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"Snoopy's Christmas spoilt by Snoops": Harawira

Thursday 15 December 2005

Hone Harawira, Maori Party Member for Tai Tokerau

Snoopy's Christmas spoilt by Snoops": Hone Harawira

"This is the 'Snooping on the Poor' Bill," said Hone Harawira, Maori Party member for Te Tai Tokerau, about the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters (Information Matching) Amendment Bill 2005.

"We remember all too vividly, the last Minister of Social Development talking about the need for an "intelligent welfare state".

"Was that his way of saying Social Welfare can snoop on beneficiaries?" said Harawira. "Because that's what this Bill will do."

"Seems to me that this Bill is about government ganging up on the poor to keep them that way - using the information from one department to deny somebody their rights from another."

"This Bill is another example of the continued attack by Labour against beneficiaries".

"Earlier this week, the House passed a Working for Families package which discriminates against families on benefits, which means that 253,000 kids will miss out this Christmas".

"Now we have this 'Snooping on the Poor' Bill" said Mr Harawira.

"Hopefully, when this Bill gets to Select Committee we will be able to highlight the fact that many of our people are on benefits, living in state houses, and unable to break out of the poverty trap.

"Maori people are like anybody else - they want to own their own homes, they want things for their kids and they want decent jobs.

"Sure, we need effective housing strategies. But those must include positive help from Housing NZ (rent reviews, budgeting, mortgage planning and basic home maintenance) targeted at those who most need it, and using people who fit into the community.

"What we don't need is Big Brother snooping around, picking on tenants and getting them thrown out of their homes. What does that achieve apart from putting poor people back on the homeless list?"

"The Maori Party does not support this Bill, and we recommend it to select committee to enable those people who care, to have their voices heard".

ENDS

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