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Poverty trap deepens under Labour

3 August, 2004

Poverty trap deepens under Labour

Green MP Sue Bradford said today that a recent report highlighting the health needs of beneficiaries' children once again confirms the Labour Government's unwillingness to address the problem that benefits that simply too low to live on.

The report published in the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand revealed that 42.3 per cent of beneficiaries surveyed said that their children's health impacted their ability to seek paid employment. Twenty-four per cent of that figure indicated their job seeking prospects had been at least moderately affected within the last 12 months.

"This survey shows that children raised in beneficiary family environments are suffering disproportionately," said Ms Bradford, the Green Party's Social Services spokesperson.

"In turn, the relatively poor health of beneficiary children is affecting their parents' ability to find work. This is the poverty trap in action - widening the gap between the incomes and the health of the haves and the have-nots.

"On top of this, Labour's 'Working for Families' Budget package further entrenched structural discrimination against the children of beneficiaries by creating a new In Work benefit only payable to families where at least one adult is in the paid workforce," she said.

"The Green Party believes that there should not be structural discrimination against beneficiary families by the state and that core benefits should be high enough so that even single parents can afford to take their children to the doctor when they need to.

"We also call on the Government to act a lot more urgently to build, buy and lease state housing to help alleviate the ongoing housing crisis in some parts of the country.

"The life prospects of children are severely undermined by ill-health when they are growing up, leading to eventual benefit dependency for many of them.

"For this situation to be happening under a Labour government is simply not acceptable," said Ms Bradford.

ENDS

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