Dear Jacinda, Carmel and Grant
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.
75 NGOs including:
- Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers
- Anglican Action
- Auckland Action Against Poverty
- Auckland City Mission
- Auckland Women’s Centre
- 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
- 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
- Len Reynolds Trust
- Manaaki Rangatahi
- Manawatū Tenants’ Union
- Māngere East Community Centre
- Māngere East Family Services
- M.E. Awareness NZ
- Mental Health Foundation
- Methodist Alliance
- Methodist City Action
- 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
- Poverty Action Waikato
- 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
- Waipareira Trust
- We Are Beneficiaries
- Wesley Community Action
- Whānau Āwhina Plunket
- YWCA Auckland