The unemployed as just another business opportunity

Published: Tue 6 Dec 2011 09:32 AM
Government treats the unemployed as just another business opportunity
Media release from Auckland Action Against Poverty
Tuesday 6 December 2011
In a sly sidestep National has announced further welfare changes under cover of its confidence and supply agreement with ACT.
“It’s clear that John Key wants to implement almost all of the Rebstock report’s recommendations in this term of Parliament and is using the single ACT MP as cover,’ says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sue Bradford.
The formal agreement with ACT, signed yesterday afternoon, confirms that National and ACT intend to implement recommendations 27, 28, 30 and 34 of the Welfare Working Group report.
These proposals include:
· *Employment services will be based on ‘contestable, outcome based contracts’, with contractors incentivised to ‘achieve positive outcomes for those with greatest risk of long-term dependency.’
· *If parents on welfare fail to meet certain parenting obligations, or can’t manage their budget to the point that children are ‘at risk’, their income will be compulsorily managed by a third party, not themselves.
· * Income management may be provided by way of a ‘payment card’ programmed for use only on items the Government considers essential.
‘This goes beyond changes already announced by John Key and Paula Bennett prior to the election,’ Ms Bradford says.
‘National and ACT clearly see the solution to unemployment as a business opportunity rather than as an economic problem to which Government should be applying positive solutions, such as full wage job creation schemes doing socially and environmentally useful work.
‘Contracting out assistance for the unemployed has been a disastrous failure in the UK and it will be the same here. If we follow the same pattern as they have we will see jobseekers being forced to work for nothing for large companies like supermarkets that should be paying proper wages.
‘The main reason beneficiaries struggle to raise their children is that Work & Income does not provide enough money to live on.
‘Widening state – or other provider – control to the point where people have no choice or self-determination left in their lives will not magically solve this problem.
‘We can expect to see some very dodgy organisations to suddenly appear to cash in on this golden opportunity to get rich at the expense of a very vulnerable group of New Zealanders.’

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