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Disability Advocates Say Energy Payments Must Continue

Winter Energy Payments for people receiving income support end 01 October. The NZ Disability Advisory Trust is joining NGOs across the country calling for the payments to continue.

Spokespeople for the Trust Madeline Wenmoth and Nicholas Stoneman, say the energy payments must become year round in order to prevent beneficiaries being pushed deeper into poverty.

“Along with hundreds of thousands of other people who need government support, we are both facing the loss of the extra $41 a week from today,” says Stoneman.

Support Living Payment recipient, Stoneman points to the recent statistic provided by Carmel Sepuloni that shows “...51% of those on benefit have a disability or health condition or are caring for someone with a disability or health condition.”

Stoneman continues, “The present welfare state is broken and needs urgent intervention and the government needs to implement the Welfare Advisory Group’s recommendations of lifting benefit rates by 12 to 47% effective immediately.”

Wenmoth, who also receives the Supported Living Payment, says this is about people’s right to a life; “Just because we’re on benefits doesn’t mean we don’t need a social life. It doesn’t mean we don’t need social interaction. It doesn’t mean we don’t need food, power, heating and the internet. Everyone whether they are working or receiving income support need the same amenities.” states Wenmoth.

“Benefits rates are miles below realistic living costs, living costs are huge and the extra help with power bills can mean the difference between having food on the table or not,” says Wenmoth.

The pair say they would like the government to make the Winter Energy Payment a year round energy payment are they have in Australia.

In support of this cause Stoneman has created a petition via Action Station the link to this is listed below if you wish to sign:

https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/let-those-on-welfare-keep-the-winter-energy-payment-beyond-the-start-of-october-2020

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