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Greens' proposals would lift families out of poverty - CPAG

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the Greens’ Poverty Action Plan released yesterday, as the type of step-change New Zealand needs.

"Family incomes for those receiving benefits currently are damagingly low and have been for a very long time. Significant increases are required to get those incomes to adequate levels," says CPAG spokesperson Janet McAllister.

"CPAG modelling suggests this Greens package would indeed lift incomes to more adequate levels for many families and whānau."

Couples with children who receive JobSeeker payments and pay relatively low rent would gain around a third more income. Sole parents on Sole Parent Support who pay relatively low rent, gain around 15 per cent.

These increases would pull those families up to just above primary government poverty lines, and would translate into a big boost to many of our most vulnerable children, increasing their confidence, in health and educational achievement, in social participation and in increasing their potential.

CPAG is particularly pleased the Greens’ inclusive Family Support Credit proposal which would remove the discrimination in Working for Families that currently helps keep the poorest families well below the poverty line.

"The discrimination against some of our poorest children based on the work status of their parents is a disgrace, and has perpetuated some of the very worst poverty in New Zealand," says McAllister.

The creation of a deserving and an underserving class of children in the name of a failed work incentive whose purpose is also to prevent child poverty has been a bizarre feature that other countries like Australia do not have.

"Child Poverty Action Group has been calling for the removal of this discrimination for 13 years, and the Greens’ Family Support proposal would do that," says McAllister.

"This is the most coherent income support package that our researchers have seen from any political party so far. Technicalities can always be debated, but in terms of the policies for families with children, it is clear that the Greens have engaged seriously and deeply with the key issues."

"The Greens have set a high bar, and we look forward to seeing similarly thoughtful packages from all the parties."

Notes:

Families receiving benefits, who have children, usually have three sources of income: benefits, Working For Families tax credits and the Accommodation Supplement.

The Accommodation Supplement, depends on their housing costs, the area they live in, and can reduce when core benefits are increased.

CPAG modelling looks at the incomes of families with 1-3 children who:

are sole-parent families receiving Sole Parent Support, or are couples receiving JobSeeker payments

are not in overcrowded conditions, and

are paying lower-quartile rent in low-income Auckland suburbs and in remote rural areas.

*See document below for CPAG Modelling graph.