Greens see red despite benefit increases – but Michael Cullen could tell them (and the Ardern government) what safety nets are all about

The Ardern  government has  made  “well-being”  such  a  focus  of  its  policies  that many  New  Zealanders  think  it  is   now  the  way  forward.

Labour’s ally, the  Green Party, is so enamoured  with  the  “well- being”  philosophy  it  sharply criticised   the  government for raising the  level of  main  benefits  “by less than $8 a week” from April 1.

“We have a poverty crisis in NZ, and we must go further and faster to deliver income support that enables everyone to live with dignity,” says Green Party spokesperson for Social Development & Employment Ricardo Menéndez March.

“The government currently expects a single person over 25 years old to be able to get by on just $250.74 a week, and they’re supposed to celebrate that rising to $258.51. That extra eight dollars isn’t even enough to buy a block of cheese.”

Menendez  March  says it is  “disingenuous”  of  the  government to continue to say indexing benefits to wages is the best thing they could have done, and 

” … even the Children’s Commissioner said they need to be bold and courageous, and actually lift benefits.

“Indexation of benefits to wages means little without a substantive lift in core benefits to close the gap which has continued for decades.”

Continue reading “Greens see red despite benefit increases – but Michael Cullen could tell them (and the Ardern government) what safety nets are all about”

Welfare beneficiaries to get their annual increase soon but poverty action group is bound to press for more

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

Good news flowed from the Beehive at the weekend for Ngāti Maru treaty claimants and – affecting significantly more people – welfare beneficiaries.

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced that main benefits will increase by 3.1 percent on 1 April, in line with the rise in the average wage.

She reminded us the Government announced changes to the annual adjustment of main benefits in Budget 2019, indexing main benefit increases to the average wage, rather than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

This is the Government’s second annual adjustment based on increases in the average wage,

“ …  making it fairer on low income families and helping reduce poverty amongst our most vulnerable,” said Carmel Sepuloni.

Around 385,000 families and individuals will be better off getting more than double the annual increase they’d have received using the old Consumer Price Index measure, she said. For example, a couple with children could get $13.24 more Jobseeker Support a week from 1 April in line with the average wage increase. Continue reading “Welfare beneficiaries to get their annual increase soon but poverty action group is bound to press for more”

Now we know (roughly) the cost of a day off for Matariki – and for good measure the Govt will be changing the Holidays Act

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

When our kindly PM announced 24 June 2022 will be the date for New Zealand’s first official celebration of Matariki, she didn’t mention the cost – at least, not that we recall.   But this week we learned from ACT leader David Seymour that estimates included in official advice to the Government are somewhat eye-watering for the businesses that must pick up the tab.

Mind you, the Government hasn’t finished burdening employers with holiday obligations, although it says it is doing them a big favour by accepting all of 22 recommended changes to the Holidays Act made by the Holidays Act Taskforce.  Just to make things clear, you understand.

News of this was among the latest announcements from the Beehive which – for the record – includes a big tick of approval for the government from the Standard & Poors credit ratings agency.

New data on child poverty are the subject of a post, too (although these don’t show the impact of Covid, which can only have exacerbated inequities). Continue reading “Now we know (roughly) the cost of a day off for Matariki – and for good measure the Govt will be changing the Holidays Act”