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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

ORAL QUESTIONS

QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

Question No. 1—Prime Minister

1. Dr SHANE RETI (Deputy Leader—National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all of her Government’s statements and actions?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Prime Minister: Yes. In particular, I stand by this Government’s ability to deliver for New Zealanders and continue our strong economic recovery. Today, we have increased main benefits by an initial $20 per week per person, providing more support for 355,000 New Zealanders; we’ve reinstated the training incentive allowance, which was cut by the previous National Government; we have today launched the Ministry for Ethnic Communities; we have increased paid parental leave to a maximum of $621.76 per week; we have extended the unsupported child’s benefit and orphans benefit for short-term caregivers; and launched our new rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. This is just some of a long list of initiatives that the Government is delivering on.

Dr Shane Reti: Do the current child poverty results reflect the fact that a key policy tool is benefit increases that are being cancelled out by the soaring cost of living?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: No.

Dr Shane Reti: Why is one of her new three-year child poverty reduction targets exactly the same target she previously set, and is pushing it out by three years an admission of failure of one of her primary targets?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: In answer to the second part of the question, no. We are on track to meet the 10-year targets. The initial three-year targets that were set were ambitious. We have now made further three-year targets, but we are on track for the 10-year targets.

Dr Shane Reti: How has the $100 a week increase in rents since she became Prime Minister affected the likelihood this year of her achieving all of the first set of child poverty targets?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: On behalf of the Prime Minister: what I do know is that on all nine indicators around child poverty, we have seen good progress under this Government. The Government has never denied that there is more to do, but the significant investments we’ve made in lifting the income of the lowest-income New Zealanders is making a significant difference in lifting children out of poverty.

Dr Shane Reti: Why are there 1,500 more children living in poverty on the Government’s primary measure A, compared to when she took office in 2017?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The member is wrong, as he said in his press release yesterday. He was wrong then, as well. If he takes the measure from the correct date, where we are measuring on what this Government is responsible for, he will, in fact, see 25,000 fewer children in poverty.

Dr Shane Reti: When does she plan to achieve the target of lifting 100,000 children out of poverty, given from when they’ve came into Government, there are 1,500 more children living in poverty on one measure?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The member, as I said in my last supplementary answer, is wrong on that matter.

MIL OSI