More than two dozen low-income families affiliated to a community trust are among thousands of homeowners in Northland who will directly benefit from grants of up to $2500 for energy efficient heaters.
He Korowai Trust currently owns 25 houses in Kaitaia that families are staying in on a rent-to-buy basis and all the properties have insulation— a prerequisite for the newly-announced grant.
The Government announced that grants of up to $2500 for energy efficient heaters are now available as part of the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
To be eligible for insulation and heater grants, homeowners must have a Community Services Card or live in a lower-income area. In most cases homes will need to have ceiling and underfloor insulation installed before qualifying for a grant for a heater.
Trust chief executive Ricky Houghton said the new grants were welcome because a lot of low-income families, particularly in the Far North, were using stoves to heat homes they lived in.
"We have 25 homeowners at our trust who will directly benefit so we'll take advantage of the latest Government initiative. It will go a long way to benefiting other families around this area," Houghton said.
The Energy Ministry said eligible homeowners should take action if they didn't have insulation or a wood burner because there was likely to be high demand for grants for heaters.
Northland housing advocate Carol Peters said eligible homeowners would benefit in a number of ways.
"The Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau has just finished insulating 10,000 homes so there'll be a lot of families in areas like Moerewa, Kaitaia and Kaikohe who own their homes that will qualify.
"Energy efficient heaters like heat pumps and wood burners will increase temperatures in houses and people will save money in health costs. Another benefit will be kids being able to stay healthy and attend school regularly," she said.
The grants will cover two-thirds of the cost of efficient wood burners and heat pumps, up to a maximum grant of $2500. Home insulation has also been funded through the Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme since July last year.
"This is one part of the package of the Government's winter support. We're also helping people keep their heaters on through the Winter Energy Payment, and we're investigating consumer electricity prices which we'll report on soon," Energy Minister Megan Woods said.