The Green Party is putting a Member’s Bill into the ballot today which will be a significant step towards overhauling the Social Security Act.
Green Party spokesperson for Social Development & Employment Ricardo Menéndez March will submit his Social Security (Purpose and Principles for the Elimination of Hardship) Amendment Bill today that will incorporate recommendations one and two of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s 2019 report. One of the key changes to the Principles of the Act will be to mandate the welfare system to “eliminate hardship”, rather than just “help alleviate hardship” as the Act currently says.
“Everyone deserves to live with dignity, but our current social safety net doesn’t do enough to help people get by and fully participate in their communities,” Ricardo Menéndez March says.
“My Bill will be a significant step in our plan to totally rewrite the social security legislation and eliminate hardship, not just alleviate it.
“This Bill will be the start of changing the way Work and Income works on a day-to-day basis and the decision-making framework they must use when assisting people.
“As well as this Bill to change the purpose and principles of the Social Security Act, the Green Party will begin work on completely rewriting the legislation to be fairer and simpler, along the lines of our Poverty Action Plan, including a Guaranteed Minimum Income.
“We will work with affected communities and experts to develop new social security legislation. New Zealanders have been waiting too long for the Government to make the Social Security Act fairer and simpler, so the Green Party is going to do it.
“The Welfare Expert Advisory Group said the current system is not delivering for our most vulnerable New Zealanders. Too many people are leading desperate lives with seriously inadequate incomes. The WEAG was clear and unequivocal that significant change is needed.
“That report was delivered more than two years ago. People are struggling right now and we cannot wait any longer to get the help they need to live with dignity.
“Tinkering around the edges will not deliver the fundamental change that is needed.
“This is why I am submitting this Bill and why the Green Party will embark on rewriting the entire social security legislation.”