Fair question: If students are worth $50 a week more, why not children?

Please Sir, can we have some more?

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) applauds the Government’s recent announcements to ease student hardship by a $50 increase in allowances on 1 January, 2018, and urges Parliament to address children’s needs with similar urgency.

Christmas is fast approaching, and charities are gearing up to support families in need, with the expectation that the numbers of people requiring financial assistance and food bank help will soar. The Salvation Army foresees 17,000 families in crisis will seek help from the charity for food support, budgeting, counselling, education and accommodation assistance.

CPAG is calling for the Government to extend the In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC), a portion of Working for Families (WFF) worth at least $72.50 per week, to all low-income families.

The Human Rights Commission found that the IWTC, by only being paid to children in low-income families who meet paid work criteria, discriminates against the worst-off children in New Zealand.

“Removal of the paid work criteria and the ‘off-benefit’ rule would have a very significant impact for the very worst-off families,” says Associate Professor Susan St John, CPAG’s economics spokesperson.

“It would enhance equity and simplicity and be a cost-effective step in the overall reform of WFF that is desperately needed.

“The best Christmas present many children could have this year is this extra $72.50 in their families bank accounts each week, especially during a time where for many parents, casual work can be precarious,” says St John.

“Moreover it could be achieved immediately.

“It is too long to wait for any changes to come in until next April, when many families will accumulate debt over the holiday period just to survive.”

It is impossible to argue against this request if you insist on basic logic.

Why would students get free money, but not children?

Why would minimum wage people get more money, but not teachers?

Why would teachers get more money, but not police?

Why would students get free money, but not nurses?

Steve Joyce’s fiscal hole is going to look like a pinprick by the time this government is done handing out money to everyone.

And it doesn’t matter.  A billion here, a billion there.  You and I are good for it.


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