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Labour's healthy homes bill coming up

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/05/2016
Andrew Little has been elected as Labour's new leader. © Getty Images Andrew Little has been elected as Labour's new leader.

Labour leader Andrew Little is confident he has the numbers to get his Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill through its first reading in parliament.

It's due to come up on Wednesday and Mr Little has written to every MP asking them to support it.

The bill would set minimum standards for heating, insulation and drainage in rental homes.

National is going to oppose it, but if government allies United Future and the Maori Party back it Mr Little will have a narrow majority.

It's likely to end up with United Future leader Peter Dunne holding the crucial vote, and he's not going to reveal his decision until the bill is debated.

Mr Little says he's talked to Mr Dunne and the Maori Party.

"They've said I will know on the day ... I'm still confident I will get the numbers," he said.

Mr Little is claiming widespread public support.

"Most New Zealanders know that in 2016 it is unacceptable to have children and adults hospitalised because the homes they live in are damp and cold," he said.

"It's not who we are as a people, and yet every year 42,000 children suffer just that."

The government has its own bill in the pipeline that will make landlords install smoke alarms and insulation in their properties.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says Mr Little's bill is unworkable.

"It would require landlords to maintain rental properties at a specified minimum indoor temperature - although it doesn't actually state what that temperature is," Dr Smith said.

"In attempting to specify indoor temperatures in rental property, Labour is showing it has learnt nothing from its excessive nanny state policies in government."

Dr Smith says the government has already insulated 30,000 state houses and provided warm-up grants for another 290,000.

Its new bill will require a further 180,000 rental homes to be insulated by July 2019.

"That's a total of 510,000 compared with just 50,000 homes insulated by the previous Labour government," Dr Smith said.

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