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Majority of beneficiaries won't be $20 better off despite Budget boost

The majority of New Zealanders on a benefit will not be $20 better off a week despite this month's boost to main benefits.

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The Government boosted benefits by $20 a week, but new information shows the majority of beneficiaries won't actually be better off. Source: 1 NEWS

In May’s Budget, the Government announced it would lift all main benefits by $20 a week on July 1 in order to help vulnerable New Zealanders put food on the table and pay their power bills.

But modelling from the Ministry of Social Development for Budget 2021 shows that 193,000 individuals and families are estimated to receive less than $20 per week because the additional financial assistance they receive for accommodation or other costs will fall as a result of their main benefit rising.

It is estimated 178,000 people will receive an increase of $20 or a little bit more.

Green Party social development spokesperson Ricardo Menéndez March told 1 NEWS that it's just not fair that most New Zealanders on a benefit will not receive the full $20 that he said the Government implied they would be getting at the Budget.

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni. Source: 1 NEWS

"The truth is that benefits are still not enough to live on and for many people they won't even be seeing the $20 the Government promised."

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said it's a $20 net benefit increase and that the Government had never shied away from the fact that there would be payment adjustments because of supplementary support payments.

Sepuloni is adamant most beneficiaries will receive more than $15 per week.

"There will be a few that fall below that but the vast majority of people will be getting more than $15 per week."

Menéndez March said the Greens want to simplify the benefit system so people can live off main benefits - whether it be the Pension, Job Seeker support or Student Allowance "without having to rely on complicated supplements which mean people lose money whenever benefits increase".

Main benefit rates will increase again on April 1 2022.