Wednesday, November 20, 2019

It'll never be enough Carmel

Earlier this week the Child Poverty Action Group conference was giving stick to the Minister of MSD for not doing enough to ease poverty. She appeared, didn't take questions and has retaliated with a press release showing that:

1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment
36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year
6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total
They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, and from an average of $147 to $188 a week for MSD clients
People receiving the Accommodation Supplement got an average increase from  $71 to $98 a week
13,500 carers receiving the new Clothing Allowance
We are on track to lift 50,000 to 74,000 children out of poverty

Ah but the Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommended increases to core benefit levels of up to 47%. When is that going to happen?

It must be a thankless task being a left-wing Minister and continuing to be criticised even when you do as you were asked.

I have an idea for Carmel. A little experiment.

Agree to give a beneficiary a meaningful % increase (up to 47%) if they opt to be paid in-kind, ie their benefit is loaded onto electronic card that can only be used for specified items. Otherwise the status quo remains.

It would be most interesting to observe the uptake.

But it'd fascinating to see the reaction of CPAG who would be severely conflicted over the civil liberties of beneficiaries to spend their money as they see fit versus the offer of a significant increase in income.