The 2020 General Election in New Zealand has come and gone, and the results are out. This year, 2,877,116 votes will be counted, an estimated 82.5% turnout from the total enrolled votes—a good improvement from the 79.8% turnout in 2017. After all, 1% of votes this year equals to 28,771 people!
There are plenty of reasons why more of us Kiwis have been prompted to vote—whether that’s concerns for the economic effects of the pandemic or the inevitable effects of climate change. Here at Craft Homes, we’re particularly interested in the latter, and kept an eye out on proposed party policies for more sustainable construction, especially in the residential sector.
To help with this, we studied https://policy.nz/, a government website that collected every party’s policies on different issues/topics. Here's a breakdown of what each party had planned to improve sustainability practices in New Zealand’s residential construction sector.
The Green Party
It makes sense to begin this policy review with the Green Party, as it’s the political party most concerned with environmentalism and issues around climate change. The Green Party’s policies had a particular focus on better housing in terms of improving energy efficiency and overall home health, which is something we stand for here at Craft Homes through building sustainable eco homes.
Here’s a breakdown of the party’s policies relevant to sustainable housing:
The New Zealand Labour Party also pushed for more sustainable and energy-efficient building construction, although not quite as hard as the Greens. Additionally, they plan to continue improvements for home insulation and ventilation.
Since Labour has won this year’s election and will be governing for the next three years, we will be on the lookout for movement on the following proposed policies:
This year, the National Party focused on their climate change efforts on the transport sector mostly through supporting the electric vehicle industry, as they believe this is where the country can make the most effective emission reductions. They have, however, put forward a couple of policies that piqued our interest:
While The Opportunities Party wanted to establish a fund for climate change adaptation and had some substantial ideas on improving sustainability in the housing sector:
The New Conservative Party supported withdrawing from international climate change agreements and wanted to repeal the Emissions Trading Scheme and abandon the Zero Carbon Bill to redirect $3.1 billion back into the economy. The party believes that these, in practice, did not improve environmental outcomes and put unnecessary financial pressure on farmers.
On the housing front, they proposed the following policies:
Our votes matter
In the past, it may have been easier to turn a blind eye to environmental policies (and even politics in general), but there is now an increasing local and global pressure to invest in more sustainable practices, both in business and at home. We acknowledge that the government certainly influences how the construction industry will move forward to respond to this pressure, but sustainable building is certainly not a new concept, as it is the standard overseas. We believe that it should be a standard in New Zealand. As a country well-known for its natural beauty, which we should all work to preserve it.
Other parties not mentioned here will have had their climate change efforts focused elsewhere, such as in conservation, waste management, and more. It is worth looking through the Environment section of Policy.nz to get a holistic view of each party’s strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change.
If you would like a more in-depth look into sustainable housing, read our Sustainable Building page to learn more, or give our team a call and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Toby and Cat Tilsley