11 Jul 2017

Struggling families would get more under Labour - Little

8:03 pm on 11 July 2017

The Labour Party is pledging to deliver more money to families than the government promised in May's budget.

Andrew Little speaking at Waitangi, 5 February 2017.

Labour leader Andrew Little said his party's policy package would do more to help low-income families - as well as boosting Working for Families by up to $48 a week for those on middle incomes. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The government's families package promises a $2 billion a year boost for Working for Families and the accommodation supplement, and a rise in tax thresholds.

Labour leader Andrew Little said today his party would give an income boost to more than 70 percent of families with children.

"The National Party's families package gives $400 million to the top 10 percent of income earners in New Zealand.

"I am saying, right now, the challenges that New Zealand faces, that is wrong."

By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Mr Little said Labour would be able to do more for lower and middle income families and people in need, while investing in what Kiwi families cared about: housing, health, education and infrastructure.

"Every family receiving Working for Families currently will get more with Labour, and 30,000 more families will start to receive payments.

"Families on middle incomes will receive up to $48 a week more in Working for Families with Labour's package than under National, plus Best Start payments of $60 a week for children under three.

"Labour will create a Best Start payment for families with babies and toddlers, because every Kiwi kid deserves the best start in life.

"Nearly 60,000 families a year will be eligible for a $60 a week payment per baby. Families on low and middle incomes will be able to continue to receive the Best Start payment until their child turns three."

Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern said the changes would go some way to alleviating child poverty.

"If you ask a family who are living in dire circumstances what difference $60 a week will make for them, that's a huge amount, and that's just best start.

"Those same families will also receive increases via the working for families changes as well, they will be significantly better off."

The party's policy package also included plans for a new Winter Energy Payment, which was announced separately yesterday.

That would include a $374m a year policy that would give people on benefits and superannuitants extra money each month between May and September.

The Winter Energy Payment scheme would provide $700 a year for couples and parents with kids at home, and $450 for single people.

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