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Work & Income sex worker policy unequivocal

Maharey: Work and Income sex worker policy unequivocal

Work and Income has an unequivocal policy not to list or refer job seekers to positions in the sex industry, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

The comments respond to unsubstantiated claims by United Future MP Gordon Copeland that a Dunedin beneficiary was told by her case manager to consider working in the sex industry. Work and Income has a long standing policy not to list or refer job seekers to work in the sex industry. This policy was confirmed immediately following the passage of the Prostitution Reform Act earlier this year. The Act itself contains specific provisions explicitly stating that benefit entitlements cannot be cancelled or affected in any other way by a refusal to work as a sex worker.

Steve Maharey said it was disappointing that Mr Copeland had chosen to raise the issue through the media rather than taking it up directly with him – but he reiterated that there was no question that beneficiaries were being encouraged to work in the sex industry.

“Following the passge of the Prostitution Reform Act I asked Work and Income to reaffirm their exisiting policy which is very clear on this matter. It does not, and will not, refer clients to jobs in the sex industry or accept vacancies from sex industry employers. This policy has been made clear to all staff and employers.

“I would be very concerned if this allegation was true and staff were not following policies. Work and Income can find no record of the alleged incident occurring. I invite Gordon Copeland to supply me with details,” Steve Maharey said.

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