Labour’s winter handout offer

This looks as much like an election bribe as any campaign policy.

Labour helps older New Zealanders and low income families with winter heating bills

Labour will further boost its commitment to warm, healthy housing with a Winter Energy Payment for superannuitants and people receiving main benefits, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“Everyone deserves a warm, healthy home to live in. But that’s not the reality for many people today. Too many of our houses are poorly insulated, damp, draughty, and unheated. Around 1600 New Zealanders die each year because of cold housing – that’s four times the road toll. It’s time for a fresh approach to fix this.

“Labour will set standards to ensure rentals are fit to live in; we’ll use the savings from abolishing the speculators’ tax loophole to fund grants for families to install insulation and heating; and we’ll help older New Zealanders and low income families heat their homes in winter with the Winter Energy Payment.

“I have met retirees and solo mums who have told me that they can’t afford the power bills they face in winter, so they’re forced to leave heaters off. That makes them cold; it makes them sick. It puts people in hospital and costs lives.

“The AUT/HRV survey showing four out of 10 New Zealanders are turning off heaters to avoid high winter power bills shows there’s a real need for help.

“The Winter Energy Payment will be $700 for couples and parents with kids at home, and $450 for single people. Around one million people will benefit. The payment will be made in monthly instalments from May to September. With Labour’s fresh approach, our homes will be warmer, healthier places to live.

“The Winter Energy Payment forms part of Labour’s Families Package that we will unveil on Tuesday. Our plan shows how Labour will target low and middle income families and people in need, and tackle the crises in health and housing. In contrast, National would rather splurge on an election year tax bribe that goes disproportionately to the well-off.

“After nine years, now is the time to deal with the challenges we face in housing, health and education and help those in real need. Labour will get the balance right,” says Andrew Little.

This seems to be targeting voter demographics more than people in need, especially the superannuitants – Winston Peters and Annette King would appear to qualify.

56 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  July 10, 2017

    It’s ridiculous. Robbing the poor to help the rich….taking money from those who need it and giving it to those who don’t, and patronisingly assuming that all superannuitants are paupers.

    My best investment this winter was a retro-look radiant heater that uses 800 watts on high and puts out an unbelievable amount of heat. It was $39.95 in a Briscoes’ sale, and was money well spent. It gives out more heat than the 2000 watt column heater that cost (obviously) more than twice as much to run.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 10, 2017

      No, it doesn’t put out more heat, Kitty. In fact it puts out only 40% as much. But obviously it puts it where you want it and the other one didn’t.

      • I have the most horrendously expensive central gas heating. If I was a pensioner I’d be entitled to a handout, while my young neighbour with four kids subsidised me?

        • Gezza

           /  July 11, 2017

          Well, that’s another issue for me – you don’t actually need National Super, do you trav?

          • No, but if you saw my last years tax bill you’d say I deserved it.

            I am in favour of Universal Super. It all goes back to the collective one way or the other – I’ve certainly paid for it, even made direct contributions very early in the piece.

            • Gezza

               /  July 11, 2017

              No. I luv ya like a sister trav, but if I saw your last year’s tax bill, by the sound of it, I’d probably still say you obviously don’t need it. I will, but you won’t.

        • Super is income. It is added to other income and is taxable. Buggered if I know why two people can pay taxes all their lives, go through all the trials and tribulations of a 40 year working life, the good with the bad, reach 65 and because one of them ends up in a ” Govt. defined” better position he or she is denied a pension.

          Imagine if a work place Super scheme decided that they’d withhold funds based on a Members asset schedule! I regard Super as something I’ve contributed to. I saw it as a buffer for my old age and I had no idea how I’d end up. It was something I’d always understood as a given my whole working life. As I forked out provisional tax when I couldn’t afford it, when I paid 19% tax to the government on my savings, I thought – at least at 65 I’ll get a bit of that back.

          Why not go the whole hog and make those at the magic cut off point go private when they have a heart attack or if they get pneumonia.

          • Gezza

             /  July 11, 2017

            Ok. I see your point. Well made. I’ve changed my mind. You earned it. I need to think about what should be available for those who couldn’t, & for whom it’s not enough for a secure, warm, healthy, financially worry-free retirement.

            • When I eventually get it I’ll shout you a nice bottle of Shiraz or spirit of your choice. We’ll have to share it though and commiserate on the dilemmas of old age. Meet you in Taupo?

            • Gezza

               /  July 11, 2017

              Ok – if you give you me an uptick & you promise to be gentle with me.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 11, 2017

        The shiny backing means that twice as much heat is thrown out, I think, two for the price of one. I can’t have it too close to me when it’s on high. Alas, they are now full price again, bugger.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 10, 2017

    Around 1600 New Zealanders die each year because of cold housing – that’s four times the road toll.

    This message brought to you by people frightened of global warming,

    • Someone should sue them for that statement. How, I wonder!

      How did our society go from the concept of hand up welfare to the stage where other people ( taxpayers ) became responsible for every aspect of other’s lives?

  3. patupaiarehe

     /  July 10, 2017

    What about my bloody heating bill??!!! Just kidding, I don’t have one. On my way home from work every winters’ night, I grab a couple of the untreated pine pallets, that businesses all over the industrial estate I work in, leave beside the road. It’s a win-win situation. They get free rubbish removal, & I get free firewood. Five minutes using my skilsaw, sure beats the hell out of swinging an axe! And an open fire ‘warms a room’ much better (and cheaper) than our heat pump. The reason that people who actually can’t afford firewood, aren’t aware of how to get it for free, is because they don’t work. How ironic….

  4. Brown

     /  July 10, 2017

    Maybe Labour could look at the line charges component of the power account – the bit the govt still controls.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 10, 2017

    Firewood is far cheaper than electricity if you have a decent wood burner.

    • Corky

       /  July 10, 2017

      Ever seen one of these babies, Alan? It’s called a rocket stove. The power, relative to size, is unbelievable.

      https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/521836409/rocket-stove-with-removable-top-and-self?ref=market

      • patupaiarehe

         /  July 10, 2017

        Thanks for that link, Corky. I could make one of those in under an hour…

        • Corky

           /  July 10, 2017

          Correct.. that’s the beauty of them. I watched a similar model beat a gas stove for heating a billy of water. They burn any type of combustible stuff, not just wood.

          • patupaiarehe

             /  July 10, 2017

            I’m going to send that link to my boss. We normally throw anything under a metre long, of that particular section, in the scrap bin!

            • Corky

               /  July 10, 2017

              Ask for a 10% cut of the profits.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  July 10, 2017

              Don’t be silly. I’ll ask if I can raid the scrap bin, in exchange for putting a box in the fridge… 😉

        • PP, can I put an order in?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 10, 2017

        I like the gravity feed, Corky. Just have to be careful it doesn’t turn into a second chimney. Would make a great heater for the outdoor bath that Gezza needs.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 10, 2017

          Looks a bit heavy to pack on a tramp though. I’m thinking wind a bit of copper tubing thru the flue and make a wetback water heater.

          • patupaiarehe

             /  July 10, 2017

            If one were to make it out of 100×3 SHS, instead of 100×6, Alan, it would weigh half as much. Just saying…

        • Gezza

           /  July 11, 2017

          WTF??

    • Conspiratoor

       /  July 10, 2017

      …and trees that fell, cut, split, transport and stack themselves neatly into your wood bin Al

      • patupaiarehe

         /  July 10, 2017

        See my comment above, C

        • Conspiratoor

           /  July 10, 2017

          You’re a star pat. Every home should have one. Cheers,c

          • patupaiarehe

             /  July 10, 2017

            Yup, truly a legend in my own lunchtime… 😉

      • I do all that. And I don’t have to drive to the gym for exercise.

        • Conspiratoor

           /  July 10, 2017

          I could be naughty but I might get a spanking

          • patupaiarehe

             /  July 10, 2017

            LOL, you would deserve it, & I’d enjoy witnessing it 😀

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 10, 2017

        Plenty of kanuka up here, chainsaw, ute, and wheelbarrow, C. Though it’s a mission to store next year’s supply under the house down some steep steps. But as I said, buying it is cheaper than electricity by a considerable margin.

        • Conspiratoor

           /  July 10, 2017

          Two comments in reply Al, actually one observation and a question.
          An important and often overlooked economic principle …the opportunity cost of one’s labour
          Do you have any data to support your claim that wood is cheaper than electrickery?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  July 10, 2017

            Just the experience that a couple of hundred dollars will see me through a couple of winters, C, while electricity will blow that in a month or so.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  July 10, 2017

              I told myself that every year for about 12 years …until I saw the light

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 10, 2017

              That’s made me wonder how much transmission line losses contribute to global warming, C. Particularly since most of the observed warming seems to have been at night.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  July 10, 2017

              LOL, pallets have served me well, through several winters… Admittedly, my ash shovel has felt a tad heavy at times, due to all those bloody nails… 🙂

            • Conspiratoor

               /  July 10, 2017

              That is worthy of a response Al but because I think you’re taking the piss I’ll leave it to G

            • Conspiratoor

               /  July 10, 2017

              How many chainsaw blades have those pallet nails claimed pat?

            • patupaiarehe

               /  July 10, 2017

              None C, but my fireplace has consumed countless pallets…

            • Gezza

               /  July 11, 2017

              “because I think you’re taking the piss I’ll leave it to G”

              Yeah, sorry – I was knackered & I passed out on the sofa last nite watching 1ewes at 6 on he plus one channel – so I missed all of this.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 10, 2017

          And as well as warming you now it contributes to global warming. Double benefit.

  6. Ray

     /  July 10, 2017

    It’s illegal to have an open fire down here in my home town, mind you we used to have an awful air pollution level but by moving the sampling point we have got on top of that problem.

  7. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  July 10, 2017

    I’m going to Vote Labour. I want this winter Energy Payment for my annual flight overseas.

    Of course, it’s not enough to bring Hubby along. He’ll just have to put another blanket on the bed, if it gets chilly at night.

    • Maggy Wassilieff

       /  July 10, 2017

      Can anyone help?… As the hubby & I are approaching our Gold Card years, I’m wondering whether I should ditch him and go solo. That way I could get $900 for my overseas winter-trip…
      (we’d get the 2 singles rate… and of course ex-hubby would hand his share over to me).

      I’d still need
      hubby to put in an appearance now and again to mow lawns and change lightbulbs….

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 10, 2017

        It’s sounding more and more as if hubby should ditch you, Maggy.

      • patupaiarehe

         /  July 10, 2017

        What are your ‘measurements’, Maggy? LOL 😉