Fuel Poverty or Energy Hardship? Analysing the literature, the proposed official definition, and the views of experts in Aotearoa New Zealand





fuel poverty, energy hardship, energy poverty, energy wellbeing, energy policy, New Zealand


Fuel poverty is a serious condition in New Zealand, caused by the inability to afford sufficient energy services and resulting in detriment to health and wellbeing. Inconsistent ways of describing and measuring fuel poverty affect the perception and depth of the issue and the proposed interventions. This article analyses the proposed definition and indicators of energy hardship developed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, in addition to the literature and the perspectives of five New Zealand experts. Findings suggest that the proposed energy hardship description and measures are well-aligned with the recommendations given by the interviewed experts and the literature findings on fuel poverty, which bodes well for effective interventions to minimise the issue.


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Author Biographies

Luiza Brabo-Catala, University of Waikato

Luiza Brabo-Catala is a PhD candidate researching energy hardship at the Waikato Management School, University of Waikato.

Eva Collins, University of Waikato

Eva Collins is a professor and director of the New Zealand Institute for Business Research in the Waikato Management School, University of Waikato.

Barry Barton, University of Waikato

Barry Barton is a professor at Te Piringa Faculty of Law at the University of Waikato, specialising in energy and natural resources law.



2022-11-06 — Updated on 2022-11-22