Warmer and healthier homes for our elderly

Published on 23 July 2021

Housing for the Elderly Kaikohe signage.jpg

Council-owned pensioner units in the Far North are now warmer and healthier thanks to a $500,000 project to bring them up to standard.

Far North District Council has improved heating and ventilation in its 147 units by installing heating, extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms, and draught stopping.

The work is in line with the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards, which came into force from 1 July 2021, and introduced five minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, drainage, and draught stopping for all New Zealand rental properties.

Mayor John Carter says the feedback from the tenants has been very positive. “Not only are the residents delighted with the improvements to their homes, their whānau are particularly grateful knowing their relatives are living in units that are warm, dry and well ventilated.”

The Council has pensioner units in Ahipara, Awanui, Hōreke, Kaikohe, Kaitāia, Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Kohukohu, Ōmapere, Rāwene and Waimā. The heating and ventilation work was funded through the Healthier Homes Budget allocated in the Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-28.

Mayor Carter says work also reflected the Council’s increased focus on local procurement with five local electricians employed to upgrade the units. Two contractors covered units in the Kaitāia area, while the remaining three contractors undertook work in Kaikohe, Hokianga and Kerikeri-Kawakawa respectively.

The future of its housing portfolio was a key issue the Council asked for public feedback on during its Long Term Plan 2021-31 consultation. In response to submissions, the Council decided to identify one or more community providers that could take over the service. This will only go ahead if existing services are maintained or increased and the Council is confident the change will be in the best interests of tenants and the wider community.

In the meantime, upgrades to the pensioner units will continue with a further $1.7 million in funding allocated in the LTP for the work. This is due to commence this financial year.