Liveable incomes needed to lift COVID burden

The Green Party is calling on the Government to boost support directly to people so they are not put at greater risk by a change in COVID-19 protections, despite the pandemic continuing to take a toll on our communities and public health system.

“The pandemic is far from over, and people will continue to experience disruption. Guaranteeing a liveable income will ensure that whatever the pandemic brings, no one has to go through it while still trapped in poverty,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, Green spokesperson for social development and employment.

“We know the April 1st benefit increases won’t be enough to provide people with the adequate incomes they need to pay for rent or put food on the table. The Government should double the Winter Energy Payment this year, as it did in 2020, to boost incomes in the short-term.

"COVID-19 protection measures have played a vital role keeping us all safe; staying home has saved lives and protected people from long COVID. Now is not the time to relax these rules. Instead the Government’s attention should be what it can do to support those most at risk - both so they can get through the current outbreak, but also any new variants. 

“The inequality crisis in Aotearoa makes this all the more urgent. It is people on the lowest incomes who are likely to be the most affected by a change in the COVID-19 protection settings. Action must be urgently taken to ensure everyone has what they need to get and stay well.

“Evidence shows us that rest and recuperation is key to protecting against long COVID. But the current Care in the Community model is far from sufficient to meet the extent of the Omicron outbreak.

“What people need is unconditional financial support so that whatever the pandemic brings they can live with dignity, put a roof over their heads and food on the table. There also needs to be an immediate increase in the amount people are entitled to as a hardship grant from WINZ before they have to prove ‘exceptional circumstances’.

“The Green Party wants to see any change in protection settings matched with a clear plan to improve the long-term wellbeing of our communities so that everyone, no matter their circumstances, has what they need to provide for themselves and their whānau,” Ricardo Menéndez March says.

Jan Logie, spokesperson for workplace safety and relations added: “The Government needs to commit to paying COVID leave support directly to workers who need to isolate, and to expanding the scheme for retaining long-term. It’s vital that people keep their income while isolating so they can meet the needs of themselves and their whanau.”

“Ensuring people have liveable incomes and are able to recover safely at home, will contribute to better public health outcomes in the long-term,” says Menéndez March.

ENDS

Latest Workplace Relations and Safety Announcements

Story

Green Party supports nurses’ ERA decision

The Green Party supports nurses’ continued push for pay equity and calls on the Government to deliver the back pay they had expected.
Read More

Story

Allied health workers deserve better conditions

The Green Party is throwing its support behind the 10,000 allied health workers taking work-to-rule industrial action today because of unfair pay a...
Read More

Story

Fair Pay Agreements will give workers more hope for a fairer system

The Green Party welcomes the introduction of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill. 
Read More

Story

Green Party supports allied health workers

The Green Party supports the 10,000 allied health workers who were due to strike today and calls on DHBs to do the right thing and make a decent pa...
Read More

Story

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 cha...
Read More

Story

It’s time to get behind our nurses

The Green Party supports the 30,000 nurses striking today for better pay and safer working conditions.
Read More

Latest Social Development Announcements

Story

Rising household costs hurting low-income people

The Green Party says the Government needs to do more for those on the lowest incomes as inflation outpaces wage and benefit increases.
Read More

Story

Urgent action needed to soften inflation blow for low income NZers

The Green Party says urgent action is needed to soften the blow of inflation for New Zealanders on the lowest incomes.
Read More

Story

Liveable incomes and rent controls, now

Stats NZ’s monthly rental and food price indexes released today continue to show that over the last 12 months the essentials have gotten increasing...
Read More

Story

Greens write to PM to call for rent controls

The Green Party has published an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for an immediate rent freeze and for that to remain in place until rent ...
Read More

Story

Simple, universal, liveable – a vision for welfare in Aotearoa

The Green Party is calling on the Government to simplify the welfare system by getting rid of the complicated calculations that mean many people wi...
Read More

Story

Break up supermarket duopoly and guarantee liveable incomes

The Green Party is calling on the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, David Clark to break up the supermarket duopoly.
Read More

Latest Covid19 Response Announcements

Story

Keep masks in schools to protect tamariki

The Green Party does not support the Government’s decision to move Aotearoa to ‘orange’, or the removal of mask rules for schools.
Read More

Story

Protect vulnerable communities before rolling back COVID-19 protections

The Green Party is reiterating its call for stronger protection of vulnerable communities as the Government keeps the country in ‘red’.
Read More

Story

Urgent action needed to protect communities

The Green Party does not support changes to COVID protection measures and calls on the Government to act urgently to keep our most at-risk communit...
Read More

Story

Stronger COVID protections needed in schools

The Green Party is calling on the Government to introduce stronger measures in schools and early education centres to ensure children and their whā...
Read More

Story

Boost support long-term for Māori and Pasifika isolation, vaccinations

The Green Party is calling on the Government to focus long-term COVID-19 support on whānau, hapū and community service providers helping Māori and ...
Read More

Story

Greens urge Government to keep public health protections

The Government must not remove COVID-19 protection measures until it is very clear that the Omicron outbreak has passed, the Green Party says.
Read More