Thursday, December 9

Increases in Family Tax Credit and Best Start Payments ‘Not Enough,’ Critics Argue

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Photo: 123RF

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced increases in the Family Tax Credit and Best Start Payments that would help some 346,000 families, increasing payments by an average of $ 20 per week.

But it is not enough to lift children out of poverty, said new Commissioner for Children Frances Eivers.

While the “small increase” is a welcome step, more is needed to achieve meaningful change, he said.

“In a country with the resources of Aotearoa, each mokopuna, regardless of origin, should grow into a whānau that has what they need to prosper,” Eivers said.

“… this level of increased family income is not enough. Much more will be needed if we really want to make a real difference for mokopuna.

Judge Francis Eivers, Commissioner for New Childhood, was received in office with a pōwhiri at Wellington's Pipitea Marae.

New Children’s Commissioner Frances Eivers Says Increased Payments Won’t Make a Significant Difference
Photo: RNZ / Matai O’Connor

“As the Government continues to review the Working for Families plan, I urge you to take up the challenge from the Advisory Group of Experts on Wellbeing [WEAG]and significantly increase family tax credit payments for each child in each lower-income family. “

The 2019 WEAG report said the wellness system “is no longer fit for purpose and needs a fundamental change.”

The Green Party said in a statement that while it welcomed today’s announcement, it did not deliver what was required.

“The support announced today will help. But Labor should have gone further and increased income support more quickly, and enough to ensure that each family has enough to put food on the table, pay rent and keep their food warm. home, “said the Green Party. said development and employment spokesman Ricardo Menéndez March.

The changes don’t take effect until April next year, but families need more help now, Menéndez March said.

“Once we delve into the details of this announcement, it appears that the government is decorating a window. Meanwhile, behind the front door are tens of thousands of families struggling to make ends meet.”

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said the offers were “out of touch and deeply disappointing.”

The increase in the family tax credit to between $ 13 and $ 15 per child per week included an inflation adjustment “long overdue,” said CPAG spokeswoman Susan St John.

“Overall, low-income families will be better off at just $ 5 per child in April of next year than they would have been without this announcement, and well below the recommendations of the Wellness Expert Advisory Group.” .

St John said families receiving family tax credits whose income exceeds the reduction threshold would lose 27 cents instead of 25 cents for every extra dollar they earned.

CPAG spokeswoman Janet McAllister said the adjustments showed the government was out of touch.

“We are still awaiting the modest benefit increases that were promised in May; they have only been partially implemented, contrary to reports. Children cannot live on the promises of minor changes next year.”

CPAG recommends giving all low-income families the complete Work for Families package, which should be indexed to wages.

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