The recession has forced tens of thousands of people out of work. There are now 276,000 jobless Kiwis. The lucky ones (only a third of the officially unemployed) can get the unemployment benefit. Now, the Government is letting inflation eat into their meager benefit payments.
Benefit payments are meant to be adjusted for inflation. This year December to December inflation was 1.96% and that’s the adjustment to benefits but there are all kinds of clawbacks the Nats haven’t adjusted.
An couple who lost their jobs in the recession with two kids sees their joint unemployment benefit of rise by $6.22 a week to $323.52 to precisely cover inflation but the family tax credits haven’t been inflation adjusted and remain at $146.27 – that means $3 lost spending power. Their accommodation supplement is cut by $1 to $174 and not inflation-adjusted either, so that’s another $4.5 of lost spending power. Then, if they’re lucky enough to be in a state house the rent will go up by $1.5 because it’s set to income. Basically, the family has lost $9 a week in spending power. Chump change for many of our righties but nothing to be sneezed at when you’ve got $643.79 to house and support four people.
The boot is going into the elderly too. Superannuation is meant to be 66% of the net average wage or greater but while the net average wage went up 4.14% last year (mostly a one-off effect due to the tax cuts, not pay rises) super is going up only 2.31%. Remember, John Key is promising his coming tax money-go-round will increase super by boosting the after-tax average wage. Well, we’re seeing here that National has failed to pass on that benefit to retired people.
Meanwhile, the government is getting ready to increase the GST the working poor and beneficiaries pay. Another kick for the elderly and those down on their luck through no fault of their own.
And what will they do with the money? Reward tax cheats and give Paul Reynolds, the failed CEO of Telecom who is paid $7 million a year, a $1000 a day tax cut.
Yeah, that seems fair.