Key rejects power discount

New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters. Photo / Mark Mitchell
New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key has given a "no" to NZ First leader Winston Peters' Budget wishlist of a winter power discount for the elderly - and suggested Mr Peters apologise for not putting it through when he had the chance.

Mr Peters wrote to Mr Key and Finance Minister Bill English asking them to add a 10 per cent discount for winter power bills to Super Gold Card entitlements. He estimated it would cost about $34 million a year, and could be done by requiring state-owned power companies to give discounts.

But Mr Key said that under the Labour Government of 1999 to 2008 power prices increased by 72 per cent. Mr Peters was part of that government from 2005 to 2008.

"The entire time Winston Peters was with that Labour Government, I don't recall him ever giving pensioners a 10 per cent reduction in their power bills. So maybe he owes them an apology for what he did in supporting Labour back from 2005 to 2008, and I look forward to hearing the apology."

Mr Peters said he would not apologise, saying he had negotiated what he could under Labour, including introducing the Gold Card. Mr Key said he acknowledged some pensioners would find it difficult to pay the power bill, but the Government had done a good job of trying to increase super.

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