Carmel Sepuloni : Nothing for beneficiaries and the poor.
It looks like any increase in core benefits are off the agenda for the next decade - assuming 'transformational' Labour is still in power.

DESPITE THE Labour-led government attempting to spin the upcoming budget as one of 'well being' it will, in reality, be the continuation of austerity. On the sharp end of the Government's fiscal conservatism will, once again, be beneficiaries and the poor. The Government has ruled out any increase in the core benefits despite being told by its own welfare advisory committee that benefits need to be increased by as much as 47 percent.

The Government's refusal to implement a benefit increase flies in the face of Jacinda Adern's election campaign commitment to alleviate poverty. In April new figures revealed that more than 250,000 children are living in poverty.

On Monday night's Q+A the Social Development Minister sounded like any welfare minister of the past thirty years denying beneficiaries a more stable and secure future. Carmel Sepuloni told interviewer Jack Tame that there would be no benefit increases during the 'phase 1' stage of the welfare report's implementation. Although wasn't  keen to answer Tame's questions  about the timeline, she said that stage one would last somewhere between 'three and five years'. It seemed like a figure plucked out of the air.

Assuming Labour are in still in power, Sepuloni would only go as far as to say that benefit increases would be 'considered' during the stage two of the implementation of the process.

So this Government isn't committing itself to anything and any possible benefit increase is likely to be off the agenda for the next decade, by which time Labour will probably no longer be in office and Jacinda Ardern will be starring in her own television reality show called Keeping Up with Jacinda.


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