NZ First: Discount elderly's heat bills

New Zealand First has lodged a members' bill that, if passed by Parliament, would provide SuperGold Card holders with a 10 per cent discount on their winter power bill.

Energy spokesperson Andrew Williams said the bill would slash superannuitants' winter power bills by about $100 for each household, from May to October.

"The last thing we want to see is the elderly unable to afford to heat their homes. This bill would minimise the chance of that happening."

Mr Williams said the cheaper electricity would be supplied by the three state-owned enterprise power generators - Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis.

The Bay of Plenty Times reported in April that the proposal would provide relief for about 18,000 Western Bay people. The scheme would cost power companies about $34 million a year nationally.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said a discount on winter electricity prices for SuperGold Card holders was the "responsible thing" to do in times of sharply increasing costs.

In Saturday's Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, it was reported that stress among Tauranga pensioners living off superannuation was at an all-time high.

Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan said a 2009 survey showed 40 per cent of people in New Zealand were living on superannuation alone - $348.92 (net) a week. She said New Zealand's super amount was not generous and was "very hard" for some.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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