Removing requirements for people on benefits to meet reasonable obligations to other taxpayers would be a very big backward step and unfair to working New Zealanders, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“Our system of income support relies on a set of mutual obligations to people receiving assistance,” Mr Joyce says. “It would be unfair on people providing that assistance through their taxes if those on benefits did not have an obligation to find work, particularly when there is plenty of work available as there is now.”
Mr Joyce was commenting on Green Party policy proposals to lift benefit incomes, lift taxes on people with higher incomes, and remove obligations on people with benefits to look for work.
“The Government’s system of obligations have helped a lot more people get into work and a lot less families are dependent on a benefit than before we started,” Mr Joyce says.
“New Zealand now has the second highest employment rate in the OECD and the lowest level of adult New Zealanders dependent on a benefit and not in work since 1997. The number of sole parents dependent on a benefit and not in work is the lowest since1988. That means far fewer children growing up in benefit-dependent families.”
Mr Joyce also raised questions about where the money would come from for the proposals.
“This is a very expensive list of promises from the Greens and once again there is no hint as to how the cost would be met. The minor parties are writing some very big cheques for this election at the moment and they have no idea how they’d pay for them.”
“The Government’s Family Incomes Package in Budget 2017 is a very fair package that lifts incomes substantially for low income families with children in some cases by up to$170 or $180 a week. But it comes with obligations on people to look for work and get into work if they can. That’s only fair for everyone.”