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Great for mid-income Kiwis; what about the rest?

18 August 2005

Great news for middle-income Kiwis; what about the rest?

Labour's new tax relief package is great news for the 60,000 families who will benefit from it, but many Kiwi kids from low-income families will still miss out, the Green Party says.

"We're delighted that many more families will end up with more money to raise their children," Green Social Services Spokesperson Sue Bradford.

However, Ms Bradford said she was disappointed that, once again, the children of beneficiaries will miss out in the Working for Families package.

"This package focuses on providing extra relief for families where at least one parent is in paid employment. It entrenches ongoing discrimination against beneficiaries. Children need food on the table, whether their parents are in paid employment or on a benefit."

Ms Bradford said, if part of the next Government, the Greens would be doing everything they could to have Working For Families extended to beneficiary families.

"It's great that Labour wants to help families through progressive tax relief. However, the Greens simply doesn't accept that, when over 20 percent of our children still live in poverty, those who are worst off should still miss out on Working For Families.

"Should the Greens become part of the next Government we will be doing everything we can to work with Labour to end child poverty in all New Zealand families, not just some."

Ms Bradford said the Working for Families package will conceal the fact that many Kiwis are not paid a fair wage.

"It's imperative that the minimum wage is raised to $12 an hour. Working For Families has allowed too many employers to get away with paying their employees a wage that is not enough to live on. Working for Families could be called another form of corporate welfare."

Ms Bradford said the debate between the two sides of the political divide was becoming very clear.

"The Greens believe in strong, quality public services and providing tax relief to those who most need it.

"Kiwis are being offered a choice between a Labour-Green Government offering targeted tax relief for those who need it and a National-led Government offering tax cuts disproportionately benefiting the very rich. I'm confident New Zealand will make the correct, humane choice."


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