Anti-poverty Groups To Labour: Election Results Mean No More Excuses – Child Poverty Action Group

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Child Poverty Action Group, ActionStation and Auckland Action Against Poverty are calling on the new government to follow through quickly on their plan of raising income support so people receiving benefits are no longer locked into poverty.

“Labour has won this election by a landslide on a platform of kindness and looking after each other – and their pre-election plan specifically includes ensuring adequate incomes for those receiving benefits,” says ActionStation Economic Fairness campaigner Ruby Powell.

“Before the election, Jacinda Ardern consistently said there’s more work to be done to lift families out of poverty. Now she has the mandate to do it,” continued Powell.

Labour’s plans, announced pre-election, include welfare reform goals of “income adequacy so families that depend on the benefit are not living in poverty, and a culture change within government departments to ensure all people are treated with respect”.

Child Poverty Action Group spokesperson Janet McAllister describes those goals as “vital, sensible, and well within the new government’s power to achieve almost immediately”.

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“There’s no time to lose – our research this year shows benefit levels are currently so low they lock many children in the severest poverty,” says Ms McAllister. “Current policies are intensifying our poverty crisis.

“Income adequacy and respect will go a long way to ensuring our welfare system upholds the mana and dignity of all New Zealanders,” says Ms McAllister.

JobSeeker recipients have increased by over a third since COVID-19 hit, from 152,000 in March to 204,000 in September. The Winter Energy Payment – doubled this year due to COVID-19 – ended October 1. Those who lose their jobs can only receive the COVID Income Relief Payment for 12 weeks.

“Whānau desperately need more support,” continued Powell. “Improving our welfare system so that it provides liveable incomes is essential to creating stability for everyone, most importantly our tamariki.”

Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Brooke Fiafia says “It’s time for Labour to walk their talk on welfare reform.

“They have called on all of us as the team of five million to look after each other – and we all are. Now Labour must do their part to ensure everyone gets decent government support. Their election night result means they have no more excuses.

“We are also calling on Labour to end all benefit sanctions which are petty and counterproductive. And to ensure everyone has the right to form and keep supportive relationships, rather than being punished or excluded from income support because they’re dating, or have a partner,” states Fiafia.

Fiafia says guaranteeing the current Covid Income Relief Payment level of at least $490 to all single people studying or not in full time employment – with additional payments to families with children – would lift most people out of poverty.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Labour’s plans……include welfare reform goals of “income adequacy so families that depend on the benefit are not living in poverty….”

    Right. They had three years in which to either implement this, or to signal that they would take substantive steps toward implementing it. They did neither, despite the claims they’d made before the 2017 election. I’ll believe it when I see it: I don’t trust this lot as far as I could throw them (as the saying goes).

    “….a culture change within government departments to ensure all people are treated with respect”.”

    Hahaha….bloody bollocks! Has a single member of this government ever been given the task of changing the culture of an organisation of any size? Does any of them have the least notion of how fiendishly difficult it can be? If not impossible…. Doesn’t sound like it.

    Talk talk talk…. that’s all we got from this lot last term. This term will be more of the same. Last term they did nothing because they’re pants at the political process. This term we’ll see their true political colours: the PM’s a Blairite. And they’ll still be pants at the political process when it matters.

    A family member’s comment about Labour:

    “If the Labour leadership believed anything, they’d run with that interpretation, saying they had a historic mandate, arguing that they had won the country around to their way of thinking.

    But instead they say that their vote increase came from non-left voters so it’s actually a mandate to stay in the centre.

    That’s how hollow they are, they don’t believe in their own claimed ideals and they can’t believe anyone else would either.”

    It’s brutal, but it’s a clear-eyed view.

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