A newly released report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), shows boosting benefits will also
boost the economy.
Welfare Advocate Kay Brereton was a member of the Government’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG), and says the report
shows there is no reason to keep benefits at sub-poverty rates. “There’s no rational economic argument for keeping
benefit rates low, especially when we’re facing a COVID recession. Which means the government’s choice to keep tens of
thousands of people in poverty is a political choice.
“Core benefits need to rise. That was the recommendation from WEAG and it’s reinforced by this report from NZIER. This
government has the chance to make a huge difference to people’s lives, to make sure they have food and warmth for
themselves and their families and regain some of the dignity and self confidence that the current system has ground out
“And by raising benefits the government can ensure more money goes into local communities and local businesses because
our people spend any extra money on the necessities of life they can’t otherwise afford.
“It’s a no-brainer for people on benefits and for all of us. All that is holding us back is an almost willful prejudice
against people who have had the misfortune to end up on a benefit.
“It’s time for that attitude and the pain it has caused to be shown the door.”
The report was commissioned by a loose coalition of social service organisations supportive of the implementation of the
WEAG recommendations and funded by the Peter McKenzie Project. The full report is available here