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NGOs Say Time For The Government To “Step Up” As Social Security Tweaks Kick In

ActionStation and NZ Disability Advisory Trust are amongst a network of NGOs calling on the Government to go further than the small improvements to income support levels that come in today.

“There is a growing consensus across the country that income support levels need to be urgently and significantly improved,” says ActionStation Campaigner Ruby Powell.

A poll commissioned by the network earlier in the year showed 7 out of ten of people in New Zealand backed increases to income support, including 80% of renters, 78% of Labour voters and 56% of National voters.

Nick Stoneman, Supported Living Payment recipient and co-founder of NZ Disability Advisory Trust, says having to rely on a benefit is extremely stressful and restrictive.

“The tiny increase that we have been given today is completely insignificant as at the same time the amount of Temporary Additional Support we receive is being reduced. And living costs only continue to rise in New Zealand,” says Stoneman.

The Child Poverty Action Group are also part of the group of frontline service providers, child poverty experts, advocates and lived experience groups calling on the government to step up to their promises to address NZ’s poverty crisis.

“The Government must listen to the experts and do what is shown to work, as it did to tackle COVID, to make sure everyone has a liveable income. Whether they are working, caring for children, living with a disability or illness, learning, or have lost their jobs before or because of COVID-19 - everyone in Aotearoa should be able to have the stability and opportunities that came with having a decent income,” say Laura Bond, Executive Director of Child Poverty Action Group.

Last month Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni admitted benefit levels were “not enough”. Yesterday in an interview on Breakfast Minister Sepuloni said, “we want to do much more” and urged observers to look at what the Government is “doing across the board.”

“Every day that the Government watches over our social security system, knowing how bad it is, is an embarrassment to the Government and the country as a whole,” says Powell.

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