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Limit On House Retrofits Threatens Small Businesses

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Chris Hipkins
Chris Hipkins

The government's decision to cap the number of houses heating and insulation firms can fit out under the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart scheme is putting undue pressure on small businesses already struggling in the current economic climate, Labour's Associate Energy Spokesperson Chris Hipkins said today. "Many heating and insulation installers are small businesses that scaled up their operations to meet demand after the government introduced the Heat Smart programme," Chris Hipkins said. "The decision by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to limit how many houses these businesses can work on means installers are now facing a loss in profits and are struggling to retain staff. "I was very concerned about comments by staff at Premier Insulation who argued that the good work of the Heat Smart programme is being reversed by poor decision-making, and that firms such as theirs will struggle to keep on installers and other trained staff. "I have also received feedback that small businesses who do not fit the criteria to become Heat Smart providers are struggling to cope in an already tight market. "One such firm is being forced to match the government's subsidy from their own profit margins to avoid losing work to larger firms. "The government needs to look into the criteria to become a provider to ensure small businesses aren't disadvantaged. "While I am pleased that there has been strong demand for the Heat Smart scheme I'm concerned that the government is not willing to provide the necessary funding to keep up with demand. "The Energy Minister's failure to front up with extra funding seriously jeopardises the credibility of the government's quest for greater energy efficiency. "Gerry Brownlee needs to address the very valid concerns of small businesses that scaled up operations to heat and insulate more homes but have suddenly found the funding tap turned off," Mr Hipkins said.

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