accomplish this is half-hearted, at best.  When you consider the leaning of the government and the people most likely to benefit from this action it’s not difficult to understand why it’s not happening…or certainly not happening anywhere quickly enough.

New Zealand PLC – with CEO Key – isn’t running at enough profit to allow for funding of off-shoot projects like this…the numbers don’t stack up.  If only they’d govern the country instead of running it.

I’m a bit annoyed that the visit home has brought this home to me.  New Zealand should be at the forefront of development and ensuring its population are well looked after, well governed.  It is a young country and has the lessons of history to learn from.  That they have adopted a “she’ll be right” attitude is something that baffles a little.  In the main, this should be a positive.  It should made one feel proud that the New Zealand mantra is one of “we can do this” but it merely serves to further the frustration when you see the conditions the citizens of this country are forced to live in.

You know, I’m reading this back over and cannot believe that I am actually typing this content…I know first world problems and all that but everything in perspective, the impoverishment families in New Zealand are being held in in criminal.


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