Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Families cannot wait till Budget 2019 announcements

Benefit data shows families cannot wait till Budget 2019 announcements.

The latest benefit data from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) provides cast iron evidence that current levels of welfare benefits and Working for Families tax credits are far too inadequate to meet the everyday needs of families who rely on social assistance, saysChild Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

The latest statistics from MSD show that in the December quarter, a total of $100 million was spent on emergency grants for necessities such as food and housing, an increase of 40% over the previous December quarter. During the same period in 2018, 6000 fewer sanctions were applied, compared to 2017.

While this may indicate that the rules are less stringent as the Government endeavours to make sure people get the assistance they need, it also indicates a rise in desperation.

With increased hardship spending, the demand for charities to fill the need might have been expected to fall, but that has been far from the case. Food banks, such as the Auckland City Mission, were overwhelmed by the increas ed need over the 2018 Christmas period.

Associate Professor Susan St John, CPAG Economics spokesperson, says that families and children cannot get by simply on the Government's good intentions.

"The latest hardship expenditure data provides further evidence that the Families Package has not had the reach into the homes of those worst off, that was sorely needed," says St John.

A 2018 paper by CPAG shows that families on benefits, with the very lowest incomes, did not get nearly the boost they needed.

"While there was some relief in the Accommodation Supplement increases, much of those increases were quickly swallowed up in the ongoing effects of New Zealand's housing crisis," says St John.

Many who had increases in Accommodation Supplement also found they qualified for correspondingly less Temporary Additional Support payments as the latest statistics show.

CPAG believes there is no need to wait for the Welfare Expert Advisory Group report to know that families do not have enough money to meet their reasonable needs.

"It is simply inefficient, demeaning and time consuming for so many to have to continually apply for additional assistance because the basic benefit is too low," says St John.

CPAG calls on the coalition Government to increase welfare benefits by at least 20% immediately and index to wages like New Zealand Superannuation. To support the wellbeing of children, all low-income families should get the full Working for Families tax credit package, increasing their weekly incomes by $72.50 immediately. Families and others on benefits have had to wait too long, and should not have to wait for Budget 2019 and later thereafter, for the changes they so desperately need.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Anti-Corbyn Split In British Labour

The resignation of seven UK Labour MPs in protest against the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is another example of the centre-left’s readiness to sabotage its own cause – such things are always allegedly done on principle – even if the outcome hands the country over to Conservative rule for five more years.

Certainly, a technician hot-miked at the splitters’ press conference was pretty sure this would now be the outcome, and he accidentally informed the nation to that effect. More>>


Auckland Action Against Poverty: Motels Profit From Housing Crisis

A single motel which charges up to $1,500 per week per room has received over $3 million worth of Government funds to provide emergency assistance, despite never having a Code Compliance Certificate – an offence under the Building Act – and receiving a series of longstanding complaints from occupants... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Alleged China Relations Crisis

If New Zealand’s relations with China are ‘deteriorating’ then you still need a microscope to detect the signs... More>>


Environment: Government To End Tenure Review

“Tenure review has resulted in parcels of land being added to the conservation estate, but it has also resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision on the 353,000 ha of land which has been freeholded. This contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals,” said Eugenie Sage. More>>


Bell Tolls: Big Changes, Grand Mergers Planned For Vocational Training

“At a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, too many of our polytechnics and institutes of technology are going broke... More>>


Sallies' State Of The Nation: Progress Stalled In Reducing Inequality

The report shows a lack of tangible progress in key areas including record levels of household debt and a growing gap in educational achievement between poorer and more well off communities. More>>


Party Politics In Tax Morale Survey: SSC To Seek Answers From IRD

Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins has today asked the State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes to examine IRD’s reported inappropriate use of a public survey. More>>





InfoPages News Channels