Hardship skyrocketing under Labour

Figures obtained by the National Party show the number of grants to cover emergency or essential payments for benefit recipients have skyrocketed under the Labour Government, National’s Social Development and Employment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

There are now more than 80,000 applications for grants being made each month this year. Ms Upston says applications for these grants are higher than they have been at any point over the past five years.

“Labour’s excuse is that its ‘generosity’ is why the amount of money going towards hardship payments has increased in recent years. However these figures show sustained increases in the numbers of people applying for grants.

“There were 339,105 more applications for grants in the October 2019-20 year compared to the October 2016-17 year.

“This means more people are struggling to afford emergency and essential items. The Government has failed to deliver on its promise to improve the livelihoods of those most in need.

“These figures keep increasing because Labour isn’t focused on supporting Kiwis into jobs. Paid employment is the best route out of hardship but it requires individualised support to help people become work ready. The Government just isn’t prioritising this.

“It also requires clear measures and targets established to make sure the taxpayer dollars that are being spent on employment initiatives will actually help the almost 200,000 New Zealanders without work.

“With the number of New Zealanders struggling to support themselves and their families increasing, the Government needs to take more decisive and focused steps to help get Kiwis back on their own two feet.”

The total number of Advance Payment of Benefit applications and grants from March 2016 to February 2021 can be found here.