Thursday, October 30, 2008

National's Emergency Worker Assistance $42 million Package in New Zealand Election Campaign

National leader John Key unveiled the party's emergency economic assistance policy for those who become unemployed as a result of the economic crisis.

For families eligible for tax credits under Working For Families, the in-work tax credit, valued at $60 per week, will continue for up to 16 weeks after a worker is laid off. Additionally, the accommodation supplement available to unemployed workers will be raised up to $100 per week to assist in making rent and mortgage payments.

The package is estimated by National to cost $42 million.

In addressing the distribution of benefits received by banks and the unemployed, Key reminded banks that the taxpayer was funding the deposit guarantee system and there was an expectation that banks would "be very careful about the manner in which they deal with customers who may, as a consequence of the global financial crisis, find it hard to meet their obligations."

As the election campaign heads into its final week, the economic policies of the two major parties are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from one another. This may pose a greater risk for National as it attempts to secure a vote sufficient to give it a clear majority to govern without relying on support from minor parties such as the Maori Party.

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