30 September 2009
Poly Palace Porirua’s award winning polystyrene recycler, re-manufacturer and under-floor insulation specialist, is laying off installation and administration staff after being left out in the cold by EECA’s selection for Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart...
“Since 2005 I have had installers working for Poly Palace installing our R2 ‘thicker warmer’ under-floor polystyrene Palace Planks..” explains Poly Palace manager Mr Richard Moore. “We promise ‘climate of Brisbane’, money back guarantee, using a superior product that we manufacture locally diverting waste polystyrene from local landfills, and I have never been asked to uninstall a house we have installed and I have never been asked to honour our money back guarantee, that is performance EECA can’t match”.
Up until June 2007 EECA service providers were installing the now discredited foil under-floor insulation. Tens of thousands of homes including HCNZ houses were fitted in accordance with EECA standards at a significant cost to the taxpayer. Under Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart these homes qualify to be retrofitted again with more taxpayer expenditure and in many cases by the same EECA service provider.
Jeanette Fitzsimons who worked on the development of Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart excuses EECA’s performance by saying. “It was a genuine learning that the foil did not perform as well as expected, and when the foil was agreed other products were not widely available”.
Mr Moore disagrees.” There have been quality under-floor insulation products widely available since 2004. The architects of the Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart have made significant and expensive misjudgments in the recent past.”
The National government has called for spending restraint and also a move away from credit borrowing, however the Warm Up New Zealand 33% insulation subsidy funded in a deficit by borrowing, has been shown to be more than was necessary for EECA to generate the required demand for the schemes success. EECA’s actions have however effectively nationalised the retrofit home insulation market forcing out small niche businesses like Poly Palace.
Poly Palace is supported by Porirua City Council and is based on Spicer Landfill adjacent to ‘Trash Palace’, Porirua City Councils renown resource recovery center, Poly Palace was established to recycle waste polystyrene into home insulation “Trash Palace and Poly Palace were about creating real jobs with a focus towards those disadvantaged in the community” says Mr Moore. “I am appalled that I can’t maintain the employment of staff, some who have been with me for most of Poly Palace’s existence, particularly when Poly Palace directly reflects the supposed government objectives of waste minimisation, and warmer, drier, healthier homes. Poly Palace’s unique business has achieved award winning performance in these both these areas without bureaucracy or any cost to the taxpayer or ratepayer.”
“I also feel a responsibility for our past valued customers who over the last four years have proactively chosen above specification Poly Palace under-floor products who now watch as their taxes are spent on insulating their neighbours house with poorer performing products.
Up until the announcement of Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart in the budget, Poly Palace was a profitable niche business
”In the first week after the budget we lost $12000 from our waiting list” claims Mr Moore” We were not sought or offered a temporary contract by EECA however in the sprit of the new governments initiative we reduced our prices to match”.
Part way through the selection process Poly Palace learned that a slimmed down poorer performing R1.5 version of it’s Palace Plank that it had designed and had BRANZ tested for use in Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart was accepted for use in the program. Now the very installers and staff who assisted in the product’s development for Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart are unable to install the product under the scheme and are losing their jobs as a result.
EECA stipulates that under-floor products must be close to the minimum performance standard of R1.4 possibly repeating the same mistake made in choosing foil if the current minimum R1.3 under-floor standard rises again. It would seem that despite EECA’s expensive marketing claims that “You don’t have the power to choose”
Mr Moore is at pains to point out that Poly Palace is somewhat insulated from the interests of the Minister of Energy. “Poly Palace’s head office is off the grid powered by photo-voltaic’s. While others talk about being efficient we thought we should just do it, as simple as taking polystyrene out of the landfill and hiding it under peoples houses really… Not so much government policy, just common sense.”