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Many left out in the cold under Nat's programme

16 December 2008

Many left out in the cold under Nat's programme

While John Key's ReStart assistance package for newly redundant workers will help those who qualify, there will still be an awful lot of people for whom this will make no difference, Green Party Social Development spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"The Green Party welcomes any constructive action the Government takes to help both the newly unemployed and also those who are already out of work," she says.

"But the ReStart programme leaves many New Zealanders out in the cold - in particular, people whose partners are still in full time work and part time employees.

"Nor does the new programme address the fundamental problem facing New Zealand workers right now. A tsunami of redundancies is about to break in towns and cities around the country.

"It is imperative that the Government urgently starts planning for an immediate major public works programme that creates jobs and keeps the economy ticking over.

"Seasonal fruit picking and part time bar work will not fill the gaps left as our unemployment rates escalate by the day.

"There are a number of priorities the Green Party would like to see implemented in terms of income assistance for redundant and unemployed workers.

"Firstly, the reinstatement of the Special Benefit which would be a better option than ReStart, as it would allow discretion for Work and Income to respond to peoples' actual needs.

"Secondly, legislation requiring employers to make at least a minimum redundancy payment to all workers would provide a safety net for those who lose their jobs.

"And thirdly, we would like to see benefits increased to levels at which individuals and families can actually survive.

"A combination of very proactive job creation and a welfare system that works would make all the difference. The hard times are only just starting. The more prepared we are the better off we will all be - individually and collectively - to face what's coming," Ms Bradford says.


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