Income insurance scheme risks embedding a two-tier system

To benefit everyone, no matter their circumstances, the Government needs to put equity at the heart of income support, while also making urgent changes to the welfare system to free people from poverty.

“Ensuring everyone has enough to live on and provide for their families, including those not in paid employment, must remain the priority as the Government moves to introduce an income insurance scheme,” says Green Party Social Development & Employment spokesperson Ricardo Menéndez March.

“Most of us work to earn an income to provide for our families, and if we lose that income through no fault of our own we should be supported to continue providing for our loved ones as we consider future opportunities. However, the Government’s proposed Income Insurance Scheme is not equitable enough to support people based on their needs.

“Under the Government’s current proposals support will be available to people based on their current income and work history. This means lower levels of support for those who have been earning less, including those in casual or seasonal work, and/or those with caring responsibilities. Because of who predominantly does this type of work, we know that it will be young, female, and Māori and Pacific people who will get the lowest payments from this long-awaited new scheme.

“There also needs to be support to help people on lower incomes cover the cost of contributing to the scheme. For the thousands of families struggling right now to put food on the table, the 1.37% contribution that will have to come from their existing earnings could be the difference between making ends meet or not.

“The Greens also want to see welfare reform prioritised. Otherwise there is a risk that the Government’s proposals will create a two-tier system for people who are already unemployed, single parents, migrants, and people with existing health conditions which mean they’re unable to work,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

Jan Logie, the Green Party’s spokesperson for Workplace Relations and Safety added: “The Government’s proposed Income Insurance Scheme does not replace the urgent need for a much broader and comprehensive overhaul of the welfare system. To free people from the constraints of poverty, the Government needs to prioritise changes that will benefit those excluded from working full-time and the lowest income earners. This includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income, individualising benefits, and an urgent boost to income support. A strong welfare system means people do not feel forced to take a lower paid job just to make ends meet.

“The Green Party will continue to argue strongly for changes to be made to the welfare system so everyone has enough to live on. Now more than ever, with the risk of long COVID, we need to make sure support is equitable regardless of people’s circumstances,” says Jan Logie. 

ENDS

Latest Workplace Relations and Safety Announcements

Story

No excuses, Minister: we need mandatory pay gap reporting right now

The message is loud and clear: the Government must introduce mandatory pay gap reporting
Read More

Story

Green Party stands with firefighters

The Green Party is calling on Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to agree to improve the pay and conditions of our professional firefighters who...
Read More

Story

New evidence boosts case for urgent pay transparency reform

The Green Party is calling on the Government to pass legislation to increase pay transparency, saying it is an urgent step that needs to be taken i...
Read More

Story

Green Party calls for safer staffing levels in aged care

The Green Party is calling for urgent government action to ensure safe staffing levels in aged residential care facilities, as a new report today s...
Read More

Story

Greens back calls for mandatory pay gap reporting

The Green Party backs the unions and community groups and Human Rights Commission calling for an urgent change in legislation to make pay gap repor...
Read More

Story

Support workers deserve better pay

Care and support workers deserve much better than the pay rates Labour is pushing through Parliament today.
Read More

Latest Social Development Announcements

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

Story

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.
Read More

Story

Green Party urges Labour to provide support to those who need it most

The Green Party is calling on Labour to expand the temporary cost of living payment to those most in need.
Read More

Story

Budget 2022: James Shaw Budget Speech

Mr Speaker, It has taken four-and-a-half years to even start to turn the legacy of inaction and neglect from the last time they were in Government ...
Read More