Families Package will make a real difference to Māori

The Government’s Families Package will make a real difference to Māori families and help give their children a better start in life, Labour Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis says.

The key elements of the Families Package include:

  • Best Start payment to help all New Zealand families with a newborn by $60 a week up until the child’s first birthday – and up to three years of age for low- and middle-income families  
  • More financial assistance for low- and middle-income families with children by increasing Working for Families payments
  • Restoring the Independent Earner Tax Credit to help low-income working people
  • Increasing the Accommodation Supplement and Accommodation Benefit
  • Winter Energy Payment to help our poorest families heat their homes over winter.

“We know whānau have been struggling for too long and we promised we would make a difference to them and their communities. Today we deliver on that promise,” Kelvin Davis says.

“Our Families Package delivers targeted support to those who need it most and is an important step in ensuring all New Zealanders see the benefits of our prosperity.”

Kelvin Davis says the measures have a real focus on tamariki.

“We all know the statistics. About a third of our tamariki are in low-income households and around a quarter are living in crowded homes. 

“The Best Start payment and the increases to Working for Families payments will significantly benefit tamariki by helping to give them a better start in life. We know that successful investment in a child’s early years can prevent the need for more costly investments and support in later years.

“The Accommodation Supplement and Accommodation Benefit changes will help whānau with high housing costs, and the Winter Energy Payment will help ensure they stay warm and healthy during the coldest months,” Kelvin Davis says.

KiwiBuild will also play its part by delivering 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers over the next 10 years. Since 1986 the home ownership rate for Māori has fallen by 20 per cent – more than for the overall population (down 15.3 per cent). The number of Māori renting has risen by 88 per cent, double the rate for the general population. “We need to turn these around for the sake of our communities,” Kelvin Davis says.

“Māori who wish to access further study after secondary school will also be helped by the Government’s fees-free post-secondary study policy.

“This won’t just be for students leaving secondary school. An important aspect of this policy is that it is available to people who have never accessed tertiary training and want to reskill. We know that Māori are disproportionately represented in areas of work which are facing automation, like warehousing, transport and communications.

“The entire Families Package is paid for by reversing the previous Government’s tax cuts.

“Even after paying for the Families Package, the savings from reversing those tax cuts leave an extra $2.84 billion for the Government to invest in other priorities over the next five years.”