Source: Child Poverty Action Group
The government’s plans to increase benefits in line with sky rocketing inflation will help families struggling to provide the essentials for their children, according to Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).
However, CPAG says this goes only a small way to ease the enormous pressure families in hardship- are experiencing after years of under payment and rising costs.
With all the difficulties of 2022, wages did not rise as fast as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“The shift from wages to CPI to calculate benefit increases recognises the pressure which those on a benefit face. The increase, however, is only about $5 per week for families with children – little more than the cost of a loaf of bread,” says Alan Johnson, CPAG’s housing spokesperson.
“This is just a holding pattern while we wait for much needed radical reform of our benefit and tax system. One in six children in New Zealand will still live in households where food runs out sometimes or often due to lack of money,” he added.
CPAG also urges the government not to forget about New Zealand’s working poor.
“Family Tax Credit increases were, as expected under legislation, in line to the CPI, but there are major gaps in the whole Working for Families package. The In Work Tax Credit has not been adjusted since 2016. Instead of $72.50 per week it should be $89 based on inflation and given to all low-income families, including those on benefits to really make a difference.” says Susan St John, CPAG’s economic spokesperson.
“The significant lift in the minimum wage will help those on low wage. But to help low wage earners, CPAG would also like to see the family income level up to which the full Working for Families is paid lifted from $42,700 set in 2018, to a far more realistic $ 51,000 to reflect inflation.”
-Material hardship means going without things like vegetables and fruit, sources of protein such as meat, heating in the home and warm clothing.
One in nine (125,700) NZ children live in households that experience material hardship. One in 20 children live in households that experience severe material hardship.