Auckland Action Against Poverty welcomes the Green Party’s Poverty Action Plan as a critical first step to finally address inequality but warns that without higher baseline incomes people will continue living in hardship.
“Auckland Action Against Poverty has been advocating for several years for a progressive tax system, individualisation of income support and removing all sanctions from our welfare system. The Green Party’s Poverty Action Plan acknowledges that our current welfare system is failing people and whānau”, says Kathleen Paraha, Auckland Action Against Poverty Co-Chair.
“While most people will be better off with the Green Party’s Guaranteed Minimum Income, the baseline levels of support are set too low for individuals without children to have dignified lives. The truth is that $325 is not liveable, and people should not have to rely on supplementary top-ups to be carried above the poverty line.
“In order for the Green Party’s Poverty Action Plan to deliver liveable incomes for all the Guaranteed Minimum Income needs to be set up at a level that lifts everyone out of poverty before people receive supplements.
“The Government’s Covid Income Relief Payment, which provides $490 a week for individuals out of work, is a recognition that we need substantially higher baseline incomes for people. While this amount is not liveable either it is higher than the Green Party’s baseline.
“We welcome the modest tax on wealth the Green Party is proposing which will only target the wealthy few. This is a small step in what should be a wider rethinking of our tax system that puts a disproportionate burden on low-income communities.
“The Government has left people on the benefit behind during this term, despite the rhetoric of kindness and compassion towards those living on low-incomes. The Green Party’s Poverty Action Plan finally puts a transformative welfare policy on the agenda. The challenge now is for the Labour Party and New Zealand First to show a commitment to addressing poverty in Aotearoa and provide liveable incomes for all.”