Labour’s approach to hardship is crippling, not kind

Today’s Salvation Army State of the Nation report shows Labour has failed to improve the lives of the most at risk New Zealanders, Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“Despite the Prime Minister’s promise to reduce child poverty, the Salvation Army reports that around 209,000 children are growing up in benefit dependent homes – that’s 37,000 more since Labour came into Government.

“Labour’s failure to turn around the escalating benefit dependency crisis is hurting the prospects of Kiwi kids, with parents finding it increasingly difficult just to put food on the table or to pay the rent.

“The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone, but it’s the most at risk who are being hit the hardest – the Salvation Army estimates that living costs for benefit dependent households have increased 6 per cent over the last 12 months.

“Labour has allowed more people to languish on benefits for longer. There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of people on a benefit long-term under Labour.

“A secure job is the best path to help people out hardship and onto the path to independence.

“At a time when unemployment is so low and businesses are crying out for workers it is frankly appalling that long-term beneficiary numbers have grown so steeply. If this Government can’t help people off benefits and into work now, then when on earth can they do it?

“Labour’s ideological, bureaucratic approach clearly isn’t working. They should adopt National’s social investment approach by providing targeted support to those most at risk and partnering with iwi and community providers to deliver better outcomes.

“Under this Labour Government too many New Zealand families are falling further behind. That’s simply unfair and it’s not good enough.”