Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.
“40 per cent of children living in income poverty are in working households. On top of that, over half of people currently coming off the benefit are not going into employment.
“This includes better careers advice, work experience opportunities, training incentives, and increasing the amount they can earn while working part time on a benefit.
“Casual and part-time employment is a great pathway to full-time work and must be encouraged, but too often job seekers are discouraged by having their benefits cut, leaving them no better off.
“Under current policies, job seekers start losing their benefit when they earn over $80 each week, and sole parents and those on the Supported Living Payment start losing money when they earn over $100.
“This reduction in benefit payments makes it harder for many in employment due to the additional costs such as transport, childcare, and uniforms.
“Labour will make it easier for New Zealanders to get into work, especially those juggling family commitments, by increasing the abatement rate for all beneficiaries so they can start earning from employment without having their benefit taken off them.
“Labour will lift the abatement rate for all beneficiaries so they can earn up to $150 before they lose any of their benefit.
“The Training Incentive Allowance will be reinstated to help with course costs and other additional training-related expenses, such as text books, and transport so beneficiaries can upskill and take up further education.
“The Training Incentive Allowance was taken away by National, and we have seen the result of this with declining numbers of beneficiaries leaving the benefit to go into study.
“Labour wants to ensure positive long-term outcomes for these families, so we will also monitor and report on the benefit transitions to ensure the Government is accountable for facilitating better outcomes for individuals and their families.
“Increasing the abatement rate and providing support for training, alongside Labour’s policies to encourage education through three years free post-secondary school study, as well as our Dole for Apprenticeships and Ready for Work schemes, show Labour’s commitment to better opportunities for all.
“It’s time for Kiwi job seekers to get real support to get into work. Labour is backing New Zealanders by providing real pathways towards employment and training,” says Carmel Sepuloni.