"The National Party’s pledge to apply sanctions to unemployed people receiving
a welfare payment, if they are “persistently” failing to meet the criteria for
receiving the benefit, has attracted plenty of comment and criticism.
Less talked about has been the party’s promise to index benefits to inflation
to keep pace with the cost of living. This might at least provide some relief
to those struggling to make ends meet on welfare, though is not clear how much
difference it would make to the current system of indexing benefits to wages.
In any case, this alone it is unlikely to break the cycle of poverty many find
One of the major drivers of this is the way the welfare system pushes some of
the most vulnerable people into debt with loans for things such as school
uniforms, power bills and car repairs.
The government provides one-off grants to cover benefit shortfalls. But most of
these grants are essentially loans.
People receiving benefits are required to repay the government through weekly
deductions from their normal benefits – which leaves them with even less money
to survive on each week.
With rising costs, the situation is only getting worse for many of the 351,756
New Zealanders accessing one of the main benefits."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics