Legislating for warm dry health homes

Newshub:  Mouldy homes causing children’s asthma – study

Half of New Zealand homes have mould in them, and new research shows a link between this and asthma in children.

A study carried out by researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, shows that mould makes asthma worse but can also lead to the development of a first asthma attack in young children.

The study, published on Wednesday in the international journal Indoor Air was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

It investigated the homes of 150 children who had visited their GPs for their first prescribed asthma medication, and compared them to the homes of 300 matched children who had never wheezed.

We found that mould and leaks were more likely to be found in the bedrooms and homes of children who had just started wheezing compared to the children who had never wheezed,” says the study’s lead author, Dr Caroline Shorter.

“The amount of mould present in the bedroom made a difference – the more mould, the greater the risk that children would start wheezing.

“We urgently need to improve the quality of our children’s home environments.”

Grant Robertson:

Every child deserves to grow up in a warm, dry healthy home. Labour will make this the law.


Good insulation, working extractor fans, good heating throughout the home and secure windows that open are important, Dr Shorter said.

Frequent checks should be made for mould, she said.

“We need to reduce moisture in our homes by not drying clothes inside, and opening windows often to improve ventilation, even for just 10 minutes a day.”

How is this going to be legislated for? House police that do spot checks to make sure everyone is heating and ventilating their whole house and not drying washing inside?

2016 confirmed as warmest on record

As expected 2016 has been confirmed as the warmest year on record, 1.3 degrees warmer than prior to the Industrial Revolution.

RNZ: 2016 officially the warmest year on record

Last year was the hottest on record by a wide margin, with temperatures creeping close to a ceiling set by almost 200 nations for limiting global warming, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The data are the first of the New Year to confirm many projections that 2016 will exceed 2015 as the warmest since reliable records began in the 19th century, it said in a report.

The Arctic was the region showing the sharpest rise in temperatures, while many other areas of the globe, including parts of Africa and Asia, also suffered unusual heat, it said.

A few parts of South America and Antarctica were cooler than normal.

Global surface temperatures in 2016 averaged 14.8°C, or 1.3° higher than estimated before the Industrial Revolution ushered in wide use of fossil fuels, the EU body said.

Temperatures last year broke a 2015 record by almost 0.2°, the climate change service said, boosted by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and by a natural El Nino weather event in the Pacific Ocean, which releases heat to the atmosphere.

In February 2016 alone, temperatures were 1.5° above pre-industrial times, the study said.

That’s overall world measurements.

Temperatures so far in 2017 here in southern New Zealand at least seem to be well shy of the highs, it’s been one of the coolest starts to a year I can remember. It’s not unusual to get a few cooler changes at this time of year but there seems to have been more than usual.

Of course rising worldwide temperatures will increase turbulence which could result in more cold air being dragged up from Antarctica.

July was hottest recorded month

According to NASA the world keeps heating up, with July 2016 the hottest month since recordings began.

Guardian: July 2016 was world’s hottest month since records began, says Nasa

Last month was the hottest month in recorded history, beating the record set just 12 months before and continuing the long string of monthly records, according to the latest Nasa data.

The past nine months have set temperature records for their respective months and the trend continued this month to make 10 in a row, according to Nasa. July broke the absolute record for hottest month since records began in 1880.

Similar data from the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said the past 14 months have broken the temperature record for each month, but it hasn’t released its figures for July yet.

Nasa’s results, which combine sea surface temperature and air temperature on land, showed July 2016 was 0.84C hotter than the 1951 to 1980 average for July, and 0.11C hotter than the previous record set in July 2015.

As the string of hottest months continues, 2016 is “virtually certain” to be the hottest year on record, said David Karoly, a climate scientist from the University of Melbourne.



Record warm half year

It has been a noticeably mild summer, autumn and now start of the winter.

Here in Dunedin plants are budding and flowering unseasonally, there has been a distinct lack of cold southerly weather patterns, and there have been only a small number of mild frosts. Yesterday morning dawned clear and calm but with no frost, which was remarkable for the end of June.

And what is being observed and felt is backed up by the numbers. NIWA says that the first half of 2016 will easily be the warmest on record in New Zealand.

RNZ: NZ feeling the heat as 2016 shapes up to be record-breaker

Scientists are warning New Zealand’s record-breaking temperatures are causing a surge in the numbers of agricultural pests and , ongoing drought, with predictions the problem is set to get worse.

Findings by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) show the first half of 2016 is shaping up to be the warmest since records began in 1909.

NIWA’s findings show every month of the year to June was at least half a degree more than the average from 1981 to 2010.

NIWA forecaster Chris Brandolino said if the mild conditions continued until the end of June, temperatures for the last six months would end up at above 1.3°C degrees above average, making it the warmest first six months of the year on record.

The months of March, April and May were the second warmest autumn on record, and May the warmest May ever.

NIWA said greenhouse gases, an increase in warm northerly winds and warmer sea surface temperatures were the reasons for the record temperatures.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) September 2013 report found that “as temperatures increase, so do risks of serious and irreversible damage”.

Individually we may enjoy it – personally I don’t mind the warmer weather – but it is raising concerns about the overall effect of climate change and the speed with which our planet appears to be warming up.


NASA Global Climate Change

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. The 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 2000, with the exception of 1998. The year 2015 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS). This research is broadly consistent with similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

When most of the world’s climate scientists, and most of the climate models, and most of the climate data, and our own experiences all correlate then it’s getting more difficult to deny we have change, and the rate of change is potentially alarming.

Warm weather continues

Following record high overall temperatures for the first months of this year May has begun with unusually high temperatures for this time of year.

And according to the Metservice this looks likely to continue, with highs of 19, 22, 17, 17 forecast in Dunedin over the next four days, dropping t 13-15 over the next week, still not particularly cool for May. The average high in May for Dunedin is 12.7 degrees.


The lows forecast over the next ten days range from 8-11 degrees.

The lowest low over the past month has been 6, which isn’t bad for an overnight temperature.

No sign of any pre-wintry blasts from the Antarctic.

This isn’t a complaint about a continuation of a very good run of weather this year, it’s been great and we’ve had the best growing conditions I can remember here, even though rainfall has been relatively low and infrequent.

Long may the balmy weather continue – as long as it doesn’t creep south and melt an ice shelf or two.

Ensuring every house is warm, dry and safe

Andrew Little just tweeted:

I’m sending a letter to John Key asking him to ensure that every rental is warm, dry and safe.

Add your name here: http://go.labour.org.nz/healthy-homes

I couldn’t resist replying:

@AndrewLittleMP Do you want @JohnKeyNZ to personally ensure every rental is warm dry and safe, or should an army of checker uppers be used?

Most of my house is cold right now. The lounge has been heated for a while, and I’ve just switched on heating in the bedroom to warm it up. I turn a heater on in the bathroom when I have a shower, then turn it off again.

If we don’t dehumidify or ventilate then any room in our house gets damp, and if we aren’t vigilant we can get mould.

But I don’t want heat and humidity checkers coming around threatening to arrest us if we aren’t warm or dry enough.

Ok, we don’t have a rental property, we sort of own it. But we often have a young child staying (and don’t heat their bedroom through the night).

How the hell can John Key “personally ensure every rental is warm dry and safe”?

Here is Little’s letter:

Open Letter to John Key:

Dear Prime Minister John Key,

We are writing to you to seek your cooperation in ensuring that New Zealanders who rent have warm, healthy homes.

We know that, like all New Zealanders, you will have been deeply upset by the coroner’s finding that a state house was so cold, damp, and unhealthy that it contributed to the death of two year old Emma-Lita Bourne.

That should never happen in New Zealand and is a matter that is beyond party politics. It goes to the core of who we are as a society.

Your party has said that it wants to fix the issue of cold, damp rentals, and we believe that commitment is genuine. Now we want you to work constructively with us; to take the next step and ensure every rental property has insulation and effective heating.

We welcome news that the Government is working on some standards for rentals but we are concerned that they will not be strong enough. We need to ensure that all rental houses will be warm, dry, and safe for the families that live in them.

When Parliament next sits, Labour will be seeking leave to re-introduce the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill that will set standards for insulation and heating in rental properties. We want to work with you to find a way that National can support this Bill and help ensure that every Kiwi house is a safe and healthy home.


Andrew Little, Leader of the Opposition
and 786 other New Zealanders.

Go sign it if you like:http://go.labour.org.nz/healthy-homes

But note that there are no specifics about how warm, dry and safe houses can be ensured.

Perhaps you can let Little know how it could be ensured. A heater for every room, a humidifier for every house, and a $500 per month power credit for every household?

Little has been captured by the banal bullshit brigade.

Warmest June On Record

June Climate Summary – Warmest June On Record
Wednesday, 2 July 2014, 4:56 pm
Press Release: NIWA

NIWA is today officially announcing that New Zealanders have just experienced the warmest June since records began in 1909.

The June Climate Summary…
Highlights include:
• An exceptionally warm start to winter
• Dozens of climate stations placed in the top four for warmest June ever recorded
• Nationwide average temperature in June 2014 was 10.3°C surpassing the previous record for warmest June in 2003.
• There have now been nine Junes since 1909 where the departure from average has been greater than 1.0°C.
• Of those 9 instances, 5 have occurred since the year 2000 and 8 since the year 1970.


Here in Dunedin temperatures have plummeted today but June had seemed abnormally mild. Daffodils coming up, fruit trees starting to blossom, unseasonal buds and flowers all over the place. They might get knocked back a bit now but if winter hasn’t hit properly until July it doesn’t feel like it will be a hard or a long one.

Brief Summary

Full summary: Climate_Summary_June_2014.docx