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Face facts around Support to Sole Parents

Government Challenged to face facts around Support to Sole Parents

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party

8 January 2008

Maori Party co-leader, Dr Pita Sharples, has today demanded the Government take seriously research released by the Rotorua Peoples Advocacy Centre which highlights a disturbing level of discrimination being levelled at sole parent DPB recipients.

“What all the facts tell us, is that the great majority of DPB recipients are female (90%), a high proportion are Maori (41.3%) and that by far the highest proportions of those people receiving the domestic purposes benefit are caring for a dependent child aged six years or under (60.3%)” said Dr Sharples, who is also finance spokesperson for the Maori Party.

“And so when the Government immediately retorts that some people would “never be satisfied” or alleges the research is “biased” without responding to actual evidence in the report findings, we wonder what value this Government places on the quality of life for women, for Maori, for children” said Dr Sharples.

“No-one expects New Zealanders to receive services from a Government agency which are described as “negative and disempowering” or to learn that WINZ staff were not forthcoming with extra assistance, and perpetuated “negative stereotyping and judgmental, moralising attitudes towards sole parent DPB recipients”.

"I would have expected Government Ministers to face up to these criticisms and identify strategies to address the issues outlined in the report" said Dr Sharples.

“The research highlights the difficulty sole parents face, including ‘stigmatisation’ from Work and Income and society in general; and often having insufficient income to meet basic needs” said Dr Sharples.

“I congratulate the National Distribution Union, Child Poverty Action Group and the Northern Drivers’ Charitable Trust for bringing these findings out into the open” said Dr Sharples.

“Labour must be held to account for successive Ministers, and their own Families Commission, lacking the political courage to face up to the findings of their own research – research which proves what we in the Maori Party have been consistently saying, that beneficiary children and families are getting a rough deal due to lack of support and inadequate income”.

ENDS

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