Today’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group report Whakamana Tāngata provides clear recognition that our welfare system was broken and needed overhauling, the Council of Trade Unions said today.
“New Zealand has a proud history of ensuring Kiwis can access the fundamental basics of life. We led the way with the building of houses for people who needed a home with our state housing program and we’ve also supported those who haven’t been able to, for a wide range of reasons, be in paid employment,” said CTU Secretary Sam Huggard.
“For many the nature of work is changing and increasingly employers are not providing working people with secure dependable employment.”
“The report has a number of solutions to this.”
“Proposals such as a 6 months partnered workers’ benefit correctly recognises that we need a much better plan to wrap support around families going through big economic shocks such as redundancy – especially as the OECD has told us that our levels of support in this area are among the worst.”
“The stress placed on a family during an economic shock is immense, not only for earners but their children’s wellbeing also comes under huge strain. Fixing this will have a direct impact on child and family mental wellbeing and should be strongly supported.”
Unions endorse the recommendations for tripartite oversight of employment support system and the return of a dedicated employment service in MSD, and say the report is very timely ahead of the Prime Minster’s Just Transition summit in Taranaki next week.
“We also recognise the very significant contribution made by Māori to this report and the clear recommendations on improving the responsiveness of all aspects of our welfare system for Māori.”
“We are excited by the potential that implementing the report’s recommendations could have on the lives of all New Zealanders and the clear understanding that core benefits need to rise substantially to reduce poverty. We encourage the government to move swiftly and adopt the recommendations in the report,” Huggard said.