Poverty has become an increasing concern for New Zealand. UNICEF says that right now, one in four children live in poverty.
Families with young children are seen as being particularly at-risk for falling into hardship.
Families who are in work but struggling to make ends meet are being targeted by Labour and National with tax credits through Working for Families.
More policy at a glance:
- Immigration policies at a glance
- Housing policies at a glance
- Te ao Māori policies at a glance
- Drug policies at a glance
- Poverty policies at a glance
There are policies focused on those not in work too - the Māori Party would help support grandparents who care for mokopuna, and the Greens would increase benefits by 20 percent across the board.
Cold, damp housing is a focus, with policies like a rental warrant of fitness and insulation subsidies attempting to address this.
As for workers, most parties would increase the minimum wage, with National, The Opportunities Party and ACT content with the current rate of $15.75.
Here are some of the things parties will do to help alleviate poverty:
Arguably the Green Party's most significant social justice policy would see benefits increased by 20 percent and sanctions reduced. The policy also aims to encourage people back into work by increasing the amount beneficiaries can earn before their benefit is docked. They would also increase Working for Families tax credits, raising the abatement level to $44,800.
The Greens would subsidise winter energy costs by up to 75 percent for households with annual income lower than $50,000. It would subsidise insulation costs and clean heating devices for 200,000 homes over three years. Read the Green Party's policy.
ACT believes in establishing a three-year lifetime limit on the Jobseeker Benefit and a five-year limit for Sole Parent Support. After a beneficiary hits their lifetime limit, they'd be placed on 'income management', with WINZ controlling the payment of bills, rent and food. After essentials are paid for, the rest goes to the beneficiary. ACT would also place beneficiaries who have an additional child while on a benefit on 'income management'.
ACT would cut Working for Families and paid parental leave payments for "upper income earners". It has not specified its upper limit for Working for Families. Read ACT's policy.
Under Labour everyone receiving Working for Families would see their tax credit increased, and the scheme would be extended to 30,000 more families. It'd reach more families by raising the abatement level from $36,350 to $42,700. Labour say this is affordable because it wouldn't implement National's tax cuts.
Through Labour's Best Start scheme, every family will get a payment of $60 a week for each child in their first year after paid parental leave ends, and until children turn three for low- and middle-income families.
Labour would provide 600,000 grants to a maximum of $2000 for the installation of insulation and heating. Read Labour's policy.
The Opportunities Party (TOP) would "close the tax loophole that favours owners of assets" by taxing all wealth. It proposes a unconditional basic income (UBI) which would entitle all families with children under three (or under six if adopted or fostered) to $200 per family a week, instead of paid parental leave. Over-65s would get the same, plus Superannuation. Low-income families in any amount of paid work get free full-time childcare and an extra $72 per week. Read TOP's policy.
National would increase tax credits for about 310,000 low- and middle-income families who receive Working for Families by bringing the rates for children under 15 in line with 16-to-18 year olds, who currently get a higher credit. The amount families earn before the tax credit starts to abate will be decreased from $36,350 a year to $35,000 a year.
National's home insulation grants will wind down in mid-2018. By July 2019, landlords will be required to insulate their rental properties "where it is reasonably practicable to install". Read National's policy.
The Māori Party has an ambitious target - to eliminate poverty by 2025. It would introduce a living wage for all workers, increase support for grandparents raising grandchildren and would income-test rent, topping up the amount families are unable to pay. It would expand Whānau Ora and keep advocating for whānau and community-led social services, promoting collaboration between iwi, and central and local government. Read The Māori Party's policy.
NZ First would like benefits adjusted in accordance with inflation, increasing abatement levels at the same time. It would also crack down on people moving from the unemployment to the sickness benefit by randomly cross-checking doctors' recommendations and monitoring WINZ staff.
Poverty is an area targeted by many policies across different areas. Some of these are covered in other policy comparison articles, such as housing.