Disappointed but also hopeful - CPAG's Budget 2020 Analysis Summary
Each year, shortly after the Government’s Budget is published, Child Poverty Action Group provides its analysis of some of the details contained in various budget papers. This analysis seeks to do two things – to critically examine budget figures in order to gain an appreciation of the Budget’s implications for children and to publish this analysis as an alternative interpretation to that offered by mainstream media.
Child Poverty Action Group is both hopeful and disappointed with the Government’s Budget 2020.
For many years we have advocated for extra investment in housing, health, environment and education and so we are heartened by the announcements regarding these areas. We are also encouraged by the Government leaving clear opportunities for the future, so despite largely ignoring the needs of children in this budget, they can remedy this through effective and targeted spending measures.
However, this Budget is clearly focussed on responding and recovering from the shockwaves created by the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant investment on protecting jobs, upskilling and retraining, which are very important aspects to protecting families incomes.
Given unemployment is forecast to rise to around 10 per cent, many people will be faced with inadequate welfare payments, resulting in much more child poverty and will also force people into enduring high cost debt from predatory lenders.
The budget gives little indication of how it will reform our income support systems, despite hardship provision projected to grow 34 per cent to $622 million by 2024, with equivalent increases expected in recoverable assistance. As families require complex supplementary payments just to survive, and they will have to run down their assets to qualify.
The Government itself states in this budget that the numbers of those in material hardship are expected to rise sharply. This will not only create short term individual issues but also result in long term systemic issues that will damage not only children and families but also the very fabric of New Zealand society in generations to come.