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OECD report a disgrace, says Bradford

OECD report a disgrace, says Bradford

Green MP, Sue Bradford says she’s horrified by an OECD report that would increase child poverty in New Zealand, as a lever to get solo parents into the workforce.

The OECD report recommends cuts to the domestic purposes benefit in order to force solo parents to seek work.

“What century does the OECD think this is?” Ms Bradford, the Green Party’s Social Issues spokesperson, asked. “It is almost beyond belief that in 2004 we’re talking about using penalties against solo parents - mostly women - and their children as an ‘incentive’ to make them abandon their role as a caregiver and enter the paid workforce.

“Solo parents are struggling as it is. Cut the DPB and both they and their children will sink deeper into poverty. It’s the kind of disgraceful solution that Industrial Revolution factory owners might have thought up to fill their work-benches.”

Ms Bradford also took issue with the basic premise of the report that solo parents were disinclined to find employment.

“There’s no evidence at all that solo parents lack the will to find work,” said Ms Bradford. “To its credit, Labour has gone a long way to creating incentives for parents to get back into the workforce. What it hasn’t done is alleviate the appalling situation that solo parents find themselves in.

“Singe-parents families are the most poverty-stricken in New Zealand and the children are the worst off in terms of health, education and future opportunities. New Zealand’s most disgraceful statistic is not the number of solo parents outside the workforce, it is the third of all our children who live in poverty.

“Instead of talking about cutting benefits, we should be raising core benefits in order to lift these families out of the poverty-trap and giving parents and their children the chance of a decent life.

“It is encouraging that politicians across the spectrum appear to have rejected the OECD’s so-called ‘solution’.”

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