ZB

Thousands could miss out on $350 cost of living payments

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 28 Jul 2022, 10:33am
Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced the cost of living payments in his fifth Budget. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced the cost of living payments in his fifth Budget. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Thousands could miss out on $350 cost of living payments

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 28 Jul 2022, 10:33am

By RNZ

More than 164,000 people could miss out on the government's $350 cost of living bonus payments because the Inland Revenue department does not have their bank account details.

The first of three $116 instalments from the government to help with the cost of living are due on Monday for an estimated 2.1 million people who are eligible.

The payments were announced in this year's budget, for those who earn $70,000 a year or less, are New Zealand tax residents aged 18 and over, and who are not entitled to the winter energy payment.

But IRD needs their current bank account details to be able to make the payment.

Revenue Minister David Parker. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Revenue Minister David Parker. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Revenue Minister David Parker rejected the idea the payment scheme had been rushed through without enough time to set it up well.

He told Checkpoint that IRD already had the details of more than 90 per cent of those eligible for the payments. And that the payments and how they would be distributed were widely publicised since May, so people had time to check if they were set up to receive them.

He believed the government had announced this "every way we can": Including in the Budget, press releases, media coverage, through tax agents, accountants, budgeting services and employers, he said.

A team of more than 700 staff were working at IRD working to reach everyone eligible for the payment, and updating their details, and disputed the claim that IRD had said it did not have capacity to deliver the payment.

"The most common way that people update their details with IRD these days is on the internet, [through] myIRD, but we do have telephone services and we have many hundreds of people that are engaged with this task."

Parker said anyone who did not supply their bank account number by the time the payments were made could still claim them until the end of March next year.

He said the fact IRD did not have some people's current bank account numbers reflected that not everyone in New Zealand was required to supply them to IRD.

"We've always known we don't have bank accounts for every New Zealander. There's no obligation to provide a bank account number ... it's not compulsory".