We believe everyone deserves a warm, dry place to call home. One way we’re making this a reality is through our Winter Energy Payment, which helps around a million people with their heating bills through the colder months and ensures whānau stay healthy with less stress.
The payment starts again today, 1 May, and will run through 1 October. Those eligible for the payment – veterans, seniors, and people on benefits – will receive this boost automatically. Single people will get more than $80 a month while couples and single people with kids will get more than $125 per month to help with the costs of heating their home.
When we started the payment three years ago, we spoke to people who had been piling on woollen layers at home – scared to turn the heating on because of the cost. “Those have been the months that I’ve suffered with cold previously,” Julie told us. “It’s a no brainer. I’m very, very grateful.”
Gail, an Auckland grandmother, felt much happier to be able to put the heater on when her grandchildren came to visit, without having to worry nonstop about the bill. Kathleen wrote to let us know that the support had made her and her partner feel they “were living, not just surviving.”
Those are just a few of the people whose lives have been touched by the Winter Energy Payment. The assistance means people are less likely to have to budget all year to be able to heat their home over these months. They may not have to pick between the dread of high heating bills and the discomfort of the cold. And the chances of them ending up in hospital because of cold, damp living conditions are lower.
The Winter Energy Payment is just one of the ways we’re helping New Zealanders stay warmer and healthier. Our Warmer Kiwi Homes programme and Healthy Homes Standards are also making winter a little less chilly for many across the country, protecting renters and lifting some of the financial pressure off people who struggle to afford insulation or heating. Our Families Package and main benefit changes to date mean that, with the Winter Energy Payment back up and running, around 111,000 families with children will be $150 a week better off, on average.
We’re proud to be keeping whānau warmer, healthier, and happier over this season – we hope you can feel the difference.
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