Disappointment With Rejection Of Benefit Level Increase
A Statement by NZCCSS Executive Officer Trevor McGlinchey:
“NZCCSS is incredibly disappointed with the Prime Minister’s decision to reject the call by 59 NGOs to increase benefit levels before Christmas.
As the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, we know that the Prime Minister is fully aware of the desperate situation of families and whānau reliant on social welfare. The WEAG Report Whakamana Tāngata released in 2019, showed the stark difference between weekly benefit levels and the income needed to live with enhanced mana: every week, individuals and families on benefits received between $137 and $356 less than what is needed to live with dignity.
While the Prime Minister suggested that most low-income families were better off by $100 a week since Labour came into office 3½ years ago, we know that the average cost of rent has increased by a similar amount over the same period and the basic cost of living continues to rise.
As the Prime Minister said, the kind of structural change that is needed to address the inequality that exists in New Zealand will indeed take longer than “one week, one month or one term”. However, we should not expect those with the least – people in receipt of social welfare – to continue to live without dignity in order for the country to pay off its debt more quickly. This is a burden that should be shared by all New Zealanders.
Our call to Government remains the same: provide liveable incomes to all.”