The Ministry of Social Development’s latest Household Incomes Report is more hard evidence of the growing poverty in New Zealand, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.
“National claims to be delivering for New Zealanders. This report puts the lie to that.
“There are now 125,300 more people living in relative poverty than when National took office nine years ago.* This includes 30,000 more children living in poverty – all this despite the economy growing over the last eight years.
“The report’s author writes on page 133; ‘The only significant fall in child poverty after 1994…was from 2004 to 2007, reflecting the impact of the Working for Families package in lifting the incomes of many low- to middle-income families’.
“After taking housing costs and inflation into account, the report also finds that the average household saw a small fall in its income last year. For superannuitants, the fall was equivalent to $2,113 a year.
“We know incomes are being squeezed by the rising cost of renting and owning a home and that many are seeing their wages failing to keep up with inflation.
“This is National’s sad legacy after nine years in government. Today’s report just adds to the mounting evidence that National’s much vaunted strong economy is failing thousands of New Zealanders.
“We have the highest per capital homelessness in the world, there are 1500 more people waiting for state houses than a year ago, and the Government is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless families in motels.
“Fixing the housing crisis would be a start. Instead National has sold off state houses and is building a pitiful amount of affordable homes – just 18 percent of its Auckland housing project are affordable houses. Labour will build 100,000 affordable homes and crack down on speculators. And we’ll build more state houses.
“Our Families Package and Winter Energy Payments will help low and middle income families as well as beneficiaries and superannuitants.
“It’s all part of a fresh approach this country needs to build a fairer New Zealand,” says Andrew Little.
*Table F.4 of the report, page 121. 19 per cent of 2008 population equates to 784,700 people living in 60 per cent After Housing Cost poverty. In 2016 that number had increased to 20 per cent or 910,000 of the stated population - meaning 125,300 more people living in poverty.