To the New Zealand Parliament, 

 

Young people in Aotearoa want the guarantee of having a roof over their heads, liveable incomes, and fair social services. We want to learn, grow and thrive in this beautiful country we call home. Young people can contribute to the betterment of our society through our volunteering, work and study. Our age does not stop us from contributing to change in our communities, country and the world.

 

Everyone deserves to grow up with access to housing, liveable incomes, healthcare and education. Successive Governments, by scrapping fee-free education, underfunding the public housing sector and healthcare have left our generation with less access to public services.The cost of living, studying and working is increasing. Young people are not able to keep up with the ever growing and demanding, monetary stress we face in society.

 

This financial stress and strain deeply affects our whare tapa whā - physical, spiritual, family and mental health - how many jobs we need to work to just get by, how much study we can do, how we see ourselves and how we interact with our peers. We have a nationwide mental health crisis, homes that make us sick, broken support services and big costs holding us back on a daily basis. How are we supposed to do great things when we don’t have the resources and support to do so? 

 

To allow young people to thrive, we need to make changes to the ways young people receive income and address our rising costs of living. Current support is simply not enough to get by, succeed, or do well. Which is why, the Young Greens of Aotearoa, have created the Youth Income Plan.

 

We are asking the New Zealand House of Representatives to act on supporting young people’s right to affordable study and housing, fair social welfare and working rights, and accessible public transport. This is a for youth by youth policy package, regardless of political affiliation, that we will be seeking support for over the next few months and leading up to the September 2020 election. 

 

We urge our representatives to help close generational income divides and inequality, by taking critical action to protect young people’s future, success and wellbeing. 



The Plan 

Study  

We need a fair, livable student allowance for all tertiary students: part-time, undergraduate, post-graduate, students of all ages and long courses. This student allowance must be indexed to the minimum wage. This student allowance must be individualized away from Parental Earnings and contain less penalties for extra income earnings. We need a universal student allowance that covers accommodation/rental fees, course related costs, living and health costs.

 

To get us there, the Government must 

  • Increase the StudyLink student allowance and accommodation benefits to liveable levels, by at least $80 a week 
  • Restore full student allowance eligibility for postgraduate, part-time, and long course students
  • Abolish the Parental Income Threshold 
  • Raise abatement rates for Student allowances
  • Expand the current fees free eligibility
  • Create a universal student allowance that encompasses the aforementioned points, allowing all people to study and learn without struggling to get by 

 

Welfare 

We need increases to all main work and income benefits to a level that lifts people out of poverty, by ensuring everyone on all benefit types get at least an extra $80 per week - in line with the Welfare Expert Advisory Group Report. We need our welfare system to stop penalising beneficiaries for earning more than their Ministry of Social Development income, by increasing all abatement rates. 

 

To get us there, the Government must, 

  • Increase main work and income benefits in line with the Welfare Expert Advisory Group Report
  • Increase the abatement threshold for: Jobseeker Support to $150 a week, Sole Parent Support and Supported Living Payment to $150 a week and $250 a week
  • Remove the Youth Payment benefit for teenagers and instead allow teenagers to access ordinary benefits which do not come with added restrictions
  • Ensure our system recognises everyone's individual needs and takes a fair approach to expectations of financial support within a relationship

 

Work 

We need fair and livable wages for all jobs. We must provide income support for young people while they complete their apprenticeships and on the job experience so they can focus on their studies.  

To get us there, the Government must, 

  • Ensure that everyone gets paid a living wage, regardless of age, ability, experience or position 
  • Cancel starting-off /youth rate wages 
  • Expand fees-free to cover apprenticeships



Housing 

We need safer, warmer, cheaper and more high quality homes for all renters. We must limit rent rises to protect young renters and families and apply a rental Warrant of Fitness to all rental housing and state owned property. We must build more state housing that is accessible and affordable to all. 

To get us there, the Government must, 

  • Raise minimum quality standards for all rental housing and state owned property by creating a rental Warrant of Fitness that includes insulation, clean heating, weather-tightness, and basic service standards (e.g. water supply)
  • Amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 to limit rent increases to once a year, to no more than 2%, within tenancy agreements 
  • Fund Kainga Ora to build enough state homes to ensure we house all the households on the KO waiting list in 4 years 
  • Expand the eligibility criteria for public housing to progressively make it universal

 

Transport 

We need to progressively make public transport free for everyone, starting with immediately making off-peak transport for student and community service card holders free.

 

To get us there there, the Government must, 

  • Enact free public transport for students and community service card holders 

  

 

Signed, 

 

Young and older New Zealanders 

 

The Youth Income Plan was created in 2020 by the Young Greens of Aotearoa. 

 

For more information on the Young Greens please visit younggreens.org.nz


For media inquiries into this The Youth Income Plan, email Kate Aschoff at kateaschoff@gmail.com