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


Not Enough Left For Beneficiaries In COVID-19 Govt Package

Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Government to do more for people dependent on income support in its response to COVID-19.

“The Government’s package to address the effects of COVID-19 and the recession won’t address the hardship people dependent on income support are already experiencing”, says Brooke Fiafia, Auckland Action Against Poverty Spokesperson.

“It is disappointing to see the Government do the absolute minimum on benefit levels. The increase of $25 dollars to baseline benefits is on the bottom end of what the Welfare Expert Advisory Group was recommended. Most of the people we work with at AAAP are living on a deficit and need hardship grants that are often far over $100 to cover basic expenses.

"If the Government wanted to stop people from having to queue at Work and Income to access food grants they needed to increase baseline benefit levels substantially more and increase the abatement rate threshold so people do not miss out on supplementary assistance as a result of the increase.

“While we welcome the additional funding into health infrastructure we are disappointed that most of the package is going into subsidising employers and tax relief for businesses. The reality is that those most at risk for COVID-19 are also those most dependent on income support. Our homeless and low-income senior citizens will struggle to practise social distancing and self-isolation when their incomes do not cover basic expenses such as rent.

“The increase in the Winter Energy Payments is temporary and does not contribute to building a fit-for-purpose welfare system, while the In Work Tax Credit will not support households who are relying on income support to cover their costs of living.

“We’re concerned that there has not been a package to address the risk for homeless people in regards to COVID-19. People living in overcrowded homes and rough sleepers are particularly at risk of infection and have no means to self-isolate. We are calling on the Government to increase the supply of state housing to match the people on the waiting list in the short term.

“This is a matter of political courage and will. No one relying on income-support should be having to choose between paying their rent or affording food. If the Government is able to inject billions of dollars into wage subsidies and tax relief for business it also has the resources to ensure our welfare system is future-proof for any public health crisis or financial shocks.”

Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the following changes to our welfare system:

- Remove the limit of hardship grants people are eligible for in a period of 6 months before they must show they have exceptional circumstances.

- Increase benefits to liveable levels.

- Remove all benefit sanctions.

- Proactively call all income support recipients to offer hardship grants where required.

- Remove work-testing obligations that mean people lose their benefit if they do not accept an offer of employment.

- Increase the abatement rate threshold to enable people in part time employment to receive income support.

- Increase the income threshold for income support recipients.

- Implement all the Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommendations.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Rationing Of PPE Gear, Masks And Everything Else

From the outset, the perceived need to ration our scarce resources seems to have driven the response to Covid-19. Rationing still appears to be limiting the ability of nurses and other frontline workers to access and routinely wear the PPE gear they need to do their job safely. Initially at least, we were also rationing the public’s access to Covid-19 testing. We also continue to pick and choose among the scientific evidence to justify advising the public against the need for them to wear masks…. If it hasn’t done so already, this trend will end up eroding public confidence in the Ministry of Heath assurances that hey don’t worry people, we have enough PPE gear, testing kits and masks to go around. Counter factual : if we’re rationing it, we haven’t got enough... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>


Police Commissioner: Christchurch Terrorist Pleads Guilty

Police acknowledge the guilty pleas in the Christchurch Mosque attacks prosecution that were entered in the Christchurch High Court today. The guilty pleas to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of engaging in a terrorist ... More>>


Transport: $54 billion Investment In Draft GPS 2021

The Draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) 2021 on land transport confirms that the Government will invest a record $54 billion in its balanced transport policy over the next decade. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Loss Of Abortion Safe Zones

No doubt, last night’s defeat of abortion law reform provisions that would have created safe zones around abortion clinics will be portrayed, by some, as a victory for free speech. It isn’t. It was a victory for bigotry and intimidation directed ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On National's Regulation Crusade

Lets step back in time now, to simpler days and to simple-minded solutions. So…. if National gets elected, landlords will once again be able to evict tenants at will, raise rents anytime they like, and ignore the need to install a healthy standard of heating in the homes they put out to rent. This promised ‘bonfire of regulations’ is being done in the name of cutting red tape... More>>


SMC - Expert Reaction: PF2050 Strategy

DOC has released a strategy to reach Predator Free 2050, along with an action plan through to 2025. The predator-free goal focuses on three groups of mammals: possums, three species of rats, plus stoats, ferrets and weasels... More>>






InfoPages News Channels