Whiteware initiative good for beneficiaries and taxpayers
Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development
Associate Minister of Housing
18 September 2013 Media Statement
Whiteware initiative good deal for beneficiaries and taxpayers
The Government has finalised a whiteware purchasing agreement which will provide a good deal for both beneficiaries and taxpayers.
“In this year’s Budget I announced we would work to get better value for beneficiaries and taxpayers in the way we help people purchase fridges, freezers and washing machines,” Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said.
Hardship grants are available to beneficiaries and people on low incomes to purchase whiteware products. These grants have to be repaid.
Over $10.5 million was spent over the last year in assistance for these purchases, however second-hand products are commonly bought which can ultimately cost hundreds of dollars extra in repair and maintenance costs, increasing debt for beneficiaries.
Whiteware will be provided under the Haier brand, by Fisher & Paykel Appliances Ltd, the sole distributor of the brand in New Zealand.
The initiative will see the Ministry of Social Development enter into a preferred supplier agreement with Fisher & Paykel Appliances Ltd. Beneficiaries will continue to apply for hardship assistance and if they qualify, will be provided with a high quality appliance which they will repay MSD for.
MSD are anticipating the arrangement will result in a $10 million reduction in hardship assistance for whiteware over five years.
“For people on low incomes, paying to get the fridge or washing machine fixed can often mean going without other essentials,” Mrs Bennett said.
It is estimated the new units will cost around the same as an average second-hand unit to buy, but maintenance costs over five years will be more than halved.
“We are ensuring people needing whiteware products are able to buy a quality, reliable product, which will come with at least a two-year warranty.”
“Fisher & Paykel is a company well trusted in New Zealand, and along with a strong distribution network already in place, also operate a 24/7 customer support service.”
“This means beneficiaries purchasing whiteware through the arrangement can have confidence in the product they’re buying.”
The rollout will begin in the South Island later this month, with the whole country covered by early next year.
As part of this agreement MSD and Fisher & Paykel are also working together to identify employment opportunities in the company for beneficiaries, another positive outcome of awarding the contract to a single supplier.