Helplessness, by Labour

Whaleoil has found a new website by the Labour party, which is part of their campaign to embarrass the government over dropping the Labour/Green housing insulation scheme.

They have this sorry tale.

Simon and Jane live with their two teenage children in a house in Wainuiomata, Wellington. In many ways theirs is a typical Kiwi home – a single level weatherboard house in a pleasant street which catches plenty of sun. But when the weather turns cold so does their house.
Simon says: “Keeping the house warm is a constant battle in winter … we camp out in the lounge.”
It is very expensive to heat houses, he says. “I know of people’s power bills that are horrendous … $600 a month.”

One can only assume their house is is cold because they don’t use heaters at all.

If they did, perhaps then they could quote their own power bill.

Jane says she has to provide jumpers for her friends to wear when they come to visit.
“I know insulation makes a huge difference. I have a friend who lives in a Housing Corp house which has just been insulated. It was always cold and impossible to heat and now the whole house is warm. It has really changed their lives. Instead of sitting around feeling Third World-like they are nice and cosy,” she says.

Labour’s deliberately kept it ambiguous as to whether or not this unlucky couple own their own home.

But either way, their only solution to this problem is to sit around an marvel at the insulation installed in a government-owned house.

  • If they rented, they don’t seem to have bothered looking at the costs of moving to an insulated house.\
  • If they own, they haven’t looked at getting quotes to insulate their house. Pink Batts can be purchased for about $120 a bale (much cheaper on Tradme) and placed a ceiling space with very little trouble. There are several companies who will put insulation in your walls for a reasonable fee like this one.
  • You can even do it yourself. But I guess that involves a very difficult and lengthy Google search – perhaps the government should be supplying people with computers so they can do that? Don’t state houses come with built in Google searching?

But there is not even a hint that they might take responsibility for their own living arrangements by pursuing options like these.

Simon completed an adult apprenticeship in building in 2008 just as the building market started to slow. He says: “If something could be done that would be great, for people living in cold houses and for a lot of people in the building industry, like myself, who are struggling to find work.”

Now we know that this is a jack up. The guy’s finished a building apprenticeship and is now presumably a fully-qualified builder, yet he’s still not able to put insulation into his own house.

(Let alone my oft-quoted point that no self-respecting builder is going to find fulfillment in pushing various recycled materials into wall cavities all day.)

I just noticed another thing too:

Here’s the couple that Labour shows us.

Here’s the couple that private companies show us.

Heck, those people who paid to get their house insulated look so much happier than the ones that just got Phil Goff to come and explain that “National is Evil”.

I guess “Go” beats “Goff”.

Update: And here’s a nice picture of a political-studies-lecturer-turned-politician-for-life explaining to a fully qualified (yet helpless) builder how insulation works.

Here’s Phil’s CV in case I missed his qualifications for this particular task. Maybe someone else can spot them?

1968-74 Worked seasonally as a freezing worker

1975-78 Lectured in political studies at University of Auckland

1980-81 Worked as an organiser for the Insurance Workers Union

1981-90 MP for Roskill

1984-90 Minister of the Crown – portfolios included Housing, Environment, Employment, Tourism, Youth Affairs, Education

1991-93 Lectured in political studies at Auckland Institute of Technology.

1993-96 MP for Roskill

1996-99 MP for New Lynn, Opposition Spokesperson on Justice, Courts & Corrections

1999- MP for Mt Roskill

Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Minister of Justice

Front Bench Member


  1. I also notice that he is sitting in his “cold, damp” house with only a tee-shirt on. In the outside photo, he is wearing a jersey, so it is not a warm day.

    Sort of reminds you of the happy US family on their shirking, sorry, I mean working for families brochure.

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