More Kiwi families in hardship

While many families across the country will be looking forward to the summer break, the number of people on a benefit is a stark reminder that many Kiwis are struggling to make ends meet and are anxious to find work, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

Figures released today by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) show 75,000 additional people have moved onto a main benefit since March this year and there are more than 60,000 more recipients of the accommodation supplement.

“The holiday period will only bring more stress and hardship for many families. Services like City Mission and Salvation Army are providing more support than ever to families in need.”

Equally as concerning as the increase in benefit numbers is the number of Kiwis who require hardship assistance. Just during the last week almost 28,000 people were granted a food parcel by MSD.

“The best path out of hardship is through secure work. While we have supported the Government’s wage subsidy, now this scheme has ended the true cost of Covid-19 to Kiwis’ livelihoods is now becoming apparent,” Ms Upston says.

“People are far better off in paid employment than in a state of dependency. The focus right now should be on supporting businesses to create jobs so we can connect those who are temporarily out of work with new employment.

“We want to see people back in the driver seats of their lives not stuck on a benefit and struggling day to day. That requires smart investment from the Government to support growth and improve living standards.”