March 01, 2023
Poverty fix needed
An anti-poverty campaigner says wiping debt owed to the Ministry of Social Development would be the best way to support many whānau struggling with the cost of living.
Brooke Stanley Pao from Auckland Action Against Poverty says low benefit levels are why people get into debt.
MSD emergency grants only cover food.
“If you need help with your car, if you need help with your baby’s school uniforms, if you need whiteware, literally anything else which isn’t food and can’t be covered by your benefit, you need to pay it back so that becomes a debt against your name. It’s unfair, it’s unjust and it shouldn’t be the way it is,” she says.
Brook Stanley Pao says the ministry applies excessive scrutiny to beneficiary spending and makes special grants hard to get.