South Island beneficiaries will be the first to get
hardship assistance for new Fisher and Paykel whiteware.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the Government
and Fisher and Paykel Appliances finalised a whiteware buying
Hardship assistance would be available to beneficiaries - and
those on low incomes - to buy fridges, freezers and washing
machines. The grants had to be repaid, she said.
The ministry spent more than $10.5 million on whiteware last
''Second-hand products are commonly bought, which can
ultimately cost hundreds of dollars extra in repair and
maintenance costs, increasing debt for beneficiaries,'' Ms
Beneficiaries could apply for hardship assistance and, if
they qualified, would be given the appliance and the cost
would be repaid to the ministry.
The ministry expected to save $10 million in hardship
assistance for whiteware in five years.
''The new units will cost around the same as an average
second-hand unit to buy, but maintenance costs over five
years will be more than halved.''
The whiteware would have at least a two-year warranty and
''24/7'' customer support service.
The scheme would start in the South Island later this month
and in the rest of New Zealand early next year.
Methodist Mission chief executive Laura Black, of Dunedin,
said a ''central supply system'' could result in families
waiting for whiteware when second-hand appliances were more
''What you really don't want is families going for two weeks
without access to a washing machine or a fridge.''
A spokeswoman for Ms Bennett said the ministry had not
anticipated new appliances taking longer to obtain than
Beneficiaries could buy second hand appliances with hardship
assistance payments if they wanted.