Not Enough Left: Beneficiaries speak on their visions for welfare, work and housing

Too often voices of beneficiaries are excluded from discussions on how society should be organised. Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) decided to talk with beneficiaries and the people we work with to discuss their stories, and their visions for a system based on equality and not punishment. From here, we collaborated with Accompany collective* to produce a video featuring beneficiaries speaking about their experiences of welfare and poverty.

Our demand document is not a response to the budget, nor is it directed at those in power (though they have a lot to learn from it). Instead, this document is for those who desire a different welfare system, and want to build towards that vision. 

The demands that have been produced from these stories and visions are as follow:

  1. Provide liveable incomes for all to:
    1. Ensure all people can live with dignity
    2. Create security in employment and unemployment
    3. End the coercive tactics of Work & Income
  2. Build a culture at Work & Income based on respect and redistribution:
    1. Stop the sanctions
    2. Redefine relationships based on whānau, not finance
    3. Actively change the culture of Work & Income to assist people to access their full and legal entitlements
  3. Mass build of state housing:
    1. Create maintenance rents
    2. Ensure secure tenure
  4. Tax wealth

For many people and whānau, after bills and rent are paid, there is #notenoughleft to live on, let alone to live with dignity. The last 40 years has been characterised by major political, economic and technological shifts. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. This situation was not inevitable and is not permanent, not only can it be changed but change is necessary.

It is completely achievable to have a world without poverty, where all people – employed and unemployed – have a liveable income. Where everyone in Aotearoa/ New Zealand lives in dignity. Where we have enough state housing so that all people who need a house has access to one with secure tenure. A world where work is not characterised by insecurity and low pay, but characterised by the value you contribute to society. Where being a parent, a caregiver, a community member, a creative, is valued. Where we all have a share in the wealth that we, and those that have come before us, produce. Where wealth is not held in the hands of a few wealthy elite but is for everyone to share. This world is entirely possible, we just need to fight for it.

To download the full PDF document, just click here.

*Accompany is a collective who aims to walk and work with community groups who are actively engaged with political and social issues, offering their various creative skills and experiences.