Help available to stay warm this winter

It’s less than a month to winter, and already the temperatures are starting to drop.

Long gone are those warm summer nights, with t-shirts, shorts and jandals swapped out for winter jackets and scarves.

As a proud Dunedinite, I know all too well how cold it can get over the next few months, which is why I’m a big advocate for the Government’s winter energy payments that officially started again this week.

We believe everyone deserves a warm, dry place to call home.

The winter energy payment helps around a million people nationwide, with cheaper heating bills through the colder months.

This equates to around 25,000 Dunedin residents benefiting from the scheme, ensuring whanau stay healthy with less stress through winter.

The payments will run until October 1.

Veterans, seniors and people on benefits will receive the 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.

Here in Dunedin, students automatically receive the winter energy payment if they are also receiving the jobseeker support student hardship benefit.

This, along with an increase in student living support from April 1, will lead to thousands of students in Dunedin keeping warm through winter.

This 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 bit more bearable for many across Dunedin, 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 mean that with the winter energy payment back up and running, around 109,000 families with children nationwide will be $175 a week better off, on average.

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