Main benefits to increase in line with wages

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today that main benefits will increase by 3.1 percent on 1 April, in line with the rise in the average wage.

The Government announced changes to the annual adjustment of main benefits in Budget 2019, indexing main benefit increases to the average wage, rather than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

“This is the Government’s second annual adjustment based on increases in the average wage, making it fairer on low income families and helping reduce poverty amongst our most vulnerable,” said Carmel Sepuloni.

“Around 385,000 families and individuals will be better off getting more than double the annual increase they’d have received using the old Consumer Price Index measure. For example, a couple with children could get $13.24 more Jobseeker Support a week from 1 April in line with the average wage increase.

“Under the previous system indexed to the CPI increase of 1.15 percent, they would receive only $4.95. The changes aligned main benefit adjustments more closely with Superannuation which has been linked to average wage increases for decades.

The 830,000 New Zealanders receiving Superannuation will also receive the same 3.1 percent increase on 1 April. 

Combined with this Government’s 1 April changes to income abatement thresholds, helping incentivise those who are working to remain in work, underlines our promise to help low income New Zealanders.

“This is another step towards lifting wages and making our welfare system fairer so that people and families on benefits don’t fall further and further behind other New Zealanders.” Said Carmel Sepuloni.