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Maori Party's 'No Dole' will increase poverty

16 October 2008

Maori Party's 'No Dole' will increase poverty, social risks

Maori Party Co-Leader Tariana Turia's suggestion yesterday that the dole should be scrapped is dangerous in the extreme, and especially for Maori who tend to be disproportionately unemployed, the Green Party says.

"The Greens are right behind the Maori Party's call for full-wage job creation schemes, but abolishing the dole altogether means a return to the days when unemployed workers and their families were dependent on charities, local Government or family for handouts," Social Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"Whichever combination of political parties forms the next Government in this country, unemployment is going to rise," Ms Bradford says.

"Until we reach the happy day when we have a Government committed to creating jobs for all unemployed people, there will always be those for whom the unemployment benefit is the only means of survival.

"If this meagre support is removed, we will see family breakdown, child poverty, crime, begging and homelessness at levels way beyond anything we can conceive of at present.

"Since Labour came to power at the peak of the Great Depression of the 1930s, there has been cross party consensus that a welfare safety net is the best way of helping individuals and families through hard times.

"If the dole is taken away, a huge hole will be ripped in that safety net."

The Green Party's key policies in this area include:

* Government should work to achieve full employment even at times of recession, with the goal of getting as many people into real jobs at real wages as possible.

* No forced work for the dole.

* The provision of welfare benefits at levels people can actually live on for all unemployed people, as well as for sole parents, the sick and the injured.

* Strong support for community and hapu and iwi based initiatives which create work in local communities, including in rural and provincial areas, doing socially and environmentally useful work.

"'Unemployed workers need the security of knowing that they can feed, house and clothe themselves and their families when they are between jobs. Any deliberate breaking of the political consensus on this takes our country down a dangerous and slippery path."

ENDS

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