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Bennett must respond to demand she created

Jacinda ARDERN

Social Development Spokesperson

28 April 2013                                                  

MEDIA STATEMENT

Bennett must respond to demand she created

News that the Salvation Army may lose staff in-spite of a huge increase in demand for its services should come as no surprise to the government, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.

The Salvation Army, along with many other community based organisations, look set to lose the temporary Community Response Funding (CRF) when it comes to an end in July. For the Salvation Army that means losing a third of its family budget advisors -- approximately 20 staff.
 
“Despite obvious need, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett  continues to boast about reducing the demand on the welfare system.
 
“It is very clear that the social sector is carrying the burden of this government’s poor performance.

"The Minister claimed the CRF was to help NGOs get through the recession. Well, the effects of the recession, and of her government’s own policies, are still having a huge effect on demand. To wrap this fund up is to ignore the need that in some cases, she is responsible for.

"The Salvation Army alone has had a 230 per cent increase in budgeting services since 2008 through till the first quarter of this year.
 
“This should have been anticipated by the Minister when changes she has made now require many Work and Income clients to seek budget advice before they can access assistance.

"The increase in demand for the Salvation Army's food parcels is also in line with what I am hearing from other providers,” Jacinda Ardern said.
 
In South Auckland the provision of food parcels  jumped 34.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, compared to a year ago. West Auckland saw an increase of 28.6 per cent for the same period, Whangarei 26 per cent and Dunedin 31.5 per cent.
 
“I have no doubt that the increased demand for food parcels and NGO services are a result of families being denied the help they need under this government. One provider has told me that around 50 per cent of its food parcels are provided to people who have been turned down by Work and Income.

“We simply cannot afford to lose services like those provided by the Salvation Army. Given the Minister’s role in all of this, it's her turn to step up,” Jacinda Ardern said.

ENDS

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