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Paula Bennett - Assistance for earthquake affected Canta

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development, Employment & Youth Affairs
24 February 2011

Media Statement

Assistance for earthquake affected Cantabrians

Almost one thousand people affected by the earthquake have accessed financial assistance in Christchurch says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett

“Work and Income is making emergency assistance a priority to ensure help gets to those in need as quickly as possible,” says Ms Bennett.

So far more than $163,000 has been paid out in Civil Emergency Grants which are available to anyone in genuine need, they are not income tested.

“The grants are available from Work and Income in the form of vouchers and direct payments to bank accounts,” says Ms Bennett.

The average payment being made is around $170, but varies according to need.

“We were prepared to provide cash payments if necessary, but as bank machines are in operation this is not required,” says Ms Bennett.

The payments are for essential items such food, clothing and bedding.

There have been more than 10,000 calls to the Government Helpline 0800 779 997.

“I urge anyone who needs assistance, to contact Work and Income regardless of whether they receive a benefit or not.

Like many organisations and businesses, Work and Income services on the ground have also been impacted, but staff are doing everything possible to get help to those who need it most.

Work and Income is striving to operate as business as usual.Three Work and Income Service centres in Ashburton, Rangiora and Hornby are open and offering emergency assistance.

Four welfare centres at Burnside High, Cowles Stadium, Pioneer Stadium and Rangiora Baptist Church are also open and offering support.

All residents in Canterbury who need assistance are encouraged to either contact a Welfare Centre or call the Government Help Line on 0800 779 997.

ENDS


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