The government has announced goals to halve child poverty in three critical measures over the next decade. These are realistic and achievable targets that will be welcomed.
However, it is wrong for the government to delay the introduction of their boost to working for families for a further five months until July.
WFF is being underfunded by an estimated $700 million a year as a consequence of the steady decline in real value that occurred under the National government. The planned boost in July only restores $500 million of the cuts.
The government also plans to increase the abatement rates from 20 to 25% after earning $42,700. A family earning $5000 above the threshold could lose up to 84% of the additional income in taxes and abatements! At the very least, the increase in the abatement rate should be stopped.
The full entitlement of the WFF package should also be extended to all low-income families. This would boost the incomes of 200,000 children in the worst poverty at a cost of another $500 million.
The government’s goals of halving child poverty can’t actually be achieved without this change happening sooner or later.
Discriminating against low-income families not in work has been a festering sore that needs to be lanced. It was a product of the previous Labour government maintaining the “Third Way” ideology associated with Tony Blair and Bill Clinton that differentiated between the deserving and undeserving poor. It has no place under this government and the commitments that have been made to halve child poverty in a decade.
We can afford it now without any increased taxes as I explained last week.
The system is broken. We need a return to universal entitlements that is recouped with taxes on high incomes and accumulated wealth.