Guaranteed minimum income needed to cushion impact of growing underemployment

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

With the June 2020 quarter showing underemployment increasing, the Green Party is calling for a Guaranteed Minimum Income and an increase to the abatement threshold to ensure everyone has a dignified income.

“COVID-19 has left tens of thousands more people working less hours than they want, resulting in less stable incomes and more uncertainty for families”, Green Party Co-leader and Housing spokesperson Marama Davidson said today.

“Successive Governments have kept benefits low and created a social security net based on punishment instead of support. The Green Party’s Poverty Action Plan is critically needed so families are able to have enough to live on, even if they are experiencing reduced work hours.

“Our Guaranteed Minimum Income of $325 and an increase to the abatement threshold will mean that New Zealanders losing paid hours continue to live with dignity.

“While we have made progress to lift the abatement threshold and increased core benefits by $25 this term, we know there is more urgent work to do to mend our social safety net so we can face the impacts of COVID-19 in our job market.

“The Greens remain the only political party with a plan to ensure everyone can access support when they need it”.

The Green Party’s Poverty Action Plan will:

  • Reset income support payments to ensure everyone not in fulltime paid work, including students, has income of at least $325 a week.
  • Support sole parents with a top-up of $110, bringing their base payments to $435 per week.
  • Change abatement and relationship rules so people and their partners can earn more from paid work before their income support entitlements are reduced.
  • Provide a $100 a week universal payment to families for each child under three, building on the existing Best Start system.
  • Replace Working for Families tax credits with a single Family Support Credit of $190 per week for the first child and $120 per week for subsequent children, with a higher abatement threshold and lower abatement rate.
  • Reform ACC into an Agency for Comprehensive Care covering all health-related income support within a single system with guaranteed payments of at least 80% of the fulltime minimum wage.
  • Introduce a wealth tax for those with a net-worth over $1 million, and introduce top-tier tax brackets for the highest earners.

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