Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Evidence of poverty relief lacked in Budget Policy Statement

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) says that while the Budget Policy Statement 2020 promises to extend Budget 2019’s 'Wellbeing' framework and states "reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing" as a priority, spending plans don’t reflect the urgent welfare reforms needed.

"Many billions of infrastructure spending is promised, but the Government-appointed Welfare Expert Advisory Group indicated the scale of the social deficit when it told New Zealand that the welfare system is broken and needs $ 5.2 billion per year to fix it," says Associate Professor Susan St John, Economics advisor for CPAG.

"Bricks and mortar are undisputedly important but low-income families do not have enough income to cover the essentials, and children are going hungry in the meantime."

The Treasury’s Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2019 states that Government is "considering" the recommendations from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group along with a number of Tax Working Group recommendations.

"Struggling families and those trapped in the welfare system are in need of far more than a mere consideration," says St John.

While the Families Package was a welcome catch-up, CPAG says it has not greatly helped the worst-off families and their 174,000 children who fall under the lowest poverty measure in the Child Poverty Reduction Act (40% of the national equivalised, after housing costs median).

"What is urgently needed is a significant increase across all benefits, higher abatement thresholds for earned income, and immediate policy changes to Working for Families," says St John. "An additional $0.5 billion spent yearly so that the worst-off children get the full package would improve the lives of those children overnight.

"Worryingly, the Statement’s four-year projections show that no such changes are factored in out to 2024. Working for Families is static and will decline in real value for families as has been the pattern in the past if there is no plan to index it to wages," says St John. "The ongoing inadequacy of welfare benefits is highlighted by the hardship payments that continue to grow."

CPAG commends the Government’s decision to index benefits to average wage inflation from next year, but first benefits need to be substantially increased.

"Most of the increase in social security and forecast welfare spending is due to stronger wage growth and an increase in recipient numbers for New Zealand Superannuation," says St John.

CPAG notes that over the five-year period a cumulative $2.4 billion will be spent on the ill-focused Winter Energy Payment.

"Only one thousand of the 780,000 superannuitants opted out," says St John, "What would be better would be for WEP to be turned into a permanent increase to core benefits. NZ Super annuitants could opt in to an extra payment over the colder seasons."

CPAG is one of many organisations, including ActionStation, Auckland Action Against Poverty and Lifewise, calling on the Government to show strong leadership and resolve to take the bold steps that are urgently needed to ensure that all children and their families can thrive.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Virtues (and Fluffed Opportunities) Of The Operation Burnham Report

One unspoken rule of thumb in any official public inquiry is : whatever you do, don’t conclude you were made to listen to “a litany of lies” even if the evidence of a deliberate cover-up is right there under your nose. In that respect, the report into the 2010 Operation Burnham military raid in Afghanistan has been a model of decorum. Bad stuff did happen and has been duly noted and lamented - but only as a lapse and departure from usual professional standards. Normal service can be trusted to resume shortly... More>>


Environment: Govt Progress On Climate Change Essential, Risk Assessment Shows

The release of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment shows that the progress this Government has made to solve the climate crisis is essential to creating cleaner and safer communities across New Zealand. “Because of this report, we can see clearer ... More>>

Economy: Investing In The Tourism Sector’s Recovery

More than $300 million in funding has been approved to protect strategic tourism businesses, drive domestic tourism through regional events and lift digital capability in the tourism industry, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. A $400 million ... More>>


National On MP Bill: Waka-Jumping Repeal Bill Passes First Reading

The Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading, marking one step closer to Parliament getting rid of NZ First’s ‘waka-jumping’ legislation, National List MP David Carter says. “I’d like to thank the Greens for voting ... More>>


Covid-19:Legislation For Managed Isolation Payments Introduced

Hon Dr Megan Woods Minister of Housing Legislation to allow the Government to recover some of the costs for managed isolation and quarantine will be introduced to Parliament today, said Minister of Housing Megan Woods. “The Bill will allow the government ... More>>


General Election 2020: Newshub-Reid Research Poll Shows Labour Stratospheric And National In Freefall

The latest Newshub-Reid research poll* shows the National party’s leadership crises have catapulted Labour to its highest heights in this poll’s history. It has climbed to 60.9% - an increase of 4.4 percentage points. And National has been punished, ... More>>


Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>


Energy: 100% Renewable Electricity Grid Explored With Pumped Storage ‘battery’

The Government is taking a significant step toward its goal for 100% renewable electricity generation in a move that could be a game changer for consumers and the creation of a low-emissions economy, Energy & Resources Minister Megan Woods said. ... More>>


Election 2020: Campaign Launches

The Green Party has launched its policy platform. Think Ahead, Act Now: Our Green Vision for Aotearoa was unveiled by Co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw at the party’s Annual General Meeting this morning. Marama Davidson said today: “In ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels