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

 

Labour Commit To Benefit Increases And Individualisation, National Commit To Nothing

Organisers of Enough for All election forum last night, say they were pleasantly surprised to hear Andrew Little commit Labour to increasing benefit levels and ensuring everyone, no matter their relationship status, can access benefits entitlements.

“Hon Andrew Little spoke with surprising confidence of Labour’s commitment to improving these two core issues in our welfare system,” says ActionStation’s Ruby Powell.

“Over the last three years, people working and living on the frontlines of these issues have been pushing and pushing the Minister for Social Development for firm commitment to these changes to little avail,” says Powell.

Powell says National’s Nicola Willis answering ‘no’ to all the questions posed showed an ongoing disregard from National for evidence based solutions to child poverty and wealth inequality.

The Green party was the only party to answer ‘yes’ to all four questions.

The Enough for All forum was co-hosted by ActionStation, Tick For Kids, Equality Network, Child Poverty Action Group and Anglican Movement. The event featured lively, and sometimes shocking debates between the representatives of the political parties and the people asking them questions.

“The richest ten percent of New Zealand’s population own 59% of the nation’s wealth, while the poorest 50% of us own only 2%,” explained Leilani Naufahu.

At 18 years old and a first time voter, Naufahu knows only too well that it’s too much math for many of her friends to get their head around. So she developed a unique way of demonstrating these numbers to political leaders and the public last night.

“I used the kiwi favourite, a pavlova, because when I think of a thriving and equitable Aotearoa, it’s one where there’s enough pavlova and everyone gets a slice,” said Naufahu.

Naufahu challenged the party spokespeople at Enough For All as to whether they supported a wealth tax or some other measure to ensure our richest New Zealanders contribute more.

Susie Ferguson of RNZ, the event’s MC, was strict about getting a proper answer from each politician.

“Our audience is tired of politicians not giving a straight answer, so unless I get a Yes or No I won’t permit the candidate their minute to explain their answer,” said Ferguson.

In response to Naufahu’s question, National and New Zealand First said ‘no’, Labour, Greens and TOP said ‘yes’.

The election forum did not stop with wealth inequality. Candidates were also questioned by Stacey Ryan, whose chronic health condition means she has had to rely on income support payments for 8 years.

“There are so many reasons why people need income support, and no matter why, because of illness, disability, bereavement, or losing their job before - or because of - COVID-19, everyone deserves a decent, liveable income,” said Ryan.

Ryan’s question to the candidates was “Do you agree that current benefit rates are too low, and does your party promise to increase core benefit rates so that those of us reliant on you to survive have enough income to support ourselves, and be able to take part within our communities too?“

In response, the Greens and Labour said ‘yes’, TOP, New Zealand First and National said ‘no’.

Low benefit levels were not the only welfare issue candidates were challenged on. Single parent Alison Brooks challenged them on ensuring MSD will, no matter people's relationship status, enable equitable access to decent income support. Brooks explained how MSD’s relationship rules financially penalise people for being in relationships. Brooks said the rules pushed people into isolation, and went against the Crown's responsibility to Te Tiriti.

These relationship rules are particularly harmful for single parents, more specifically, single mothers, and more pointedly, single, Maori mothers,” said Brooks.

When asked if their parties support individualising benefits and centering tikanga throughout government policy and practices, Labour, TOP and the Greens said ‘yes’, while National and New Zealand First said ‘no’.

Lastly, candidates were challenged on halting rising rents prices. Zoe told her story of flatting in Wellington, where $205 got her only a “shoe-box sized” room and was more than half her weekly income.

“This did NOT afford a warm, dry home. In my first winter in the flat, I noticed black mould on my ceiling. I alerted the property manager; she told me that I would need to clean it off myself or I would be charged out of my bond,” said Zoe.

When asked if their party supported introducing rent caps to limit the amount by which landlords can raise rent, the Greens and TOP said ‘yes’, the rest of the parties said ‘no’.

Representing the political parties were Ricardo Menendez-March for the Greens, Andrew Little for Labour, Geoff Simmons for TOP, Nicola Willis for National and Taylor Arneil for NZ First. Susie Ferguson informed the Zoom, Facebook livestream and Twitch TV audiences of over 200 people that Act and the Māori party were also invited but unable to send someone.

At the end of the event, the Zoom and Facebook audiences were polled to give their feedback on the party’s responses. The result showed Greens with a clear majority with 66.6%, TOP was next with 20%, Labour gained 11.4%, New Zealand First 1.9% and National didn’t receive any votes.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Rampant Pandering To The Farming Vote

What on earth has happened to the political parties n the centre-right? Once upon a time in the US, the party of Lincoln was a respectable political party before it devolved into the cult of Trump. Here at home, the National Parry used to be able to manage and administer the economic orthodoxy in a reasonably competent fashion. Now it can barely do simple addition and subtraction. Something must have gotten into the water, and not simply out on the farm... More>>

 

Winston Peters Speech: The Gathering Storm Clouds: Ihumatao

Frequently around New Zealand you hear people say that politicians are all the same. It’s a convenient way to dismiss any careful investigation of the truth of that statement. New Zealand First since its inception has been committed to ‘one law ... More>>

ALSO:

National Agriculture Policy: Will Restore Farmer Confidence And Pride

A National Government will reduce regulatory burden and give farmers confidence for the future. Leader of the National Party Judith Collins and Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett announced National’s Agriculture policy in Gisborne today. “Agriculture ... More>>

ALSO:

Shaw: Wealth Tax Not A Bottom Line For Green Party But They Will Push For It

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says one of his senior MPs misspoke under pressure when she said a wealth tax was one of the party's bottom lines. More>>

ALSO:

Government: More Border Exceptions For Critical Roles

The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s ... More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Leaders Debate

Do political debates change voter intentions, and cause voters to switch sides? According to a 2019 Harvard Business School study conducted across 61 elections in nine countries involving 172,000 respondents, the answer would seem to be a resounding ... More>>

ALSO:

Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On

With just over three weeks until the General Election, the release of the first major pre-election opinion poll this week confirmed what was already being reported about this year’s campaign. Although the gap between Labour and National has narrowed ... More>>

Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released

17 registered political parties and 677 candidates will be contesting the 2020 General Election Nominations have now closed and the Electoral Commission has released the electorate and party list candidates for 2020 online at vote.nz . Advance voting ... More>>

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>

ALSO:

NZ First: Party List

New Zealand First has a proven twenty-seven-year history of bringing balance and common sense to our government. Amid the continued setbacks of COVID-19 restrictions, New Zealand First has once again sustained its profile by selecting a strong team ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels