29 days ago

Cost of living: How to get $110 off your electricity bill through Power Credits Scheme

Brian from Mount Roskill

Some Kiwis can expect their power bill to rise this month for the third year in a row as the low-user charge is phased out – but there's a payment available for people who are struggling.
It's the third year in a row that low-power users are facing increasing fixed costs as the low-power users scheme is phased out.
To help the industry set up the $5 million Power Credits Scheme which means eligible households can access credit during the transition.
The phase out which began in 2022 will see fixed costs for low users rise every april for five years.
The scheme means households who are supplied by Contact, Meridian, Mercury, Genesis, Nova, Wise, Globug, Powershop, Frank or Toast Electric can access a $110 payment if they’re in hardship. So far $1.4 million has been paid out.
The scheme is run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand. Chief executive Bridget Abernethy told Consumer NZ households showing signs of energy hardship can get the payment. But Abernethy said each power company will have its own criteria for what energy hardship looks like.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said removing the "low Fixed Charge Tariff regulations is essential for creating a fairer playing field for all New Zealand households".
However, the MBIE website acknowledged the phase-out could be challenging for some households.
"While all households are expected to benefit in the long term from the regulations being removed, some households may face higher power bills," the website said.
The credit can help households adjust, it added.
The decision to remove the low user charge was made by the then Labour Government in 2021 who called it "poorly targeted".
Then Energy Minister Megan Woods said it would mean three in five households could benefit from lower power bills.

More messages from your neighbours
6 days ago

Poll: Have you ever been bullied?

The Team from Neighbourly.co.nz

People associate bullying with children in schools, but it can actually stretch beyond childhood to workplaces or neighbourhoods.

This Friday is Pink Shirt Day, which began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying after a new student was harassed for wearing pink. People across the globe are now encouraged to wear pink on this day to take a stand against bullying and promote inclusivity.

Have you or your whānau ever experienced bullying? Share your thoughts on Pink Shirt Day below.

Type 'Not For Print' if you wish your comments to be excluded from the Conversations column of your local paper.

Have you ever been bullied?
  • 79.8% Yes
    79.8% Complete
  • 19.9% No
    19.9% Complete
  • 0.4% Other - I'll share below
    0.4% Complete
1672 votes
3 days ago

Controlling Crime

Mubashir Neighbourly Lead from Mount Roskill

I think National was going to go hard on crime. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working.


1 day ago

Record numbers are leaving NZ – who could blame them?

Brian from Mount Roskill

Migration figures show a record number of New Zealanders are choosing not to stick around – and you don’t have to look hard to figure out why, writes Q+A presenter Jack Tame.
No data point says more about the current state of our country than the fact that record numbers of New Zealanders don’t want to be here.
Over the last two years, the quarterly release of migration statistics has steadily plotted a massive exodus of New Zealand citizens.
Once all citizen returns and departures were accounted for in the year to March 31, provisional net numbers indicated New Zealand lost more than a thousand Kiwis every week.
But why?
The pandemic restrictions are over and the borders have been open for New Zealanders for more than two years.
Pent-up demand for overseas adventure could explain the initial post-Covid surge in departures, and some New Zealanders who returned during the worst of Covid-19 have left again. But the more recent departures are better attributed to other factors.
As I’ve noted before, what’s perhaps most extraordinary about the huge outward migration of New Zealand citizens is it has coincided with near-record inbound migration of non-citizens.
Facing pressure from business groups amidst a global labour shortage, the previous government responded by massively relaxing immigration settings.
In the year to March 31, New Zealand recorded a net migration gain of 163,000 non-citizens.
Accounting for both the provisional citizen and non-citizen migration flows, there are 111,000 extra people in New Zealand than the year before. Add to that the births and deaths for the same period, and our overall population has increased by approximately 130,000 people in the last year.
During the same period, however, the number of consents issued for new houses dropped 25% on the previous 12 months.
As our population surges and construction slows, the average rent paid by the generation of New Zealanders most likely not to own their own homes has increased. TradeMe Property recorded a median rent increase of 8.3% in the year to March 2024 — more than double the corresponding annual increase in wages.
This renting generation, coincidentally, is the same generation most likely to have left New Zealand.
Of all migrant departures of New Zealand citizens, people between the ages of 18 and 30 made up almost 40%.
But even older New Zealanders — who are more likely to have established careers, families, and assets — are leaving in huge numbers. Accounting for all arrivals and departures, a net total of more than 7500 New Zealand citizens between the ages of 31-40 left our shores.
So, what will stem the bleed?
In the short term, at least, there is perhaps little economic reason to stay.
The new Government has moved swiftly to tighten immigration settings but, as the full impact of higher interest rates seeps through the economy, unemployment is steadily increasing.
The national unemployment rate currently sits at 4.3% and most economists expect it to climb above 5% in the coming months. The Māori unemployment rate is already at its highest point in four years at 8.2%.
Young Zealanders now find themselves competing with more people for relatively fewer houses and relatively fewer jobs.
And, as we enter a winter of economic discontent, who could blame them for leaving?