Green Party says the Government needs to do more for those on the lowest incomes

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 30, 2022 |

The Green Party says the Government needs to do more for those on the lowest incomes as inflation outpaces wage and benefit increases.

Stats NZ released the household living-costs price indexes for the March 2022 quarter, which shows household living-costs continue to rise and are hurting those on the lowest incomes.

Green spokesperson for social development and employment Ricardo Menéndez March said “the burden of high inflation is felt by those whānau on the lowest incomes, especially our beneficiaries who feel it the most.”

“When incomes are low, even a small increase in costs of food and other essentials can be the difference between making ends meet and not – and these are huge increases in costs.

Last week’s benefit stats showed there is more and more money being given in hardship assistance for food and housing costs. Benefit increases aren’t enough to keep pace with increased costs of living and it’s not good enough. Simply, people are struggling and we need to do more to support them.”

The Green Party wants further increases to benefits, expanding and simplifying Working for Families, so more money goes to families who need it, especially those receiving income from benefits, break up the supermarket duopoly, and cancel debt owed to MSD for hardship assistance such as benefit advances, and for overpayments.

“Half a million New Zealanders currently have debt to MSD because they are not able to meet their basic expenses and are forced to take out loans, even for basics like power bills or dental treatment.”

“The repayments, which are higher for women and Māori on average, are currently reducing their weekly income to feed their families and put a roof over their heads. Wiping debt to MSD would be a cost-effective way to quickly boost incomes and provide relief in this inflated economy.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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