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Poverty indicator exposes risks

Belinda Vernon National Work and Income Spokesperson

11 December 2000

Poverty indicator exposes risks

The Poverty Indicator Project report released today is a welcome benchmark for monitoring the impact of the Labour-Alliance Government's policies on foodbank applicants, National's Work and Income spokesperson Belinda Vernon said today.

"Interestingly, the report exposes the risks associated with the Government's big ticket 'one size fits all' solution to poverty - Income Related Rents.

"The report highlights how few foodbank users will benefit from the Income Related Rent policy. Only one in five of those surveyed live in a State house. That means 80% of low-income families will not get any extra assistance from the Income Related Rent policy.

"This puts pressure on other government initiatives to deliver to the most vulnerable low-income New Zealanders.

"The effect of changes to the administration of Special Benefit remains to be seen.

"As Campbell Roberts cautioned not all the statistics can be taken at face value. It will be important for the NZCCSS to ensure consistency in their approach so that the quarterly reports can be compared and relied upon. It must be noted that in this initial survey there is a significant weighting towards Dunedin and Palmerston North with only 3% of those surveyed coming from Auckland - our largest population base.

"The report will be a useful tool for judging the impact of the Government's policies on this particular group of low-income New Zealanders. It will also be helpful to National as we develop innovative solutions to tackle poverty," Ms Vernon said.

Ends

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