Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


PQ 7. Child Poverty—Government Initiatives to Address

7. Child Poverty—Government Initiatives to Address

[Sitting date: 29 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:6. Text is subject to correction.]


7. JACINDA ARDERN (Labour) to the Minister for Social Development : Does she agree with the Prime Minister’s statement that “the fastest way to get children and grown up New Zealanders out of poverty is through work”, when the latest report on household incomes states that two out of five children living in poverty are in households where at least one adult is in full time work or self-employed?

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): Yes, there are some people in work who are struggling but they have access to a range of support including in-work tax credits, the accommodation supplement, and childcare assistance, and I certainly encourage people to check their entitlement, as often people do not know that they can get that. Being in work is also the best way to gain skills and experience that could lead to a wage increase, more hours, or even a higher paying job.

Jacinda Ardern : If work alone is the answer and the Government has in place all of those additional entitlements she has listed, why are working families still living in poverty?

Hon PAULA BENNETT : It is because their income is not sufficient, which is why we give them extra assistance. We also believe that work is the way out of poverty. The percentage of those who are working and are in poverty is far fewer than those who are in benefit-dependent households. It is also a fact that they can gain skills and experience, which means that they are more likely to get wage increases and are more likely to get higher paying jobs. The best thing that we can do is keep on our track of improving the economy.

Jacinda Ardern : Given that she has acknowledged that for some families their wages are insufficient, has she advocated for a greater increase in the minimum wage to ease the pressure on working families; if not, why not?

Hon PAULA BENNETT : Because I want jobs to be available for New Zealanders, and we have evidence that says that increasing the minimum wage beyond what businesses can afford to pay means that jobs will be cut from the economy. That is the last thing we want to see, because people are far more likely to be in poverty if they are on a benefit. There is also plenty of evidence that says that our minimum wage is the seventh highest in dollar terms in the OECD and on a percentage basis it is actually the highest.

Jacinda Ardern : Are the additional entitlements the Minister has listed as coming from the Government supplementing the fact that we have a low-wage economy and employers who are not paying working families sufficiently?

Hon PAULA BENNETT : Well, considering that certainly the in-work tax credits and the Working for Families were brought in under the previous Labour Government, I acknowledge that that was to supplement those people who are working and struggling to get by. It may be because of the hours that they are working and a range of other factors like the number of children they have got. So, yes, we acknowledge that some people need a boost and we are prepared to give them that, but actually being in work is the best way to get ahead.

Jacinda Ardern : Does she stand by her statement that “another target that I can well and truly point to is making sure that we have more jobs and better paying jobs in New Zealand.”; if so, what evidence does she have that she has achieved her target of better paying jobs?

Hon PAULA BENNETT : Speaking to the first part of that statement, the fact that we have 22,000 new jobs in the economy in the quarter just to March actually shows that we are making a difference for those people—that is a fact.

Jacinda Ardern : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I gave a quote that the Minister had previously given, but I asked her to reference the evidence around better paying jobs.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER : The difficulty is that the member asked a supplementary question to which there were two legs, and the Minister has addressed the first leg of that question.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news