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Tackling cold housing and fuel poverty in New Zealand: A review of policies, research, and health impacts


  • Howden-Chapman, Philippa
  • Viggers, Helen
  • Chapman, Ralph
  • O’Sullivan, Kimberley
  • Telfar Barnard, Lucy
  • Lloyd, Bob


About a quarter of New Zealand households are estimated to be in fuel poverty. NZ has a poor history of housing regulation, so existing houses are often poorly insulated and rental properties are not required to have insulation or heating. Average indoor temperatures are cold by international standards and occupants regularly report they are cold, because they cannot afford to heat their houses. Fuel poverty is thought to be a factor in NZ's high rate of excess winter mortality (16%, about 1600 deaths a year) and excess winter hospitalisations (8%).

Suggested Citation

  • Howden-Chapman, Philippa & Viggers, Helen & Chapman, Ralph & O’Sullivan, Kimberley & Telfar Barnard, Lucy & Lloyd, Bob, 2012. "Tackling cold housing and fuel poverty in New Zealand: A review of policies, research, and health impacts," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 134-142.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:49:y:2012:i:c:p:134-142
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.09.044

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arthur Grimes & Suzi Kerr & Andrew Aitken, 2004. "Bi-Directions Impacts of Economic, Social and Environmental Changes and the New Zealand Housing Market," Working Papers 04_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    2. Julie Cupples & Victoria Guyatt & Jamie Pearce, 2007. "“Put on a jacket, you wuss”: cultural identities, home heating, and air pollution in Christchurch, New Zealand," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(12), pages 2883-2898, December.
    3. Preval, Nick & Chapman, Ralph & Pierse, Nevil & Howden-Chapman, Philippa, 2010. "Evaluating energy, health and carbon co-benefits from improved domestic space heating: A randomised community trial," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 3965-3972, August.
    4. Howden-Chapman, P. & Crane, J. & Matheson, A. & Viggers, H. & Cunningham, M. & Blakely, T. & O'Dea, D. & Cunningham, C. & Woodward, A. & Saville-Smith, K. & Baker, M. & Waipara, N., 2005. "Retrofitting houses with insulation to reduce health inequalities: Aims and methods of a clustered, randomised community-based trial," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(12), pages 2600-2610, December.
    5. Bhattacharya, J. & DeLeire, T. & Haider, S. & Currie, J., 2003. "Heat or Eat? Cold-Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 93(7), pages 1149-1154.
    6. Howden-Chapman, Philippa & Viggers, Helen & Chapman, Ralph & O'Dea, Des & Free, Sarah & O'Sullivan, Kimberley, 2009. "Warm homes: Drivers of the demand for heating in the residential sector in New Zealand," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3387-3399, September.
    7. Brecha, Robert J., 2008. "Emission scenarios in the face of fossil-fuel peaking," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3492-3504, September.
    8. Geoff Bertram & Dan Twaddle, 2005. "Price-Cost Margins and Profit Rates in New Zealand Electricity Distribution Networks Since 1994: the Cost of Light Handed Regulation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 281-308, January.
    9. Liddle, Brantley, 2009. "Electricity intensity convergence in IEA/OECD countries: Aggregate and sectoral analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1470-1478, April.
    10. Davis, Peter & Howden-Chapman, Philippa, 1996. "Translating research findings into health policy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 865-872, September.
    11. O'Sullivan, Kimberley C. & Howden-Chapman, Philippa L. & Fougere, Geoff, 2011. "Making the connection: The relationship between fuel poverty, electricity disconnection, and prepayment metering," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 733-741, February.
    12. Lloyd, Bob & Subbarao, Srikanth, 2009. "Development challenges under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)--Can renewable energy initiatives be put in place before peak oil?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 237-245, January.
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    2. Collins, Matthew & Curtis, John, 2017. "An examination of the abandonment of applications for energy efficiency retrofit grants in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 260-270.
    3. repec:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:367-375 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Copiello, Sergio, 2017. "Building energy efficiency: A research branch made of paradoxes," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1064-1076.
    5. repec:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:212-221 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Schueftan, Alejandra & González, Alejandro D., 2015. "Proposals to enhance thermal efficiency programs and air pollution control in south-central Chile," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 48-57.
    7. Collins, Matthew & Curtis, John, 2016. "An Examination of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Depth in Ireland," Papers RB2016/2/5, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    8. Drivas, Kyriakos & Rozakis, Stelios & Xesfingi, Sofia, 2018. "The Effect of House Energy Efficiency Costs on the Participation Rate and Investment Amount of Lower-Income Households," MPRA Paper 86590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. O'Sullivan, Kimberley C. & Stanley, James & Fougere, Geoffrey & Howden-Chapman, Philippa, 2016. "Heating practices and self-disconnection among electricity prepayment meter consumers in New Zealand: A follow-up survey," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 139-147.
    10. Collins, Matthew & Dempsey, Seraphim & Curtis, John, 2017. "Financial incentives for residential energy efficiency investments in Ireland: Should the status quo be maintained?," Papers WP562, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    11. Matthew Collins & John Curtis, 2017. "Value for money in energy efficiency retrofits in Ireland: grant provider and grant recipients," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(51), pages 5245-5267, November.
    12. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:691-:d:96965 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Fabbri, Kristian, 2015. "Building and fuel poverty, an index to measure fuel poverty: An Italian case study," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 244-258.
    14. repec:eee:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:609-618 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Scarpellini, Sabina & Rivera-Torres, Pilar & Suárez-Perales, Inés & Aranda-Usón, Alfonso, 2015. "Analysis of energy poverty intensity from the perspective of the regional administration: Empirical evidence from households in southern Europe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 729-738.
    16. Camprubí, Lluís & Malmusi, Davide & Mehdipanah, Roshanak & Palència, Laia & Molnar, Agnes & Muntaner, Carles & Borrell, Carme, 2016. "Façade insulation retrofitting policy implementation process and its effects on health equity determinants: A realist review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 304-314.
    17. John Gibson & Riccardo Scarpa & Halahingano Rohorua, 2013. "Respiratory Health of Pacific Island Immigrants and Preferences for Indoor Air Quality Determinants in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 13/09, University of Waikato.
    18. Sandrine Meyer & Laurence Holzemer & Thiago Nyssens Moraes Da Silva & Kevin Maréchal, 2016. "Things are not always what it is measured: On the importance of adequately assessing energy poverty," Working Papers CEB 16-025, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    19. Collins, Matthew & Curtis, John, 2017. "Identification of the information gap in residential energy efficiency: How information asymmetry can be mitigated to induce energy efficiency renovations," Papers WP558, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    20. Stefan Bouzarovski & Saska Petrova & Sergio Tirado-Herrero, 2014. "From Fuel Poverty to Energy Vulnerability: The Importance of Services, Needs and Practices," SPRU Working Paper Series 2014-25, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    21. repec:eee:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:189-200 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Lawson, Rob & Williams, John & Wooliscroft, Ben, 2015. "Contrasting approaches to fuel poverty in New Zealand," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 38-42.
    23. Miller, Wendy & Vine, Desley & Amin, Zakaria, 2017. "Energy efficiency of housing for older citizens: Does it matter?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 216-224.

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    Fuel poverty; Energy policy; Housing and health;


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