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Advocate slams Government's lack of 'urgency' around addressing poverty in Aotearoa

A new minimum wage and a change to benefits kicks off on Thursday, but a welfare advocate fears its too little too late to address the country's poverty gap. 

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Auckland Action Against Poverty’s Brooke Fiafia criticised the Government’s lack of ‘urgency’ in addressing poverty. Source: Breakfast

Those who are receiving the Jobseekers benefit can now earn up to $160 a week before their payments are affected, up from $90 a week. While the minimum wage jumps up to $20 an hour. 

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP)'s Brooke Fiafia called out those in power's inability to understand the struggle of those in hardship, criticising what she says is a lack of urgency.

"For many New Zealanders, poverty is still a theory. It's an idea. So there's no sense of urgency in terms of addressing it or responding to it because people are so disconnected," she told Breakfast. 

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Staff at Buttabean Motivation foodbank in South Auckland say latest child poverty statistics don’t capture the brunt of hardship that came as a result of Covid. Source: Breakfast

The income abatement threshold is designed to give beneficaries the ability to earn more before their incomes are affected, but Fiafia say's it's no where near enough. 

"It's not going to make any difference to be honest. Core level benefits are too low and so indexing their wages is not going to mean much for people receiving benefits in this country." 

"$160 is still not enough. I'm not sure what people think the cost of living here in this country is." 

AAAP are calling on the Government to reconsider it's plan for combating poverty, to move away from its targeted approach. 

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With the research stopping short, due to Covid-19, the situation could be even worse. Source: 1 NEWS

They're wanting liveable incomes to be rolled out, helping to ensure that all Kiwis receive enough for their bills to be paid. 

"I want the Labour Party to be transformational, that's what they camapaigned on, and I want them to be brave about being transformational," says Brooke Fiafia.