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Greens urge Govt to reconsider student benefit

18 August 2000
Greens urge Govt to reconsider student benefit decision

In light of unprecedented condemnation from student groups and Labour and Alliance Party members the Green Party today strongly urged the Government to reconsider it's refusal to reinstate the Community Wage for students over the summer break.

Reinstating the Community Wage Student - which was cut by National in 1998 - was one aspect of Sue Bradford's Social Security (Work Testing and Community Wage) Amendment Bill which was voted down by the Government this week.

A number of student groups including the New Zealand University Students Association have condemned the Government over their refusal to send the Bill to a select committee for further debate. The youth wings of both Labour and the Alliance have spoken out strongly against the two parties and an ex-Alliance candidate, Quentin Findlay, is calling for the Alliance to be censured by the Alliance National Council over the move.

"The Government cannot ignore the outrage over their refusal to consider this aspect of my Bill," said Sue Bradford. "While reinstating the Community Wage for students was only one part of my Bill I urge them to reconsider this issue."

Ms Bradford said she was delighted but not surprised that students across the country had supported her bill.

"The axing of the Community Wage Student was one of the nastiest pieces of the National Government's work. It leaves students under the age of 25, with no jobs, without any financial support over the break between academic years and that is plain wrong.

"I urge the Government to think again about who voted them into power. The situation of the last two summers where students were forced out of their flats and into using foodbanks cannot be allowed to happen again this summer," she said.

"I will continue to place pressure on the Government over this issue," she said. "If all the affected groups continue with their pressure I predict this will be an issue the Government cannot continue to ignore."

Ms Bradford said comments from the Alliance's Liz Gordon that the Bill would not have restored the student benefit were untrue.

Ms Bradford said she would be seeking a meeting with student representatives next week to further discuss the issue.

Sue Bradford MP: 025 243 4239, 09 423 8667

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