February 12, 2021
Beneficiaries left behind as Flexi-wage boosted
Auckland Action Against Poverty says the Government is trapping people in hardship by refusing to lift benefit levels.
Spokesperson Brooke Stanley Pao says the state of the government books means it has more room to move, but there was no mention of benefits in its Budget policy statement for 2021.
Instead it is putting more money into the Flexi-wage scheme, which is a subsidy for employers to take on new workers including people who may have lost their previous roles because of COVID-19.
"The Government believes the only pathway out of poverty for people is to be in paid employment. We advocate strongly that is not the only pathway for people. They could actually increase benefits so people aren’t trapped in poverty," Ms Pao says.
She says the effect of that disadvantage can be seen in the Growing Up in New Zealand study of 6000 children in Tāmaki and Waikato showing around half of the families can’t afford healthy food for their babies.
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