Budget a Step in Recognising Some Kiwis Are Missing Out
“The Government appears to be listening to the growing voice of social need” is The Salvation Army assessment of the Government’s 2017 Budget.
“Although all the areas identified by the Army have not been addressed Budget 2017 delivers a substantial boost to low income working families” said Ian Hutson the Sallies social policy director. .
The most significant boost for low income working families will be achieved by the movement of the $14,000 tax threshold to $22,000. It is pleasing that Government has heard the community pleas for tax reduction to start at the bottom rather than the top of the income scale.
Additionally increases in the Family Tax credit and increases in the accommodation supplement will make things easier for vulnerable working families
For New Zealand’s most vulnerable beneficiary families the gains are not nearly as great. These families will benefit from Accommodation Supplement increases and an extra $350 million of social housing rent subsidy. “Our concern is that for the Accommodation Supplement gains to be effective, housing supply also needs to increase. The Salvation Army had asked for a commitment of $500 million dollars in capital funding a year for social and affordable housing, but the Government’s commitment in the budget to capital for housing supply is well below this.
Budget Tables show a steady group of people remain on the benefit..While supporting Governments efforts to move people from benefits to work where possible, for some beneficiaries’ health and childcare means work is not a realistic possibility. Government must not “drop the ball” in providing adequately for these people..
The imbalance in New Zealand society between the “haves and have nots” has been increasing over the last 5 years. This budget is a step in the right direction.