Energy Cultures PhD student Fatima McKague has been awarded the Todd Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in Energy Research to investigate fuel poverty in New Zealand.

Ms McKague will use the scholarship, which is worth $25,000 scholarship per annum for up to three years, to develop a new measure of fuel poverty specific to New Zealand.

“Fuel poverty is a reality for nearly 30% of low income households in New Zealand. Developing a measure will help focus government policies and programmes to alleviate fuel poverty, and ensure that those who are most vulnerable get the help they need,” she says.

The study will look at who is fuel poor and why in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Currently New Zealand relies on the UK definition, which does not consider the high percentage of old housing, over-representation of Maori and Pacific Islanders in socio-economic issues and the higher proportion of people in rental properties.

A Maldivian citizen, Ms McKague also has a Master’s in Organisational Psychology from the University of Waterloo in Canada, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Human Resource Management from the University of Waikato.

Fatima’s work experience includes working on the Dunedin-based “Cosy Home” and “Warm Dunedin” projects and as a researcher for Otago Presbyterian Support. She also coordinates the Otago Climate Change Network.

The Todd Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in Energy Research is awarded annually to support doctoral research, which may have wide relevance and value to New Zealand. This scholarship recognises the work of Sir Bryan Todd who played a major role in the creation of the Todd Foundation and was instrumental in the development of the New Zealand oil and gas industry.