28 March 2011
In announcing further tax relief measures for Christchurch residents and businesses, Mr Dunne talks about “common sense, flexibility and pragmatism." Child Poverty Action Group calls on him to amend his policies so the same principles work to maintain the necessary support of children. Children appear to have been forgotten in the development of these tax measures.
While the redundancy tax credit, due to end on 31st March, has been extended, there has been no mention of the ReStart package introduced to ease the recession, but abandoned on 1st January 2011. ReStart allowed families to continue to qualify for up to 16 weeks of the full Working for Families assistance when they were made redundant.
Mr Dunne said this week: “normal tax rules had not been designed for disasters of the scale of the Canterbury earthquakes.” CPAG spokesperson Susan St John asks “isn’t it time that the government also saw that Working for Families is not designed for such an event?”
Redundancies or reduced working hours in Christchurch for low income families thrown onto the welfare system, means they lose $60 or more a week of Working for Families for their children. Others who may not be on welfare but are unable to work the required number of hours are also excluded from the full Working for Families package. “Have the children’s needs suddenly got less after the earthquake? Of course not” says St John.