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

Gordon Campbell:
On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point.

By ‘some quarters’, I mean (a) RadioLive host Sean Plunket who called Catton a “traitor” and (b) Prime Minister John Key who dismissed her views as being those of a typical Green Party supporter, which is apparently almost as bad.

In context, Catton seemed to be talking about the mixed feelings she felt after what she had created suddenly becoming a kind of public property claimed by the entire country and its leaders. That must feel weird at any time, in any place. Catton evidently finds it particularly alienating when the government of the day has shown little interest in the arts beyond their promotional/economic value. More>>

 

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news