David Seymour supports increase for benefits but not minimum wage-earners as they 'are not leading households'

ACT leader David Seymour has come out in support of the recent lift in the benefits saying it's a "good thing" for Kiwis struggling with the cost of living crisis. 

The Government announced in March pensioners, students, and everyone on main benefits would see their payments from the Government rise by 7.22 percent to match inflation from April 1.

The changes will see a couple on superannuation receive $103 more in total a fortnight, while a single retiree living alone gets an extra $67 with each payment.

Other main benefits that will see an increase include Jobseeker Support, Youth Payment, Young Parent Payment, Sole Parent Support and the Supported Living Payment.

Those changes kicked in on Saturday and Seymour told AM they're a "good thing" as it will see people feeling a little bit less squeezed. 

"It's absolutely a good thing for those people on benefits, for people getting a pension, for student allowance recipients they're getting more money, it's been adjusted in line with inflation," Seymour told AM co-host Ryan Bridge on Monday. 

"I think what's being forgotten is those people who work, declare their income, pay tax, their after-tax incomes are falling behind inflation and their incomes after tax went up only 6.2 percent," he said. 

"So ACT says, look, it's good the Government has recognised this pressure because they're prepared to make changes for other people but we would also argue that the Government needs to start tightening its own belt because those are the only people who keep on spending." 

Another of the changes on Saturday was the increase in the minimum wage to $22.70. 

When pressed by Greens MP Chlöe Swarbrick, who was appearing alongside Seymour on AM, if ACT supports the increase to the minimum wage, Seymour said he doesn't, claiming those on it are not the main income earners in the household. 

"Look at the people that are receiving the minimum wage … those people are not people that are leading households, they're not generally people that are supporting a bunch of kids," Seymour said. 

"It's often people who have someone else in their household who's the main earner. It's often people who are part-timers. So increasing the minimum sure, but it's not actually an effective way to help the people who are really struggling."

ACT leader David Seymour.
ACT leader David Seymour. Photo credit: Newshub

Seymour said if ACT was elected into power at this year's election, it would keep increasing Working for Families tax credits to match inflation. 

Swarbrick was quick to chip in, saying these policies are "no longer socialism by stealth", as Sir John Key once described them.

"We haven't said we would change Working for Families with the following exception, there's a lot of people getting working for families who are also paying very high taxes and if we can do a swap where actually you keep more of your own money but you don't get so much turned around we show how every family would be better off," Seymour said.

Watch the full interview with David Seymour and Chlöe Swarbrick in the video above.