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Source: The Fairer Future coalition

Anti-poverty campaigners are calling out the ACT Party for proposing punitive policies that target people on income support. ACT Party deputy leader Brooke van Velden spoke on the weekend about ACT’s policy to undertake electronic monitoring of people on income support.

The Fairer Future coalition – which includes groups like Auckland Action Against Poverty, ActionStation, Save the Children, and the Child Poverty Action Group – has fought in recent years to lift income support levels, and has denounced ACT’s punitive rhetoric.

“People accessing income support have to make hard decisions every day around rent, bills and putting food on the table, because low benefit levels are placing them in deficit,” says Vanessa Cole, spokesperson for Fairer Future.

“Suggestions from the ACT Party to undertake electronic monitoring of people accessing income support, and in particular sole parents, are punitive, cruel and discriminatory,” says Max Harris, also spokesperson for Fairer Future.

“Forcing sole parents into paid work using punitive measures will create worse outcomes for families and children, and we need to stop punishing people living in poverty for conditions created by our economic system and political decisions,” adds Vanessa Cole.

“The majority of people in Aotearoa supported lifting main benefit levels for people, and are tired of demonising people on income support, which is an effort to drag us back to the past,” says Max Harris. “We are calling on all political parties this election to lift income support, and to implement a high trust model for people accessing income support.”

Fairer Future called for an increase in benefit levels in the lead-up to the 2021 Budget, and has since launched campaigns on other aspects of the welfare system, including to wipe debt owed to the Ministry of Social Development.

The coalition is hosting an election forum on Wednesday 13 September in Wellington from 6pm-8pm where it will address these questions with leading political party representatives.


69% of people backed increasing income support levels in 2021.

Brooke van Velden spoke about electronic monitoring of people on income support in Newshub’s ‘Tāmaki Battlegrounds Debate’ from 9.36.

The ACT Party’s welfare policy is available online here.

Calculations by the Child Poverty Action Group, released in May, found most of the families on a core benefit had a significant shortfall for a very basic standard of living, and an even bigger gap if allowance for modest contingencies and debt repayment to government is included.