28 Jun 2020

Election 2020: Green Party unveils plans to tackle poverty

3:22 pm on 28 June 2020

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has made the party's first major election announcement today, revealing plans to tackle poverty.

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson.

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson. Photo: RNZ / Lucy Smith

Davidson said the Green Party's Poverty Action plan would "replace our outdated, unfair and unliveable welfare system with real, unconditional support for us all".

It included a proposed Guaranteed Minimum Income, which would provide anyone out of work with at least $325 a week after tax - and those working part-time would also be able to access further help.

The party is also proposing an additional family support credit of $190 a week for the eldest child and $120 for their younger siblings. Sole parents would receive an additional $110 a week, "to recognise the incredibly difficult task of raising children on a single income".

The Poverty Action Plan would also increase the Best Start payment to $100 a week for each child under three

"Supporting families through their babies' precious first years is one of the most important things we can do as a country," Davidson said.

With the Greens in government, ACC would be reformed into an "Agency for Comprehensive Care", she said. It would support people who were injured or sick with at least 80 percent of the minimum full time wage, or up to 80 percent of the salary of the job they had to leave,

"Gone will be the days where people are asked to provide humiliating proof again and again and again", she said.

In regards to funding the Poverty Action Plan, Davidson said those with a lot of wealth would "pay it forward".

"If you're a millionaire, for the wealth you have over that one million dollars, you will pay a one percent contribution," she said. "That will increase to a two percent contribution for wealth over two million dollars."

Two new tax brackets would also be introduced, for those earning over $100,000 and $150,000.

"This is about creating a society where we can all move forward - not just the wealthiest few."

The Council of Trade Unions says the Green Party's plan to tackle poverty will "create a place that is fairer for all".

Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges said increasing the minimum wage was about valuing the lowest paid workers, and making society better and fairer.

Ansell-Bridges said everyone should be able to pay for housing, food, and other essentials for them and their whānau, regardless of whether they're in paid work or not.

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