Monday, September 03, 2018

Labour's challenge

An example of the challenge the government faces in building a fairer New Zealand: WINZ hardship grants have doubled in the past two years:

Spiralling accommodation costs are driving more people to ask for Ministry of Social Development (MSD) emergency grants than ever before.

The total value of Special Needs Grants (SNGs) has almost doubled from $16.7 million - in the year to June 2016 - to a whopping $33.1m in just two years.

Over the same period, the level of hardship assistance - which includes SNGs and at least two other grants has surged from $58.3m to $88.1m, a 51 per cent increase.

The cause of this is poverty, and the cause of that is National's bad economic management, which saw any gains go to the rich, while everyone else was left out in the cold. The government's increases to the minimum wage, better tenancy rights and tweaks to the Reserve Bank Act should help fix that, and see any growth distributed more widely, but with a pool of poverty this big, it will take time to fix. Still, at least they're now heading in the right direction, rather than trying to make things worse.