Labour Party voters want Government to support beneficiaries more - Newshub-Reid Research poll

Labour Party voters believe the Government should be doing more to help beneficiaries.

In the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, Kiwis were asked whether more help should be given to those on a benefit, with 42.2 percent saying yes and 45.4 percent saying no. But looking only at Labour voters, 48.9 percent think the Government should be doing more to help, compared with the 38.2 percent who don't.

The poll came before a new tax-free payment for workers who lost their job due to COVID-19 was revealed on Monday by the Government. Eligible full-time workers can receive $490 and part-time workers can receive $290.

The full-time payment is nearly double the after-tax base Jobseeker benefit, which is $250.74.

When Finance Minister Grant Robertson was asked whether the new Income Relief Payments are an acknowledgement the benefit system isn't enough to live on, he denied the idea.

"No, it's an acknowledgement that people who have been in work have suffered a very sharp income drop."

But Charles Waldegrove, a member of the Government's Welfare Advisory Group, disagrees.

"What it shows is that the ordinary benefit is not adequate for that. So these people would've been dropped down to the normal benefit. It saves the Government that embarrassment for 12 weeks," he says.

The new National Party leader Todd Muller disagreed with it too, even though the National-led government introduced similar payments after the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes.

"If you hold the view that unemployment benefit is a certain level, but then for a period of time just for a certain group of people it should be a different payment, we think there's not a coherence to that."

One of the requirements to receive it is you can't receive a redundancy payment of more than $30,000.

Aucklander Tina Barnett works at SkyCity, and says she'll lose her job as soon as the wage subsidy runs out. But she's not eligible for the new Income Relief Payments because her redundancy payment is too high.

"I was shattered, because I felt like my legs had just been kicked out from under me and I've landed flat on my butt again."

She's been on the benefit before and fought hard to get off it, but now she's concerned she may end up on it again.

When she heard about the $490 the Government was offering, she says she was pleased.

"That was like wow, you know, some relief there."