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Benefit rises welcome but won’t cut inequality

Tomorrow’s benefit increase will put some much needed extra dollars in the pockets of our most vulnerable but will do little to reduce growing inequality, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says.

“While Labour backs this additional support 100 per cent, we agree with the Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills that ‘the increase will not be sufficient to lift families out of poverty’.

“More and more of our children are living in poverty and that is not just those whose parents are on a benefit. Two out of every five children in poverty come from a working family.

“Inequality is growing because wages in New Zealand remain stubbornly low, unemployment is still high and living costs, including housing, continue to climb. This means working families are increasingly relying on tax credits and benefits to make ends meet.

“No one can argue that an increase in benefit levels is needed, but National need to come up with an effective strategy for tackling low wages and growing inequality”, Carmel Sepuloni says.