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Community Card --- Richard Prebble

Friday 20th Apr 2001 Richard Prebble Media Release -- Other

ACT has slammed the Government’s proposal to scrap the community services card and wants a Parliamentary vote on the issue.

Leader Richard Prebble said the idea of a community services card was to provide targeted assistance to people most in need and to ensure those in work were always better off than those on benefits.

“It’s compassion ACT-style,” Mr Prebble said. “It’s cost-effective and ensures low-income people can get access to health and medicine.”

The abolition of the card could be justified only be a massive increase in benefits which would result in many people getting taxpayer assistance they didn’t need, or, worse ,still, spending it in ways the taxpayer shouldn’t have to subsidise.

ACT intends to introduce a private member’s bill soon, aimed at forcing a Parliamentary debate on the future of the community services card and other family assistance measures.

The proposed bill, to be introduced by Muriel Newman, would ensure thresholds for the community services card were regularly adjusted to keep pace with inflation. It would immediately correct the anomaly that had arisen from the government’s decision not to lift the assistance threshold for 48,000 low-income families.

“It is unfair for low-income working families to be denied access to income assistance, child support and community services cards simply because of inflationary impacts,” Mr Prebble said.

ACT also intends to call for an urgent debate on the plight of workers denied access to a card, when Parliament resumes next week.

“The government is sending a signal to 48,000 people who are in work that they’d be better off on a benefit,” he said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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