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Labour working on its own family package

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

Labour is going to develop its own family support package and put it in front of voters before the election

That's the party's response to Thursday's budget and the unveiling of a set of measures the government says will make 1.3 million families better off by an average $26 a week.

It kicks in on April 1 next year - if National wins a fourth term in September.

The legislation that will implement it is going through parliament under urgency and Labour is opposing the bill while the Greens and NZ First back it.

Grant Robertson, Labour's finance spokesman, says he isn't worried about being isolated.

"We're going to have a families package that we're going to be taking to the country - one that actually targets the families who need it most and not people on much higher incomes," he told RNZ on Friday.

"We don't support the vast majority of spending in the bill, so we oppose it."

In parliament on Thursday night, Mr Robertson said wealthy families would get an extra $30 a week while those on low incomes would get $5 a week.

The government's package will change tax thresholds, increase Working for Families tax rebates and increase the Accommodation Supplement.

Mr Robertson said Labour supported increasing the Accommodation Supplement and broadly supported changes to Working for Families, but not the tax cuts delivered through changing the thresholds.

"The bill that's before parliament creates a situation where there is $1.8 billion in tax cuts and $370 million on Working for Families," he said.

"If the government was serious about supporting low income families the money would go to Working for Families."

The Greens are reluctantly supporting the bill.

Co-leader James Shaw says it gives something to families who haven't had anything for eight years.

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