New Zealand is relatively new country.

It essentially was founded in 1840 in a contract between the native Maori people and the British Government.

For some reason a large chunk of the housing stock in New Zealand is badly insulated and drafty and cold, compared to houses in Europe for example.*

I don't understand how a country that was essentially built in the modern era, has built such bad houses.

What economic factors contribute to this?

*Here's a good paper about the subject. PDF.

  • $\begingroup$ Based on personal experience, houses in the US are also badly insulated. So I wonder if it's in Europe where because of a combination of higher heating costs and also environmental awareness that lead to people building better insulated houses. $\endgroup$
    – user18
    Jul 18, 2015 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ Aside from whether conditions, heating oil prices/taxes should influence this as well as potential government regulations/tax incentives on insulation. This would require a more detailed analysis. $\endgroup$
    – HRSE
    Mar 11, 2016 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


Insulation is more of a luxury than a necessity in the oceanic climate. If you don't have insulation in a continental climate, you'll die. In NZ, it will be uncomfortable, but you'll be ok.

Dunedin may provide arelevant counter argument. It gets below freezing often there. I don't know about insulation rates.

My second answer is: We're just tough mate. Harden up.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ On your second point, I wonder how much of it is a cultural thing. $\endgroup$
    – dwjohnston
    Jul 17, 2015 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ Roughly, how much does it cost in NZ to insulate an average sized house? $\endgroup$
    – dbm
    Jul 19, 2015 at 2:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @dbn Would that be significantly different to Europe? $\endgroup$
    – dwjohnston
    Jul 19, 2015 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ @dwjohnston, I don't know. I am just wondering if the cost of insulation in NZ can be a factor. I am also just in general curious on how much it cots to insulate a house in NZ. $\endgroup$
    – dbm
    Jul 19, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Large parts of Europe without a continental climate still have well insulated houses. Note also that people in continental climate zones used to live without insulation in their houses and did not die. $\endgroup$
    – HRSE
    Mar 11, 2016 at 5:46

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