The Green Party is calling for a broader and more equitable financial support package to slow the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure everyone in Alert Level 3 can make ends meet, following the announcement that Alert Level 3 has been extended for at least two more weeks in Auckland and at least until Friday in Waikato.
“With Alert Level 3 extended in Auckland and Waikato, it’s essential that everyone has the support they need to stay at home, meet their living costs, and provide for themselves and their whānau,” said Green Party COVID-19 Response spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“The Level 3 extension is welcome given the concerning number of unlinked cases, but a business support package needs to be complemented by direct support for people and whānau during this difficult time.
“We know the virus is spreading particularly in low-income and marginalised communities where people often can’t afford to stay home. It benefits us all to ensure everyone can stay home and stop the spread of the virus.
“During previous lockdowns the Government has increased food grants – at the very least they should be doing that now too, as well as cutting benefit sanctions and implementing a high trust model to make sure everyone can get the support they’re entitled to.
“With inflation driving up the costs of living, we hope Labour will support the Green Party’s proposal to bring back the rent freeze for regions under Alert Level three or higher.
“The Government has sufficient resources and a responsibility to ensure students, beneficiaries, and people in low income or precarious work have sufficient means during this time. As Auckland faces its longest lockdown, we need additional support for people who are struggling, so they can look after themselves and their families while staying home to stop the spread.
“Māori and Pasifika communities and health providers also need to be at forefront of our response, and empowered and resources to drive up vaccination rates. In the longer term, it is vaccination that will protect all our communities.”