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Social Services Minister’s electorate worst

Social Services Minister’s electorate worst in poverty report

The latest poverty report shows Labour’s promises to address poverty are empty rhetoric, says National Social Services Spokesperson Katherine Rich.

“Social Services Minister Steve Maharey has failed to deliver on his promise to reduce dependency on foodbanks.

“In 1999 he said "People view food banks as a sign of policies not working rather than as something they want as a permanent fixture in their community. We should be working together to see that the use of food banks is declining, not just accepting them as a part of the landscape."

“In this survey the Minister’s electorate Palmerston North recorded the highest percentage of applicants to foodbanks who are in debt, at 90 percent.

“More than half of these people are in debt to Work and Income New Zealand. Nationally 75 percent of people going to foodbanks are on a benefit of some kind, and a significant number of those are on the domestic purposes benefit.

“The Minister has done nothing to ease poverty. All the Labour Government has done is scrap work testing from the domestic purposes benefit, which encourages more people to rely on a benefit when they could be taking opportunities to better themselves.

“Foodbank demand surges at this time of year as the financial pressure of Christmas hits families who can’t afford the extra expense. National will be monitoring foodbank demand over the Christmas-New Year period with concern,” said Mrs Rich.

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