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Against two-tier welfare


I'm struggling to understand the segregation of MSD support to those classified as affected by Covid-19 and those indirectly affected by Covid or other circumstances.

MSD pays Jobseeker benefits of $214pw (this is impossible to survive on — but that is another matter). But someone laid off because of Covid is paid $490pw as a single person and the partner also $490pw ($980!!) . . . so, this is somehow different to layoffs caused by other factors out of one's control (ie your employer goes bankrupt).

Why have we allowed a two-tier welfare system?

Why is a single person who lost their job because of Covid earning double those with kids on normal benefits?

My main concern, aside from the poverty the current payments create, is that the setting of different, inflated rates for Covid-unemployed people sends a strong, clear message that people on benefits for whatever other reason are somehow less worthy of support.

We in New Zealand pride ourselves on equality and equity — people in the same situation are treated equally. Race, religion and causation should not be a factor.

Chris Brown, Tauranga

  1. A McKellow says:

    The intention of the wage subsidy was to allow employers to keep jobs for the post covid period.
    Surely it would not be the intention of the government to pay the same as the wage subsidy to keep the unemployed, unemployed post covid?

  2. Lloyd Gretton says:

    This is not about the wage subsidy. It is about the quite disgusting two-tiered payment of unemployment benefits. Beneficiaries in and post lockdown get about double the other unemployed beneficiaries. Reason being laid off people are now mostly from the middle class. Whatever becomes middle class gets treated as middle class. That is, not treated as solo mothers etc.

  3. Ruby Powell says:

    I totally agree Chris!