Income support for unemployed must be urgently increased

Stats NZ unemployment data released today further highlights the urgent need for this government to step up and provide everyone with enough to get by.

“Everyone has the right to safe, decent, and meaningful work. But when we may find ourselves without work, it is equally important for there to be a safety net in place to make sure we always have enough to put food on the table and pay the bills,” says the Green Party spokesperson for Social Development and Employment, Ricardo Menéndez March.

“Tens of thousands of people across Aotearoa are without a job - many of them with serious health conditions, or doing full time care work for small children. The day-to-day pressure they are facing is immense, particularly for those who were already living on a low income.

“It is wrong for the Government to rely on the conventional wisdom of increasing unemployment to deal with inflation, all while big companies continue recording high profits and billionaires are inadequately taxed.

“Lower-income New Zealanders who spend most of their income covering the essentials like food and rent tend to have smaller savings. So, if they do lose their job, the consequences can be devastating. 

“Right now, unemployment support in Aotearoa is seriously inadequate.

“It is unconscionable that we have 311 families in Aotearoa hoarding $85 billion in wealth, which is being taxed at less than half the effective tax of the average family, while thousands go without the essentials of life.

“Income support must be increased to a level high enough to prevent poverty, so people out of paid work are still able to pay the rent and provide food for their families.

“Last year, the Green Party campaigned on an Income Guarantee paid for by a fair tax system, which would ensure everyone in and out of work always had enough to live on.

“We will continue to lead the fight in Parliament to make sure everyone has enough to always afford the weekly shop, pay the rent, or cover unexpected costs – even when times are tough,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

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