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Community Card Changes Only Affect Superannuitants

26 April 2001

Changes to the qualifying income threshold for the Community Services Card only affect superannuitants, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said this evening.

Mr Maharey was responding to Opposition claims that some low-paid workers would opt out of the workforce and go on to welfare in order to become eligible for a Community Services Card.

"The Cabinet agreed this week to carry over the entitlement of all superannuitants for the Community Services Card after increases to superannuation and benefits on 1 April. No other group of New Zealanders is affected.

"Plainly we could not have increased the incomes of older New Zealanders with one hand and whipped their Community Services Card away with the other.

"Specifically, in relation to beneficiaries, nothing has changed. All beneficiaries were eligible for a Community Services Card last week – and they are still eligible this week.

"Working New Zealanders will not leave their jobs in order to become eligible for a card. It is impossible to reach the age of 65 by choice and therefore qualify for super. In addition all those who previously qualified for a Community Services Card are still eligible to get one.

"We have no intention of placing barriers in front of beneficiaries which lock them into the welfare system. Our focus is on moving beneficiaries off welfare and into real paying jobs.," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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