The Government’s 2020 well-being budget continues to fail our unemployed – AAAP

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The Government’s 2020 well-being budget continues to fail low-income people, families and communities with the lack of investment in support for people receiving benefits. It contains no additional increases to core benefits outside of the indexation changes and we keep condemning hundreds of thousands of people to live below the poverty line” says Brooke Fiafia, Auckland Action Against Poverty Spokesperson.

“People should not have to rely on charities or food grants to survive. The $25 dollar increase to benefit levels earlier this year has not reduced the need for food grants from Work and Income. The increased pressure on Work and Income staff because of rising unemployment due to Covid-19 will make it more difficult for people to access hardship assistance.

“The Ministry of Social Development is preparing for up to an extra 300,000 people to apply for a benefit in the coming months which means a huge proportion of our population will be living in poverty. The Government could alleviate the pressure on low-income communities as well as Work and Income by lifting benefits to liveable levels and let Work and Income staff focus on pastoral support, instead of processing food grants.

“We are living in unprecedented times, which we know requires a response which is unprecedented. Too many families have been living in poverty for decades, and this budget further ignores the systemic changes required to change that for communities.

“While people’s employment status shouldn’t determine their right to a life with dignity, we are worried that there are no guarantees by Government to ensure jobs created as part of this budget provide a living wage and decent working conditions. People should not be forced into employment that does not allow them to make ends meet.

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We welcome the investment into Māori housing initiatives such as He Kūkū Ki Te Kāinga and He Taupua, but the bulk of the funding pales in comparison to community housing and transitional housing initiatives. We are calling on the Government to direct more funding into hapu and iwi led housing initiatives and return confiscated Crown land.”

“Despite the additional funding in public housing, the Government is accepting it will not be able to house all of the people on the social housing waiting list over the next few years. The additional funding for state homes won’t cover the burgeoning state housing waiting list, meaning families will still be homeless or struggling to make ends meet in private rentals.

We are disappointed no changes have been made to our tax system. This was an opportunity to introduce taxes on wealth and speculative transactions so that the wealthy few pay their fair share and the tax burden does not fall on low-income communities in the form of regressive taxes.

“The Government has the resources to ensure that everybody has enough food on the table, access to housing, and public services. Given the circumstances of Covid-19 and against the backdrop of the climate crisis, this was an opportunity for us to be courageous and truly transformative as a way forward for all of us.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. By the time the election comes around, its estimated that the number of people in receipt of financial support and or a benefit will be in excess of 400,000. Its at 359,000 now!

    So tell me, how does that calculate when you consider the voting patterns of those people who have been made unemployed by a sitting government? Usually it is a ‘protest vote’ or a ‘vote of no confidence’ by not voting at all.

    It could be a hung parliament? Or a opposition minority government waiting in the wings because of this incompetent labour government.

  2. It seems a cruel Government that fails to increase the benefit and knows it will make people swallow their pride and line up for a food parcel. This is the same Government that said they are us and we are in this together.
    Those who reconize my name will say National were no better and I would agree but to me Labour and it’s leader sold this story of being there for the underdog but at so many levels they have failed their supporters in particular those Maori that blindly give them their vote.
    Also a short time ago Jacinda was praising the midwives but there was nothing for them that I could see which is a shame.

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