500 signatures reached
To: Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Hon Grant Robertson, Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Open Letter: Income support must go up before Christmas
Raise income support to unlock whānau and individuals from poverty before Christmas.
Why is this important?
No matter who we are or where we live, we know that our wellbeing is interconnected with those around us. When everyone has what they need to look after themselves and fully participate in their communities, we all flourish.
We all want every child in Aotearoa to experience a thriving and happy childhood. But right now, hundreds of thousands of children are constrained by poverty, despite parents’ best efforts.
We’ve had a long period of low wages and high housing costs. For decades, governments have underinvested in key public services that build well-being in all our communities, like public housing and income support. Many governments have prioritised policies that help the already well-off, including people who make money from housing.
As a result, too many parents are under-resourced, overstressed, and unable to give their children real opportunities to thrive.
Now due to the ongoing COVID-19 economic fallout, more families are being pushed into poverty.
Unemployment has risen at a record-breaking pace — increasing by nearly a third in the three months to September. Foodbanks and youth homelessness services are reporting huge increases in demand. By Christmas, it’s expected Work and Income will have allocated over 2.5 million hardship grants and advances this year alone.
The situation is urgent. As the new government, you can release the growing constraints on individuals, families, and children.
We are calling on you to lift one of the biggest limitations on whānau and child wellbeing: not having enough income.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, you acted quickly to set up the COVID income relief payment, which is nearly twice the amount of the usual jobseeker benefit. You showed us that you understand that current benefit levels are insufficient and lock families and children into poverty — an issue that affects all of us.
Now, we are asking you to apply the same common sense approach to all income support. To make sure everyone, whether they are working, caring for children, living with a disability or illness, learning, or have lost their jobs before or because of COVID-19, has a liveable income.
Doing so will help achieve your vision of making Aotearoa the best place to be a child.
Before the election, the Labour party has consistently said there’s more work to be done to lift families out of poverty. You now have the mandate and opportunity to do so. Please increase income support before Christmas.
Organisations who have signed the open letter are:
Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers
Auckland Action Against Poverty
Auckland City Mission
Auckland Women’s Centre
Beneficiaries & Unwaged Worker Trust
Beneficiary Advocacy Services Christchurch
Benefit Rights Service
Brainwave Trust Aotearoa
CCS Disability Action
Child Poverty Action Group
Citizens Advice Bureau
Community Housing Aotearoa
Community Networks Aotearoa
Disabled Persons Assembly
E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services
Gender Justice Collective
Gene Now Financial Literacy Trust
Heretaunga Women’s Centre
Hutt Valley Benefit Education Service Trust (BEST)
Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective
Manawatū Tenants’ Union
Māngere East Community Centre
Māngere East Family Services
M.E. Awareness NZ
Mental Health Foundation
Monte Cecilia Housing Trust
National Council of Women
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations
Ngā Tāngata Microfinance
NZ Disability Advisory Trust
NZ Accessibility Advisory Trust
NZEI Te Riu Roa
Pacific Women’s Watch NZ
Public Issues Network: Methodist Church
Public Service Association
Save the Children
Sisters of Mercy Wiri
Social Justice Group of the Auckland Anglican Diocese
St Anne's Pantry
St Matthews in the City
Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga: National Network of Family Violence Services
Te Ngākau Kahukura
Tick for Kids
Tokona Te Raki
United Community Action Network
Unite Union Aotearoa
Urban Neighbours of Hope
We Are Beneficiaries
Wesley Community Action
Whānau Āwhina Plunket