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Five beautiful words: Free money from the government

A warm and healthy home should be the birthright of every New Zealander, along with hokey-pokey ice cream and supporting the All Blacks. It seems the government agrees because it has set aside a substantial sum of money to help homeowners improve the standard of insulation in their homes.

The best thing about this funding is that it’s available as a grant. That’s right – it’s not a loan, a tax rebate or some other financial tool. The Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme provides a plain and simple financial contribution to help you bring your home up to modern insulation standards. It really is free money from the government.

What’s the deal with insulation grants?

If you are a homeowner (including landlords) and your house was built before the year 2000, you can get up to $1,300 (or 33%) towards the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation and its installation. With a generous insulation grant like this, even cash-strapped families can think about avoiding another damp and chilly winter.

Are there any strings? Yes – but they hardly count as impediments. If the spaces are accessible, both ceiling and underfloor insulation must be installed to qualify for funding. You will have to use an insulation material approved under the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme – these include wool, polyester, fibreglass mineral fibre and polystyrene products. And you will need to have your home assessed by an approved assessor, and the work carried out by an approved insulation installer, in order to qualify for a government contribution to costs.

These are commonsense requirements that help to ensure a good standard of workmanship and insulation performance.

Will the funding run out?

The Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme was set up following an agreement between the National-led government and the Greens, so it enjoys a wide level of cross-party support. The scheme has proved popular and there is no indication it will be discontinued. However, there are no guarantees in the political world. This year’s popular programme could become next year’s budget cut. To be on the safe side, make sure you apply for your funding sooner rather than later.

Governments aren’t always known for their wise and munificent ways. The smart decision is to talk to a reputable insulation provider while the government is still prepared to foot 33% of the bill.