INDEPENDENT NEWS

Government welfare onslaught begins

Published: Mon 27 Feb 2012 08:29 PM
AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
Media Release Monday 27 February 2012
Government welfare onslaught begins
The Government is clearly committed to a wrecking ball approach to welfare says AAAP spokesperson Sue Bradford.
“Today’s announcement on welfare leaves no doubt Paula Bennett and John Key are set on forging ahead with the nasty piece of work handed to it by Paula Rebstock’s Welfare Working Group in February last year.
“Paula Bennett says she believes that most people can and will work.
“But neither she nor the Government seems able to understand a couple of very basic things about work.
“The first is that there has to be jobs to go to before people can get paid work.
“The next is that bringing up children on your own is very important work in its own right.
“This programme undermines beneficiary parents, penalises their children, and treats young beneficiaries as incompetent fools.
“The first round of changes will see some sole parents and partners of beneficiaries required to go to work when their babies are one year old.
“If this mindless and cruel programme is implemented we could easily end up in a situation where sole parents with babies, the sick, the injured and the disabled end up being harassed by Work & Income into jobs, while other people lose theirs in a zero sum game from which no one benefits.
“We have to assume the real reason for this level of harassment is to increase competition for low paid jobs and drive down wages.
“Today’s changes also see the very few 16 and 17 year olds on benefits treated as if they have no capacity to look after themselves, with their income to be managed by the State or an external service provider.
“This demeaning treatment will do nothing to build the capability and resilience of these vulnerable young people, but it will be a nice little money earner for some community and private providers.”

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