The Covid-19 pandemic could exacerbate “unacceptable” levels of poverty and inequity in New Zealand, the Salvation Army has warned.
In its latest State of the Nation report, the Salvation Army said the “rapid increase” in 2020 of the number of children living in benefit-dependent households – up by 23,000 – is a sign child poverty rates may not decline but increase.
Official statistics released last year, for the year ended June 2019, showed some improvement in child poverty rates across seven of the nine measures.
However, Stats NZ said at the time the changes were not statistically significant.
Whenever there is a news report from a poverty group, the Minister asks their Ministry if poverty is as bad as the food banks suggests. The Ministry tallies their numbers and those numbers always suggest a modest half baby step in the direction the Government has set. The Minister responds with empty words about blah blah blah and the story sinks until it pops up again in the wake of the latest NGO press release claiming terrible inequality.
What the Minister and the Ministry fail to appreciate is the far darker reality behind their numbers.
MSD & WINZ are so universally toxic and despised by the beneficiaries who are forced to interact with them that desperate people would prefer to chew broken glass than walk into a WINZ office. These agencies who take spiteful glee in punishing and penalising beneficiaries creates a desire to avoid them with something closely resembling rich white people at a restaurant with an openly convulsing Ebola victim projectile vomiting contaminated blood.
The fear of the State keeps the desperate from interacting with them because the State has purposely constructed obtuse and draconian welfare policy to act as a deterrent to all but the most incapacitated people.
Anything less than a Mad Max dystopian contagious cancer spreading while the WINZ watches inspects you naked gets nothing but contempt.
Plus interest rates on any ‘welfare fraud’ caused by MSD relationship trap rules.
These dynamics will only get more intense as the gig economy generation are cut to the bone by ever shrinking gigs.
The fear of these neoliberal welfare agencies stops people from seeking help while masking the problems so the Government doesn’t have to investigate or react.
The only way through this is a doubling of the welfare payment because at the very least, that welfare payment will force WINZ and MSD to hand out cash no matter how difficult they make the process.
According to Bloomberg Covid is with us for at least 7 more years and the economy is looking like it’s topped out, with fears of inflation causing a cascade debt crash surely the time to start getting serious about welfare before a flood of people need it is urgently required.
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