Submission to Working For Families Consultation (MSD and IRD)
Posted May 31, 2022
- The Salvation Army Te Ope Whakaora considers that the scope of the Working For Families (WFF) review is too narrow and must expressly incorporate the Government’s wellbeing objectives on child poverty and wellbeing for Māori and Pacific people.
- The objective of WFF must be to achieve income adequacy for families on the lowest incomes, including those receiving welfare benefits, and support families in employment to ensure they are better off in employment. This means using regular independent minimum income standard calculations to test adequacy of income support for working families as well as those not in paid employment.
- Make the In Work Tax Credit a child tax credit and pay it to all families with children, including those receiving benefit payments.
- Lift the income threshold for abatement and reduce the abatement rate to a level that enables households with children to retain more of the additional income. Consider adding a second higher abatement rate for those on higher incomes who are less likely to be living in poverty.
- Adjust thresholds and indexation annually based on living cost indexes and wage indexes.
- Address work incentives constructively through additional support payments for transport, training, childcare and other related employment costs. We do not believe using the threat of child poverty is an appropriate approach to work incentives in welfare policy fit for the 21st century. Phasing out support payments over longer time periods will help families transitioning into work to stabilise their income and budgets and sustain employment.
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