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Māori Party Co-leader Calls On Government To Lift Incomes Of All Beneficiaries

Māori Party Co-leader calls on Government to lift incomes of all beneficiaries, not just those out of work from COVID-19

Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is calling on the Government to double the incomes of all beneficiaries, not just of those who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government today announced a new COVID-19 Income Relief Payment of $490 per week that will be available for 12 weeks and only for full-time workers made redundant since the beginning of March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Māori Party would at least double all core benefit levels so that no one lives below the poverty line, not create a new benefit for only those who have recently lost their jobs,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“We’re happy that people who recently lost their jobs will have this guaranteed liveable income for 12 weeks, but they are no more deserving of liveable incomes than everyone else who is out of work.

“Our economy has been structured in such a way that many Māori were already locked out of employment before the pandemic - Māori unemployment has consistently been double the rate of Pākehā unemployment.

“There is no justification for someone who has just been made redundant to receive double the income support of someone who has made redundant before the pandemic. We are entering what is likely to be a major recession – all people needed guaranteed secure incomes, and not just for 12 weeks. It’s likely many recently unemployed people won’t be able to find new work within 12 weeks.

“Government could have just chosen to raise core benefits, which all unemployed people would be eligible for, rather than creating a new benefit for only some people, temporarily. This sends a clear message that this Government are not willing to seriously tackle the entrenched poverty so many whānau face.

“The Government is continuing to ignore its commitment in the Labour-Green C&S agreement to “overhaul the welfare system” and the advice of their own Welfare Expert Advisory Group to significantly and permanently increase core benefit levels. It’s about time they delivered for the lowest income New Zealanders, many of whom are Māori,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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