Pacific people to benefit from Government’s Families Package

Pacific families are set to benefit from the Government’s Families Package, says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.

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.

“For far too long Pacific peoples have been over-represented in New Zealand’s negative social indicators. We have promised to help them,” Aupito William Sio says.

“The Families Package offers a range of support and will make a real difference for Pacific communities and help give their children a better start in life.

“The Accommodation Supplement and Accommodation Benefit changes will provide families with financial help with housing costs. With just under half of Pacific children under five years old living in crowded homes, this will provide real support.

“The Winter Energy Payment will be a helping hand to Pacific families. They are the most likely to report major housing problems, with 43 per cent of Pacific families reporting problems with cold housing.

“Damp and cold housing is a contributing factor to higher rates of hospitalisation for infectious diseases.

“When you combine the Families Package with 26 weeks of paid parental leave, the minimum wage going up to $16.50 per hour from July next year, and to $20 per hour by 2021, the fees-free post-secondary education policy starting January 2018, and the $50 increases to student allowances, this Government is making significant investments that will help Pacific families throughout New Zealand.

“Pacific peoples are twice as likely as Pakeha to be in the lowest 20 per cent of income earners, and four times less likely to be in the top 20 per cent. We need to break the intergenerational cycle through targeted investment in housing, health, education and the early years of a child’s life.

“We are able to do this because we have rejected the previous National Government’s tax cuts, which would have given $440 million a year to the top 10 per cent of earners. We are targeting our investment to those who need it most,” Aupito William Sio says.