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Office Of Children’s Commissioner Supports Action In Budget 2022 For Low-Income Communities

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner supports the call of The Fairer Future group to adopt a seven-point plan of action to support low-income New Zealanders facing the high cost of living. The Seven Steps for Fairer Future report can be accessed here<>
Two weeks out from Budget 2022, the plan of action, ‘Seven Steps for a Fairer Future’, reflects the advocacy collective’s key priorities for the Government to create lasting change for people most in need.
Assistant Māori Commissioner for Children, Glenis Philip-Barbara says, it is an important call for the Government to show aroha for those whānau and children in our communities doing it tough. “Mokopuna, we have talked with, have told us very clearly, they aren’t asking for the world, just to have enough to cover the basics and a little bit more.”
‘Seven Steps for a Fairer Future’ calls on the Government to increase core benefit levels to the standard of liveable incomes. Recent Fairer Future research<> describes what liveable incomes are in 2022. It proposes an increase to the minimum wage to the level of the living wage to catch up with the rising cost of living. It adds to these steps five policy changes: an increase in the Disability Allowance; a changing of ‘relationship rules’ in the welfare system; the removal of sanctions; the wiping of debt owed to the Ministry for Social Development and improving supplementary assistance and urgent grants.

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Philip-Barbara says: “From a Te Tiriti o Waitangi standpoint, I can tell you that when my tipuna signed Te Tiriti on June 1,1840 in the Waiapu Valley, they did not envision the levels of poverty and depravation experienced by their descendants today. They, and I’m sure many others, signed in the hope and expectation that they were securing a bright future, which in 2022, is still to be realised.

“We know from our Child Poverty Monitor that the burden of poverty impacts Māori, Pacific and Disabled mokopuna and their whānau at 1:4, 1:5 and 1:4 respectively, compared with 1:11 for mokopuna Pākeha and their whānau. That’s why positive action needs to be implemented immediately, and the seven-point action outlined by the Fairer Group collaboration will go a significant way to alleviating the dire situation many of our children and whanau are in,” says Philip-Barbara.

The Fairer Future report says the seven policy changes should be underpinned by a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and an acknowledgment that improved welfare will support a just transition to a low carbon economy.

Fairer Future’s research released in March showed the lifts in income support announced in last year’s Budget will still leave some families around $300 short of what is needed every week to meet core costs to participate in society. Over 30 organisations from the Fairer Future network have signed on to support the seven-step action plan.

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