Release: Labour will continue to back Kiwis when the going gets tough

Labour’s Social Development Plan will build on the social welfare safety net, rather than strip it back. 

“Our plan will continue to lift children out of poverty, increase incomes, and ensure hard working Kiwis are supported into employment, education and training,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“We’re committed to progress through a considered, evidence based and future-focused policy platform – one that ensures no one, especially no child, is left behind.

“Labour will ensure low-income Kiwis, like our sole parents who want to work while their kids are at school, continue to keep more of what they earn by indexing abatement thresholds to increases in the minimum wage over the next term.

“For a sole parent this means they can pick up extra part-time work without it affecting their income support.

“Our changes to the in-work tax credit and our investment into employment, education and training pathways, like making Apprenticeship Boost permanent, support Labour’s vision to keep the record momentum of beneficiaries moving into work.

“Our plan is a blueprint for the type of New Zealand we want and a promise to all New Zealanders that the welfare system will treat them with respect and dignity.

“I want New Zealanders to clearly see what is at stake and the difference in what is on offer. A National/Act/NZ First Coalition of Cuts will cut taxes and services making it harder for people when times are tough.

“In contrast, Labour will invest in families, lift people’s incomes and provide a ladder of opportunity so everyone can get ahead.

“Our welfare system is not a tick box exercise and is about more than just numbers; it’s about peoples livelihoods.

“That’s why under Labour, I’m proud of our track record of delivery. We’ve made once in a generation increases to main benefits and indexed them to average wages, increased abatement thresholds, and increased thresholds for hardship assistance.

“We’ve also reinstated the Training Incentive Allowance, showing our focus on supporting people receiving a main benefit to participate in higher education and opportunities to upskill.

“Under Labour, we continue to see record numbers of people moving off a benefit and into work: 100,233 in 2022. That’s 25.7 per cent higher than the 79,737 who moved off a benefit and into work in 2017.

“And for the first time in New Zealand’s history, sole parents now receive their full Child Support payments, helping to lift an estimated 6,000 to 14,000 children out of poverty.

“As I’ve said before, there’s more mahi to do, and it doesn’t stop there. That’s why under Labour, if re-elected, we’re going to keep up the momentum and ensure more low-income Kiwis can keep more of what they earn,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Labour will:

  • Maintain and increase the relative value of benefits over time by keeping them indexed to average wages
  • Increase abatement thresholds to incentivise people to take up part-time work
  • Increase the in-work tax credit by $25 per week, increase abatement thresholds to $50,000 pa, as the first stage in progressing the outcomes of the Working for Families Review
  • Protect superannuation by keeping the age at 65 and continue to index Superannuation to wage growth
  • Review the impact of relationship status on benefit entitlements
  • Make the Apprenticeship Boost Initiative permanent
  • Introduce programmes similar to He Poutama Rangatahi for underserved communities, as resourcing allows
  • Focus on meeting skills and workforce needs and boosting employment in the regions, working together Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs).

“Progress is a hard-fought journey, but we have to remember that the progress we’ve made will not be the only thing eroding under a National/Act/NZ First Coalition of Cuts – peoples incomes, child poverty reduction and front line services are all at risk.

“Now is not the time to dial back on the progress we’ve made. With 77,000 fewer children in poverty, we must continue the good work we’ve done to break the cycle, not take an oversimplistic, punitive and narrow-minded approach that has no evidence to say it works,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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More information on Labour's record can be found here

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