Thursday, 20 May 2021

Benefit blowout as budget more than doubles

“Jacinda Ardern says Kiwis aren’t work shy, but they’re about to get a hell of a lot more shy now she’s more than doubled the budget for the dole,” say ACT Leader David Seymour and Social Development spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“The budget has gone from $1.8 billion in 2020, to a whopping $3.8 billion in 2022. That’s a permanent increase and only takes into account the jobseeker and emergency benefit,” says Mr Seymour.

“It also assumes unemployment being at 5 percent or lower.

“There’s also a permanent $10 billion a year increase in all welfare. That’s $40 billion over four years. And it’s $40 billion of extra debt and more than twice as much as the infrastructure spend.

“The Government is making it harder to employ people and easier not to work with its ideological policies.

“Since COVID-19, we’ve watched as fruit rotted on the ground because there weren’t the workers to pick it. I really feel for employers this week after the Government kicked them in the guts twice.

“First they made it harder to employ people by signalling they will restrict immigration, now they’re giving more money to people who don’t want to work.

“This is all on top of businesses dealing with the minimum wage going up considerably, so-called ‘fair pay agreements’, watering down 90-day trials, increased sick leave and another public holiday.

“Actions have consequences. If you keeping socking it to hardworking taxpayers you’ll get less of them. If you keep handing cash to beneficiaries, you’ll get more.”

“Labour said they want to put children at the heart of everything, but they’re creating more benefit dependent households and handing kids a bill of billions of dollars for their current spending. It’s borrowed money that has to be paid back,” says Mrs Chhour.

“The Government should instead be making smart spending decision and creating good public policy which will help get people back into work.

“Instead it’s saying that the way to get out of poverty is more money from Government. Whatever happened to being aspirational and empowering people to get into work?

“There are too many children growing up without the positive example of a parent in work and too many adults suffer from chronic welfare dependency. The Government is showing no signs that it wants to change that.

“ACT has positive plans to use welfare as a hand up. The Government has an opportunity to make people’s lives better but it seems more interested in keeping families in a cycle of dependency.”