Over 1 million New Zealanders have more to spend on warmer homes today as the Government’s doubling of the Winter Energy Payment kicks in to keep people well and stimulate the economy, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

The Winter Energy Payment for 2020 runs for 22 weeks from 1 May to 1 October and doubles to $1400 for couples and $900 for single people this year. About 850,000 people will benefit from it with more than 1 million kept warmer once children and other household members of recipients are included.

“The Winter Energy Payment started as part of the Government’s December 2017 Families Package designed to help older New Zealanders and many of our poorest families heat their homes over winter.

“When the impact of Covid-19 first hit, the Government set out a $12.1 billion dollar support package for New Zealanders and business. It was within this package that we increased benefits by $25 and doubled the Winter Energy Payment.

“A core part of the Government’s response to Covid-19 is to ensure families stay healthy and focused on their wellbeing which is good for them and good for our health service,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

She added that those on lower incomes generally spend any extra money on household items that keep their families well, and so doubling the Winter Energy Payment will act as an immediate stimulus in local economies.

“The increase to main benefits, in addition to the benefit rate being indexed to the net average wage rather than the Consumer Price Index, is the largest across-the-board increase in several decades and is estimated to help support 350,000 low-income individuals and families.

“The efforts of our team of 5 million helped to get us in a good position to tackle the virus and we each continue to have a role to play as we begin to reboot our economy for the good of all New Zealanders,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The Government is here to support those who need it.”

Photo / Achudh Krishna