NZ Government rejects calls for Welfare payments increase

NZ Government rejects calls for Welfare payments increase

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OPINION: The New Zealand government has rejected calls for welfare payments to increase.

During the 2020 General Elections in October, the Labour-Green Party government has shown it is more pro-business than pro-people, showing their true colours which allows cooperate elites to have more demands for deeper severity measures against the working class.

PM Jacinda Ardern said last week to media that she’d rejected a plea supported by 59 organisations, including trade unions, charities and poverty action groups all supported in lifting welfare payments before Christmas to address the mass unemployment that COVID-19 has caused.

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The 59 organisations published an open letter saying that the situation was ‘urgent’ and families were being ‘pushed into poverty’ due to COVID-19, losing jobs and financially becoming unstable.

The low welfare benefit rates meant that hundreds and thousands of children and constrained by poverty, regardless of what parents try to do, but still struggle.

PM Jacinda Ardern did respond to why she rejected the plea at a post-cabinet press conference on 9 November, and she says “This is not going to be an issue that gets resolved within one week or one month or indeed one term.” 

Despite the rejection, during the 2017 General Election campaign run by Labour, Ardern said she would lead a ‘transformative’ government that was supposedly dedicated to eliminating child poverty — incl. The housing crisis.

The 2020 General Election allowed Labour-Greens government following two-weeks of negotiations, pushing NZ First as a government partnership out the window. The Labour-Greens government secured a ‘progressive’ face to the agenda.

Almost 23,000 people have had their COVID-19 income relief payment come to an end, so they are left without a job to go to. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) figures show that at the end of October, only 5,000 transferred onto the jobseeker benefit. Thousands of others are still looking for work every day and are not eligible for the benefit because of the rigorous criteria involved.

The official unemployment rate jumped to 5.3% in the September quarter, and it is expected to get worse — foodbank demands have tripled since last year. There is also a 68% increase in 16-24 year-olds needing an emergency housing grant between March-June of this year.

The Green Party issued a statement recently supporting an improved welfare payment. Co-leader James Shaw has been enraged over the rising house prices, saying Labour is ‘irresponsible’ for resisting to consider a tax on capital gains.

While rejecting to lift welfare benefits, the Labour-Green government is continuing to pour cash into the hands of the wealthy, and it is not expected to get any better any time soon.

Image: Auckland MSD/Shutterstock.com

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