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Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Responds To Mini Budget

“It is hard to see how some of the choices made for the mini budget will ensure human rights and a life of dignity for all, especially for those stuck in struggle town,” says Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo.

“Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living. Our Government has resources, choice, and obligation under international human rights conventions to progressively realise human rights. We must strive to do better, acknowledge our evolving identity as a society, and avoid things getting worse.”

“The mini budget withdraws some of the progress in important areas that protect human rights. For example, it is concerning that the extension of 20 hours free Early Childhood Education (ECE) to two-year-olds has been scrapped.

In this current cost-of-living crisis, free ECE for under-twos would provide real help to children, whānau and families. This would have provided economic support for caregivers, disproportionately women, who want to return to the workforce, are struggling with housing costs, and need paid work to secure an adequate standard of living.”

Sumeo says it is positive to hear in the mini budget that there will be efforts to focus on tax evasion.

She says it is disappointing to see an end to free and half-price public transport for those under 25.

“Not only does this scheme provide an affordable transport option for many of our rangatahi, but it also encourages the use of public transport which is a pivotal strategy in addressing climate change.”

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Commenting on the decisions to index benefit increases to inflation rather than wage growth, and the repeal of Fair Pay Agreements, Sumeo says these will likely make life harder for our most vulnerable workers, their children and dependents over time.

“We already have 120,000 children living in hardship. We need budgets and policies that uphold their right to life and to an adequate standard of living.

People in New Zealand want to be enabled to lift themselves up through access to equal opportunity, secure and decent work.

I urge our Government to focus on protecting and promoting human rights so that progress in creating a life of dignity for all does not regress.”

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