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Lifting incomes is a priority

The Government is working hard to lift incomes and to support New Zealanders to get ahead. From the beginning of the month, we’re taking the next steps with a number of changes coming into force that will see more than a million people receive a bit more in their pocket to help with the cost of living.

The rising cost of living is being driven by lots of factors, like the war in Ukraine, the recent extreme weather, and disruptions to international supply chains, and I know it’s making things tough for many families. There’s no easy fix to this given that many of these factors are caused by events overseas – or, more recently, mother nature – but we’re delivering a number of measures to help ease the pressure.

The April 1 changes are part of this work, giving families, caregivers, seniors, and students – among others – an income boost. The government’s priority is to support those doing it tough, not cutting taxes for those with the most.

Through increases to Working for Families and the Best Start payment, we’re providing more support for families. We’re also making childcare more affordable for many low and middle income families by expanding childcare assistance income thresholds. On top of that, main benefits will increase with the rate of inflation, meaning a family on a benefit with children will receive an extra $40.86 a week and a sole parent will receive an extra $31.83 a week.

But it’s not just families who will see a boost to their incomes. Tertiary students receiving student allowance or student loan living cost payments will see around $20 extra each payment.

Thanks to our minimum wage boost, which also kicks in from April 1, full-time minimum wage workers will earn an extra $60 a week too. This continues our work in lifting the minimum wage by 44 per cent since coming into government in 2017.

Seniors will also benefit from this week’s changes. Single people on NZ superannuation will receive an extra $66.86 each payment and a couple who are both aged over 65 will receive $102.84 more in total a fortnight. In addition, from May 1, the Winter Energy Payment – currently $700 – will kick in again, to assist more than a million New Zealanders with heating bills through the colder months.

While these measures won’t fix everything, and we still have more work to do to bring down inflation and the cost of living, they will make a difference for many – and right now, I know every bit counts when making ends meet.

This is also good news for local businesses. When times get tough, people have less money to spend. More money in people’s pockets will be welcome news for small businesses whose turnover is reliant on people’s ability to spend.

This package of support builds on the recent steps we’ve taken to help smaller budgets stretch further, including extending the fuel tax cut and public transport subsidies so it’s cheaper to get around, as well as the work we’ve done since 2017 to lift incomes and make everyday life more affordable.

We’re focused on the bread-and-butter issues that matter most to New Zealanders, and we will continue working hard to grow wages and to support families here in Wairarapa to get ahead.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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