Greens call for further benefit lift as part of COVID-19 response

Ending poverty should be part of our public health response, says the Greens today in support of a report from Child Poverty Action Group.

“Food banks are not the answer for families struggling to make ends meet. The Government must further lift benefits to ensure people have what they need to stay safe during the current outbreak,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, spokesperson for Social Development & Employment.

“Relying on food banks risks overwhelming frontline workers and volunteers as the outbreak grows, and is an inaccessible form of support for many.

“We need to give people the agency to make decisions that are right for themselves and their whānau.

“The Government has effectively admitted benefits were too low to survive when it announced last week that most people requiring extra assistance needed food.

“In order for the Government’s care in the community package to work, people need enough money to make decisions that are right for their families. The community connectors will have a much harder job supporting people who do not have the means to survive.

“People need liveable incomes, they need affordable housing, and they need it now.

“The Greens are also calling for an immediate freeze in rents so people do not have to hand over more and more of their income to a landlord, instead of using it to buy food.

“Taxing wealth, freezing rents, increasing benefits, and massively increasing the construction of accessible public housing will help create a fairer Aoteaora where everyone can make ends meet, put food on the table, and a roof over their heads.”

ENDS

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