Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Advocates Applaud Benefit Changes


For immediate release 25 May 2000


Beneficiary advocacy groups have applauded the changes to the Department of Work and Income benefit regime released by Social Services Minister Steve Maharey today. The changes include the scrapping of the hated work-for-the dole programme. The “Community Wage” will go and benefits will return to being called unemployment benefits and sickness benefits.

The announcement was made by Steve Maharey at the regular three monthly meeting of beneficiary advocacy groups and officials from the Department of Work and Income, Ministry of Social Policy and Department of Labour.

“These meetings have given beneficiary advocates the opportunity to present the concerns of beneficiaries to Ministers and officials,” said Robert Reid, spokesperson for the groups. “After a huge amount of work over the last five months we are pleased to see that the Government has started to take up some of our suggestions.

“In addition to the scrapping of the ill fated “community wage” concept, we are pleased to see the end to the $5 a week deduction from the Special Benefit and the ability for more people to qualify for the benefit. We are also pleased to see the additional seven hours per week available for child-care for beneficiaries entering the work force, Robert Reid said. “Small debts will be written off, all debts over $5,000 will be re-examined.

There are many changes to the culture of the Department of Work and Income in the Government announcement that we fully support,” said Robert Reid. “DWI now considers itself a public service agency and not a “business”. Beneficiaries are to be considered as clients, job seekers or superannuitants and not “customers”. DWI will have programmes and not “products”. The Benefit Crime Unit will be renamed the Benefit Control Unit.

“While today’s changes could be seen as a scatter-gun approach, this was inevitable as the Government moved to work on those issues that the beneficiary advocates had raised that had little or no cost and could be changed quickly.

“The changes announced by Steve Maharey in combination with the income related rents policy of the Government announced two days ago will bring significant increases in income to many families that rely on a benefit, Robert Reid said.

“However a majority of beneficiaries will not be better off until there is a significant across-the-board increase in benefits. Unfortunately we believe this will be unlikely in this budget round. We will continue to push for major increases to benefits for the 2001 year,” Robert Reid concluded.

For further information contact: Robert Reid, tel: (04) 237 5062 (w), (04) 389 5399 (h)

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news