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Greens say families need action, not talk

Greens say families need action, not talk

Green MP Sue Bradford has blasted the creation of the Families Commission as an affront to families in desperate need of support.

"What families mired in poverty need is not another commission in Wellington, but practical support to meet their health, housing and income needs," said Ms Bradford, the Green Social Services spokesperson.

"We've had plenty of research both from inside and outside Government on the problems facing New Zealand families. What's needed now is action.

"Community researchers and advocates like the Child Poverty Action Group and Charles Waldegrave's Lower Hutt Family Centre could achieve exponentially more with much less money than this Commission.

"Although a third of our children are still living in poverty, the Government has already decided not to fund this year badly needed reforms of Family Support and Family Assistance allowances.

Ms Bradford said the Families Commission was little more than an indulgence to placate the United Future party in return for supporting the Government on confidence and supply.

"When was the last time Peter Dunne spent time at a Peoples Centre or church foodbank actually working with parents on the issues they face when they can't afford to clothe or feed their children that week?"

The Green Party would immediately reform Family Support and Family Assistance and bring in a Universal Child Benefit for all families at $15 for the first child and $10 each for subsequent children and increase funding for state housing urgently.

"Families need support for practical solutions to their problems, such as decent, affordable housing and an increase in the minimum wage and base benefit levels.

"The Government doesn't need a Commission to tell us what's wrong with our families - we're aware of the problems every time we see a family in the Housing NZ queue or outside a foodbank.

"Nor do we need a Commission to improve parenting services - this could easily be done from the massive resources the Ministry of Social Development already has at its disposal. "We need more action, less talk and less bureaucracy."

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