The Government’s programme to provide greater support for low income families in Nelson and Tasman becomes a reality this week with 9,000 families receiving an increase in benefits and Working for Families payments.
Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith says this is the first benefit increase above the rate of inflation for families with children in 43 years. “It means 3,000 benefit dependent families with children will receive an extra $25 a week and another 6,000 low income working families will receive between $12.50 and $25.00 a week. The Government’s decision to also increase the minimum wage by 50 cents an hour will also help an estimated 3,500 workers in the region.
“We are also helping families with babies with the second increase in paid parental leave. New parents will get 18 weeks paid parental leave to spend with their newest family member, and the leave is also being extended to cover those who have responsibility for the care of a child under six but may not be the biological or adoptive parents. The big gain for Nelson is that seasonal workers, previously ineligible, can now get access to this support when they become a parent.
“Superannuation will increase by 2.7 per cent, which means an extra $15.74 a week for a married couple. Superannuation has increased by more than 34 per cent since 2008 – double the rate of inflation. There are 8,106 people aged over 65 in Nelson and a further 8,463 in Tasman.
“These April changes show our growing economy is translating into real benefits for New Zealanders. These are the dividends of successful economic management. New Zealand is doing well and we are proving able to balance the books while also providing increases in incomes for families most in need” Dr Smith concluded.