Govt must wipe debt to MSD as part of ‘cost of living’ response

The Government needs to clear the debt that MSD has forced hundreds of thousands of low income people to take on, says the Green Party.

The Government’s ‘Cost of Living Payment’ will begin on 1 August for those earning less than $70,000, but people on the benefit and pensioners are not eligible. Alongside the Fairer Futures Collective, the Green Party is calling on the Government to clear debt to MSD to support people on the lowest incomes who need it the most.

“The Cost of Living Payment should be available to those on the lowest incomes who are feeling the impacts of high inflation the most,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, spokesperson for social development.

“But the Government won’t extend the payment because it wrongly believes the Winter Energy Payment is enough to alleviate the cost of living pressures people face.

“MSD’s own data proves the Government wrong. More than half a million people rely on hardship grants, and more importantly the amount they need simply to cover essentials has gone up. 

“The reason this extra support is needed is simple: because people’s benefits are insufficient.

“Much of this support provided by the Government is just a loan. When people are forced to repay this loan, it reduces their weekly income even further, which pushes them into a vicious cycle of more debt. Data also shows women and Māori are disproportionately trapped in this cycle. 

“No one should have to take on debt simply because they ask for additional support to help make ends meet and put food on the table.

“MSD says it does not have the ability to write off most of this debt, but the government could easily change that, and relieve this pressure on so many beneficiaries - especially Māori and women.

“This could put money back into the hands of people on the lowest incomes and give them dignity to live without debt holding them back,” says Ricardo Menéndez March. 

Latest Social Development Announcements

Story

Greens welcome childcare support, call for more action

The Green Party is welcoming the modest support for families announced by the Labour Government but calling for more urgent action to ease the pres...
Read More

Story

Benefit stats show urgent need to wipe Work and Income debt

The Government needs to clear the debt that MSD has forced hundreds of thousands of low income people to take on and immediately lift benefits, say...
Read More

Story

Welfare support must keep pace with inflation

The tools exist to lift every family out of poverty – and as costs continue to rise it is more urgent than ever that we use them, the Green Party s...
Read More

Story

Decent work, not sanctions

The Green Party is calling for a cross-party commitment to guaranteeing at least a living wage and safe working conditions to people seeking employ...
Read More

Story

Welfare is about support, not sanctions

The Greens are the only party with a comprehensive plan to support people on low incomes so everyone in and out of work has enough to make ends mee...
Read More

Story

Mana in Mahi must guarantee liveable incomes

The Government’s employment initiatives led by the Ministry of Social Development must guarantee liveable incomes and fair working conditions, the ...
Read More