Topics: Health, Housing

Pensioner would rather face winter chill than power bill

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Rotorua pensioner Patrick Dixon is part of the growing number of people that would rather go without heating due to the cost of his power bill.

His plight is known by many other New Zealanders surveyed in a report by The Salvation Army.

71-year-old Patrick Dixon keeps a blanket around him to keep warm.

“That heater builds up the power.  That's why I don't use that heater on the wall”.

Dixon says he's one of the lucky ones here in Rotorua, but according to a survey by The Salvation Army he's part of a growing number of New Zealanders going without over winter.

Jono Bell of The Salvation Army says, “We found that over 45 percent of New Zealanders are going without heating just to save costs and so that is quite significant. 

“Heating their homes keeping themselves and their children warm is a really big issue”

The report says in the last year: 

  • 16% of respondents have missed a rent or mortgage payment. 
  • 37% skipped a meal because they didn't have enough money.
  • 10% have used the oven or stove to heat the home this winter.
  • 23% are scared their card will be declined.