The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the Greens’ Poverty Action Plan released yesterday, as the type of
step-change New Zealand needs.
"Family incomes for those receiving benefits currently are damagingly low and have been for a very long time.
Significant increases are required to get those incomes to adequate levels," says CPAG spokesperson Janet McAllister.
"CPAG modelling suggests this Greens package would indeed lift incomes to more adequate levels for many families and
Couples with children who receive JobSeeker payments and pay relatively low rent would gain around a third more income.
Sole parents on Sole Parent Support who pay relatively low rent, gain around 15 per cent.
These increases would pull those families up to just above primary government poverty lines, and would translate into a
big boost to many of our most vulnerable children, increasing their confidence, in health and educational achievement,
in social participation and in increasing their potential.
CPAG is particularly pleased the Greens’ inclusive Family Support Credit proposal which would remove the discrimination
in Working for Families that currently helps keep the poorest families well below the poverty line.
"The discrimination against some of our poorest children based on the work status of their parents is a disgrace, and
has perpetuated some of the very worst poverty in New Zealand," says McAllister.
The creation of a deserving and an underserving class of children in the name of a failed work incentive whose purpose
is also to prevent child poverty has been a bizarre feature that other countries like Australia do not have.
"Child Poverty Action Group has been calling for the removal of this discrimination for 13 years, and the Greens’ Family
Support proposal would do that," says McAllister.
"This is the most coherent income support package that our researchers have seen from any political party so far.
Technicalities can always be debated, but in terms of the policies for families with children, it is clear that the
Greens have engaged seriously and deeply with the key issues."
"The Greens have set a high bar, and we look forward to seeing similarly thoughtful packages from all the parties."