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The Increase To Core Benefits In This Year's Budget Are Nowhere Near Enough

Auckland Action Against Poverty is frustrated about the so-called reversing of the Mother of All Budgets as the Labour government continues to introduce incremental changes to the welfare system.

“The government had an opportunity to truly secure our recovery, by lifting benefits to liveable levels and fulfilling their promise to transform the welfare system. The $32-$55 increase to core benefits isn’t going to stop our whānau from needing to access hardship grants, and will continue to keep people and families in poverty,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Brooke Pao Stanley.

“The recommendations of benefit increases in the WEAG report are out-of-date, and this report is a pre-COVID document. Life has significantly changed since then, and we cannot keep operating from old data.

“There’s still so much work to do in terms of addressing income inadequacy for our disabled whānau, our young people, our homeless communities and people without children.

“Labour lauded this as a Wellbeing budget, one of compassion and which restores dignity to people and whānau which shows how disconnected they are from the very people they’re meant to serve.

“They’ve also shown a commitment to social unemployment insurance which reinforces a two tier welfare system, setting up a privatised unemployment scheme, and will work against transforming our current welfare system.

“We’ve been clear about our demands which start with lifting benefits to liveable levels, ending sanctions and obligations, and individualising benefits in the welfare system and we will continue to fight for them.

“We want us to work toward universal essential services where all people have access to free public and or hapū and iwi-led services – power, water, food, transport, housing. This will create meaningful, unionised and well-paid employment for a just climate change transition, as well as ensure no struggles for income increases go directly into the pockets of landlords and corporations.

“We need to heal our relationships with each other and the earth. To do this we need a truly ambitious Budget which moves towards a different system – one based on constitutional transformation as outlined in Matike Mai. A starting point is to make sure everyone has enough income to participate in these conversations and to heal. This is what securing recovery looks like.”

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