Two-thirds of Kiwis think beneficiaries should get cost of living payment

Source: 1News

Two-thirds of New Zealanders believe that beneficiaries and pensioners should receive the Government's $350 cost of living payment, according to the results of a 1News Kantar Public Poll.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced the payment as part of this year's Budget for those earning up to $70,000 and not already receiving the winter energy payment.

That could see about 2.1 million New Zealanders entitled to three monthly payments from August, receiving a total of $350. That is about $27 extra a week over the three-month period. It will cost the Government $814 million.

However, many believe the payment should also have gone to beneficiaries and pensioners.

Results from the most recent 1News Kantar Public Poll showed nearly two-thirds of Kiwis believed those on welfare should also receive the payment. Just over a quarter said no, while the rest didn't know.

The Salvation Army couldn't believe the Government excluded those on welfare from the payment.

Senior social policy analyst Paul Barber said the Salvation Army was "really disappointed" the payment didn't go "to the families most in need in this country".

Those caring for the elderly say the payment is also sorely needed for some.

Age Concern chief executive Karen Billings-Jensen said the $350 would "absolutely" make a difference to those struggling to get by and was pleased to see New Zealanders reflect their support in the poll results.

"Seeing those numbers shows New Zealanders are concerned around their whole community and that all of us are in it together," she said.

Likewise Barber said, "it's a really good sign that can encourage those in leadership to make those decisions to help those who need it most".

However, Robertson backed his Budget and said benefit and super rates had gone up in April.

"Eighty-one percent of New Zealanders are now getting support through this period of time," Robertson said.

1News asked if he thought he had got it wrong not including beneficiaries and pensioners on the cost of living payment.

"No what we did was build on what we've already done," he replied.