Saturday, April 13, 2024

Families Package growing with nation’s needs

New Zealand’s Families Package continues to deliver better outcomes and lift incomes for low and middle-income families, with more than half being supported by the package – including over two thirds of all Māori and Pacific whānau with children – Minister for Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The Government is committed to making Aotearoa New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child. The latest reporting by MSD on the Families Package released today shows that it’s a successful package that has delivered for New Zealanders,” Ms Sepuloni said.

“On top of income gains from other Families Package payments, parents who benefitted from the introduction of Best Start and extended paid parental leave gained an additional $55 per week on average, in the first six months after their baby was born.”

New reporting shows that as of July 2021 – three years after its introduction – around 78,000 parents and caregivers with children under three years old were receiving a regular Best Start payment.

“The first six-months of a baby’s life is a really important period and we know that through Best Start, our Government is committed to making Aotearoa New Zealand a great place to raise a family,” the Minister said.

“The reporting tells us that the Winter Energy Payment has also made a difference, with around 1.2 million New Zealand adults being helped by the Winter Energy Payment in 2020 and 2021.”

The Accommodation Supplement was increased as part of the Families Package changes in 2018. Maximum rates payable were increased everywhere in the country, and more places qualified as areas with higher maximum rates.

The Motu Economic and Public Policy Research report looked at whether increases to the Accommodation Supplement in 2018 went to landlords through increases in rent, rather than giving the extra support to individuals and families.

“It is pleasing to see that the report found that, after two-years, around 90% of the increase in accommodation support flowed directly to the intended recipients as increased after-rent income, rather than going to landlords through increases in rent, and had not led to a notable increase in rents,” said Ms Mahuta.

“Long-term trends show no evidence of rents for Accommodation Supplement recipients increasing faster than overall rents for new tenancies following the Families Package changes.

“At the heart of our Government’s Families Package, has been our relentless focus on making a difference to, and investing in the lives, of our children. Not for the sake of it but because it’s the right thing to do,” Ms Sepuloni said.

The Ministry of Social Development will continue to monitor and evaluate the Families Package and will release their next update in early 2023.

The full series of Families Package reports can be found by clicking here.

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