The Green Party is launching a campaign today to get the community behind changes to the welfare system.

Billed as "putting the heart back in the social support system", the Green Party wants changes to the "punitive" welfare system that go further than Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has already flagged.

The Greens' confidence and supply agreement with Labour commits the Government to overhauling the welfare system.

"This is to support the minister's work, it is to support the changes the minister has already made. But the Greens have a responsibility and a role to push a little further," Greens co-leader Marama Davidson said.


She listed some of the changes the Green Party was seeking.

"Increasing the baseline amounts for benefits is pretty clear. That increase hasn't followed wage increases or inflation for far too long. And removing sanctions which we've been very, very vocal about, which is about trying going away from that punitive or punishing approach.

"Changing the threshold for benefit reductions. There are so many people who want to work, even part time, while raising young children in particular. But those incentives are just really clumsy, confusing , messy, and they don't make it worth it," Davidson said.

The Greens would also look at combining the in-work tax credit and family tax credit and making them less discriminatory.

They also wanted Work and Income to stay out of people's personal lives by "moving towards entitlements based on individual needs rather than a blanket policies around starting new relationships and losing entitlements", Davidson said.

She said the party had been working to get to a point where it could launch the campaign, and now was the time.

"Like everything, we're pushing ahead with all of our confidence and supply work and it just takes different steps to get it to the different stages," she said.

The Greens' camapaign, seeking community views, launches in Auckland today before travelling to Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.


"We want to hear from locals in Auckland and beyond about how removing sanctions and increases in support would help, so that everyone can lead a good life," said Green MP Jan Logie.

Sepuloni also recently announced that the Government's Welfare Expert Advisory Group would also be consulting on the future of the welfare system.

It will visit 16 centres around the country, holding community forums and focus group meetings with those who work within or experience the welfare system. They will also be conducting a survey to ensure that those who can't attend a forum can share their views.

The Welfare Expert Advisory Group was established in May to do a broad-ranging review of the welfare system. It will report back in February.