Labour facing pressure to raise benefits in the Budget

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 3:24PM
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Labour facing pressure to raise benefits in the Budget

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 3:24PM

The government's going to be under pressure to raise benefits come budget day.

It's been revealed New Zealanders currently owe $560,000 to the Ministry of Social Development nearly $2 billion in interest free loans.

Those owing the debt, along with Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen, say the only way out of this huge debt is to raise benefits.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards told Kate Hawkesby the country is seeing a big increase in inequality, largely due to Covid-19 and some of the Government and Reserve Bank's decisions in response.

"There's huge political pressure that's going to be put on Labour to fix this problem because they have already promised that they are going to fix inequality, child poverty - it hasn't happened yet, so I think people are finally expecting that in the coming budget, benefits need to be raised."

He says the main issue is it is a 'left-right' argument around whether people at the bottom should be helped or if helping them incentivises them to stay on the benefit - but Labour has no choice in the matter. 

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