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ACT Urges Government To Help Children

ACT Urges Government To Help Children

ACT New Zealand Housing Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today urged the Government to fast-track a proposal, before the Social Services Select Committee, to stabilise housing for low-income families.

"The Child Action Poverty Group report showed that children from poor families were most likely to move house and change schools, damaging their educational chances," Dr Newman said.

"Helping the families to become more stable, so that the children have a better chance of succeeding in education, should be a priority.

"The main reason for household transiency is that families get behind in their rent. As a result, they either skip without paying, or are ordered out by the Tenancy Tribunal. Either way, expensive legal processes follow, with well over half of the $10 million cost of the Tenancy Tribunal being tied up with this issue.

"A simple answer has been proposed for years by landlords' associations and tenants' advocates alike. It is to allow any tenant who is a beneficiary to have their rent deducted at source so that, if they misjudge their budget, they won't lose their house.

"There is a proposal to that effect before the Social Services Select Committee. It is a petition to Parliament, which I organised, to change procedures in the Department of Work and Income, to enable beneficiaries to request that their rent be deducted at source and sent directly to their landlord.

If the Government is serious about solving the problem, giving poor children a better opportunity, they will fast track the proposal before the Select Committee as an urgent priority," said Dr Newman.

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