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50,000 working New Zealand households live in poverty, says Human Rights Commission

28 November 2019

The Human Rights Commission says the overall in-work poverty rate in New Zealand is 7 percent, although rates vary greatly across demographic dimensions.

Research published by Auckland University of Technology’s New Zealand Work Research Institute highlights the extent and characteristics of in-work poor households in New Zealand.

The report In-work poverty in New Zealand, commissioned by the Human Rights Commission, also indicates the answer to ‘is work the best antidote to poverty?’ is more complex than a simple ‘yes or no’.

12.3 percent of single-parent households in New Zealand are in poverty, 19.9 percent for two-or-more family households where only one adult is working.

50,943 households make up the 7 percent of in-work households. The report says the rate has incurred little change since 2007.

The HRC also highlights including Working for Families tax credits and the Accommodation Supplement as income sources significantly impact in-work poverty rates. Excluding these sources means the overall rate would rise from 7 to 9.2 percent.

The report considers households to be in poverty when monthly net equivalised income (before housing costs) is below 60% of the median income poverty line (as at March 2013).

Last updated on the 28th November 2019