Huge increases in people without paid work

Thousands of the 27,000 New Zealanders who ceased receiving the 12-week COVID-19 Income Relief Payments (CIRP) have not returned paid work.

The Salvation Army says although the application period for CIRP ended last week, only one in ten people who have finished their CIRP are in work.

Some people have been able to transition onto the Jobseeker benefit.

A further 20,000 or so will not be eligible for Government support as the payments run out.

Besides the CIRP group, 37,000 people lost their jobs in the three months to September.

This is the biggest quarterly increase since 1986. The number of New Zealanders unemployed is now at about 151,000.

Thousands of people may be looking for paid work as Christmas approaches.

Salvation Army director of community ministries, Jono Bell, is expecting a 20 per cent increase in demand for support with Christmas food and gifts this year.

“Increasingly, our clients are severely stressed and anxious about how to get through the festive season, and, beyond that, what the future holds,” he says.

Bell notes that 92 percent of the clients using the Salvation Army’s financial mentoring service have incomes of less than $50,000 a year. Twenty-two percent earn less than $20,000 a year.

“The pressure on our clients and their whanau to make ends meet is enormous, and COVID-19 has added more uncertainty,” he says.


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