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July 24, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Greens Welfare Package Announced

The Green Party revealed their Mending the Safety Net Package on July 16 as a solution to New Zealand’s “inadequate” welfare system.

If implemented, the $1.4 billion package would increase all core benefits — Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, Supported Living Payments, and Student Allowances — by 20 per cent, and increase the amount people can earn before their benefit is reduced to $200 per week.

The Package also seeks to increase the minimum wage to $17.75 per hour in its first year of implementation, and then to increase it to 66% of the average wage by 2020 ($21.25 based on Treasury forecasts). The Work Tax Credit would be replaced by a Children’s Credit, which would provide an extra $72 each week to low income families.

The tax rate for people in the lowest tax bracket, earning less than $14,000 a year, would be decreased from 10 to 9.5 per cent. The rate for those in the top tax bracket, earning more than $150,000 a year, would increase to 40 per cent.

A number of financial penalties and sanctions for beneficiaries will be removed, including section 70A in the Social Security Act, which penalises women who do not reveal the name of their child’s father.

“Under this government, sole parents, mostly women, are forced to reveal the most intimate details of their lives — who she’s sleeping with and how many times a week, under the threat of losing the money her and her kids rely on to pay the rent. In my books, that’s discrimination. It’s persecution. And it’s wrong,” Turei said in the Package’s announcement speech.

Turei’s announcement comes after both National and Labour revealed policies targeted towards low-income families.

National’s Family Incomes package is a $2 billion proposal designed to provide better rewards for “hard work,” as well as help lower income families meet living costs. It will benefit 1,340,000 families in New Zealand by approximately $26 per week.

Labour’s Family Package promises to deliver more money to middle and low income families. It is estimated to cost $890 million in 2018–2019, and benefit families on middle incomes by $48 more per week.

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