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Cabinet must not allow inequity to persist

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

30 April 2001

Cabinet must not allow inequity to persist

Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley has written to the Prime Minister urging Cabinet to take immediate action on the inequity created by a Cabinet decision last week.

"I wrote to the Human Rights Commission last week complaining about the discrimination against those in low income jobs which was created by Cabinet's decision about income thresholds for the Community Services Card.

"The Commission's response makes it clear that Cabinet's decision was outside the scope of the Human Rights Act. But it added 'The Commission remains concerned, however, at the inequity which has apparently been created between those who are employed and those who are not. The Commission will be taking the matter up with government.'

"Cabinet has a duty to defend the rights of New Zealanders and address inequities in society. Quite the opposite seems to be the case here -Cabinet has created an inequity and the onus is now upon it to set things right.

"I wrote to Helen Clark early this morning, urging the Cabinet to put this matter right. I trust they have taken action at today's Cabinet meeting. If not, then they have failed 48,000 low-income New Zealanders, and failed in their duty of fairness to the public," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends

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