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

 

Benefits Need To Further Increase To Support The Unemployed

In a week alone there was an increase of about 10,000 people now relying on welfare to get by. As the number of benefit recipients rapidly increases as a result of COVID-19, Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Government to urgently lift benefits to liveable levels and change the welfare system to make it fit-for-purpose.

“We are disappointed to hear that Minister Carmel Sepuloni has not committed to exploring increases to benefit levels. Unless benefits are substantially lifted Work and Income will not be able to cope with the rapid demand for hardship grants for food. We already know that high rent prices, a lack of public housing and low benefit levels means people relying on income support are living week-to-week, often day-to-day”, says Brooke Fiafia, Auckland Action Against Poverty Spokesperson.

“The recent increase of $25 to baseline benefits is not nearly enough to alleviate the social circumstances of thousands of families. Our welfare system was already broken before COVID-19, with a consistently sharp increase in hardship grant numbers, long waiting times to reach the Work and Income contact centre and a record number of families living in emergency accommodation. The effects of COVID-19 have only exacerbated the problems that were already present in the welfare system.

“The concerns around the rise of unemployment due to COVID-19 is in large part because being unemployed means living in severe poverty. Politicians have all the resources available to ensure that everybody has a roof over their head and enough income, as we have seen the swift responses, they have been able to make in other areas due to this lockdown. Other countries around the world have shown us that bold changes to the welfare system can happen immediately.

“The increase of people in jobseeker benefits will mean a larger portion of our population is going to be subjected to punitive obligations. We’re calling for an end to obligations that result in people losing their benefit if they do not take any employment that is offered.

“People’s employment status shouldn’t dictate their right to a life with dignity, and their connection to their jobs should be tied to their aspirations. People should be enabled to find employment that is suited to them and the contributions they can make, instead of being pushed into low-paid jobs simply to reduce unemployment numbers.

“Lifting benefit levels is just one change the Government needs to implement to ensure COVID-19 does not increase further existing inequality. The Government needs to take a proactive role in the creation of good jobs, building enough public housing, and universal access to utilities so no one is left behind in the response to COVID-19.”

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 to enable people in part time employment to receive income support.

- Individualise benefit entitlements.

- Increase the income threshold for income support recipients.

- Implement all other Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommendations.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The George Floyd Protests

Poverty, discrimination and repeated acts of police brutality all help to explain the rage being expressed on the streets of American cities right now after the death of George Floyd but there is a more immediate cause as well: Decades of research on police shootings and brutality reveal that officers with a history of shooting civilians, for example, are much more likely to do so in the future compared to other officers... More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: Statement On The Death Of George Floyd

“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama ... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>

ALSO:

National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>

ALSO:

Lockdown Rules: Government Must Explain Why We’re Still At Level 2

The Government needs to explain to New Zealanders why it won’t consider a move to Alert Level 1 for another week, Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller says.
“Kiwis have made enormous sacrifices to flatten the curve, but if their efforts still aren’t enough to move to Level 1 then the Government must explain why.... More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>

ALSO:


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>

ALSO:

Government: Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020

The New Zealand Order of Merit The Queen has been pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday, to make the following appointments to The New Zealand Order of Merit: DNZM To be Dames Companion of the said Order: Distinguished ... More>>

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>

ALSO:

The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>

ALSO:

Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>

ALSO:


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels