Hardship grants rising demonstrates why the baseline benefit needs to increase, Green Co-leader Marama Davidson said today.
“We need to put the heart back into our social support system. This means providing support for New Zealanders so they can live with dignity.
“New Zealanders understand that the cost of housing and rent has gone through the roof in recent years. It’s time that we also recognised the impact this has on our poorest families.
“I recently attended the opening of the most recent local community food cupboard, it shows that increasingly New Zealanders are struggling to pay for the basics.
“Compassion demands that we respond to the increase in living costs by increasing social support so people can afford decent housing whilst also covering food and bills.
“At the moment that isn’t the case, and hardship grants are increasing.
“As part of our Confidence and Supply Agreement with Labour, we negotiated an overhaul of the welfare system.
“To the Green Party, this should at a minimum mean that the baseline benefit is enough to live with dignity rather than in destitution.
“We will continue to argue for an increase to the baseline benefit as the consultation period by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group is carried out.
“We also want to see and increase the amount people can earn before their benefit is cut, as well as remove financial penalties and excessive sanctions for people receiving benefits, so that all New Zealanders live with dignity”.