Workers who have lost income due to Covid-19 are getting almost double the amount of government help in wage subsidy that job seekers are from benefits. This has raised concern among poverty advocates that a two-tier welfare system is forming before the eyes of the nation.
…A different take
Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama economist Matthew Roskruge, has a different take.
“I get the impression that it (the Welfare Advisory Group Report) comes from a good place, but it doesn’t seem particularly enabling or aspirational,” Roskruge says.
“I feel like the document is almost accepting of high Māori welfare reception and is looking for ways of ‘easing the burden’ of welfare for Māori.”
Roskruge feels the conversation needs to go in a different direction.
“How can we position Māori to be right there, riding the (Covid) recovery wave and building wealth?” he says.
“What can a welfare system do to support us to start businesses knowing that a safety net is there if things don’t go to plan?”
One thing he says the report did right, was acknowledging the unpaid work many beneficiaries do.
“This initiative gets a massive tick from me,” Roskruge says.