Welfare system keeping people in poverty

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party calls on the Government to stop tinkering and immediately increase benefits to liveable levels, following the release of data by Fairer Futures which shows some of the country’s worst-off families need $300 a week more in support to make ends meet.

“Everyone deserves a decent life, where they have enough to put food on the table, a roof over their heads and to participate in their communities,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, Green spokesperson for social development and employment.

“But as this research from Fairer Futures shows, the Government’s support system is keeping people locked in poverty – it is a political decision to keep incomes too low to live on.

“The Government needs to commit to further increases to benefits to lift all families out of poverty, wipe debt to MSD and overhaul restrictive relationship rules. The Government also needs to commit to increasing Working for Families, and changing abatement rates so more people get support.

“The Government’s 1 April increases to welfare support do not even come close to the transformational reform families need to just survive. Small, tinkering changes are being eroded as the cost of food, rent, power and transport rises out of reach for far too many.

“The Green Party supports the calls for an immediate increase of core incomes of $300 for families on a jobseeker benefit.

“Low benefits are locking people in poverty and undermining our public health response to COVID-19. The Government has a choice: either ensure everyone has what they need or continue locking families in poverty.

“Anything short of a guaranteed liveable income is condemning families to hardship,” says Menéndez March.

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