Young child jumps off diving platform into swimming pool, sun shines from behind
Young child jumps off diving platform into swimming pool, sun shines from behind

Dear Jacinda, Carmel and Grant

ActionStation Aotearoa
Nov 5 · 3 min read

No matter who we are or where we live, we know that our wellbeing is interconnected with those around us. When everyone has what they need to look after themselves and fully participate in their communities, we all flourish.

We all want every child in Aotearoa to experience a thriving and happy childhood. But right now, hundreds of thousands of children are constrained by poverty, despite parents’ best efforts.

We’ve had a long period of low wages and high housing costs. For decades, governments have underinvested in key public services that build well-being in all our communities, like public housing and income support. Many governments have prioritised policies that help the already well-off, including people who make money from housing.

As a result, too many parents are under-resourced, overstressed, and unable to give their children real opportunities to thrive.

Now due to the ongoing COVID-19 economic fallout, more families are being pushed into poverty.

Unemployment has risen at a record-breaking pace — increasing by nearly a third in the three months to September. Foodbanks and youth homelessness services are reporting huge increases in demand. By Christmas, it’s expected Work and Income will have allocated over 2.5 million hardship grants and advances this year alone.

The situation is urgent. As the new government, you can release the growing constraints on individuals, families, and children.

We are calling on you to lift one of the biggest limitations on whānau and child wellbeing: not having enough income.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, you acted quickly to set up the COVID income relief payment, which is nearly twice the amount of the usual jobseeker benefit. You showed us that you understand that current benefit levels are insufficient and lock families and children into poverty — an issue that affects all of us.

Now, we are asking you to apply the same common sense approach to all income support. To make sure everyone, whether they are working, caring for children, living with a disability or illness, learning, or have lost their jobs before or because of COVID-19, has a liveable income.

Doing so will help achieve your vision of making Aotearoa the best place to be a child.

Before the election, the Labour party has consistently said there’s more work to be done to lift families out of poverty. You now have the mandate and opportunity to do so. Please increase income support before Christmas.

A graphic with the words “signed” in big, and all the logos of the 70 organisations who have signed the letter around it.
A graphic with the words “signed” in big, and all the logos of the 70 organisations who have signed the letter around it.

70 NGOs including:

ActionStation

Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers

Auckland Action Against Poverty

Auckland City Mission

Auckland Women’s Centre

Barnardos

Belong Aotearoa

Beneficiaries & Unwaged Worker Trust

Beneficiary Advocacy Services Christchurch

Benefit Rights Service

Birthright NZ

Brainwave Trust Aotearoa

CCS Disability Action

Child Poverty Action Group

Citizens Advice Bureau

Community Housing Aotearoa

Community Networks Aotearoa

Disabled Persons Assembly

E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services

Equality Network

FinCap

FIRST Union

Gender Justice Collective

Gene Now Financial Literacy Trust

Generation Zero

Heretaunga Women’s Centre

Hutt Valley Benefit Education Service Trust (BEST)

Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective

Lifewise

Manaaki Rangatahi

Manawatū Tenants’ Union

Māngere East Community Centre

Māngere East Family Services

M.E. Awareness NZ

Mental Health Foundation

Methodist Alliance

Monte Cecilia Housing Trust

National Council of Women

New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations

Ngā Tāngata Microfinance

NZ Disability Advisory Trust

NZ Accessibility Advisory Trust

NZEI Te Riu Roa

OMEP Aotearoa

Pacific Women’s Watch NZ

PPTA

Public Issues Network: Methodist Church

Public Service Association

Renters United

Salvation Army

Save the Children

Sisters of Mercy Wiri

Social Justice Group of the Auckland Anglican Diocese

Social Link

St Anne’s Pantry

St Matthews in the City

Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga: National Network of Family Violence Services

Te Ngākau Kahukura

Tick for Kids

Tokona Te Raki

United Community Action Network

Unite Union Aotearoa

Urban Neighbours of Hope

VisionWest

Waipareira Trust

We Are Beneficiaries

Wesley Community Action

Whānau Āwhina Plunket

ActionStation Aotearoa

Stories of hope, love and collective action

ActionStation Aotearoa

Written by

We work together to create a society where people and planet are more important than profit and Te Tiriti o Waitangi is honoured.

ActionStation Aotearoa

Stories of hope, love and collective action

ActionStation Aotearoa

Written by

We work together to create a society where people and planet are more important than profit and Te Tiriti o Waitangi is honoured.

ActionStation Aotearoa

Stories of hope, love and collective action

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