Plunket is welcoming the child hardship package of $790 million over four years in today’s budget as a step forward in helping children in New Zealand’s poorest families. As part of the government’s ‘child hardship package’, as of 1 April 2016 beneficiaries with children will receive $25 a week more. Families not on a benefit on a low income will receive up to $12.
Plunket believes elements of this year’s budget acknowledge the need to invest in the early years, with a particular focus on increasing paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 18 weeks by 2016. Plunket welcomes the additional investment in families, with increasing parental tax credits and free GP visits and prescriptions for children up to the age of 13. Plunket would still like to see paid parental leave increased to 26 weeks as a medium-term goal for future New Zealand families and Whānau.