Whether they are working or on a benefit, everyone has different life circumstances and everyone is entitled to support for as long as they need it.

The Green Party will repair the holes that have been torn in New Zealand’s social safety net by making major changes to income support – changes that will bring people out of poverty and provide independence, dignity, and choices.

We will:

  • Increase all core benefits by 20 percent
  • Increase the amount people can earn before their benefit is cut
  • Increase the value of Working For Families for all families
  • Create a Working For Families Children’s Credit of $72 a week
  • Remove financial penalties and excessive sanctions for people receiving benefits
  • Reduce the bottom tax rate from 10.5 percent to 9 percent on income under $14,000
  • Introduce a new top tax rate of 40 percent on income over $150,000 per year.
  • Raise the minimum wage to $17.75 in the first year and keep raising it until it's 66 percent of the average wage.

Our welfare system should provide effective support for people who need it, while they need it. The social safety net should stop families from falling into poverty and guarantee a basic, liveable income. That’s what it means to live in a decent, compassionate society.

Punishing people through benefit sanctions, cuts, and investigations has not worked. Rather than giving people ‘incentives’, it traps them in a cycle of poverty and puts children’s wellbeing at risk. Children suffer when the welfare system punishes their parents, and in the long term, so does society. It is never ok for the government to use poverty or the threat of poverty as a weapon.

In contrast, the Green Party’s simple and stable incomes system will provide parents with the support they need to raise their kids and improve their lives.

Here are some examples of how much better off people will be with the Green Party:

  • A family of two parents who both earn the median income and have three children: $130 better off every week.
  • A family of two parents, one working for $70,000 a year, with two children: $88 better off every week.
  • A single parent who is studying and receiving the Student Allowance, with two children and part time, low wage work: $176 better off every week.
  • A single parent on a benefit with no paid work and two school-age children: $179 better off every week.

The Green Party’s plan will ensure the people on the highest incomes pay their fair share and those that need help are treated with respect and dignity. Everyone who earns less than $150,000 a year will be better off.

This plan sits alongside our Budget for All Mothers which will give all children, and their parents, the best start in life.

Overhauling the welfare system is a key commitment under our Confidence and Supply Agreement. This Government has delivered the Families Packaged which boosted incomes of low- and middle-incomes families with children and increased paid parental leave. The Welfare Expert Advisory Group has produced a blueprint for what changes we need to make to our welfare system, and we are working to deliver on their recommendations.