‘Naïve’ National policy misses the mark

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Botany-based Labour List MP Naisi Chen is taking aim at the National Party’s youth welfare policy. File photo supplied
  • By Naisi Chen, Labour List MP based in Botany

Over the past fortnight, Times readers have been treated to columns from local National Party MPs touting their new carrot-and-stick youth welfare policy.

Christopher Luxon MP was confident his policy of job coaches and sanctions was a “new approach to reduce benefit dependency among our young people”.

Not everyone was so impressed. Chair of Te Puea Marae Hurimoana Dennis described National’s policy as “naive”.

Beneficiary advocate Tavia Moore told Radio New Zealand, “the idea that people are languishing on the benefit and it’s an easy place to be is not what we see.”

The cracks started to show when Luxon struggled to answer whether those with disabilities would be sanctioned.

Workbridge CEO Jonathan Mosen noted, “It’s not that we have a lot of disabled people sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They’re desperate to work.”

Even worse, National didn’t realise job coaches were already available in youth services, and Budget 2022 put new funding into programmes like driver training that help get young people ready for work.

But in the same week as National’s announcement, the latest Mana in Mahi figures were released -5091 people had participated in the programme through to June 30 – 25 per cent higher than targeted.

Even better, among those on a benefit when they started Mana in Mahi, 90 per cent had not gone back.

But perhaps the most problematic claim in their columns was from Simeon Brown MP who told us Labour “throw money at a problem,” and their new policy showed “National will do things differently”.

This criticism comes from the party whose tax cuts provide just $2 a week to someone on $40,000 a year while giving $18,000 back to Christopher Luxon and others on high incomes.

National certainly isn’t afraid of throwing money at the wealthiest New Zealanders!

Labour’s cost of living policy is targeted. With inflation hitting Kiwis at the pump, we’ve extended our fuel excise cuts and half-price public transport.

As higher prices affect lower-income households the most, we targeted our cost of living payments to those earning under $70,000 a year.

Plus increases to Working for Families, Superannuation and the continuation of our Winter Energy Payment are all designed to help those who need support the most.

While National heads back to the drawing board, Labour will continue to deliver our plan with targeted cost of living relief and programmes like Mana in Mahi that gets our rangatahi into work.