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National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says New Zealand families are in hardship after several people are joining onto a benefit looking forward, during the summer break.
“A stark reminder that many Kiwis are struggling to make ends meet and are anxious to find work,” Ms Upston says.
Today’s figures released by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) revealed that 75,000 people have moved onto the main benefit since March of this year. There are 60,000 more recipients on the accommodation supplement than previous years.
“The holiday period will only bring more stress and hardship for many families. Services like City Mission and Salvation Army are providing more support than ever to families in need,” Ms Upston says.
“The best path out of hardship is through secure work. While we have supported the Government’s wage subsidy, now this scheme has ended the true cost of Covid-19 to Kiwis’ livelihoods is now becoming apparent.”
Increases in benefit numbers mean Kiwis require more hardship assistance than usual.
Last week, 28,000 people were granted food parcels by MSD.
This shows the economic recession and downfall of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to New Zealand, where one cannot afford food for a week to survive.
“People are far better off in paid employment than in a state of dependency. The focus right now should be on supporting businesses to create jobs so we can connect those who are temporarily out of work with new employment,” Ms Upston says.
“We want to see people back in the driver seats of their lives not stuck on a benefit and struggling day today. That requires smart investment from the Government to support growth and improve living standards.”