FinCap welcomes the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group in their report “Whakamana Tangata – restoring to social security in New Zealand”.
Tim Barnett Chief Executive of FinCap said today:
“The recommendations in Whakamana Tangata are an eloquent statement of what people in financial hardship need if they are to live with dignity. Financial mentors in New Zealand’s 200 free budgeting services walk alongside people in financial hardship to support them to build their financial capability. But the people we work with are constantly battling with a welfare system that does not treat them with dignity, including not providing them with enough to live on. These recommendations show the way for dignity and income adequacy being restored”.
“FinCap also welcomes the attention on reducing debt, transitions to work and housing. Many of the people that come to our services have expenses that exceed their incomes, not because they don’t have the skills to budget, but because their incomes are simply inadequate to live a dignified life. They are burdened by debt to government that further erode their available incomes.”
“We acknowledge that addressing all recommendations will take time, we think it is vital that the Government put delivery of that front and centre. We want Government to to prioritise the report’s recommendations around debt, bringing the way MSD deals with debt in line with IRD, having more flexibility to write off debt. Government departments need to all tackle debt in a consistent way. All debt, interest bearing or not erodes the money available for families to live on.”
We welcome the Government’s announced today about the removal of the Section 192 sanction for not naming the other parent. Removing this sanction will make a major difference to the lives of women and families that have suffered because of it. We also welcome the announced review of abatement levels for people starting work.
FinCap works with New Zealand’s 200 local free financial capability and budgeting services. They saw 70,800 people in 2018, 69% of whom were in receipt of a benefit.