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Tax Justice Network responses to report

Tax Justice Network responses to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group report

The tax and transfer systems must work together better to raise incomes for those in need, says Tax Justice Aotearoa. We call for Government action to achieve better interaction between the welfare system and the tax system to help lift the lowest incomes and reduce poverty and inequality.

We believe the recommendations of this comprehensive report provide a well-thought out basis for major reform to New Zealand’s welfare system to make it align better with our current tax system. We support the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s recommendations for considerable changes to the Working For Families tax credit system, and their potential to lift incomes for low- and middle-income earners. Other changes would reduce the rate at which income support is reduced as people’s incomes rise.

We also welcome the report’s recommendations that the abatement thresholds for main benefits be substantially increased (e.g. from $80 to $150 for the Jobseeker Support) and calls for increases of up to 47% to the main benefit rates to ensure people have adequate incomes.

Tax Justice Aotearoa is encouraged by the government’s response as indicated so far, for example the commitment to increase the amount that beneficiaries can earn by paid employment before benefits are cut.

But such measures do not get to the heart of ensuring fairness in our society. Tax Justice Aotearoa welcomes the government’s agreement that change is needed, and looks forward to a detailed response to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group Report - along with implementation measures to give them effect.

ENDS

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