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Set Official Poverty Line, Says Social Agency

Baptist Action is calling for the new government to set an official ‘poverty line’ and ensure all beneficiaries and low income earners receive enough to live above it.

The Auckland social service agency says that while the Alliance pledge of $20 a week extra in every beneficiary’s pocket would help, ‘it doesn’t address growing long-term poverty levels in New Zealand’.

But Gary Corbett, manager of Baptist Action’s City Mission, also has praise for the promise of a return to income-related rents for state housing tenants.

‘This will have a flow-on effect on the health of low income people, freeing up more money for things such as doctor’s bills,’ he says. Less over-crowding in accommodation would also improve children’s education through sleeping better and keeping healthy.

The high cost of accommodation in Auckland – around $100 a week more than the rest of the country – would be curbed by Labour’s plans to build more state houses and stop the sale of others, he believes.

‘It should help bring balance into the rental market.’

Mr Corbett says that other policy promises by government including ensuring full entitlements to beneficiaries would ease the pressure on people trying to make ends meet on a low income or benefit.

Baptist Action City Mission provides budgeting, advocacy and a foodbank service to around 480 families a year,

End

For further information contact Gary Corbett on 377 3183.

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