The Green Party is joining the call for ‘brave policy action’ to address rapidly increasing inequality in New Zealand, which is likely to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All people in New Zealand, especially our tamariki, have the right to live with dignity, to put a roof over their heads and to put food on the table,” says Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.
“It’s completely unacceptable that in Aotearoa New Zealand we have this kind of child poverty and inequality.”
The Salvation Army’s latest State of the Nation report, released today, said the “rapid increase” of the number of children living in benefit-dependent households in the last year – up by 23,000 – is a sign child poverty rates could increase.
“Our social support system has trapped people in poverty by keeping benefit rates too low and putting barriers in the way of those seeking help.
“The data in this report – the sharp increase of those seeking benefits and needing food parcels – shows how many New Zealanders were only just managing to get by.
“The burden of lockdown has not been equally shared, and it is clear many more of our children will feel the impacts for years to come if we don’t act now.
“2020 has showed us is that collective change is possible, and we can work in a way which benefits all of us.
“We agree with the Salvation Army that bold, brave change is needed urgently. We need to change the complicated and unfair benefit system to a Guaranteed Minimum Income to support whānau and tamariki, paid for with a Wealth Tax from the richest 6% of New Zealanders.
“If not, we risk a whole generation of New Zealanders falling through the cracks.”