Every family in New Zealand has a right to a liveable income.
No one should be worrying about how to afford essentials like healthy food, hot water or the internet
Aotearoa is a land of plenty, no one should be worrying about how to afford the basics such as, healthy food, hot water, electricity, transport, or the internet. For decades, government has played a part in concentrating resources among those who are already doing well. There are policies that drive economic inequality, or that limit the life chances of those who need the most support. Inequality need not be inevitable, it is directly impacted by political decisions and can be eradicated through these decisions.
Tamariki shouldn’t be worrying about how their parents will afford to pay for the essentials, such as housing, healthy food, electricity, transport, or the internet. A living wage has been determined as the income level that is needed to pay for the cost of living.
High income nations like ours can afford a decent life for all, where whānau can thrive, not just survive. But for too many New Zealanders, this is not currently being realised. Around 224,000 children and young people live in households experiencing extremely high levels of hardship and of those, 144,000 children live in severe poverty, due to the lack of a liveable income.
The current benefit system is based on outdated models of couples-based assessment, whereas income tax is based on an individual’s earning power. It takes a restrictive and punitive approach that forces individuals into a relationship for financial purposes without consideration of whether the relationship is a genuine longterm partnership in the best interests of all parties. This may include children of one or both of the adults in the relationship. Changes to relationship status policy is particularly important for sole parents and people with disabilities who are reliant on a benefit as their primary, if not sole, source of income.
Housing costs whether renting or owning a home continue to rise sharply putting very real pressure on the available incomes of families and their ability to pay for the cost of housing.
Building the skills and capabilities of our people, including our young people, is integral to ensuring Aotearoa is highly productive with well paid, meaningful employment opportunities for all.
New Zealand is a wealthy country, however the distribution of wealth is highly unequal. According to Stats NZ, the wealthiest 20% owns 62% of total household assets and 24% of total household liabilities, while those in the lowest 20% hold just 1% of total assets but 11% of total liabilities. This means a large proportion of New Zealanders are forced to try to get by on very little, directly contributing to the serious hardship experienced by whānau living in poverty. Our tax system directly contributes to this unequal wealth distribution.
This election, we encourage all New Zealanders to engage candidates with the following questions,
Then vote for those that answer YES!
- Will your party continue the work toward ensuring a living wage for all?
- Will your party commit to adequate increases to welfare support, so that all whanau, whether on a main benefit, studying, in work, or caring for self or others, have a liveable income and can afford the essentials for families to thrive not just survive?
- Does your party commit to individualise benefits so that people in relationships are not discriminated against and harmed by the welfare system?
- Will your party increase the Accommodation Supplement to ensure that it is accessible to those who need it, and it adequately reduces the cost of housing to affordable levels, regardless of where a person or whanau live in New Zealand?
- Will your party support continued funding for more diverse skills training to ensure young people, and those struggling with employment, can gain meaningful employment and fulfilling career pathways to aspire to?
- Research shows that 63% of New Zealanders support pay transparency policies to address the pay gap that is most acutely experienced by Pasifika peoples, followed by Māori, and women generally. Will your party introduce pay transparency legislation in the next term of government?
- Will your party introduce tax policies that fairly redistribute wealth to address inequalities and invest in critical social services such as education, health, justice and welfare?