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Progress on poverty –micro-managing option needed

Media statement
For immediate release
Thursday, 3 July 2008

Progress on poverty –micro-managing option needed

UnitedFuture welcomes new figures indicating a reduction in the number of New Zealand children living poverty, according to UnitedFuture deputy leader Judy Turner.

“We also welcome extending emergency relief for families reliant on income support, particularly for those struggling with the rising cost of feeding their family.

“The new ‘core benefit’ coupled with the promise of more intensive and integrated case management sounds promising.

“However the new system is reliant for its success on more highly skilled case managers and more collaborative relationships between government and non-government service providers” says Mrs Turner.

“The nine month timeframe seems a small amount of time to roll out some fairly major changes. We will also be holding the government to their earlier promise that changes to the income support system would not see any person worse off.

“What really needs addressing now are the minority of beneficiaries that cannot manage themselves or their families no matter how much money they were given,” says Mrs Turner.

“UnitedFuture is concerned about the lack of strategies available to case managers to micro-manage beneficiaries who appear to lack the necessary skills to prioritise their children's needs before their own behavioural, gambling or substance addictions.

“Until this minority of the most incapable beneficiaries are able to be micro-managed - given food vouchers and have their power bills paid for directly out of their benefit, for example - then these families will still struggle and their children will continue to live in poverty,” says Mrs Turner.


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