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Poor hurt by WFF benefit changes, say Greens

30 March 2005

Poor hurt by WFF benefit changes, say Greens

Given Labour's claimed commitment to social justice, a new report from a frontline support group proves they urgently need to rethink plans to abolish the Special Benefit on 1 April, Green MP Sue Bradford says.

Ms Bradford called for the Government to act immediately to either maintain the current Special Benefit levels and conditions, or to provide a backup benefit to fix the problems identified in today's report by the Wellington People's Centre.

The study contains evidence that the new Working For Families measures due on April 1 will scrap the Special Benefit, confront new applicants with a meaner, less flexible alternative, and expose those already on the Special Benefit to the risk of being kicked down onto this less generous benefit if they happen to do a few hours work in any one week, Ms Bradford says.

"I would like to commend the People's Centre for the solid research and analysis in its report. It shows that ultimately, 50,000 of the most vulnerable families and children in New Zealand stand to be negatively affected by the measures that kick in on April 1.

"Scrapping the Special Benefit will put those needy families and children ay serious risk. I therefore call on the Government to act urgently to put measures in place that ensure no one will be left worse off by the Working or Families package.

"While the Green Party supports the extension of Working For Families, we would also like to see the Government cease to discriminate against beneficiaries," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS


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