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Key's Welfare Proposal Unworkable and Unfair

27 October 2008

Key's Welfare Proposal Unworkable and Unfair: Greens

The Green Party says that John Key's $100m unemployment plan is seriously flawed.

'It demonstrates his lack of understanding of the practicalities of administering a national social security system,' says Social Development spokesperson Sue Bradford.

'Mr Key's compassion for the middle income unemployed is leading him to design a bureaucratic nightmare on the hoof.

'In offering targeted support to people on middle incomes who have large mortgages he ignores the basic inequity of a Government providing more financial assistance to one group of unemployed workers than another.

'What about low income earners with high mortgages, or high rent and high debt? How does he define 'middle income?'

'I invite the National Party to consider other, rather more effective measures. Mr Key is free to borrow from Green Party policy if he wants.

'Much fairer measures to give extra assistance to the newly unemployed include:

* Ending all stand down periods - the gap between when someone loses their job and starts getting the unemployment benefit (currently either one or two weeks depending on their situation).

* Lifting base benefit levels so people receive enough to maintain themselves and their family.

* Restoring discretion to the benefit system - lost when the Special Benefit was cancelled - so that people can be supported to meet gross gaps between income and outgoings.

'I doubt that John Key has ever been on either side of a Work & Income counter in his life,' says Ms Bradford.

'If he had experience as either a case manager or a beneficiary he would understand both the unfairness and administrative impossibility of what he is proposing.'


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