This hits close to home. New Zealand; island paradise, godzone, land of the long white damp…. Each year around 1600 people die in NZ from seasonally related illness. This is almost entirely due to low quality, damp housing. Countries with much colder climates such as Sweden, Germany and and Switzerland don’t have this problem, even a country as vast as Russia is able to provide heating for its people. 1600 is 4 times the road toll. I could go on about this myself but a great post has been written at the standard about this, below. My only original comment on this is that it is not only illustrates the failure of market principles, it also shows a failure of state welfare, and from a freerange perspective the silence from the design and architectural industry in NZ about this issue is deafening and this is shameful.
“Each year and every year, around 1600 New Zealanders die prematurely because we live in cold damp houses. This “excess winter death rate” is four times higher than the road toll. They die, most especially the young, unwell, disabled and elderly, of respiratory illnesses, strokes and heart attacks because far too much of our housing stock is cheap, crappily built rubbish. By contrast, really cold countries like Russia have almost zero excess winter deaths.
Our welfare state is a miserly one. Our total social housing stock is only 5%, a very low provision by OECD standards, and much of it is old and in dire need of upgrading. Worse still the building regulations around heating, insulation and efficiency are effectively a sick-making joke. No form of heating is actually required, other than a 3-pin plug on a wall somewhere. Even the latest new building codes with marginally improved insulation and double glazing measures, are a feeble catch-up on world standards, and apply to new houses only. They do nothing for the 99% of houses people actually live in.”
The standard: 1600 dead again.