Many New Zealanders are still struggling with financial hardship 15 months after Covid-19 changed all of our lives. Today, The Salvation Army released its latest advocacy report The Struggle is Real: A snapshot of financial hardship post-Covid-19. This paper looks at three different measures of financial hardship: KiwiSaver hardship withdrawals, attachment orders for civil debt repayments, and the amount of contacts to the Money Talks helpline.
“Across all of these measures, more people are facing troubling financial times,” says report author, Ronji Tanielu. For example, in 2020 more than 30,000 attachment orders were imposed on New Zealanders, forcing them to repay civil debts they owed. Nearly 26,000 of these were placed on people living on a benefit. “That’s like trying to get blood out of a stone, putting more pressure on people with low and fixed incomes. This will probably force many of these people into deeper debt traps and spirals,” adds Mr Tanielu.
In the year ending June 2020, the number of people withdrawing their KiwiSaver for financial hardship increased by 22 percent. And the numbers of those contacting the Money Talks helpline for financial help has steadily increased since December 2020.
“We call on the relevant government ministers to truly help those struggling by rethinking KiwiSaver to ensure it is working for poorer New Zealanders, and urgently implementing a policy that ensures attachment orders cannot be imposed on people living off benefits.”
For a video introduction to the report, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oYBHrhNAKw
The report will be available on Wednesday, June 23 by following this link: https://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/article/the-struggle-is-real