The National Government continues to punish beneficiaries and their children by enforcing benefit sanctions, the Green Party said today.
The Government’s latest figures show an 8.2 percent increase in benefit sanctions than this time last year.
“Benefit sanctions punish families who are already struggling to get by, and punish them by pushing them further into poverty,” Green Party social development Jan Logie said.
“These are not the actions of a decent and compassionate government – benefit sanctions are punitive and cruel, and it’s going to take a change of government to get rid of them.
“When your income is cut in half or entirely, it is really hard to keep a roof over your family’s head. We need to be making sure that every family has the basics.
“More than half of people having their benefits sanctioned are Māori and Pasifika. This shows our welfare system is failing already disadvantaged communities.
“The figures released today also show that $12.6 million was spent on emergency housing grants this quarter, with almost 11,500 people needing help. This has skyrocketed from the initial 2600 people who needed assistance less than a year ago.
“The housing crisis is getting worse. More and more New Zealanders do not have enough money to put a roof over their family’s head, food on the table, or be able to pay the power bill.
“The housing crisis is National’s legacy – and it’s a shameful one.
“The Green Party in government will increase benefits across the board by 20 percent, and immediately end benefit sanctions.
“We will also undertake a government-sponsored house-building programme, that will put thousands more people in state and affordable homes,” said Ms Logie.
Regional figures are available upon request.