Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year

  • Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Social Development
  • 1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment
  • 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year
  • 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total  
  • They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, and from an average of $147 to $188 a week for MSD clients
  • People receiving the Accommodation Supplement got an average increase from  $71 to $98 a week
  • 13,500 carers receiving the new Clothing Allowance
  • We are on track to lift 50,000 to 74,000 children out of poverty

The first stock-take of the Government’s Families Package shows families are getting real support to raise their children after a decade of being left behind,” Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.

The $5.5 billion Families Package was announced within the Government’s first 100 days and kicked in on July 1 last year, to deliver targeted help to those on middle and low incomes and to reduce child poverty. A report released today highlights its growing benefits.

“In its first year, the Families Package has made a difference to people’s lives, whether they’re new parents with a young baby, a retiree who can't afford to turn on the heater in winter, or a working couple with kids at school,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

It does that by providing a suite of small investments that make a big difference to people including:

  • Boosting incomes with the Working for Families tax credits
  • Helping families with costs in their child’s early years with the Best Start Payment and increasing paid parenting leave to 26 weeks
  • Helping older New Zealanders and people on a main benefit to heat their homes with the Winter Energy Payment
  • Increasing financial help for carers by increasing the rate of Orphan’s Benefit, Unsupported Child’s Benefit and Foster Care Allowance
  • Increasing the Accommodation Supplement and Benefit  

“Parents on benefit receiving their Family tax credits from the Ministry of Social Development have seen an average increase of $41 per week.

This is the largest increase since Working for Families began in 2005.  

“By the time the Families Package is fully rolled out in 2020/21 – 385,000 families with children will be better off by an average of $75 a week.

 “I’m particularly proud that more than one million people, with partners included, have received the Winter Energy payment, and that the Families Package has made such a difference to so many lives over a short time.

“The Families Package is part of the Government’s wider plan to lift the wellbeing of all New Zealanders including making it free for every child under 14 to go to the doctor, increasing school funding so parents don’t have to pay for school donations – which will help 416,000 families – and building more state houses than any Government since the 1970s.

“We want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child and for everyone who can to be earning, learning, caring or volunteering and the progress reported today shows we’re on our way,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

People who choose to get their Family Tax Credit and Best Start Payment paid out in lump sum at the end of the year aren’t included in this report.

People can find out about the Families Package assistance at www.workandincome.govt.nz