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Dunne could switch off heat support

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/05/2016

Labour's bid for minimum standards in rental homes has passed another hurdle in parliament but the man who helped it there says he's waiting to see if the government comes up with a better plan.

Labour leader Andrew Little's Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed its first reading by 61 votes to 60 on Wednesday, with the help of the Greens, Maori Party and United Future shading government opposition.

The bill - aimed at slumlords and helping children's health - requires minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation and drainage in rental homes.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says although his vote helped the bill get to the select committee stage, continued support would depend on what the government response is.

The government has its own bill in the pipeline that will make landlords insulate their properties.

"Nothing should be taken for granted at this stage," Mr Dunne said.

"This bill must do more to address how to provide support to those most in need to ensure them a healthy home that is also an affordable one."

Mr Dunne said Labour's bill didn't address the costs to landlords.

"It's a basic good to have a warm and safe place to call home, but when it comes to the government setting bottom-lines for rentals, the key issue is affordability."

The bill did not provide any relief for the rising costs that would likely be passed on to renters, he said.

"It's all very well to require a method of heating, but that doesn't mean much if you can't afford the increased cost of electricity", Mr Dunne said.

Mr Little says his party will address those concerns over affordability at the select committee.

"What would be even more pleasing is if the National Party would work with us on legislation that every MP in parliament could support."

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