CPAG: NZ family package ‘will do little’ for worst-off children

New Zealand’s planned Families Package will give some relief for children in poverty but do little for the very worst-off, says the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

CPAG says ‘pockets of hardship’ were identified by the NZ Ministry of Social Development in 2007, when it was revealed families with children living far below the very low 40 per cent (after housing costs) poverty indicator. The problem has since grown.

Hardship

The campaigning body says that there are currently more than 140,000 children living in households below this line with incomes that are ‘impossibly low’. In a new report, Will children get the help they need: An analysis of effectiveness of policies for children in the worst poverty in 2018, CPAG compares recent increases with what the worst-off families will actually need to survive.

Professor Susan St John, CPAG economics spokesperson, who co co-wrote the the report with Yun So, said:  “The Families Package delivers an extra $8 a week in benefit increase, through a Winter Fuel Payment. It gives an extra $20 of Working for Families for the first child and an extra $27 a week for additional children under 13, and less for older children. A single child family on the benefit stands to be only $28 a week better off.

Debt

“Much of this is a catch-up for no increases to their WFF tax credits for the past six years, and will likely contribute to their debt repayments.”

CPAG says that a single parent with one child in Auckland, receiving the sole parent support benefit and the maximum Accommodation Supplement needs another $185 a week to reach the 50 per cent AHC line.  The 60 per cent AHC line may better reflect an adequate standard of living, but to reach that this family needs another $266 a week.

The Families Package is due to be introduced on July 1.

Author: Simon Weedy

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