have your say

Have your say on the New Zealand Income Insurance proposal. Let decision-makers know that excluding vulnerable people from better support is not ok by raising your concerns and questions:

Contact your local electorate – they won’t know anyone is interested or worried unless we let them know. Tell them that calling it a “labour market mechanism” doesn’t change what it is: exclusionary two-tier welfare.

If you are a union member, ask your union representative/s what your union’s current position is. Let them know that a robust welfare system and progressive tax is a better system of wealth distribution than regressive user-pays insurance and a flat-rate levy.

Send a submission to Government by 5pm, 26 April 2022 at incomeinsurance@mbie.govt.nz. If you have time, write from your own experience, as a parent, caregiver, disabled person, person who has needed to deal with Work & Income, low-wage worker and/or someone who is concerned about the denial of better support to vulnerable people.

Spread the word! This massive policy change is flying under the radar. Share your concerns and questions on social media with the hashtags #Care4All and #NoTo2TierWelfare.

guide submission

Below is a guide submission template for the NZ Income Insurance Scheme – please edit it how you see fit. Prompts are in bold if you need them. 

Kia ora MBIE,

We want a system designed in true partnership under te Tiriti, aiming for tino rangatiratanga, not a monocultural system devised primarily by high-income Pākehā for Pākehā, as shown in Covid’s ‘two-tier welfare’. 

We want a system that truly cares for those in need, not a system that gives more to those who have more.

We want a system that acknowledges caregiving, that prioritises the wellbeing of children and their families, not a system which ignores the “wage scarring” of childbirth, breastfeeding and caring for young children. 

We don’t want a system which ignores the “wage scarring” of being in a toxic relationship – and which offers no “income smoothing” for those who find themselves sole parents when they’ve left a toxic relationship to keep themselves and their babies safe.

We want a system that enables chronically disabled people to live in dignity, and to fall in love while keeping their independence, not a system that increases their disability by keeping them below the poverty line and makes them choose between financial vulnerability or loneliness. 

We want a system where everybody who has a life-limiting disease is free of the need to work, and has loved ones around them, not a system which will let only a few high income earners have this privilege. 

Benefit levels and wraparound support from Work and Income are meant to be the protection and safety net that people go to when they can’t work, are moving in between jobs, or have taken time off work to care for their children or sick family members (essential work). Wanting to create the scheme is an admission from this Labour government that current benefit levels are not fit to live on and they’d be right in that respect (Benefit rates as of July 2021). 

I/ my loved ones would/would not be eligible for income insurance because…

Knowing I myself and/or other people who would not get the help they need because they are not eligible makes me feel…

Knowing some high-income families with no children will be eligible to receive more funds on social insurance than families with children receive via the welfare system makes me feel…

Our welfare system should be universal in its coverage, but is means-tested and hasn’t kept up with the rising cost of living, and it prevents many people from receiving support they need if they are in a relationship. We saw what benefits might be when the Government set the Covid Income Relief Payment (CIRP) at $490, allowed people to still access supplementary assistance, essentially individualised support, and didn’t have any obligations attached to it. Instead of this being treated as a precursor to income insurance, its eligibility criteria and rate should be seen as reasonable benchmarks for the welfare system.

When the Covid Income Relief Payment was introduced at a higher rate than the benefit system, it made me feel…

Bringing much needed and awaited change to the welfare space will achieve the intent of the Insurance Income scheme, without the need to create a whole new system. It honours everyone in their different capacities, not just people who have become recently unemployed. Improving the quality of life for people and families that need it the most actually helps to improve it for all of us, and it will strengthen communities in their protection against Covid as well as support us in a long-term just transition.

We would like to see the Labour Government honour te Tiriti o Waitangi, and enhance the mana and uphold the dignity of all by increasing benefits to liveable levels, removing obligations, and individualising income support (that is, being entitled to income support even if you are in a relationship) and enacting a High Trust Model as the overall service delivery model at Work and Income. 

Please hear my call for Livable Incomes For All. I believe that when people and families have all the resources required to make the best decisions, communities transform themselves. We can and should do this for our team of 5 million. 

Ngā mihi,

[Your name]