Government announces boost to family support
In a suite of improvements to family support from April 1 2022 the Government is increasing the support packages of 346,000 families by an average of $20 a week; lifting an estimated 6000 more children out of poverty Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
“COVID-19 has been tough on families and has contributed to the increase in the cost of living. Increasing support for low and middle income families to help cover the basics is the fair thing to do,” says Ardern.
“We want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child. Ensuring families aren’t left behind is critical to our COVID-19 response which has been underpinned by kindness and support for each other.
“Ending child poverty is a priority for this Government. It’s estimated a further 6000 children will be lifted out of poverty as a result of these changes - that’s in addition to the up to 33,000 children who will be lifted out of poverty by the increase in benefit levels earlier this year.
“The Family Tax Credit was scheduled to have an inflation increase on 1 April next year, but we have topped that up so struggling families get the extra help they need. Best Start is also going to have an inflation increase on 1 April.
“The changes are targeted towards the lowest income families. Those with family income less than $40,000 benefit the most with an average increase of $26 per week. But we know all families are doing it tough, so everyone receiving a Family Tax Credit or Best Start payment will be better off compared to what they receive now.
“This change is also on top of our significant boost to benefit rates by between $32 and $55 per adult earlier this year and is just one extra thing we can do for families in these tough times. I know it will make a difference,” says Ardern.
“The Government is committed to transforming the welfare system,” says Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.
“Each change we make brings us closer to our goal of a system that ensures people have an adequate income and standard of living, are treated with and can live with dignity, and are able to participate meaningfully in their communities.
“We have made significant progress on implementing the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group which has included lifting core benefit levels to historic levels. We are now well into advancing our medium term work plan. This plan includes a full review of the Working for Families system. This review is currently underway and more details will be released next year,” says Sepuloni.
The changes announced today will also see an increase of the abatement rate for the Family Tax Credit from 25 per cent to 27 per cent. This change means those on the lowest incomes will receive the most, and no one will be worse off compared to what they receive now.