More than a million New Zealanders receiving benefits are to receive increased payments from April 1 in a just-announced government funding boost to address the high cost of living but Greens co-leader Marama Davidson is disappointed by it.
She says it doesn’t go far enough to support the whānau who need it most.
“Income support has been well below what it should have been, and it has kept people in poverty generation after generation,” she says.
Davidson says a one-off increase doesn’t help beneficiaries or low-income families. Fruit and vegetable prices rose 23 per cent over the past year. A recent survey also showed people spending 50 per cent of their income on accommodation.
“For the households struggling the absolute most in the most desperate situations there needed to have been a massive increase. We put out a poverty action plan at the last election. We’ve been urging political parties and the government to pick that up. It would see people live with dignity.”
And the mood of the street appears to agree with Davidson. The latest TVNZ/Kanter poll shows the Greens have risen four points to 11 per cent.
Davidson says increased benefit payments aren’t enough.
Members of the general public in Wellington spoken to by teaomāori.news painted a grim picture.
“Food ain’t cheap these days, especially with inflation and prices of food going up. It’s hard to buy bread and milk for some of these families. I remember back in the day when milk and bread were cheaper than a bottle of water,” one said.
Another said they received $925 a fortnight from Work and Income but, after paying rent of $700, they are left with just $200 to live on for two weeks.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins defended the government’s policy, saying it is possible to both decrease the cost of living and tackle climate change simultaneously.
Davidson says, “What we have to do is rebalance wealth. There is resource there in massive excess profits in the banks, there is wealth held in housing. We can rebalance that, so we can protect our climate and look after people.”
More than $1 billion in savings has been reallocated by the cabinet to support New Zealanders facing higher costs of living.
Credit: Source link
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