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'We need more' - Government's $25 weekly benefit increase amid coronavirus not enough, advocates say

Those living below the poverty line "continue to get left behind" according to beneficiary advocates from E tū union, who say the increase to benefits as part of the government's coronavirus pandemic rescue package yesterday isn't going to cut it.

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Brooke Fiafia fears for those living below the poverty line as New Zealand grapples with the coronavirus. Source: Breakfast

A total of $2.8 billion has been set aside for income support which included a $25 rise in weekly benefits from the beginning of April. 

Brooke Fiafia told TVNZ 1's Breakfast she feels "deeply upset" the benefit increase was pushed into the rescue package, saying it isn't going to help those below the poverty line. 

"Our welfare system simply isn’t strong enough to withstand the impacts of a likely recession and a public health crisis, so we need a fit for purpose system that is future proof." 

Fala Haulangi also told Breakfast she's concerned the benefit increase isn't going to support those who are at risk of job losses amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Good start but we need more than that because there will be a lot of workers out there especially the most vulnerable out there in our community who are going to be laid off, 25 dollars won't cut it, they need more than that."

Ms Fiafia says the benefit increase won't help families prepare for a community outbreak of coronavirus or for an economic downturn.